Wednesday, September 30, 2009

This Just In

The military did not show up today to give our seniors the ASVAB as scheduled. Like the military has something better to do. I blame Obama.

In yet another attempt to kill Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, a student tried to infect her with swine flu.
The Kid asked to borrow a pencil. He has not had a pencil for the past three days. Since the girl The Kid stole a pencil from yesterday was absent, I told him all I had was a BLUE PEN than I found in my classroom. He could use it if he returned it. "There it is," I told him, "that BLUE PEN on my desk, right beside my GREEN GLASSES CASE." He went to get it, I went to my laptop to do what I should have done before school had the #1 Rumpelstiltskin not made me late by snoozing 12 minutes into my drive time. The Kid worked away, between yelling that his partner had the swine flu, because she was sick and had a fever. At the end of class, I caught The Kid returning the borrowed pen. It was my BLACK PEN that I never loan, because I don't want kid cooties all over it. THE HORROR!!! I had to give it a GermX bath.

People in Missouri are having swine flu parties to infect their kids. See, they're so worried that their kids will get swine flu and die, or that the vaccine is tainted and will kill them, that they are deliberately giving their kids swine flu so they don't have to worry about them catching it and possibly dieing. Go figure.

Jon Gosselin stopped his divorce proceedings right after TLC dumped him from the title of the Jon and Kate Plus 8 show. You know, the show he didn't want to be on, because it was too hard for him to cheat on Kate with all those nosy cameramen around. And shortly after declaring that he despised Kate, and can not even sit on a couch with her to film parts of that show he is no longer a star of, he has decided that the divorce is causing him pain, and that he only needed a divorce in the first place because Kate abused him so much that he had low self-esteem and was looking for love in all the right places meaning bars and babysitters and journalists.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D) Florida wants you to die quickly. Well, he says the Republicans want you to die quickly, but I think maybe he is projecting just a tad. Anyhoo, he got his 15 minutes of fame. Now let's see how this plays out in his Republican-leaning district. And what news story he was supposed to take the heat off of today by his little visual aid-enhanced performance last night. The Obama Olympics? Afghanistan? That czar dude who didn't protect a 15-year-old from a sexual predator when the kid confessed to him back in 1987 when the czar dude was a teacher?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Shot An Elephant In My Pajamas

I do not fancy myself to be a professional writer. I am a recreational writer. The blog is enough for me. As writers go, I, like my gal Hillary, am likable enough. I know that I use sentence fragments to make my points. I know that I create words that don't exist anywhere other than my blog. But I am not writing a serious news article. I am only writing my little Hillmomba City blog, for my handful of loyal readers.

When I see bad writing, it sticks in my craw. One of the worst offenders in my circle of daily reads is the KSKD St. Louis news website. I can't figure out if nobody bothers to proofread, if they are using interns to write their online copy, or if KSDK has received stimulus money to employ writers for whom English is a second language. Here's the latest entry to cause me to wax apoplectic:


By: Casey Nolen

KSDK -- A long time, and well liked North St. Louis County teacher and coach is in intensive care at SSM DePaul Health Center in Bridgeton dealing with some very serious injuries, but grateful for some unlikely rescuers who may have saved his life.

Richard Rauch spent more than 30 years teaching the skills of communication, and perfecting the art of teaching -- in the classroom at Hazelwood Central High School and on the court coaching championship tennis and basketball teams.

"Next to my parents, he's probably the biggest influence in my life," says former student David Creasy.

"I learned a lot of stuff from him," says Creasy. "And it's applying to my life right now."

Creasy and others who Mr. Rauch touched as a mentor, are now coming to be by his side.

Tuesday, the 79-year-old fell down the stairs in his Florissant home, breaking his neck.

For the next two days, the man who spent his life communicating couldn't reach out to anyone for help, and couldn't move from the bottom of the stairs.

"I could not attract anybody," said Rauch from his hospital bed. "I was in extreme pain, and I knew what hell was like -- to be isolated."

Paralyzed on the floor, Rauch was holding on to one hope -- an appointment on Thursday morning with two insurance agents who were scheduled to come to his house.

"I was on the floor praying that they would come on time," said Rauch.

They did, and when they arrived they heard Rauch crying for help and call 911. Doctors say their timing may have saved his life.

"I'd hate to think how I would be, because I was nearly driven to the edge of madness," says Rauch.

Now family and former students are looking after him, and trying to help him with his recovery.

"Boys, I'm so glad you were able to come over, it means a lot to me," said Rauch to Creasy and another student by his bed.


Yes, I included the author's name. Because I am a firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, and assigning blame where blame is due. Somebody please teach this kid how to use a comma, and how not to use hyphens. PLEASE!

If this teacher dude taught the Creasy kid, heaven help us. The St. Louis area will be full of writers and speakers like the author of this story.

I'm thinking that the teacher dude would probably wish the author had not used the phrase 'and others who Mr. Rauch touched as a mentor.' Because teachers are kind of sensitive about the notion that they 'touched' students.

I certainly hope that the teacher dude did not actually say that while he was laying at the bottom of the steps, paralyzed and in pain, he could not 'attract' anybody. Perhaps a better choice of words would have been 'contact' anybody.

Thank the Gummi Mary, those insurance agents 'heard Rauch crying for help and call 911.' I know I shift tenses at inopportune times, but even I know that they called 911.

This next part puzzles me. "I'd hate to think how I would be, because I was nearly driven to the edge of madness," says Rauch. Hm...was he nearly driven to madness, or was he driven to the edge of madness, or was he actually, as the quote states, nearly driven to the edge of madness? Because that does not seem too serious in my book. Nearly driven to the edge. I nearly drove to the edge of the creek when it was flooded, but since I didn't, I was perfectly safe.

Ain't life a b*tch? You spend 30 years perfecting the art of teaching, then you retire and break your neck and have an illiterate write a news story about you.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Pony Put A Foot Wrong

The Pony gave us quite a scare tonight. One minute, he was prancing down to the basement to eat his corn dogs in front of the TV, and the next minute we heard THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP THUMP down the basement stairs.

"PONY! Are you OK?"
"noooo ooo ooo..."
"He's not OK!!!"

I ran to toward the stairs. Olympic Sprinter H elbowed me out of the way. He bounded down the stairs at such a rate I was afraid the same fate would befall him as had befallen The Pony. I looked over the railing. The Pony was a crumpled pile of pitifulness at the bottom. He was kind of laying sideways at the bottom step, with a red pool spreading around his head. Trauma Team Captain H gasped.

It was only the ketchup from the corn dogs. Though one of the corn dogs had impaled itself on its own stick. The Pony gasped that it was hard to breathe. He said his back hurt. Napping-In-First-Aid-Class H grasped The Pony under the arms, and lifted him up. He wheeled a computer chair over and sat him down. The Pony leaned forward. He was gasping for air.

By this time, I had rappelled down the 13 wooden stairs which have remained rail-less since I first started demanding a rail 11 years ago. Right after we moved in. The year The Pony was born. Oh, they're normal stairs. It's not like they're captain's stairs, or a rope ladder. But they go down through the big (railed off) rectangular hole in the living room floor with nary a knob to grab onto if you lose your footing. I don't even allow my grandma to walk down them. When she comes out for Christmas, I have Chauffeur H drive her around to the basement door so she only has to stay on that one level, where we have the tree and presents.

But let's get back to The Pony. He was sweating bullets, hotter than a pepper sprout. He was shaking, and complaining that his back between the shoulder blades, and his chest, both hurt. He said it was hard to breathe. I smoothed his sweaty forehead. What else is a mother supposed to do? After a couple of minutes, he sat back. He got kind of pale and clammy. His shaking subsided.

We were in a quandary. Do we take him to the ER to get him checked out? Or do we watch him for signs that his symptoms worsen, and then take him? What to do, what to do? We are watching him closely. I don't want him to have a broken rib, or a pneumothorax, or cardiac tamponade, or a dissected aorta. I really wish I had not watched all 15 seasons of ER. King Of The Castle H must wish he hadn't harped on the boys all these years to wear socks. He has conniptions if they run around barefoot in the house. The Pony says his socks slipped on the steps. CYA H says, "That's why I always told you boys to wear shoes in the house."

I'm hoping that The Pony merely knocked the breath out of himself, then had an adrenaline rush, and is now just sore. The part that worries me is that he says his chest hurts when he bends over to touch his toes, and that it's hard to get a deep breath in. But he fell on his butt. He has no marks on his back or chest.

Something tells me I will be monitoring The Pony's vitals all night.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Give Me A Number One Finger

Could somebody lend me a hand? A hand attached to an arm, with which to pat me on the back? My own arm is tired, you see, after congratulating myself once again on my performance in the local newspaper's prep football contest. Imagine my surprise when I logged in yesterday and saw that I was ranked NUMBER FREAKIN' ONE out of 230 contestants. OK, so I wasn't all that surprised, having been in the top three or four for the past month, and having an ego the size of Texas, which is a 'really big state' as told to me by a freshman on Friday after she glanced at my wall map of the United States which I've had for nigh on six years now, the initial investment in said map being $1.50.

Due to the Truth in Blogging Law, I must inform you that I am tied with two other people for first place, each of us holding the grand total of 69 points at the end of Week 5 in this contest. I can taste that recliner now. Only five more weeks to go, and I'll be bringin' her home to the Mansion. Yep. I looooves me some free furniture! If it was socially acceptable, I would drape myself in free furniture. That last statement was a George Costanza-ism for all you Seinfeld fans.

A number one finger is what the #1 son used to call those big foam fingers fans sport at sporting events. It's OK if you want to have some printed up. My favorite color is green. I totally would not mind hauling my new free recliner down a gauntlet of waving green Hillbilly Mom is #1 foam fingers when I go to pick it up at the end of the contest. The newspaper will be there, I'm sure. It will make me feel like an Apollo astronaut fake-returning from the moon.

I certainly hope that no tragedy befalls those two contestants who are tied with me. You know, like developing an electrical impulse in their fingertips that shorts out any computer they try to use to enter their picks. Or maybe sudden-onset amnesia that causes them to miss the entry deadline. Or a hacker who steals their passwords and makes bad picks.

The last thing I need is a conspiracy theory that points to me as the perpetrator, and endangers my chance of bringing home that sweet, sweet recliner.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hillbilly Mom: The Face Of Everywoman

Like our ever-expanding universe, my hatred for The Devil's Playground knows no bounds. It is an all-encompassing hatred, from the narrow aisles of the pharmacological department where no two carts can pass, to the wide open spaces of the new gulf between hardware and bicycles, which could give a claustrophobic sudden onset agoraphobia. That place pisses me off.

There I was, minding my own business, shopping from a list of randomness because every week The Devil has seen fit to move items to different aisles from the previous week. I gave up on the rubbing alcohol, because I could not even find the band-aids, and though I found the sewing aisle after backtracking across half the Playground, there were no sewing kits. Only separate packs of needles and threads and pins. Not that I am a seamstress, mind you, but an occasional button runs away in the wash, and sometimes a hem unravels, and duct tape is only an option for Master Tailor H. I hiked two aisles out of my way to bypass a chubster on a motorized cart, just to get to the toilet paper. I tried to murder three women having a family reunion in the middle of the soap aisle. FYI, it's not true that looks can kill. A man and woman arguing over orange juice caused a bottleneck by the Dr. Thunder display. I had stopped to get a 12-pack for #1's school lunches (the soda machines having been dismantled due to some new government regulation), and was nearly flattened by an adult punk racing around like he was on Supermarket Sweep, emitting "Beep-beep" noises. Oh, and he hopped up on his cart to coast down to the milk cooler. What a freakin' doofus. He reminded me of that Frat Boy that pulled my crank at the casino that time, resulting in me maybe or maybe not shouting, "F--- you! You f---ing f---er!"

It happened during a search mission on the frozen breakfast aisle. There I was, seeking Eggo NutriGrain Blueberry Waffles, when an addled old crone hollered, "Jane!" She was behind me, way down at the end of the aisle. The crone, not Jane. My name is not Jane. I went on wheeling my new cart with the flat tire, which shocked my hands on the metal handle every five thumps. The Devil really ought to do something about that. It could disrupt the rhythm of old people's hearts. You don't go messing with the electrical impulses of the human body, Devil. But more shocking than the shock I received every five seconds from my malfunctioning Devil-cart was the bellow of "JANE!" I figured that the addled old crone must have seen an old crone crony of hers from church, or perhaps from the Old People's Casino Shuttle, and perhaps Jane was hard of hearing, and about to displace some sausage biscuits from a high shelf onto her noggin, and continued with my shopping. I found my Eggos on the same aisle as last week, but four freezer doors down. What is the purpose of THAT, Devil?

At the checkout, I was engaging in small talk with my checker, when who should appear in my peripheral vision but the original addled old crone. "Is your name Jane?" she barked, blocking my cart with her own. "No. My name is not Jane." She sized me up. "Oh, come on!" Like I was actually Jane, and I was lying to her for sport, just to make a scene in front of The Devil and everyone. "Didn't you hear me call you in the frozen food? Why didn't you turn around?" I spoke slowly. "Well, because my name isn't Jane. I didn't think you were talking to me." She wouldn't let it go. "You look just like Jane. I haven't seen her for a while, but I know she is in from Canada." I assured her that I had never been to Canada. "My name is Hillbilly." She tilted her head sideways, and got a look in her eye like that chipmunk I tried to rescue from the cats, right before it bit me. "Hillbilly Kinnard?" My patience was wearing thin. "No... Hillbilly Mom." The addled old crone shook her head. "You look just like my friend, Jane Kinnard." She waited. I don't know what she expected me to do. Change my name? Pull out ID? Tell her that I was Jane Kinnard, and she had just been punked? All I could do was say, "I'm sorry. I am not Jane Kinnard."

The addled old crone pushed her cart away, muttering to herself. The checker said, "Don't you just hate it when someone mistakes you for someone else?" I told her I'd never had anyone practically accuse me of lying because I was not who they thought I was.

Dang! Whoever Jane Kinnard is, she'd better high-tail it back to Canada.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Would Not Put A Thief In My Room To Steal My Pencil

Have you ever seen the John Wayne movie True Grit? The Duke won an Oscar for it, you know. Not because he was a good actor, but because The Academy thought they owed him one. Because if you've ever seen that movie, you'll understand what I'm talking about. Let it suffice to say that even at his Oscar-winning mediocrity, The Duke acted circles around his co-stars, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby. Not that I am inside the actor's studio or anything, but even I can sniff the stench of a bad performance. That said, let it be noted that True Grit is one of my all-time favorite movies. It cracks me up. The dialogue is straight from the book, by Charles Portis. It is better on the page than dripping off the tongues of these actors like some fermented, bespoiled nectar.

But it was not my intention to review a movie tonight. I merely wanted to point out a quote from Mattie Ross, of near Dardanelle in Yell County. "I would not put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains," says Mattie when Rooster Cogburn offers her a pull from his moonshine jug.

I would not put a thief in my room to steal my pencil. But somebody else would. And did. Thanks OH SO MUCH, Mabel, for fanning the wings of the butterfly half a hall away that caused a tsunami in my classroom. I got a new student last week. New to my class. I've had the pleasure of his studentry before. And now I have it again.

Having re-broken in my 11th graders after a two-year sojourn from the knee of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, we are sympatico. Or were. Now I have to spend seven weeks re-breaking New Oldby. It's going to be a tough row to hoe. All year, I have kept a yellow-and-black mechanical pencil on the back table by my computer. It was by the desktop, and recently it has been by the mouse and number pad of my laptop. My yellow mechanical pencil, somewhat unstylish, as models change frequently. I bought up a bunch of them because I like them. For the past two years, I sold them to students who didn't have a pencil. Then that got to be a hassle, what with them coming from other classes and wanting to buy a pencil, so I just kept my stock to enjoy for myself.

Imagine my surprise yesterday when I went to take roll, and found my pencil missing. I am a clever old coot. You don't immediately clamor, "Who took my yellow-and-black mechanical pencil?" Well, unless you are winding up a teacher inservice, a teacher inservice attended by your Arch Nemesis. But I digress. I coolly surveyed the room. BINGO! There it was, bright as day, right under my very nose. New Oldby had it clenched in his thieving hands. He took out the virtually new white eraser, shook out a piece of lead, and inserted the lead up the business end of the pencil. There is something so wrong about that action. I watched him for a moment, scratching away with my purloined pencil, his cronies gathered around him in group work. Actually, he came to them. They didn't reject him.

"Hey, Oldby...where did you get that pencil?" He looked up at me like a deer in T-Hoe's headlights. "Pencil? Oh, I got it out of my car when I went out to get my book. It was in my cup-holder." His gaze told me otherwise. I could almost hear the beating of his tell-tale heart.

"Well, I had a pencil just like that. I had it all year, and part of last year. I always leave it on the table by my computer. It was just there third hour, and now it is gone. And that looks like my pencil." New Oldby chuckled a nervous chuckle. "That's funny. Because this one is mine. Are you calling me a thief?" I chuckled back some of his own medicine. "That's quite a coincidence that I have had my pencil on the back table all this time with no problem, and then you are put in this class, and now my pencil is gone, and you have his twin."

New Oldby frowned. "I borrowed it, OK? I didn't have a pencil, and this one was just laying there, not belonging to anybody, so I took it. To use." I told him to bring it to my desk, and that he should know how I am about my stuff. I gave him a really crappy wooden red pencil with silver Valentine hearts all over it. "I'll loan you this one today, but I don't loan pencils. Bring one to class. And keep your hands off my stuff."

His cronies razzed him about being a pencil thief. At the end of class, after sitting idle for 10 minutes, I saw that Oldby still had my Valentine pencil. "Give that back. I can't believe you're trying to take that one, too." Oldby dropped it on the floor and put his foot on it. "What pencil?" HallPassRansomer stomped on his foot, and stole Valentine. A short skirmish ensued. They should have known I can see feet under desks. And I don't even need x-ray vision. Oldby kicked HPR and jammed his foot down on Valentine. And broke him. The metal eraser-holder-thingy popped off. My Self-Proclaimed Favorite said sarcastically, "Way to go. Now you broke Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's pencil. And the lead, too. I'll sharpen that for you, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom." He shoved the eraser-holder-thingy back on top. He sharpened. He handed me the pencil. "We never had anybody breaking and stealing your pencils until Oldby got in this class." Which is like something we say at least once a day. Usually more. We tell Oldby how idyllic it was until he joined us.

We yearn for the good ol' days.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Class Roster Poker

We played Class Roster Poker today at lunch. Oh, it wasn't an official game. No money changed hands. The word poker was not even spoken. But it would be a fun game, don't you think? Each semester, we could play another hand. Here's how it goes. Take your worst combination of five students on your class roster during a specific period of the day. Match them up against everybody else's worst combination. You'll know who wins, because the other players will exclaim, "OH! That beats me!" Just like today at lunch.

It started as just another lunch conversation. A student at one table shouted something unintelligible, the duty teacher shut it down, and we started talking about how you can see trouble coming when you look at a certain configuration of students. That is not saying they're bad kids, or even trouble-making kids. But one different kid thrown into a mix can change the whole chemistry of a class. They feed off each other's behavior. They egg each other on. Grudges held since kindergarten surface during junior year.

We dealt them out like casino pros. Around the table, each successive hand drawing a gasp here, a snort there. I was not the winner. For that, I thank the Gummi Mary.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Coaching The Olympic Champion

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not one to mince words. Oh, there used to be a time when she was as sweet as Mother Teresa. Mabel's mom even said so. But those days are long gone. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a downright crotchety ol' gal these days. She does not suffer fools gladly. And by 'fools,' that means people who do not do things the way Mrs. Hillbilly Mom would like them to do things.

This afternoon, for instance, when Mr. S paid a visit to my classroom. Oh, don't go thinking he was invited. Because my time after school is precious. Perhaps I've touched on that topic lately. I stay after to get caught up with my work. And to exercise by walking the hallowed halls of Newmentia for 30 minutes. So when the #1 son dragged in Mr. S, I was not a happy Clampett. Mr. S proceeded to sit on top of one of my student desks. Whoa, Nelly! Blow that whistle and throw a flag! I do NOT allow students to sit on the desks, and I do NOT allow my own personal children to sit on the desks. But in the quest for world peace, I bit my tongue when Mr. S plopped his nether regions on my furniture. Mr. S is not a wee gnome. He is six foot six. Of course the desk objected. Objected by collapsing one leg a good three notches into the metal leg-holder sleevey thingy. With a bit of a metallic screech. I liken the sound to the scream a plant lets out when you slice it through the stem. Only louder.

Mr. S slid off the desk. He had to. It was canted at an angle that would have discombobulated the people going down with the Poseidon. Shelley Winters would have slid off it with no regrets and no hesitation. Because it was a dangerous, steep angle, my friends. And no self-respecting child would deign to sit there. Heck, no child of any mental state would sit there, even if commanded to do so by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Mr. S caught himself with his daddy long legs, and said that it was about time for him to go. Uncharacteristically, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom yelled, "NO! You're not going anywhere! Not until you fix that desk." Mr. S looked perplexed. How dare I demand that he fix his blunder! I suppose not many people go toe to toe with Mr. S. Except Mabel. I know she has it in her.

Mr. S tugged at the leg. He tugged at the desk. He put his foot on the foot of the leg, and pulled on the desk. He was ready to give up. But no. I harangued him within an inch of his life. "You're not leaving until it's fixed. Carry it down to your room and YOU deal with it. Bring me one of your desks to replace it." The #1 son injected his two cents. "He has a one-piece desk." Whatever. My argument was working until logic reared its ugly head. Mr. S was a bit startled by my outburst. I don't know why. We've been lunch buddies for years. He should know my mettle by now. He finally made the desk right. No small thanks to me coaching him like an Olympic desk-bending champion. Enough is enough. Don't sit on my desk and tell me it is straight.

I'm mad as heck, and I'm not going to take it anymore!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

And It Wasn't Nelly

I had ticket duty this afternoon at Basementia. And by 'ticket duty,' I mean, slow torture in an unairconditioned echo chamber full of screeching banshees.

Basementia is you say...modern. It is from the 1920s originally, though parts have been cobbled on as other parts burnt up. Not due to a lack of air conditioning, but due to fire. Basementia's facade has been retooled for energy efficiency, but it is still a shiny concrete block kind of tomb that does not cotton to central air and heat. First day of autumn, indeed. The high today was 82. So I baked in my westward-facing hallway, taking money from strangers, and letting old folks in free. Note to future spectators at middle school volleyball contests: if admission is $1 for adults, and $.50 for students, it is not a good idea to plan on paying with a $20 bill. Because that's always what happens. Two of the first five customers shoved a twenty in my face. The twenty-wielding kid after that got in free, because I could not make $19.50 in change.

Somewhere down the line, the coach has decided that a good warm-up requires rap crap music played at full volume. Forty minutes of rap crap at full volume does not a happy HM make. I could not hear the people asking where the bathroom was located, or if we sold snacks and what kind and where. The players shouted at each other traipsing about the hall, because otherwise they could not hear, what with that rap crap being pumped at full volume. Nothing is worse than rap crap being pumped at full volume unless it is the screech of middle school girls screeching over rap crap being pumped at full volume in a shiny concrete block tomb.

There is a sign on the wall that says, "If you leave, you have to pay to get back in." Who gives a crap? I let them come and go at will. Who gives a crap if they're going out to shoot up some meth or swig from a jug of moonshine? M-O-O-N. That spells NOT MRS. HILLBILLY MOM. Because that's the only thing that would make attending such an event bearable. Besides, they were probably just going out so they could hear on their cell phones to call and schedule cochlear implant surgery due to impending deafness from that rap crap pumping at full volume.

Some of those poor people asked me for a program. I had to explain that I was only shuffling the student papers I had brought to grade. No programs here. Move along. Basementia is a no-frill kind of operation. Ask the person sitting next to you who number 23 is. If that doesn't work, ask the person on the other side. I guarantee that one of them will be number 23's cousin.

The #1 son and some cronies left the building to play basketball by the bus barn. When LegHairPuller returned (and I did not make him pay to get back in), he reported that Channel 2 News had been filming their little pick-up game on the basketball court. We are not regularly covered by Channel 2 News. Especially for a pick-up basketball game of 8th and 9th graders on a concrete court with no nets by the bus barn. At first I thought maybe they had heard that booming rap crap all the way up in St. Louis. But then I remembered that Erin Brockovitch was coming to town tonight. Some people were all hopped up about it. You would think that Julia Roberts herself was making an appearance. But no. Only Erin. Seems we're some kind of SuperFund nightmare. Channel 2 was probably hoping to capture some kids with two heads.

As the perfect ending to a perfect torture, as I was trying to count the money in the lockbox, the coach's daughter popped up. I don't know where they had housed her for the rest of the game, but she obviously got loose. She looks to be about four or five years old. She's a cute little thing, but I am not much for gooshing over other people's kids. She came up to the wheely cart ticket-selling stand, and proceeded to reach over the side and finger my phone and #1's Googley thingy. Then she grabbed up a pencil that I had made The Pony go sharpen in the art room so I could put some scores in my old red gradebook. She jabbered away, but I told her I was leaving. She asked where all the names went that used to be on that cart. She asked if I wanted to see her write her name. I told her that I didn't want to know anything about her writing her name on that cart. Because, you see, it looked freshly whitewashed. Probably to cover up all the names. My duty was over. It was not my day to watch the coach's daughter. And if there's one thing I've learned in all my years of teaching, it's that you don't go telling on the coach's daughter for a wrong-doing, any time, at any school. But somebody really needs to keep a closer eye on her. There are nogoodniks all over the place these days.

One duty down, one more to go in December. I might try to sell that one off. People like cash around Christmas time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Stand Back

You know how sometimes, you get the most scathingly brilliant idea of what you want to blog about, and then something else happens, and that reminds you of an incident, and before you know it, you have a whole list of witty vignettes to share with your thousands of readers?

This is not one of those times.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is having rage issues. The unkindest cut of all is that there is no catchy name for what ails her. She can't have road rage, because she's not on the road. She can't have 'roid rage, because, well, she doesn't inject steroids to build 10 pounds of muscle each week. But come to think of it, she DID have a mild case of Noid rage when Domino's Pizza had the nerve to air that ad campaign about avoiding the Noid. He was some strange mutation of a human and a rabbit, that Noid. It was not a pretty sight.

I don't have elaborate goals. No champagne wishes and caviar dreams for me. I just want to get to work on time, stay caught up with my planning and grading, walk for 30 minutes after school for exercise, and plop down at my computer after supper, and not have to do my boy's algebra homework. I teach my own subject, thank you very much. Not every child has a built-in algebra teacher in the basement. I'm going on strike. Maybe I'll require my students to do research that will win a Nobel Prize. That's it! Then I won't have to teach them anything. They can work at their own pace. At home. A great distance from ME.

And while they're working on that research, they won't have time to hang around after school and try to talk to me while I'm walking, like I'm their very own personal entertainment center. Let them glom onto their after-school professional who's getting paid to spend time with them. Not free Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, who would have written a Career Ladder plan if she had wanted two hours of direct student contact after school. She is only paid to be civil to you kids from 7:50 until 3:10. After that, you gotta cut the apron strings. And RUN.

LET ME BE! I am not a nanny. I am an animal. A persnickety, spiny, porcupine of an animal. Don't poke me with a stick. I poke back. I feel better. I can go back to being my rainbowy, unicorny, gumdrop-and-lemonade self tomorrow. I just needed an outlet to vent my steam. It was up to 10 psi. Thank goodness I didn't blow. (Though some might argue that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's blog has been known to blow).

Tune in tomorrow for more sunshine and light from this ol' cockeyed optimist.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Smorgasbord 9/20/09

For those of you on the edge of your seat eagerly awaiting the news of how Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ranked in her local prep football contest this week... she is still holding in 3rd place overall. Again, she is only one point out of 1st place. The two contestants ahead of her are tied with 54 points, and Mrs. HM has 53. Not bad, after four weeks of picking. I'm clearing a place in my Mansion for that recliner.

Yesterday, the #1 son and I went to see The Goods. I know, it's rated R. My sister already exposed my boy to an R movie last Christmas, when she took him to see Role Models. Blame her, not me. I thought The Goods was hilarious, but it's not for all tastes. My mom took The Pony to see Cloudy, Chance of Meatballs. I had planned to see it, but I wanted to see the other one more. And anyway, I think I saw the whole movie in all the previews.

Fall arrives this week. Not that anyone will notice. We've had an extremely mild summer. So much for global warming.

Nothing much to report here. Spot the rabbit is still missing, Goatrude is still tangling herself when staked out on the clothesline, I am behind in the laundry, The Pony is re-reading a book a day, the #1 son took apart an old mp3 player and made a tiny screen that worked like a computer monitor when plugged in to his laptop, and Farmer H is tramping around in his overalls pretending to be a farmer.

This week at work brings me a ticket-taking duty at a volleyball game, and next week brings me a flu shot on Friday.

Before you know it, it will be Christmas break.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Magnificent Research Tool

Farmer H took Goatrude out of her pen for a walk the other night. He put her on a dog leash. Uh huh. He also informed us last week that "Goats are herd animals, and like company." DUH! Where has he been all his life? Who doesn't know that goats are herd animals? Farmer H had to find that out on the internet during working hours. Today, he put Goatrude on a clothesline between the Mansion and the well head. In a choke collar. Poor ol' Gertrude stretched herself over to my rosebush by the front porch, and munched away. I objected. "Even the thorns don't keep her from eating my roses!" Farmer H said, "Oh, they LIKE the thorns." Like that was a goatly delicacy. He probably learned that on the internet at work. Goatrude began making growling noises in her throat. "What's she doing?" Nothing gets past Farmer H. "She's choking. Because of the choke collar. She'll choke a minute, then she'll back off. That's what a choke collar does." Like everybody doesn't know that. Once Goatrude started eating Farmer H's yucca plant, he took her off the clothesline and moved her nearer the woods and the swingin' rooster bachelor pad. He left her there, and went to his BARn with The Pony. That's a whole other story. Goatrude bleated longingly for her master, then proceeded to hang herself on her choke collar. I had to send the #1 son to straighen her out. He detests those animals. He used to be an animal lover, but Farmer H soured him on that real quick with the animal chores.

Spot the bunny is gone. Go figure! That's what happens when you put a buck in a pen with a dirt floor. He tunneled out faster than those Stalag 17 dudes. Farmer H pretends that Spot is just down in a deep burrow, because "I poked a stick two feet down there, and I still couldn't touch the end of it. There are no holes showing he got outside the fence." DUH! Like Spot is going to tunnel up right next to the fence for the searchlights to catch him and alert the guard in the tower. Something tells me that Spot is no longer with us, what with that pesky beagle wailing all night and day. At least we haven't found Spot's carcass in the front yard yet.

Speaking of the front yard...The Pony went to shoot a little compound bow that Farmer H bought at the auction last night. He was in front of the Mansion, shooting across the yard at a tall cardboard box. One arrow missed, and The Pony could not find it. Farmer H told him to shoot another one like that, and see where it went. Farmer H saw it land. He and The Pony went to pick up the second arrow, and couldn't find it. The Pony balked at shooting a third arrow to help find the others. Can't fool that boy twice. Shame on you. Anyhoo... Farmer H and The Pony spent 30 minutes in the front yard searching for that arrow. I told them the area where I saw it land. They didn't want to search there. They were way out by the driveway. Then they gave up and Farmer H yelled at The Pony for being sour and not wanting to do anything. The Pony, having happily shot his arrows until Farmer H butted in, packed all his stuff to The Barn and went in the Mansion.

I found the arrows after The Pony had some breakfast. Men just can't find their own butts unless the let out a big fart. Here's the deal. If The Pony was shooting the arrows in this ----- direction, wouldn't it make sense to search in this | direction? Because an arrow is, perhaps, a quarter inch wide, and walking parallel to the arrow gives you a slim chance of finding it. Whereas an arrow is about three feet long, and if you walk perpendicular to the arrow, you have better odds. You also have better odds if you take off your shoes and socks, because an arrow likes to bury itself in that brown undergrass like a missile in an ocean of jello. Especially if that arrow is black or brown, with green feathers. Yep. Mrs. HM found those two arrows, which made The Pony happy, but merely made Farmer H say, "Huh."

If only Farmer H had searched the internet for ways to find arrows in the front yard, he could have saved me the trouble.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What A Ride

September is halfway over, you know. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump through October, and we will be letting those clocks fall back one hour. Then there's Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and basketball season kicking into full swing, and Easter with three days off, and the End of Course test for my biology class, and academic team, and the athletic and academic banquets, and graduation,'s almost time for school to start again next year!

To quote one of those Apollo astronauts when the Lunar Module blasted off from the surface of the fake moon like it was jerked by an invisible reverse bungee cord, "What a ride, what a ride!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Audacity Of Folks

Here I sit, fresh from a day of developing my profession, not feeling any more smarter. Yeah. I know that's not grammatically correct. I drew pictures with colored markers, renamed myself, played the ol' do-si-do with numbers, counted to 29, brainstormed, made a list, critiqued my cronies, and dealt some cards. I want that seven hours of my life back. Make that 4:40, if you take off lunch and the time he let us out early.

The presenter wasn't bad as presenters go. He was a theater fellow from down Springfield way, wearing a very ugly shirt, with black pants cinched at his armpits. At first, he reminded me of a creepy victims-buried-in-the-back-yard, lampshade-made-of-human-skin type of guy. Once he started talking, he was fairly humorous, so I tolerated him.

The first order of business was to rename ourselves from a list he gave us. Without giving away trade secrets, I'll just tell you that Goober Chicken Face was on my right, Poopsie Diaper-Fanny was across from me, and sitting at the left hand of moi, aka Tootie Chicken-Tush, was my bestest friend, Fluffy Gizzard-Twat. OK, Mabel. Don't get all hot-to-trot on me. I simply forgot your other name, Fluffy. So I did the best I could to recreate it.

The day went kind of downhill from there. We were up and down, doing this and that, joining up with our new families. Let it be known that the Tush clan was quite prolific, and even had a set of twins, which Presenter said had never happened before. I always knew that Mr. S and Arch Nemesis were spookily alike. Every time Poopsie Diaper-Fanny got up from our table, we gave him a round of applause. Not because he was doing anything extraordinary, mind you, but because he was GONE for a few minutes. Just before lunch, to which he had invited himself, he informed Goober, Fluffy, and me that someone's husband had just replaced a door on that restaurant, and roaches poured out of it. Meh. All restaurants have bugs and mice and rats. Get over it. I suppose we have to mark off that Mexican cruise now since someone's husband woke up in a bathtub full of ice with only one kidney. Poopsie's new best friend, whom we shall call Pooper, because every party has one, also bailed on us for lunch, being so health-conscious that she did not want to ingest insect legs and wings with us. Maybe she should have been that health-conscious when she picked up a cinnamon roll the size of a dinner plate at the breakfast buffet, and slathered it with butter until it looked like a pastry mime. But I digress.

What really gets my goat is what happened at the end, when we were paroled. I returned to my original table to pick up my stuff. Water bottle, check. Handouts, check. Plastic knife with all its teeth, check. WHERE WAS MY RED PILOT PRECISE ROLLING BALL WRITER? I shouted it out loud. "Where is my red Pilot Precise Rolling Ball Writer? Has anybody seen my red Pilot Precise Rolling Ball Writer? My red Pilot Precise Rolling Ball Writer is missing!" Oh, believe me, I said it way more than that. And more urgently. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but Arch Nemesis striding across the cafeteria, holding it out. "Here. Here's your pen." She acted put out. Like how dare I make such a commotion over my red Pilot Precise Rolling Ball Writer. I snatched it out of her hand, saying, "Great. I don't want your swine flu all over it." Then I ran to my room with it for safekeeping.

I passed Arch Nemesis in the hall later. She offered, "Hey, give me your red Pilot Precise Rolling Ball Writer and I will wash off my swine flu virus." What does she think, that I was born yesterday? "No thanks. I'll give it a bath on my own." I can't believe she saw it on the table and took it. She knew full well that it wasn't hers. She knew I had been sitting there. It's not like I'm Tootie Rolling Ball, strewing pens across the campus like an educated Johnny Appleseed.

I can't believe the audacity of folks.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Don't Bring Me Down

Forgive me for being the bringer of gloom and doom to your day, but something is terribly wrong in this country. If I had enough money left from my previous investments, I would open a handbasket factory.

Where is the decorum? Where are our manners? Just today, I had a girl tattle on another girl. "She is saying that I called her!" Hmm...OK, I'll bite. "That you called her what?" She flounced her hair and returned to her seat. Over her shoulder, she said, "She's saying that I called her!" So I took it out on the perpetrator, wanting to nip this type of atrocity in the bud before my class could assume that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's class is a free-for-all, survival-of-the-fittest kind of place. "WHAT is going on? Because it needs to stop. Right now!" The Perp spouted, "She called me on the phone. I still have these scratches on my chest..." ENOUGH! I cut her off. Nipped her right in the bud. "This is ninth grade! You're not in middle school anymore, getting out of class to discuss your issues in the counselor's office. You're not going to like everyone in life, and everyone is not going to like you. Just keep your mouth shut, and it will solve a lot of problems. Whatever your problem is with each other, it has nothing to do with my class. Nobody is going to get picked on in here, and if we need to, we can go right up to Mr. Principal's office and get this straightened out. Because it IS going to stop. And I guarantee you that I will be the winner of any battle that starts in here." Apparently, I made my point.

But what's the use? We've become a nation of "You lie!" A nation of people jumping up onto the stage to usurp the glory from an award-winner. A nation of people wanting to shove a f-ing ball down a linesman's f-ing throat in the tennis match of life. A nation of kids pummeling a kid who is different from them while buddies cheer them on, all because he sat down in a seat on the school bus. A nation of people killing their fellow Yale lab workers and stuffing them behind a wall. A nation where even the lab killer could be exempt from execution if he didn't have the right veins. Pardon me while I squeeze a single garbage Indian tear down my cheek.

Oh, and to further bring you down...handwashing does not protect you from the swine flu. Put that in your medicinal marijuana that you bought from a vending machine pipe and smoke it. And forget about all that cleanliness is next to godliness crapola. Your shower is making you sick.

Uh huh. Let's just be ourselves and forget about the feelings of anyone else. Let's be unwashed and dirty-handed and ugly through and through. Because people today don't see anything wrong with it.

Give Her A Handbasket. That would be the name of my new business that I can't afford.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't That Just Get Your Goat?


Here is the latest addition to the Hillbilly family. That wooden thing in the picture is the goathouse. Farmer H brings home scrap lumber and builds outhouses and sheds and whatever he thinks needs building. Goatrude has already eaten part of her house, according to The Pony.

Not only did Farmer H buy himself a goat...he bought himself a pregnant goat. For $43. Then he stuck her in a little bitty pen. That's just wrong. A goat needs to roam around the grounds, eating tin cans and stuff. That's what they do in cartoons. Maybe Farmer H is afraid Goatrude will eat the sides of his BARn.

Goatrude is stored in the middle pen, between Miss Prissy and Chicky, and Spot the Rabbit. Chicky is unimpressed and keeps hopping through the fence into the big chicken pen, then out the other side into the great unknown where the banished black pants rooster roams. Farmer H must not understand that there is a reason they call it chickenwire. He has housed his hens in dog pen fence.

Farmer H also bought a flock of new chickens at the auction, two of them being hens, and about eight more of them being roosters. He does not see the error of his ways. There is a constant skirmish in the main chicken arena. The #1 son and I told Farmer H that it is cruel to bring home so many roosters to torment Survivor. He can't see to his hens what with constantly fending off the new roosters. Farmer H put one rooster in a cage, and set the cage in Miss Prissy's pen. This evening, he let it out. Chicky did not seem happy with his new stepdaddy. He clucked up a little storm, and Miss Prissy and New Stepdaddy went to scratching dirt at each other's butt. New Stepdaddy is going home with Basementia Buddy on Friday. That's why he can't join in all the other rooster games. #1 and I think Farmer H is trying to be the Michael Vick of the poultry world. We think PETA is going to roll up in here and take him away in handcuffs. To be fair, some of the roosters fly the coop when the heat is on. Then we only have to worry about the dogs eating them.

Farmer H needs to invest in reptiles. Things that hide in burrows, move slowly, and become inactive during the winter. I don't know how he thinks he is going to keep those animals watered in the freezing Missouri winter. Even our heated dog bowl freezes over.

Watch for Farmer H in the news. Of course, it will take some doing to get on the news, competing with a bunch of stupid Missouri flub-ups. How about an upcoming episode of Hoarders?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Read Before Bed As A Sleep Aid

Ho hum. Another typical Sunday. #1 went to church, The Pony and I went to The Devil's Playground, and Hoarder H bought two more chickens at the auction. Plus a goat. Yes. That's our newest addition. Hoarder H built a goat pen and everything. I, myself, do not see the appeal of keeping animals in cages. Especially in cages built too close to my Mansion. If #1 can take a picture, I will show you the goat later.

Chicky has been flying the coop. #1 reported this morning that Chicky is going to die, because he hops up on the thingy Inferior Animal Pen Builder H put against the fence to keep Chicky from going through the links, and flies over the top. Miss Prissy is beside herself when Chicky leaves her side. My mom saw them Friday afternoon when she picked up The Pony at school and a package at the Post Office and brought them both home. Chicky went through the fence into the rabbit pen, and Miss Prissy had a hissy clucking fit. When Chicky got near the fence again, Miss Prissy started digging with her big ol' chicken feet, trying to make a tunnel for Chicky to come back under the fence. Chicky knew better. He walked right through the fence. Then Miss Prissy proceeded to herd him to and fro, at her whim.

We had a big ultimate dog fight on the porch this afternoon. So big, the cats got involved. It all started when I tossed out a frozen hamburger, a frozen pork steak, and a square pound of frozen hamburger. It was in the back of the freezer, and had to go. I plunked the hamburger down in front of Grizzly, who is old and fat and doesn't really need the calories. I chucked the pork steak at the black shepherd Ann, because she is the biggest dog and carries her weight better. The square pound of hamburger went over the rail, because Tank the beagle will stuff himself with whatever he can find, and he needs the exercise of running around back. Can old Grizzly be content with a frozen hamburger dropping at his paws? Nope. As reported by the boys, who ran outside after the first minute of growling/howling/squalling/hissing, Grizzly had carried his hamburger over to where Ann had the pork steak, and tried to intimidate her in that special way that he has. Ann was having none of it, and fought back for the first time ever, and ended up with both the pork steak and hamburger in her jaws. She stacks them. You should see her with a loaf of bread. Anyhoo, how the cats got in there I'll never know, but there was a wad of fur on the porch. It might have been from last week. Snuggles the hateful cat is always being attacked by someone.

Hope you aren't exhausted from all that excitement. Some days the blog writes itself, and other days I have to wring the living daylights out of the day to come up with something.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Tooting My Horn, The Sequel

For those who care, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is now ensconced in third place in her local newspaper's prep football contest. It's true! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is one step closer to that Ashley recliner! Again this week, she scored 91%, with 10 out of 11 games picked correctly. Having given up hope on getting that pro football coaching contract in the mail, she has set her sights on a career change. Bookie. Mrs. HM figures that fewer people will be trying to kill her as a bookie than as an NFL head coach.

In the stats department, Mrs. HM has amassed 38 points over the first three weeks of the contest. Only 44 points have been possible. The current leaders are tied with 39 points. That means that Mrs. HM is only ONE POINT out of first place. She is tied at 38 points with two other contestants, but has apparently beaten them in the tiebreaker, as her name is listed above them, and they are ranked 4th and 5th. HooRah, Mrs. HM! That Ashley recliner is as good as yours!

Friday, September 11, 2009

It Just Wasn't My Time

There's a conspiracy afoot. My freshman students are trying to kill me. Oh, they try to make it seem perfectly innocent, a simple accident that just happens to result in my departure. Perhaps they heard that the world's oldest woman died, and think I am next in line.

The first incident was a young lass who is very quiet. Seinfeld fans might term her a lowtalker. She doesn't want to draw attention to herself. Her work is always done, she follows the rules, and she doesn't make waves. In fact, her handwriting is even faint, a lowtalker of the written word. A dimwriter, if you will. Imagine my surprise as I walked past her desk one day, handing out papers, only to stumble and nearly concuss myself on the cold tile floor of my classroom. "Oh, I'm sorry," she whispered, pulling her book bag out of the main aisle down the center of the room. She had laid a trap for me, like a bunch of leaves on sticks over a deep hole. Like the steely jaws of a bear trap. Her bag sat there, silently, biding its time, straps looped out like a big ol' Mrs. Hillbilly Mom snare. I recovered, what with having the balance of an Olympic gymnast, but without the anorexic stunted growth.

The next incident was a thoughtful gift from a giving child, a young lady who declared she was buying me a squirrel. Sure, it sounds nice, doesn't it? A student buying the teacher a cuddly pet. But there seems to have been an ulterior motive. It started because the #1 son insisted that one time, by our mailbox area, he saw a squirrel catching fish in the creek. He swears that squirrels will eat fish. I object. Squirrels do NOT eat fish. The young lady agreed with me. To test #1's theory, she grandly offered him a squirrel off eBay. She told her mother to set up an account. The squirrel's name is Henry, and he has only bitten six people. Her mother is driving to Chicago to get Henry. The hope is that Henry does not bite her throat out on the return trip, what with not being in a cage for the ride back. Then the young lady will leave Henry on my desk Monday morning. Yeah. I almost fell for this story, until the young lady was tripped up by demon geography. "My mom is going down to Bourbon Street to get Henry." BUSTED! I know that Bourbon Street is not in Chicago. She had me going there for a while. Kind of like that Toe Story many years ago.

The latest attempt on my life happened right after lunch. I was walking around the room to see what mischief might be fomenting. Then it happened. A mechanical pencil shot through the air, like a poison dart launched out of a long bamboo tube aimed for a monkey in the canopy. Except we were not in the rain forest, we were in the back of my classroom, and the pencil was not poisoned, thought it was very pointy, and I am a human being, by cracky, not a monkey. The incident was blamed on The Concussor, but I know it was not him. He looked at me without fear. The Leg-Hair Puller next to him, though, blushed brightly. I called him out. "You say it was your buddy there, but he is not red in the face like you are. Since your face admits your guilt, I declare that you are the pencil-launcher." He apologized. And when he passed me in the hall later, and I rubbed my neck, he apologized again.

Thank the Gummi Mary, the school year is 1/8 over.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

In Search Of The Elusive Flu Shot

Don't start on me, people! You know that I get a flu shot every year. Spare me your horror stories. Twice, I have even gotten flu shots for my young 'uns. This year, I am seeking three flu shots. Petri Dish H is on his own.

I can get a flu shot at work on October 2. That's what I did last year. But I saw a commercial that Walgreens is giving flu shots, which gave me the bright idea to take my boys there. I had my personal assistant, aka my mother, call and ask about the hours, and if we needed an appointment. Au contraire! Walgreens will not give a flu shot to kids. Nope. Only the flu mist for kids 2-15. Which kind of defeats my purpose, what with seeking flu shots for my 11 and 14 year olds.

Do you know what is in the flu mist, people? LIVE virus! Yep. You take your precious child to get a flu shot to protect him from the flu, and they want to spray THE FLU up his nose. Indeed. Why would I take my child to have him catch the flu? It's not like a chicken pox party. Sure, they say it's a weakened virus. But side effects include a fever, aches, cough, runny nose, nausea. That's the freakin' FLU, people! To protect your child from catching the flu, you are expected to expose him to the live flu virus so he can catch it! That way, he builds up immunity so he won't catch the flu--which he just caught through that flu mist. Is your head spinning yet?

Anyhoo...with that option out, I asked my personal assistant to call our doctor's office. He's the ex-military doc who is always saying, "Bring your kids here. I can treat them for you." Apparently, his office personnel did not get that memo. They said he is only giving flu shots to HIS patients. So my personal assistant then called the boys' doctor, and got a machine, which is one of the reasons I hate that office, the other being that they charge insurance a specialist's fee for the nurse practitioner that they're always pawning my boys off on. After calling back several times, she got a real live person, who said they won't get their flu vaccine until the beginning of October, so call back then (several times) to make an appointment. Next, she called the County Health Center, who said they are giving flu shots at a drive through clinic tomorrow from 8:30 to 3:00, the second such shot clinic they've had, and that if any of the 400 doses are left over, they will give them at their clinic sometime in the future.

Here's the deal. Working people who are exposed to the flu and who need to work to keep this country pumpin' can not get off work to get the flu shot at those hours. But stay-homes and lay-abouts and a few night shift workers who don't value their sleepy time can get them.

I don't know why I even bother. The newest propaganda says that anybody who has had the flu recently has had the swine flu. That it's 98% of the flu virus that is circulating. So why, then, get a shot for the regular everyday garden variety seasonal flu? I'll tell you why. I can only speak for the Northern Hemisphere, but HELLO it's not the season for the seasonal flu yet. It does not generally rear its ugly head until November/December. For cryin' out loud, it has been 85 degrees this week. Of course the circulating flu is the swine flu. It has been going around all summer. And there's still that 2% that is the other flu. Take if from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, whose Patient Zero H contracted the not-type-A influenza a couple of Mays ago. He had the blood test in the ER, and it was not the type A flu he had been vaccinated for, and he was given Tamiflu, and was over it in about four days.

So I'm back to square one, what with waiting until October 2 for my shot, and still seeking shots for my spawn. The regular flu shot. NOT the swine flu shot. With all the sickness that's been floating around school since the first full week, they've probably already had that swine flu virus up their nose. That is, if you count headache, sore throat, fever of 100.1, cough, and snot. They're over it now.

Darn that Walgreens! They're a shot tease.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bad Words From Our Sponsor

I'm having issues with commercials. I don't watch much regular TV, but in the morning, I tune in to Morning Joe, and of course Fox and Friends, because you never know when those idiots might just slip in a comment that lets you know what idiots they truly are. Not that they're unlikeable, but as far as fact checkers go, that show apparently can't afford them, or uses 18-year-old interns with public school educations and a leather-bound volume of the Encyclopedia of Common Knowledge.

I saw a new commercial this week for a drug called Aciphex. That's right. Aciphex. Say that out loud. What genius came up with this name? Perhaps one of the anchors on Fox and Friends. Because who wants to ask for a medicine that sounds like you are jonesin' for some A$$ Effects? Not me. No siree Bob, as my grandpa used to say. A$$ Effects is used for treating "ulcers of the stomach and duodenum, erosive or ulcerative gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome (in which there is overproduction of acid caused by tumors). It also is used with antibiotics for eradicating Helicobacter pylori infections of the stomach that, along with acid, are responsible for many ulcers." So I suppose that if you don't put out the fire higher up the digestive tract, A$$ Effects could have a soothing effect on your a$$.

The next commercial to incur Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's wrath is that old lady who raves about her cat, Arthur, who is the most handsome cat in the world. LADY! He's a freakin' cat! He doesn't care if you live or die. He looks at you as a food factory. If you keel over, he's going to eat you, because it is obvious that you don't have any friends that would check on you and see to a proper burial. If you love Arthur so much, why don't you marry him? Oh. You can't. That's why gay people can't get married--because of people like YOU! You are the driving force behind that attitude: if we let gay people marry, then pretty soon, people will be wanting to marry their pets. Because gay partners are like animals, apparently.

Mindnumbingly obnoxious is that Progressive Insurance commercial, where people go shopping at the insurance store, which for some reason is white and bland like an antiseptic hospital environment, and are greeted by this freaky lady with a misshapen head and bad hair. I HATE that commercial.

In the same vein as the Arthur commercial, there are those Zyrtec ads that have people saying things like, "Bicycle, what are we waiting for?" I can't even give that one any points for ending the sentence with a preposition. Then there's the dude who apologizes to his fishing pole, and another addled cat-lover who asks forgiveness of her cat, which is busy rolling around on her couch. Hey, Einstein, how about not having a cat grinding dander into your upholstery if you are prone to allergies? Maybe you need an outside cat and your immune system will straighten up and fly right and you can enjoy the great outdoors. Maybe. My #1 son takes Zyrtec, so I can't boycott the product, because nothing else works for him. The Pony switched to generic Claritin, which is just $4 loratadine, and it works like a charm. Then again, he only needs it in the winter, and #1 needs it year round. But let the record show that we do not have indoor pets. It's just common sense.

Now I'm all worked up. I need a good Capital One commercial. They soothe me. Except for Spaghetti Jimmy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday Afternoon Quarterback

Excuse me for a moment. My arm is a bit sore. Sore from patting myself on the back. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is now ranked #4 out of 205 in the local newspaper's prep football contest. Yes. She moved up this week from #19 to #4. That would be outstanding on Kasey Kasem's American Top 40.

Mrs. HM went 10 for 11 (91%) on her picks Week 2. Because she missed one of the 2-point games, she earned a score of 12 out of 14. That means a total of 22 points so far. The overall leader has a score of 24. One person has 23, and apparently there are three individuals tied for 3rd place with 22, as they are ranked ahead of me on the leaderboard. But my stats proclaim me to be #4 out of 205. HooRah! Where's that NFL coaching contract? Though I was a bit disappointed to miss out on that $15 prize money, I have my sights set on the end-of-contest Ashley recliner. So what if there are still eight weeks to go? I'm #4, by cracky! The stress of staying on top is going to wear on me. The front runner always has more pressure.

Next week, I will also be entering the pro football contest. Don't cost nothin'! And, there's that enticing $15 per week prize money. No recliner here, but at the end of the contest, the overall winner gets $200. Take that, Ashley recliner! I don't have such high hopes for the pros. I haven't watched any football except the Super Bowl over the past several years. I used to be a fanatic, back when the Rams had Kurt Warner coached by cryin' Dick Vermeil. You know, the Superbowl Rams. Then cryin' Dick retired but turned up coaching the Chiefs, a team I never could love, even though they ended up with a lot of Rams rejects. Anyhoo...HH complained that all I did was sit in front of the TV on Sundays, which was not true, because it was on a Sunday at halftime when I went outside to rescue that chipmunk from the cats for the kids, and the thanks I got for that was a puncture bite and a tetanus shot and nobody who could tell me if a chipmunk carries rabies, and that darn chipmunk let himself be eaten by those darn cats anyway, with my blood still fresh in his mouth. Which just proves that no good deed goes unpunished, and Tyrant H can control my football-watching habits.

Superfan H went to the Mizzou/Illinois game Saturday, the game which Mizzou won by a score of 37-9. He's not really one to seek out such a game, but a work crony called and offered him a ticket the night before, so he went. It's not like it was in Columbia. All he had to do was meet the work crony at the base of the Arch. It got him out of our hair for the day, so we were happy at his good fortune.

But getting back to ME and my skill, not good fortune...recliner, here I come!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

But Wait, There's More

Oh, yes. There were other student shenanigans that annoyed me yesterday. Taking my first cell phone of the year was just the cherry on top of that big ol' misbehavin' treat.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, do you drink alcohol?
Oh, come on. I bet you do.
I don't. You can ask anybody.
What about Mrs. Crackhead, and Mr. Cool Dude? I bet they do.
We're not here to discuss other people.
I know Mrs. Crackhead smokes, but I'm not sure about drinking.
Yeah, she does. I'm sure.
It's reading time. I'm having trouble concentrating on my book about a killer circus elephant. Perhaps we could save this character assassination extravaganza for your OWN time.
I don't think she drinks. Would anybody who drank use such big words?

Is class over yet?
It's going to be over for YOU if you don't stop whispering and trading shoes with the guy two seats down from you. And besides, there's this newfangled thing called a 'bell' that will let you know when class is over.

If you can't see, you can move to one of the empty seats here in the back, or you can pull your chair over there in the middle.
(two students lay down on the floor directly in front of the TV)
I can see now.
You can't lay there.
Why not? You said we could move.
I said you could move to a different seat. I did not say you could lay down on the floor.
What's wrong with that?
You will get trampled if there's a fire. Get up and sit in a chair.

What time do we get out of here?
It's 7th hour. If you have not learned what time school is over by now, you deserve to sit there and not know how long you have left.

OK, so my comebacks leave a little to be desired. I'm just getting my smarta$$ legs back after the summer. They'll come around. And for the record, I have a bell schedule posted on the bulletin board, located about 5 feet from both of the clockwatchers. AND, we had to evacuate the building twice last week for fire--once for a scheduled drill, and once because a kid in PE tried to steal a basketball, but knocked it into the fire alarm thingy on the gym wall.

Thank the Gummi Mary, the school year is almost over. Friday is the cut-off for 1st Quarter progress report grades.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Time Marches On

We are three weeks into the school year, and I am having some difficulty bonding with my new students. Not that I want to pal around with them or anything. A simple civil working relationship would suffice. But there is something about this group. They're like the Sour Patch kid. First they're sour...then they're still sour! Here are some case studies for you. All from today.

Give me the phone.
It's not mine.
I don't care whose it is. Give it to me.
(handing it over) Can I have it back at the end of class?
No. I am taking it to the office after class. In fact, I'm taking it right now.
(upon my return) Can I go talk to Mr. Principal about it?
No. Do that on your own time, not on my time.

What you don't know is that the same girl has dropped her phone three times already this year, and when admonished that she needs to keep it put away, replied, "But I have really little pockets, and it falls out." To be fair, the phone I took was not the phone that kept falling out and breaking into a million little pieces like one of those toy cars that you crash into something and the parts fly off.

Another thing you don't know is that during my lesson on the moon landing conspiracy, which will be rebutted on Tuesday by the MythBuster's busting of moon landing conspiracies, both of which will have student knowledge tested by a quiz on Wednesday...this student read a book. AND had the nerve to get up in the middle of class and ask to go to the library because she finished her book and wanted another one. AND, when told that she should be watching the classic video, Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon, instead of reading, because that was today's lesson, and there would be a quiz on it, she returned to her desk, opened up the very same book she had just finished, and started reading it over. Never mind that if I had told the class today, "You need to bring a book and read it all hour," they would have complained, with this student being the most anti-reading nonreader of all illiterates. Because that's how some people operate. I'm calling oppositional defiant disorder. Because that is her modus operandi. Which is why she was on my radar to start with, having figuratively thumbed her figurative nose at Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's directive

Oh, and I hear that she told Mr. Principal: "I was only checking the time. My friend loaned it to me so I could check the time." Because my school-issue big round clock with the thick black rim on the shiny white wall is not a good enough chronological reference for her. And because we all know that watches are not allowed in school, which forces kids to use their banned cell phones to tell the time. They're not so much banned as they are classified as don't show, don't tell. Phones should be unseen and not heard until 2:56 p.m. Any time we see one, it's fair game. There's been a crackdown this year.

Now I have used up a good bit of space, so I will withhold the other tales until tomorrow. Because I can.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stirring It Up

The #1 son reported that in one of his classes today, they spent 30 minutes talking about boobs. It was not the class I assumed it was. Anyhoo, talk started about a tattoo, then the teacher said that her daughter saw a girl on the internet who had a vine tattooed across her boobs, and when she was older and fatter, the vine was on her upper arm. Which does not make sense, really, as skin does not migrate from a boob to an arm, but the teacher's daughter saw it on the internet, so the class was divided into believers and nonbelievers. I don't know what else was said about boobs, and that is probably best, because who wants to discuss boob with her 14-year-old son, not ME, that's for sure. But #1 said that the last thing the teacher said was, "Don't any of you go home and tell your parents that we talked about boobs today." Which is just like daring them to do it, and I'm sure every last one of them went home and told. I don't really have issues with this boob talk. Just last week my class discussed washing penises and balls. Wrinkled and hairy penises and balls. So I'm not one to go casting stones at anyone else's glass classroom. Sometimes, you can't control the direction the conversation takes. Though I guarantee you that we only spent 5 minutes on the penises and balls. Really.

Here's the fun part. The teacher of the boob classroom was Arch Nemesis. Tomorrow morning, I'm going to call her over as she walks past my room. "Hey, I hear that some class was discussing boobs all hour yesterday. You can bet that I called Mr. Principal at home last night and let him know that I don't approve of that. I knew you wouldn't approve, either. He told me that first thing this morning, he's going to call some kids in and get to the bottom of this. And whoever that teacher was, they're going to hear about it. Can you believe it? All this testing that we have to prepare for, and somebody takes all class to let the kids talk about boobs. Did your son mention it?"

Hehe! I can't wait to see the look on her face. She'll either pretend it wasn't her, or fess up and make a beeline for the office to explain before she gets called in. At which point I'll tell her I was only joking.

I sure hope she didn't cover her a$$ with Mr. Principal before she left school yesterday. That would ruin a perfectly good prank.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Toot Toot

Allow me, for just one evening, to toot my own horn. There's one small bit of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom that you have not been privy to. As you can see, it's not her penchant for ending sentences with prepositions. No. This is a talent that can pay off.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a football genius. And by genius, I mean that I placed 19th out of 191 entrants in our local newspaper's prep football prognostication contest. Yep. I'm a freakin' genius. Years ago, when my children were small, and I could just plop them down and ignore them, I entered this contest. Twice, I won the weekly $100 prize. Another occasion, I tied, and earned second place due to my tiebreaker, and won $50. That ain't just random good luck, people. That's a mark of genius. I'm surprised the pros don't call and offer me a head coaching position.

My method of picking my teams is a combination of W-L records, who beat whom the previous week, who has the home field advantage, historical rivalries, and demographics. Sometimes, you see, country kids just want it more than urban kids. This first week, I was 8/11 (73%), and because some games are weighted more heavily than others, I attained a score of 10 out of 13. The winner this week had a score of 12. I would have done one better, but my alma mater dared to WIN, after playing suckily all these many years. How dare they! The five 'experts' from the paper had scores of 11, 10, 9, 8, and 0. The 9 was last year's overall champion. He must have gotten lazy, lolling around in his recliner.

I figured I might as well brag while I can, since I may go down in flames on Friday. This contest lasts the whole football season, with prizes every week. Unfortunately, the constriction has caused prize money to decline. It is only $15 per week now. Oh, and a $5 pizza coupon. But wait! If I can garner the best record by the end of the season, I can win a recliner! Uh, huh. You know you want it. Don't hate me because I have a chance to bring home a recliner. Hate me because I'm from Missouri, where you can take your gun out onto the runway and shoot at planes willy-nilly.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Surprise, Surprise

You might remember a while back when I told you how Farmer H was trying to hatch some baby chicks. One of the black hens was sitting on a nest constantly, and fighting with any other hens who came near her. Of course, when she had to get up to eat or drink, they laid their eggs in her nest. Anyhoo...The Pony found the nest full of broken eggs about three days before they should have hatched, and he was heartbroken. Farmer H threw all those eggs away, even the two out of eight that were not broken. He saved several eggs from different chickens, and when he had five, he put them under the hen that was so bent on sitting on them 24/7.

Last week, The Pony ran to check on his chickens as soon as we got home. Farmer H had told him the night before that it had been long enough, and he was going to throw out the five eggs, because none of them had hatched. The Pony went out to check for new eggs. Farmer H got home and joined him. The #1 son had been called out to help Farmer H with some project. None of them returned to the house. I was wondering when I was going to have to start cooking, and what they were up to. Just then, Farmer H himself came in the front door. "We have a baby chick." WTF? How could The Pony keep such exciting news to himself?

I went out to see for myself, and this is what I saw, though it was teeny tiny then, having just been hatched. It was the cutest thing, pale yellow, with black spots on its head and wings. Farmer H thinks it came from one of the banty eggs, a white hen with some black on its head and tail feathers. Miss Prissy, as I call that broody black hen, was beside herself with joy. She had her little Egghead Jr., even if he wasn't her own blood. She hovered over that baby chick, even as he climbed through the fence Farmer H was sure would contain baby chicks. #1 crouched there to shove him back in when he got out. Farmer H put them inside one of his ramshackle wooden contraptions overnight, and left them there until he could fix the pen. Thank the Gummi Mary, Chicky is still alive and kickin'. These pictures are from tonight. I'm hoping Chicky gets a chance to grow up.

Here's Chicky, with his hole-
in-the-wall exit blocked.

Miss Prissy and Chicky,
her adopted baby.

Only the finest in playground
equipment for Hillbilly Chicky.

The Pony is a proud papa of one baby chick. The cutest part could not be captured on film. That was the first evening of Chicky's hatching, when Miss Prissy herded him under her wing, and he poked his spotted head out the back, near her feathered butt. Let's hope Chicky does not become a tasty dog treat.