Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Word For The Wise, From The Unwise

You might want to make a note-to-self concerning late-night movie watching. Just in case. Just in case SNL royally sucks with JLo as host and musical guest, sucks so much that you keep nodding off to sleep in the first 15 minutes, necessitating the need for a change of channel.

But at 11:00 p.m., it is not advisable to watch a 1970s movie starring a young, hairless-chested Don Johnson and a fluffy talking dog, named aptly enough: A Boy and His Dog. It is a post-apocalyptic tale of a talking dog who steers horn-dog Donny-boy in the direction of scarcer-than-hen's-teeth females with whom to have his way. Because he has a good nose, that talking dog, who does not so much talk as telepathically communicate with his 19-year-old boy, as you can't see his canine lips moving, but you can hear his every thought. Add to that the fact that he's downright pissy for a man's best friend, and withholds information until young Don buys him some popcorn at a post-apocalyptic adult movie. Oh, but the best is still to come, when Donny follows a corn-fed little gal down below to a creepy underground small-town Fourth-of-July world complete with marching band and Mayberryesque townspeople who wear whiteface and have rosy Raggedy Ann and Andy cheeks. Since it is doubtful that you all will put in a rush order to Netflix to view this masterpiece, I am about to give away vital plot information. So LOOK AWAY if you don't want to read spoilers. OK, here they come: Donny has been tricked to lure him down below to be a procreating partner for 30 females. Well, not so much a partner in the way he wants, because he is actually more of a donor, what with the little gals being given away by their dads, signing a marriage license, and leaving with a vial of vital Donny fluids. But the best part of the whole movie is when Donny escapes with his little gal who wants a real partnership with him, and ends up feeding her to his doggy. Who has the final line of the movie: "Well, I'd certainly say she had marvelous judgment, Albert, if not particularly good taste."

As if that wasn't enough fine cinematic viewing for one night, I happened upon Requiem for a Dream, which I've seen before, and might even have the DVD stashed away somewhere. Let it suffice to say that this movie, though visually stimulating at times, has got to be the most depressing film to come along in quite some time. Not counting Schindler's List, of course.

I had some disturbing dreams which I can not recall, but vaguely remember that they ran along the lines of these movie plots.

I should have just stopped with my mid-morning viewing of The Manchurian Candidate while folding laundry.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wackiness Ensues

What a wacky world we live in.

A foreign dude can try to blow up one of our planes full of people, but he doesn't have to talk about it because he might let slip some evidence that he tried to blow up one of our planes full of people.

In Columbia, Missouri, police are searching for perpetrators of a vicious hate crime consisting of cotton balls left on the ground outside Mizzou's Black Cultural Center.

A killer whale trainer was killed by a killer whale. And people were shocked.

The island of Hawaii evacuated people from coastal areas for 6-12 inch tsunami waves.

Deceased actress Brittany Murphy took 109 vicodin in 11 days.

Tired of messing with Michelle Obama and the fruitful Duggars, PETA mixed it up with Tiger Woods until his lawyers dissuaded them. Funny how PETA wrung the publicity out of an ad they didn't run.

The Canadian women's hockey team partied like it was 2010 with beer and champagne and cigars after winning the Olympic gold medal. And people were offended.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Folderol And Anal Leakage

It has been one of those days when the universe was conspiring against me, keeping me from a peaceful Friday of wrapping up loose ends at work and leaving the building by 3:30 to go make a payment on the Mansion. Uh huh. Nothing grandiose planned for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's weekend. No concert or casino trip or movie or dinner or trivia match or wild uninhibited party where teachers pass out and others write on them with magic markers. Nope. Nothing elaborate.

It began, as every weekday, with Mrs. HM trying to rout the #1 son out of bed without using a pointy stick. Upon arriving in the parking lot five minutes behind schedule, and poking #1 with a pointy finger to tell him to get out of T-Hoe and enter Newmentia, Loretta Lynn started singing to notify HM that Basementia Buddy wanted to chat. That meant another five minutes in the parking lot before going inside to begin the workday. While trying to prepare educational materials before the bell, in charged Charger with a science project board, and informed Mrs. HM that he and Concussor would be working on their project after school. To which Mrs. HM informed him not on her watch, because she was leaving at 3:30.

The morning brought a kid 30 minutes tardy for 1st hour, who entered wearing a hat, which is verboten in Newmentia, but drew attention away from his neon green boxers that boldly peeked out of his pants. The hat matter was soon corrected, but Mrs. HM could not stomach a foray into the sagging waistband issue.

Second hour showed up with a bright shiny sunflower-seed issue and commenced to a confiscated phone, all wrapped up with an I-went-to-take-my-driver's-test-wearing-a-shirt-with-a-rebel-flag-and-when-I-walked-in-I-saw-a-big-black-lady-behind-the-counter-and-felt-bad bow.

Third hour presented Mrs. HM with the Turkey Talker. This dude never brings work to get help with, which is the main purpose of the class. He passes the time asking if anyone has a game camera, some tires, arrows with real feathers, a good phone, and various eclectic items for sale. Today he was allowed to use the old computer in the corner to look up the starting date of turkey season, just on the off chance that would silence him. Au contraire. That meant he was 10 feet closer to Mrs. HM, making it easier to foist his running conversation about turkeys and hunting on her unwelcoming ears. Insult was added to injury with the discovery of eight days worth of ISS assignments stuffed into Mrs. HM's mailbox.

Fourth hour kicked off with a seller of Girl Scout cookies waiting at the door of Do-Not Land, a seller who is not a Girl Scout, and led to a discussion of the merits of Thin Mints and Tag-A-Longs. A discussion usurped by Charger, who demanded to know if an unbeatable force met with an immovable object, which would reign supreme, the unbeatable force of Batman, or the immovable object of The Joker. Charger did not like Mrs. HM's answer of Batman, because he was the star.

It was reading day, which meant lunch at 10:38, and a wasted 30 minutes that had to be spent reading instead of grading some of the 102 assignments that Mrs. HM corrects each day all by her lonesome once the class has progressed to the guided practice part of the lesson.

Fifth hour was missing 20% of the students, which only meant more make-up work to sort out and grade late. The discussion of Things I Have Fished Out Of Toilets was not quite so uplifting as one might expect. At least the facilitator learned that toilet water is not really cleaner than regular water if you are talking about the toilet BOWL water instead of the toilet TANK water.

Plan time was taken up with the custodian philosophizing while shaking his dust broom, which Mrs. HM's nasal cavities and recently-recovering lungs found quite disagreeable. Assignments were rounded up for home-bounders, papers graded, scores recorded, lessons planned, and bills written for later payment.

Seventh hour was a cacophony of near-full-moon, Friday-afternoon frenzy, leaving in its wake a pile of papers yet to grade before the 3:30 get-away.

In the hallway after the final bell, Charger joined up with #1 to text Concussor, who was out sick, and Arch Nemesis stopped by to inquire as to whether Concussor was suffering from anal leakage, or what.

Mrs. HM escaped back into the classroom with that diversion, and proceeded to grade papers until #1 demanded Twinkie money, only to return with no Twinkies and only a quarter to show for the dollar he had extorted. #1 declared that Arch Nemesis and Mr. H were waling on the copier, and absentmindedly told him the snack machine was broken AFTER he put three quarters into it. HM told him to dash back up there and demand that they wale on the snack machine to get her 75 cents back.

Just then Arch Nemesis and Mr. H showed up in the classroom to ridicule the Old Red Gradebook (She Ain't What She Used To Be) and otherwise harass and hinder HM until LunchBuddy popped in and had to hear about the anal leakage. The folderol continued until HM consigned #1 to Mr. H's trivia team for the evening for the price of $10.

And the 3:30 deadline came and went. Mrs. HM's job is never done.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Cautionary Tale, Laughs Aside

The other night as I was putting off bedtime because that means it is soon going to be morning, and in the morning I have to struggle to get the #1 son out of bed and get to work on time, where the students will torment me by playing the Catch Me With My Cell Phone, I Dare You game, I was flipping through America's Top 150 and Showtime, and stopped at a little comedy show called Big Les: Problem Child. It was stand-up from comedian Leslie Jones.

This show has been on my mind lately, because it makes me laugh out loud. Ms. Jones ponders why white folks can't leave the wild animals alone. They hike into the mountains and get eaten by a mountain lion, and as they're dying, they are thinking, "Where'd that come from?" HELLO! It's a MOUNTAIN lion. It ain't no kitchen lion. It ain't no bathroom lion. And all that mountain lion can think about is why his lunch was wearing a backpack. Then there's the lady who was eaten by a snake she raised from a baby. And every time she went to feed that snake, and baby-talk to it about how cute it was, that snake was thinking, "Ssssssssoon. Ssssssssoon. Ssssssssoon, b^tch!" She raised her own killer. And we won't even talk about their fascination with monkeys. Monkey's who can't wait to throw sh*t at them. It's freakin' hilarious. But if you don't like profanity, don't listen to Leslie Jones.

So while I was reminiscing on this show, that darn Tilikum had to go and murder his trainer. Which makes it not so much unfunny as politically incorrect to laugh about such a matter. That darn Tilikum is such a fun-sucker, sucking the fun out of my memories of Big Les. But really. Even a comedian knows that you shouldn't take a wild animal and think you can train the wildness out of it. Tilikum wasn't thinking about how nice the trainer treated him, and how people gave him food and shelter in exchange for a few performances a day. Tilikum, now the killer of not one, not two, but THREE people, was not even thinking, "I hate you, b*tch, for making me perform like a trained seal when I am a majestic killer whale." Nope. Tilikum was thinking only one thing: PREY!

Because, you see, in the words of comedian Leslie Jones, Tilikum is not a man's best friend whale, or a petting zoo whale, or a special therapy whale. Tilikum is a freakin' KILLER whale!!! A freakin' KILLER whale who had already killed TWO other people.

It's not like he snuck out at night to cruise around and kill people. Stay away from the tank, people. Stay away from the tank.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fie On You, Alexander Graham Bell!

Good gravy! These students are driving me crazy! No, don't ask. I'm not going to repeat it with the emphasis on a different word each time, like those pretzels that were making Kramer thirsty in the fictional Woody Allen movie in Jerry's neighborhood.

I can not watch 25 sets of hands for six 50-minute periods and still manage to teach the young 'uns physics and biology. I can't. I just can't. If I wanted to be a correctional officer, I would take the Missouri Merit System exam and get on the register. I could, you know. I've been on plenty of registers. That's how I got my unemployment job. Or as we in the system were forced to call it, the Missouri Division of Employment Security.

Nope. Something must be done about the cell phones. I took one away today five minutes before the final bell. Just walked up and demanded it, before the little snake could slither it into his pocket. And he's one of the good kids who never say BOO, and turns in his work, and is polite and on time. But he has a habit. According to the kids, he has had three phones taken away this year.

So I took the phone, and some might have given it back when the bell rang five minutes later, because why bother with the rigmarole (yes, that's proper spelling) of sending it to the office at the end of the day. But it's the principle of the matter. That's the rule in the student handbook. The discipline code. Take it away. Send it to the office. Some teachers sigh and surrender to the losing battle. Not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. No sirree, Bob!

The kids think they have this violation all figured out. The kid forked over the phone with no argument. Sometimes that will garner favor, and they get it back at the end of the day from the teacher. Not in my classroom. Here's the scam they're trying to run:

It's not my phone.
Well, it's A phone, and I took it.
Do I get my phone back when the bell rings?
Nope. It's going to the office.
But I didn't have it out.
You shouldn't have let your buddy use it.
Well, I wasn't using it.
That's why you're not going to the office.
Will I get it back when the bell rings?
That's up to Mr. Principal.

They must think that they can all play one big round-robin phone-swapping game, and nobody's phone will get taken away, since the person getting caught is not using his own phone. Gimme a break.

I still say we need one of those jammer thingies so the dadblasted phones won't work in the school building. And I'm not even getting into the phone-hiding prank another class pulled today.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Milestones Of Academia And Sport

There will be no nightly Mansion report on Tuesday. It is the evening of The Pony's big middle school spelling bee appearance for Basementia in the conference spelling bee. We have been mulling his ensemble, and I told him to ask his teacher about it today. No jeans. Just as I figured. We don't want The Pony looking like a hick country mouse. He's pumped. Not a bit nervous.

Father of the Year H will not be attending The Bee. He is going straight from work to the #1 son's last basketball game, which is in his neck of the woods. He will bring #1 back to the Mansion, thus saving an hour of him riding the bus back to school to be picked up. I'm not going to miss waiting to haul him home after practices.

#1 gets out of school all day tomorrow, having been handpicked by Mr. C to run the audio thingamajigs for a conference choir extravaganza being hosted by Newmentia. We will be having an assembly 6th and 7th hour to hear some singin'. I don't have to go to the first part, what with 6th hour being my plan time, during which I will be working that copy machine to the bone. To the very bone. It's a new chapter for both my courses, and the End of Course test it coming up soon, and there are Science Fair evaluation forms to be copied, and, well, Arch Nemesis is out of town on business, so I will rule the copy lair for one more day.

Since The Pony's bee will put us home later than normal, I am taking the evening off. Thank the Gummi Mary that the host school is only 10 minutes from the Mansion. We can come home and have supper and dress The Pony funny before we go back to The Bee.

I hope he's not the first one out this time. That nearly broke his heart as a 3rd grader in the elementary bee. Oh, he was a finalist for Elementia, but was first out at the conference bee. Still, he was competing against mostly 4th and 5th graders that year. He just needed some seasoning.

We'll see how tough he is on Tuesday night.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Not Following Through

All right. I couldn't do it. I could not leave The Pony unattended last night while I went to pick up #1 at the bowling alley. I planned to. But I couldn't. I could not bear to think about The Pony sitting in the basement of the Mansion while I was driving down the dark country road through the woods full of deer just yearning to jump out and crash through my windshield and leave The Pony all alone past his bedtime with Picker H gone to the auction, and past the maximum-security prison where 2684 inmates were busily tunneling out with sharpened spoons to run over the river and through the woods to the Mansion to lure The Pony outside as a hostage. Nope. Not me. I couldn't do it. I made him go with me.

The Pony was not happy. He was all set to stay alone. I think it was going to be a rite of passage for him. To be alone in the Mansion where things go creak in the night, where HM has seen a headless figure standing beside the big-screen TV, where lost objects mysteriously appear after they've been missing for weeks. The Pony was chatty and hyper as I lectured him on how to behave while I was away. But he planned on staying.

I called #1, who said his bracelet expired at 8:00, and that he would be out shortly after that. I killed some time. I prepared to leave. But The Pony was weighing heavily on my mind. I just couldn't cut the apron strings last night. The Mansion is too isolated. It would take Grandma 40 minutes to get there if he had to call her for an emergency. I could not, in good conscience, take a chance on something happening to prevent me from getting back home in a timely fashion.

The Pony sulked, but he came with me. I think he was secretly relieved.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Neglecting The Pony

No time for a lengthy boring story tonight. I must pick up the #1 son from the bowling alley where he has been driving go-karts and bowling and playing mini-golf and eating since 4:00. Never mind that he spent two hours earlier bowling in his league. Nope. Not enough gaming action for #1, so he had to meet his cronies and recreate some more.

The Pony does not want to ride with me to pick him up. It will take 12 minutes to get there, and 12 minutes back. The Pony fancies himself all grown up now that he's 12 years old. This afternoon, I left him in the basement playing a game on his laptop while I took #1 back to the bowling alley. Of course, Father of the Year H was in the barn that whole time, but now he is gone to an auction. Not the livestock variety, thank the Gummi Mary. I'm thinking The Pony will reconsider when it's time for me to leave in about 10 minutes. Because it's dark now. And things go bump in the Mansion at night. And The Pony is a big chicken.

We'll see what develops.

Friday, February 19, 2010

HM's Way Of Thinking

Did you hear about the ring of 5 Muslims who were questioned for trying to poison mass quantities of Army dudes through tainted chow? No, that's not the opening line of a joke. It's serious. Serious as a mass poisoning.

The ring of ding-a-lings , from Lima 09, was made up of Arabic Translators. Uh huh. People (pardon my French--foreigners) recruited by our military to translate Arabic for our military and in exchange get instant citizenship after one day of work. Really. It's not a joke.

Let's step back from the political correctness abyss for a moment. Do you really think, deep down in your heart, where nobody can see your political incorrectness, that people who are not United States citizens really want a job with the United States military? Really?

How about we stop worrying about hurting someone's feelings, and just say NO. NO. NO, you can not join our military and translate for us. Because we do not know if what you tell us will really be what is said in that language of yours that is not ours which is why we hired you to begin with. It's a trust issue. You might want to believe the best, the way things work in a perfect unicorn and rainbow and Skittles world, but that is just not how it happens in the real world.

It's like asking the weasel to guard the henhouse. The alcoholic to tend the bar. The pedophile to babysit. The narcoleptic to stand watch. The glutton to ration the food after a shipwreck. Bear Grylls to keep his clothes on for an entire episode.

Ya gotta get a grizzled ol' career soldier and train that soldier to interpret. It may not be easy. But that's the surest way to avoid letting people who want to kill us have the opportunity to kill us. As sure as is possible. Nothing is absolute. But it's working the odds. Just like Vegas. Just like Russian Roulette. Acceptable risk.

Miss Prissy would make a good guard for the henhouse. Let the weasel call the ACLU.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

It's That Time Again

We have been working on science projects this week. All but one kid seem to have one in progress. The news that anybody who doesn't present a project will be referred to the principal, given in-school suspension, and assigned a science project, to be completed before release, is a major deterrent of slackerism. Hey, it works for the sophomore Comp Arts teacher, and it oughta work for me, by cracky!

The #1 son has done next to nothing on his project. It is due a week from Monday. I have no doubt he could throw one together overnight and get an A. And not just because his mom is the teacher. But I'm a bit worried about his lackadaisical attitude, what with his other attitude that he's going to win the local Science Fair.

I hope his airplane-launching plan is better than his individual mail tube idea. That's where we do away with mail delivery as we know it, and install underground vacuum tubes like at the bank, and send each home's mail directly. Cost is no object, apparently. Nor floods, nor earth tremors, nor roots, nor dead rats that might block a tube.

At least he has a five more weeks to prepare for the real Science Fair.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Debunking The Full-Of-Bunk Man

Here's a little tale about Mr. S, the S-Man, the S-inator, SSSSSSS. He's know to the students as the tall-tales teacher. The one who can tell you a story about any subject you mention. The kids have a fable about S walking through the jungle as a caveman, and a sabertooth tiger jumps out of a tree to rip him to shreds, and S tears the tiger apart with his bare hands. Without doing a little research, I don't know off the top of my head if man and sabertooth co-existed, or if saberteeth crouched in trees to ambush their prey. Or Mr. S. But I do know one thing: that little lack of knowledge would never prevent Mr. S from telling a story and representing it as fact.

Last year, I told the kids that I could take any random subject, and Mr. S would tell me (1) a personal story about himself and that random subject, and (2) a little-known historical fact about that random subject. Now, I didn't necessarily say that the information would be true and provable, but only that Mr. S would have a story. They agreed. Unanimously. So I picked up the current edition of Science World magazine (a Scholastic product, not some fly-by-night Weekly World News kind of tabloid) and we chose two articles for me to casually bring up to Mr. S after school. One story was the gross-out department at the back of the magazine, which happened to be a dude with a Pamplona bull's horn sticking through his thigh. The other was about the traveling King Tut exhibit.

I've told this story before, but let it suffice to say that with only me as his enraptured audience, Mr. S responded to my flaunting of the dude taking the horn of the bull with: "I was gored by a milk cow with a horn one time. She really didn't like me." And the King Tut memorabilia was regarded with: "You know, they had to treat Tut with some chemicals, because he was growing moss on his face from being on exhibit." Again, I don't know if any of this was true, but Mr. S didn't let us down. He proved that he is versed in any subject you care to toss at him.

Yesterday, Mr. S told the #1 son's class that after the Super Bowl, the city of New Orleans distributed Mardi Gras beads and 10,000 mini-footballs. And all of those 10,000 mini-footballs were personally thrown by Drew Brees. In a parade. The #1 son said, "I knew that couldn't be true. But it wasn't even worth saying anything." So we got to thinking about how long that might take, if Drew Brees was wont to toss 10,000 footballs to the crowd while riding on a float in a parade. Never mind whether a float could hold 10,000 mini-footballs and Drew Brees.

If you assume that Drew could pick up and toss a mini-football every five seconds, that would be 12 mini-footballs per minute. Which is 833 (and a third) minutes of mini-football tossing. Which is 13.9 hours of mini-football tossing. So Drew would have been strapped to a float, firing those mini-footballs from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 a.m. Oh, sure. Maybe Drew could have tossed a handful at a time. But it's hard to hold a handful of mini-footballs, even if you're Drew Brees's hand. And what about taking time to sip a beverage and go to the bathroom and scratch his butt and, well, I just don't think that scenario is feasible.

The Bacchus parade in which Drew Brees performed this amazing stunt usually takes three-and-a-half hours. ( Normally Bacchus takes about three-and-a-half hours to complete its route. “But if Tuesday night was any indication, this may be more like six,” Brennan said. “I hope we get in before midnight.”) That would mean Drew had to chuck 2857 mini-footballs per hour. That's 46 mini-footballs per minute. Which is about one mini-football per second. Technically, it's .8 mini-footballs per second. I'm not buyin' it. That's too many minis for Drew's arm to endure. Even if those 10,000 mini-footballs were flung over six hours, that's still a mini-football tossed into the crowd every two seconds. Which is a lot of wear and tear on an elbow. An elbow with no rest for six hours. I think reports of Drew's gladiatorness are greatly exaggerated.

Even Mr. S himself could not accomplish such a feat.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Move Along

Basketball game tonight. No time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Holiday Monday At The Mansion

This week brings us the #1 son's last home basketball game, a dance that The Pony may or may not attend, probably an academic meet, and payday on Friday. I'm not sure if I'm up to working four whole days in a row. It's been a while.

We woke up to about a half-inch of snow. That's the 5-6 inches we were told to plan for all last week. The sky is falling, the sky is falling, go buy bread and milk so you can survive! So...our snowfall that was supposed to arrive Friday night didn't make it here until around 3:00 a.m. Monday. A day which we had off from school anyway. But those schools who were supposed to be in session called off this morning. Go figure.

Slacker H was also off work for President's Day. He went to his eye doctor appointment, and was told that it wasn't until Thursday afternoon. Funny that his appointment card that they wrote for him said, "1:15 on 2/15, Thursday." They must all be on medicinal marijuana for glaucoma.

The #1 son had basketball practice at 11:30. I poked him out of bed at 10:00 and said he needed to get moving, because it's a 30-minute drive to school. He got up, and decided that he really did not want to go. HooRah! He had texted some cronies and found out that the choir director had canceled some sort of practice extravaganza due to the road conditions. What's good enough for choir is good enough for JV basketball, methinks. I would have taken #1 to school if he wanted to practice. But the point is, what's the point? There are two games left. He has been practicing and attending open gyms and camp since last May. He has been in the gym 10x more than his coach. Not to mention (but I will) that when he DOES go to practice, he is shunted to a side basket and doesn't even get to scrimmage. What's gonna happen for missing practice, he gets benched for the last two games? It's hard to bench someone who's already on the bench. So I told him OK, that I didn't want to drive on those treacherous half-inch-of-snow-covered roads anyway. That's his story and he's sticking to it: his mom wouldn't drive him to practice. Which is more truthful than Charger's story that he had something else to do that time he slept in for an 11:30 practice. Unless you count sleeping as the something else to do.

#1 later heard from Charger that he wasn't the only one to skip practice. In fact, seven JV players did not show up, three of whom live within 1/8 mile from the gym. Which left 8 players. Good for a 4-on-4 scrimmage, I suppose. Maybe Coacher will catch on that there's no incentive to come to practice if all you get to do is stand off to the side and be ignored. But I doubt it.

Did you know that Dish Network channel 118 was running an Intervention marathon today? Blockhead H sat down to put on his shoes, and caught a part of the episode with the woman who drank mouthwash because it is 26% alcohol, and tucked a gallon of generic yellow mouthwash into bed with herself to guarantee sweet dreams. She's also the one who fell down on her front lawn in a drunken stupor, and people walking down the sidewalk staring at her embarrassed her three kids. Anyhoo, Blockhead H caught the last part of it, where Candy Finnegan was trying to get the intervention going, but Drunky Fresh Breath was cooling her heels in the pokey for three weeks due to a DUI and evading the police.

Blockhead H said, "But I thought they were trying to get her to stop." Yes. What's your point? "Then why are they having an intervention?" The #1 son and I went round and round with him. Just what do you think an intervention IS, anyway? Blockhead H could not make himself clear. He just couldn't understand why they were holding an intervention if they were trying to make that woman stop drinking.

Sometimes, he wears me out.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snacks And A Movie

Tomorrow is The Pony's birthday. He will be 12 years old. NO! He is my baby. And he acts like one, according to the #1 son, he who knows it all, being a worldly 15-going-on-40.

I took The Pony to see that Percy Jackson movie yesterday. The Lightning Thief, I believe, though that is false advertising, and I don't mean to ruin the movie for anybody, but Percy did not steal the lightning. No sirree, Bob! He might have ADHD and dyslexia and a bad attitude towards his stepdaddy, but our Percy is no criminal. The Pony says the movie was not true to the book, but are they ever? He heartily enjoyed it, and I was charmed by the goat-boy.

The Pony had his bowling league at noon, so I picked him up afterwards around 2:30 and we headed for the theater to wait to be seated. You see, we are persnickety about our seats. And because we had to stop by The Dollar Tree for some Buncha Crunch to sneak into the movie, there were four people in line ahead of us. The first two were a lady and a toddler. No big deal. I knew they would sit up front. The next two were a woman and her 30-something husband or boyfriend, which begs the question of why are they seeing this movie, unless Valentine's Day was all sold out, and if so, why were they so freakin' early that they were waiting for seating to begin on Percy Jackson thirty minutes before showtime. They annoyed me, because they would not close up the gap. You know, that empty space between them and the toddler lady and the ropes. Because people were crowding in behind us, and I just knew they would rush in and fill that space. Because that's how people are around here. They have no concept of personal space. If it's empty, it's theirs for the filling.

After several pointed comments about such space-wasting, directed at The Pony, but loud enough to be overheard by the Wasters, they still didn't get a clue. Behind us was a party of 10 known to The Pony and myself. A young lass had called out to The Pony as we were in the ticket line. According to The Pony, she was just a kid from the spelling bee. Her mother looked OH SO FAMILIAR, so I knew they were from our school and that I shouldn't get horsey. That's what my dad always said if one of us kids was acting up. "Don't get horsey." Then when we took our place in the Wait Corral, I spied the 6th grade teacher that #1 doesn't like because she tied his shoestrings together when he fell asleep on the bus to a field trip, and subsequently threatened her with, "I know who pays your salary." But we won't go down that road of extortion right now.

The Tie-er was with the party behind us, and they got a freakin' tub o'popcorn to pass the time, needing a refill by the time we were seated. The Tie-er told The Pony that she would be eating whatever The Pony had brought with him, which shook him up because he was keeping the contents of my purse top-secret due to my threats before we got out of T-Hoe. Not that he would say anything. The Pony is always the one who says, "But we're not supposed to take snacks into the movie." I don't see a problem with it. We buy their exorbitantly-priced popcorn and soda combo. No skin off their nose if we bring in candy or water. They're still getting an extra $11.75 out of us. More when #1 or HH go with us. So don't go crying any tears of sympathy for Kerasotes Theaters.

When the usher announced seating for Percy Jackson, we rushed to the last theater on the left. The Pony grabbed out seats at the back. The last four-seaters on the right side. The Tie-er and clan took up residence directly across from us on the center aisle. The spelling bee girl and mom took the row in front of us. No doubt they would have snatched our seats if we had been one minute later in line. Then the Tie-er called them over to sit in front of her row, because she said, "You know they will be moving people and packing them in like sardines." That left the row in front of us with only a boy and dad over by the wall, and a clear viewing of the screen for The Pony. Or so we thought. Until all the previews were over and the movie started and a man and woman and a freakin' newborn showed up and stood in the aisle and walked down and then back up and plopped down with a giant dad-head in front of The Pony. This was so irritating to me that I did not even feel bad when I experienced an hour-long bout of coughing (can't take Cheratussin while driving The Pony). Too bad, so sad. I coughed into my elbow because Janet Napolitano told me to and I don't want to end up on some hillbilly terrorist watch list, but the baby people didn't know I was coughing into my elbow. For all they knew, I was hacking germs onto their precious bundle of joy. The bundle which started screaming about 5 minutes into the movie, so the woman took it out, and then the dad followed, and then the mom came back and rooted around in the seats for something, and then they both came back, and then the dad went out for popcorn and soda, and then the baby spat out its nookie onto the carpeted aisle, and the mom picked it up and plopped it back in the baby's mouth, and then laid her head on the dad's shoulder, in between kissing him, blocking even more of The Pony's view of the screen.

But that's not the most heinous part of our adventure. Oh no. And it wasn't the busload of special people who stared at us for a long time before deciding to go a few rows down, and proceeded to talk back at the stepdaddy character during the closing credits. No. It was the people behind us, who consisted of a teenager of indeterminate sex, and a rather large woman who sat down but sat ON the armrests instead of fitting into the seat, even though that back seat has been made for just such a Junoesque figure, and has an aisle armrest that flips up to accommodate most people. I normally don't care who sits behind me, unless they are hacking up a lung, or stink of the unwashed like the last hillbilly family of four that sat behind us in a different theater and argued over how to turn off a cell phone.

The Back People were not so bad, except that they had brought food into the theater. I know! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I noticed it when I heard a SPPTTTT sound, and turned to see them opening up 20-oz bottles of soda. They placed them in the cupholders. Then they took out some bags of some kind of chip and proceeded to snack. This is even before the preview. Before I went out to wait in line for our popcorn combo behind people leaving the theater who just had to get refills for the road, thus making the movie-going customers wait and miss their showtime. I instructed The Pony to yell, "TAKEN!" to anybody trying to sit in our row. He inquired as to whether to say ALL the seats were taken, and I told him yes, to say that unless all the other seats were full, because we got there an hour before showtime, by cracky, and those latecomers could just sweat it out until absolutely necessary. The Pony wanted his Buncha Crunch, but I told him to wait until after I got the popcorn and soda.

When I returned, and The Pony had just started munching his butter-flavored salt, the head usher came in. He's a portly fellow, in a white shirt and tie, and commands the other ushers. I would say he's the manager, but I'm sure that fellow is ensconced in an office with hidden camera monitors and his sock feet up on a desk. The HU always stands at the back of the theater, by the trash can, and surveys his kingdom during the previews. When the movie starts, he steps out and closes that swinging door that kids fling open so that it sticks and The Pony has to get up and close it. The HU noticed the Back People's transgression. Only the teen was sitting there at the time. The HU said, "We don't allow outside food to be brought into the theater. That will have to be thrown away, or put in a vehicle." The teen said, "No problem." It sat there a moment, perhaps waiting for the return of the chair-topper. The HU stayed until they picked up their stuff and went out. Lucky for them, nobody grabbed their seats before they returned.

After the HU left, I told The Pony to hand me my purse. I took out his Buncha Crunch, and my Sixlets, and later some cotton candy. You see, you have to bring in food that the theater actually sells, or put it in a baggie and let it rest in the popcorn bag, and keep a beverage in your purse with the lid on. I should have enlightened the Back People for next time. I know they wanted to narc on us, because we were snacking throughout the movie, and they were not. But they must have feared further interaction with the Head Usher.

Always an adventure when you attend movies in Hillmomba.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Translate, Please

For your reading pleasure, tonight I provide you with a story from KSDK in St. Louis. It is standard fare for this news website. I can not believe that the people they hire have actually graduated from an institute of higher education. Check it out:

Mom goes to ER after incident with school bus driver

By Ashley Yarchin

KSDK -- At home Friday night, the Salyers know how precious those moments truly are.

"This is my family," said 12-year-old Erin. "They're my life. This is all I have."

She said she thought she was going to lose it all just 24 hours before when her school bus stopped at Devonshire and Ivanhoe at about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and the driver, she explained, came to the back of the bus yelling and screaming profanities. She and another girl were the only ones on board at the time.

"He kept on getting madder and madder," Erin said.

Fortunately, Erin's parents forgot to take her cell phone out of her backpack before school so she was able to call for help. When they found her less than a quarter of a mile from home, her mother got close to the front of the bus to talk to the driver.

"He literally shut the door completely and started driving away and my leg was still in the door," Tammy said.

"...You just thinking worst case scenario if I wasn't there and it was just my wife. I could've lost my wife, my daughter would have seen it," said Erin's father, Calvin.

The Salyers spent the day at Fanning Middle School discussing the incident with school officials. The district is now aware of it and is investigating but would not comment just yet.

"We are stepping up and being the parents we should be and we're looking out for all the kids that go to that school and ride that bus line and we're gonna prove to 'em that were not gonna take their lax in employment," Calvin said.

Calvin adds he hasn't heard back from the bus company, First Student, which is contracted out by the district.

St. Louis City police are also investigating this incident. The Salyers have contacted an attorney and plan to take action against the bus company. First Student had not heard about the incident when NewChannel 5 contacted them Friday.


Please. Somebody explain that to me. Sure, the 'reporter' did her bare minimum. Perhaps somebody should have instructed her on how to actually write a story. Here's what I know from the article:

WHO-Tammy Salyer
WHAT-a school bus driver closed her leg in the bus door
WHEN-about 6:30 p.m. Thursday
WHERE-Devonshire and Ivanhoe
WHY-she tried to talk to the bus driver about yelling at her daughter for no reason

That's what I get out of it, after reading it numerous times. I don't see anything about the ER. That's what the title promised me. But no. This is the KSDK website. The article is never about the headline. Here are some of my questions:

Did Tammy have some kind of injury that necessitated the ER visit?

What is the first sentence all about? What precious moments?

How was Erin-the-kid going to lose her family?

Why did the bus driver come back and holler at them for no reason?

Why was she on the bus so late?

How was that phone in her backpack if the parents take it out every morning? Does she try to sneak it to school every day, and they take it out every morning, but forgot just this once?

How did Tammy's leg get in the door of the bus if she merely 'got close to the front of the bus to talk to the driver'?

How could Calvin-the-dad have 'lost his wife' if he wasn't there? Did he pull her to safety? Did he step in front of the bus?

Why did Calvin let his wife confront the driver? Be a man, Calvin!

What school dared to educate Calvin? What does he mean that they're "not gonna take their lax in employment," anyway? And why doesn't the reporter know the difference in we're and were?

When did NewsChannel5 become NewChannel5?

I don't get it. It's like reading a 9th-grade essay. Oh, and Erin can't really say that her family is all she has. If you watch the video, you see that she also has two laptops.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Sick Call

When last we convened, I was under the weather. What genius came up with that idiom? Aren't we all under the weather every day of our lives? Unless maybe we are fake moon landing astronauts, and are allegedly over the weather during the time we are fake walking on the fake moon. So maybe just the orbiting International Space Station astronauts are the only ones over the weather instead of under the weather. But I digress...

My elaborate ruse to get my birthday off from work yesterday went a little something like this. I had already started the day and endured most of 1st Hour by the time my sub arrived. At 9:00, I was able to leave, and sat in T-Hoe while I called my doctor's office in an attempt to be worked into the appointment schedule at a time I was really sick. You know how they hate to do that. They just want routine appointments made six months ahead. Seeing sick people while they are sick is not part of their equation. The phone answerer I reached took a description of my symptoms, and said she would pass the info on to the nurse, who would call me back if they could work me in. Which didn't sound very promising to me, but what could I do, I had already taken the day off, and I was too weak from lack of oxygen to get my granny panties in a wad, so I did the next best thing and drove to my mom's house to wait it out, only to find that she had a man there putting tile in her bathroom, so I could not collapse on her couch and let her cover me with the rough horse blanket blankie while making sure one foot stuck out.

I felt OH SO BAD. I could not even sob with misery, what with that using extra oxygen which I already lacked. The best I could do was a single garbage Indian tear sliding down my face. And another. And another. My mom said she was calling the doctor to see if they had forgotten to call with an appointment, even though I told her it had only been 35 minutes, and that I had given them her phone number as well as my cell number. Good thing she called. The phone answerer transferred her to the nurse. Of course, that could be because Mom asked if they had made my arrangements yet, which kind of fit with the way I was feeling, but might have frightened the office crew into action. I took over the phone and repeated my symptoms, and the nurse said, "I wonder about an X-ray." OK. Wonder all you want, but that's getting us nowhere. I took that bull by the horns and said, "I have two insurances, so it doesn't matter to me." Well. The nurse asked if I could be there by 10:00 for an X-ray, and then up to the doctor's office by 10:45. You betcha.

My mom drove me in her little B-Lazer, which was a good thing, because I was lightheaded and couldn't keep my eyes open in the snowy glare. She dropped me off at the door of the hospital, and I had finished giving my picture ID and cash cow cards to admitting by the time she came in from the parking lot. We proceeded to radiology, where I coughed enough that only two people sat by us. Then a radiology student came to get me. She quizzed me on my name and birthdate, which is kind of odd when your birthday is the current date. Then she took me into the radiology labyrinth and asked, "Are you wearing a bra?" Something tells me that my foundation garments might need a little shoring up, or else it's a standard question before X-rays.

After repeating the lateral view (no concern over excess radiation exposure here), my student had the hang of things and walked me out. Upstairs, I knew I was in for a wait to see the doctor, because that's how he rolls. No fewer than three other patients were sent down to X-ray while I waited. That must have been the special of the day, or else the student was needing a lot of practice. Those folks in the waiting room sure did gawk at me every time I coughed. You'd think they'd never seen a sick person in a doctor's waiting room before. I even coughed into my coat that's like a green berber carpet with arms, and still, they stared.

At 11:15 I was called into the inner sanctum, where the motor-mouth nurse tried to weigh me. Back off, sister! I'm sick. A bout of pitiful coughing changed her mind. Doc walked by, and said, "Are you feeling bad today?" That's why he's a doctor. When he came in for the exam, he mentioned that he had the results from my thyroid specialist, and thought that was the right decision. Then he proceeded to make me take deep breaths, which he didn't seem to understand was the reason I was there, because I couldn't take deep breaths. My temp was normal, and pulse-ox of 97, blood pressure of 120/66, no sore throat, clear snot and hacking unproductive cough must have rung a bell with Doc. I told him I normally didn't come in when I was sick, that I just called for a cough medicine prescription, but that I felt so bad I made an appointment. He said I was sicker than most people who came to his office, and that this could get out of hand, and wrote me out two prescriptions, and sat down to chat a minute about my antibiotic allergies when we were rudely interrupted by a knock on the door saying she hated to interrupt. It must have been the nurse, who butted in with some trivial question about a woman having suicidal thoughts, and could she just refer Miss Crazy to the State Hospital (which was right down the street) because she would have to come to town anyway if they gave her a doctor's appointment. He said, "Sure," and was waylaid by another nurse who wanted something else trivial, and thank the Gummi Mary that my nurse had moved on to the next patient and was taking out his stitches and going over his pathology from his cyst removal. Doc herded me to the front desk and said that if I didn't feel better in a few days to call back, because he also had plans C, D, and F. I didn't bother to ask about B and E, because I didn't want to be sent to the State Hospital.

So...I crept out to the parking lot so as not to make my little old mama drive up to the door for me. We took my prescriptions to the pharmacy and went to lunch next door at the Chinese place where we ditched Mabel one teacher workday many years ago, the site where Mabel was also ripped off for two dollars by the thrifty librarian. By the time we got back to my mom's house, the tile man was just leaving, and it was 2:00, and I didn't have time to take my medicine because I had to pick up The Pony at school.

But get this. Doc prescribed a Z-Pack, which I've had before with no ill effects, and when I got home I popped those first two pills. Within three hours, I coughed up a stringy green string of lung snot. HOORAH! I had been hacking for 24 hours with not so much as a drop of mucous, and now this. I was excited. The Pony said he would rather not hear about it. But that meant I was on the mend. I fell asleep in the recliner for two hours, and then slept another four in bed, and this morning I felt as normal as it gets for ol' Hillbilly Mom.

The only drawback is the severe pain upon coughing, but that's worth it because it's a productive cough, by cracky! The pain is all around the ribs and back, from so much coughing yesterday. If I could bottle a medicine that made people cough, I could sell it as an ab workout. I swear it would give you abs like Mike "The Situation" on Jersey Shore. Kind of a reverse cough medicine.

Oh, yes. Doc also prescribed me a gallon bottle of cough medicine. Alas, it was not my sweet, sweet Histinex. Only Cheratussin, that bitter elixir. But it did stop the hacking.

And now I feel like a thousand bucks. Tomorrow, I'm shooting for a million.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Birthday Left A Little Something To Be Desired

Welcome to HM's kennel. She has been sick as a dog today and last night. Sick as a darn dog. Just when she thought she had kicked that cold she caught from a student, after only 14 days of symptoms...the cough returned with a vengeance.

It's true. Last night, after Enabler H's leftover cough medicine from 2008 wore off, the cough came back. A hacking, wracking, rib-shaking cough, a cough that took my breath away upon attempted inhalation, a cough that produced nothing but bugged-out eyeballs and a headache and a night that garnered 4 hours of sleep, whether I needed it or not.

This morning I felt like corn casserole on a shingle. Sorry, Mabel, for that reference to your previous bestest friend's potluck contribution. But that's how I felt. I couldn't get any air in or out of my lungs. I felt light-headed. I couldn't concentrate. So I did what any self-respecting educator of the future of our nation would do...I went to school. However, it was a long, strange trip. The hardy pioneer stock traversing The Oregon Trail had an easier journey than I. That includes the computer game Oregon Trail, folks.

Upon arrival, I hurried to the office to request a substitute. Nothing makes you surer that you can't make it through the day than actually showing up and trying to make it through the day. The office was dark, so I wrote an assignment on the board, laid out my materials, and took off to do my parking lot duty. As I passed the office, I inquired about Mr. Principal, but he was busy seeing a bus out front and I couldn't find him. So I told the person who really runs the place that I needed a sub so I could get a doctor's appointment. She called in a sub who was cheated out of a day of work yesterday due to our 7th snow day, and I went about my duty.

First hour, the #1 son snarked, "I thought you were going to be gone." Yes, sonny, I am gone, just as soon as my sub arrives. The class asked me where I was going, and why, and since of course teachers must share every detail of their personal lives with their charges, I told them I was going to the doctor.

What's wrong with you?
I have a cough and I can't breathe.
What time is your appointment?
Just as soon as I call and they work me in.
Will we have work?
It's on the board. You'll get double if you talk.
When are we doing that second assignment anyway?
You're not. It's only if you talk. I have something else for tomorrow.
Then we don't want to do that.
Yeah. So shut up.

I quickly typed up some sub instructions. I had a coughing fit. A kid in the front row had a coughing fit. "Nice try. Don't think you're leaving to go to the doctor, too." He said, "No. Really. I had to cough." I believed him. He sounded authentic. And he did it almost as often as I did. In the middle of one really rough bout of hacking, the little germ-sprayer who gave me the original crud came up to ask to go to the bathroom. I had to wave her on because I couldn't speak. She hesitated. "Are you all right?" I fought for breath. I squeaked out, "No. I'm going to the doctor!" That was good enough for her, and she traipsed her little Good Samaritan self on to the bathroom. Note that my own son, sitting in the front row, completely ignored my predicament.

The sub arrived with 15 minutes left in 1st hour. I gathered my stuff and ran out the door as fast as my empty lungs could carry me. After putting a recommendation form in TheParkingSpotStealer's mailbox, I noticed that I had everything except the keys to T-Hoe, which were in my classroom cabinet. I stopped in to retrieve them, and found the Mexican-Cryer (who told me as I left, "Look out for Mexicans!" even though he's been told time and again that he can't say that) had pulled his chair out of the row to sit by the kid whose friends ask him every month, "Are you gay?" To which he says, "No," in his high-pitched pre-puberty voice. And the mouth of the class had moved to a different chair than she was in before, still not her assigned seat. So I gave them both the extra assignment. Because I could.

It's not nice to mess with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's sub before Mrs. HM has even left the building.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

One For Seven

Ho hum. Today was our 7th snow day this school year. Not in a row, of course. Thank the Gummi Mary, if we go to school Thursday and Friday, we will be off Monday for President's Day.

Tomorrow is my birthday. That makes me an Aquarius. We are known for being dreamers and procrastinators. My bestest friend, Mabel, gave me my birthday goodies on Monday, just in case we really got that 8+ inches of snow that one of the channels forecast. That's the one I like to watch. The others were more conservative, with 6+ inches for our area. They are so sensational, those meteorologists! They don't even have to be right, they just have to lure in the viewers and sell bread and milk for the merchants. Anyhoo...we only got about 3 inches. That was only good enough for two days off. Which means that I have to go to school tomorrow on my birthday. The Pony is in good spirits, though, because HIS birthday is Monday, and this means we should be off for his birthday. But one more snow day, and they yank President's Day out from under us. Unless, of course, it has already passed.

Mabel rocks! She gave me a Pi glass full of assorted chocolates, and a fruitcake baked by the monks in the caves of the hills of the Ozarks. Oops! That's how she used to read the school lunch menu to her students when we were having hot rolls. She actually got me a fruitcake from the Trappist Monks at Assumption Abbey in Ava, Missouri. IT IS ABSOLUTELY DELECTABLE! I have never savored such succulent fruitcake. It's like a party in my mouth. The rest of the Hillbilly family refuses to try the fantastic fruitcake. They sure crawl out of the woodwork to gaze at it when I take the tin out of Frig where it be chillin' like a good fruitcake should. But they won't taste it. Not even a bite. They're like Jerry Seinfeld's date and the apple pie he proffered her off the end of his fork. They clamp their lips and shake their heads. Too bad, so sad. That means only one thing: more fruitcake for ME!

Since last Wednesday, I have only gone to school one day. That's one day of work out of the last seven days. Can't beat that with a stick! I was at the doctor on Thursday, Friday was a snow day, then the weekend, we attended on Monday, and the past two days we've been off due to snow.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a date with my recliner. Not working is actually very tiring.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It Is What It Is

Nothing to say tonight because the #1 son has chosen this very moment in time to work algebra problems for contest practice and he is very demanding and I don't control my leisure time anymore what with his outbursts of thirst for knowledge.

Monday, February 8, 2010

How Do You Solve A Problem Like My Goiter?

The left lobe of my thyroid is coming out, because its nodule tips the ruler at 5.5 cm, and doctors recommend that a nodule comes out if it is over 4 cm. Or 5 cm. Depending on which doctor you listen to. In any case, my nodule exceeds expectations.

The Indian med student told T-Doc that she was unable to feel the nodule, at which point T-Doc stood behind me and squeezed my neck until I had a coughing fit, but just before I started hacking, he said, "There. Right between my hands. All that is nodule." After I caught my breath, I told him that made me feel better, because those other docs and each one's posse exclaimed over it like it was a football-sized goiter, and told me that surely I must be unable to swallow, and unable to sleep, and unable to breathe, and that one of them had flat-out declared, "That thing is a monster!"

T-Doc was the scale-tipper in persuading me to have surgery. He was quite calm and clean. Not that all doctors aren't clean...but when he sat down beside me to discuss my nodule, I got a gander at his hands. They were small hands, with well-trimmed fingernails, just the kind of hands you would want pawing around inside your neck once it is sliced open and the sides are pulled back to form a gaping cavity with metal pitchfork claw thingies holding it open.

T-Doc said that he had reviewed my previous ultrasounds, had looked at all the specimens from my fine-needle biopsy, and had gone over the 30-minute-old ultrasound, and that he and the radiologist both agreed that there was nothing in the biopsy or ultrasounds that would suggest cancer. He said that due to the size of the nodule, he would recommend that it be surgically removed. And wouldn't you know it...T-Doc performs that kind of surgery every day. But here's the thing: he was not pushy and not sensational about it.

I explained that I was there because an ENT had recommended surgery to remove the entire thyroid within 3 weeks of my visit back in December. Chauffeur H chimed in that it made us a bit nervous that Young Doctor Whiz-Kid was in such a hurry to get 'er done. T-Doc said that would make him nervous, too. I said that I was worried about missing work, and being able to talk after the surgery, so I wanted to wait until summer. T-Doc said that he usually likes to remove such a nodule within 3 months. He counted up the time, and said, "This is only one month more. Even if the nodule would prove to be cancerous, and there's nothing to suggest that it is, thyroid cancer is very slow-growing, and one extra month would not be a problem." He then went on to sketch on the back of a piece of paper the various risks and complications.

T-Doc said that he would do a left thyroid lobectomy, which has fewer risks and complications than a total thyroidectomy. He said that he does not put in a drain, hadn't put one in for years, actually, except for that one last week. They had a patient with a HUGE thyroid, which they didn't know until they got into the surgery, a thyroid that looked like two oranges with two bananas sticking up from them. And T-Doc had been the hero of the operating room. And with (this pronouncement being followed by a twinkle in T-Doc's eye), he had put in a drain. But normally he does not, and the only problem that could arise from no drain would be excessive bleeding, in which case they would simply (!) take me back to the OR to stop the bleeding. But that such a risk of bleeding so much that the airway is in danger is less than 1%.

Other complications would be irritation of the vocal cords, or in my case, vocal cord, which may cause a hoarseness that could possibly be permanent. Oh, crud. I suppose now I will never be cast as the lead in the remake of Sound of Music. In addition, my parathyroids could go into shock, and mess with my calcium absorption, the consequence of which could be death from cardiac arrhythmia. But since I will still have my unmolested parathyroids in the right lobe, that is unlikely. Less than a 1% chance.

All in all, I liked the fact that T-Doc did not say that I had to have this surgery right now because I might die. Nothing dramatic such as the way Young Doctor Whiz-Kid carried on. Because of T-Doc's style and experience, I took the surgery bait. I think his attitude came from operating on people who have serious, life-threatening illnesses compared to my overgrown nodule, and he put it in perspective.

I have to call his office a month before I want the surgery, to get on the schedule, and I have to go see that anesthesiologist. It is a 23-hour admission, which means that I stay in the hospital overnight, and go home the next day. I will have medicine for pain, and should feel like I could return to work within two weeks. It is a 2-hour surgery under general anesthesia. My throat will be very sore for one-and-a-half to three days, mostly due to the intubation during anesthesia. The scar will be in a neck wrinkle, and will fade.

I am SO not looking forward to this procedure.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

HM Tells The Partial Tale

My trip to Barnes-Jewish Hospital was quite the expedition. My appointment with T-Doc was set for 10:20, but a few weeks ago his office called and said they had scheduled me for a repeat ultrasound at 9:45, and that I should plan to be there by 9:15. Have you ever been to Barnes-Jewish Hospital, people? Because there is usually some kind of construction going on, which makes that downtown jaunt all the more daunting. For me, anyway. But I don't like to drive in the city. Fortunately, Chauffeur H knows all the shortcuts, named and unnamed, because he used to work in that general area. We had taken The Pony there for his elbow surgery a couple of years ago, so Chauffeur H had the timing down pat.

By the time we found a parking spot on the roof of the parking garage, and took an elevator to the skywalk level, and hiked over to the Siteman Cancer Center, and got lost looking for an elevator that stopped at the 2nd floor, and asked directions at the information desk, where the informant was busy with a personal call on her cell phone, and treated us like she didn't care if we lived or died, or did the latter right in front of her info was 9:00 when I arrived at the Radiology sign-in desk. At least the signer-inner was polite and professional.

From there, we went to the ultrasound waiting room for about 5 minutes, and I was called in. Five steps out of the waiting room was my ultrasound exam room, where I was given a hospital gown and told to take off my shirt and put on the gown so that it tied in the back, but not tightly. I waited about five-ten minutes for the tech to come in and ultrasound me. The worst part was lying down with a pillow under my shoulders and my neck stretched back. That tech left me with a survey to fill out now or later, and said he would check with his attending. Then another dude came in, this one a short Asian by the name of Tan with a heavy accent. He ultrasounded me, then said he would check with his attending. After another wait, which I spent sitting up, thank you very much, because I would rather not have blood pooling around my cranial cavities for unknown lengths of time, a different dude walked in and ultrasounded me. That's three for the price of one, people! He finished up and swabbed that ultrasound gel off me like he was wiping down a newborn foal, then told me I could get dressed and leave. Nobody showed me the door (or even the flimsy curtain), just left me to find my way back those five steps to the waiting room.

Chauffeur H had his man-panties in a wad. "You are going to be late for your doctor's appointment! It is 10:15!" We hustled back to the elevators, only getting lost once in a misguided wrong turn by Chauffeur H after he stopped for a potty break. The receptionist for T-Doc handed me a printout with some terribly unknown phone number listed for me, so I had to change that. We waited about five minutes there, and I was called back to the exam room. Chauffeur H insisted on going in with me, which I was none to keen on, but since I wanted a ride home, I consented.

A med student came in and introduced herself. I promptly forgot her name, but she was some type of Indian (dot not feather) and very attentive. She questioned me and examined me and went back out to the hall, where we heard her conferring with T-Doc.

More details on T-Doc's pronouncements on Monday.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Oops! I Lied.

OK, I lied. I am not telling you about my thyroid specialist visit today, because I am a master procrastinator, and I have put it off all day in favor of taking my boys to their bowling league, and buying a few last-minute groceries seeing as how we're headed for another 6+ inches of snow on Monday and Tuesday, and folding last week's laundry that was still stuffed in the clean basket because in case I didn't mention it, I have been SICK for the first time this school year, and oh yeah, I took a 10-minute nap in the recliner, and now it is just too late for me to get motivated.

Maybe on Sunday, if the Super Bowl snack-making doesn't intrude on my valuable time.

Friday, February 5, 2010

HM Returns

This week has turned out rather well. After a three-day work week, I went to visit my thyroid specialist Thursday, and this morning at 5:35 I received the magical NO SCHOOL TODAY phone call. Can't beat that with a stick, by cracky!

The gist of the thyroid wizard is that my monstrous nodule is not cancerous, but that it still should come out, due to its size. T-Wiz, however, was not a pushy, knife-happy doom-cryer like that ENT dude. In fact, he said that from everything he saw, there is less than a 10% chance this nodule could be cancerous, and that while he would normally recommend that it be removed within three months, he has no qualms about waiting until June when I am out of school for the summer. Oh, and he says only the left thyroid lobe needs to come out, not the entire ball of wax, and that it is a 23-hour hospital admission, with no drain after surgery. I need to call a month before to schedule that surgery, and go talk to the anesthesiology department. I'm not looking forward to it, but it's the best deal I've been offered.

T-Wiz does thyroid surgery every day. A bit different from young doctor Whiz Kid, who spends his days dealing with snot-nosed allergy offspring of well-to-do snobs. I say that because of the people in the waiting room when I went to visit young doctor Whiz Kid. Like that dude in jeans and running shoes who rolled his 5- and 3-year-olds into the waiting room in a fancy schmancy three-wheeled royal blue canvas running stroller that probably cost more than Hillbilly H's $1000 Dodge Caravan. And the couple who sat down to 'reason' with their 4-year-old son on why he couldn't take home the book he liked from the magazine rack in the waiting room. I don't know about you, but I would have simply said, "No. It's not yours. Let's go." Because I am the adult. I don't think a grieving session and a detailed analysis of the loss is necessary.

More on my hospital excursion tomorrow.

The day off from school was a surprise and not. Last night, the #1 son had an academic match until 7:30. When we left Newmentia, sleet was falling and slushing up the roads. It was 31 degrees. I was sure we would cancel for Friday. So much so that when I returned from the doctor to pick up The Pony, I graded my papers and got everything caught up in Gradebook for the progress reports that go out next week. But no. Overnight, the temperature increased. The freezing rain melted on the ground. This morning, the freezing rain was still falling. I stepped into the shower, and of course that's when my phone started singing

Come on and tell me what you told my friends if you think you're brave enough
And I'll show you what a real woman is since you think you're hot stuff
You'll bite off more than you can chew if you get too cute or witty
You better move your feet if you don't wanna eat a meal that's called Fist City

So I had to turn off the shower and traipse about soaking wet to call the next colleague on the phone tree. Not that I'm complaining. Because checks were handed out yesterday instead of today, due to the forecast, but I did not know that until I got back to Newmentia, and by then it was too late to go to the bank, what with #1's academic meet about to start. So this morning at 10:00, I loaded my boys into T-Hoe and off to the bank we went, making a stop to take my mom a Sonic Cherry Diet Coke, gas up, buy Super Bowl fixin's at The Devil's Playground, lunch for #1 at McDonalds, lunch for The Pony at Sonic, and a stop at Save-A-Lot for fresh hamburger that does not bear the saline injection stigma of The Devil's meat.

The rain switched over to snow on the way to town, and by the time we arrived back at the Mansion, the temp was down to 32. Working Man H saw three cars off the county road on his way home. We could have made a day of school before the snow hit, but it's better to err on the side of caution. Besides, there would have been a high absentee rate because on Monday when we went with snow still on some roads, the kids who didn't show were given excused absences. So the ones who came to school felt like suckers, and would no doubt have stayed home to get their piece of the excused pie this time.

If we have to go longer at the end of the year, so be it. That will only delay the scheduling of my throat-cutting adventure.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sorry To Disappoint

Nothing tonight (Homecoming) or Wednesday night (basketball game) or maybe even Thursday night (Academic Meet).

I'll get back to you. It's my busy season.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Here's The Thing

After a night of five-and-a-half hours of only once-interrupted sleep, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom felt like an old woman this morning. Which is better than the urinal cake from an STD convention men's room that she felt like yesterday morning.

We have been playing the new student lottery at school this semester, and have yet to pick a winner. My relative the Sack Lunch Nazi was just enlightening us on the newest one this morning at lunch, when Mr. Principal took offense and declared that she couldn't handle the truth, which was that he had sent THREE of these newbies directly to alternative school, do not pass go, do not collect your $200 electronic food benefits card. No sirree, Bob! If we think the ones sitting in class are the dregs of the kegger, take a walk of a mile in his moccasins on the wild side, and see how we like it, by cracky!

Seriously. How do these people find our peaceful little district? Could it be the three prisons within a 20-mile radius? My lunch buddies thought not. They looked at each other like Otter and his Animal Housemates right before they chanted "Road trip!" and went on that excursion to pick up dearly departed Fawn Leibowitz's roomie and friends to go dancing at the Dexter Lake Club. "Mind if we dance wif yo dates?" But I digress. The point is, at the exact same moment, the Newmentia First Lunch Sacred Harp Singers looked at each other and shouted, "Cheap housing!" Which begs the question, aren't there any people with well-mannered children looking for cheap housing?

That incident ties for the high point of my day, the second being a jokester who will one day end up on TV, mark my words, as some type of entertainer, though not necessarily a fine actor. Oh, his acting is good enough for ninth grade physics class. He can make himself cry. Whoop-ti-freakin'-doo, The Pony can also make himself cry as the mood suits him. Little Mr. Actor's Workshop declared that a student in the front row had hurt his feelings by calling him a fat fag, which did not happen, and we all knew it, but that was his motivation. A girl in the front spouted, "She doesn't like me anyway, and you're going to get me in trouble." Which is just about like the pot calling herself a black kettle, since neither Little Mister nor myself accused any one person of doing the imagined dirty deed, because everyone in the room but Kettle Caller knew it was a joke.

See, here's the thing...don't blame all your problems on me not liking you. Because first of all, I did not even know you people when you came in my door in August, and if I have had to correct you weekly since then for being turned around in your seat talking instead of facing the front and listening...well, I don't think it's an issue of likes or dislikes, but rather an issue of you not being able to take responsibility for your actions when you are reprimanded for your behavior. And rather than straighten up and fly right, you have chosen to repeat your misbehaving actions and be corrected again and again.

I am really easy to get along with if you just follow the rules. I don't even mind when you call yourself a fat fag and fake cry. Because that's the kind of gal I am.