Friday, November 30, 2007

If You Give HM a Refrigerator

If you give HM a mini-refrigerator, she will put it in her classroom.
Then one day, a prankster will ask, "Can we put Cindy's purse in the refrigerator while she's in the bathroom?" And HM will say, "OK. But we have to give it to her before the bell." But Prankster will stuff the purloined purse in the freezer, even though HM says, "No! Not the freezer."

If the freezer door breaks off the mini-fridge, HM will ask her son to fix it after school. While the boy is trying to make repairs, Trivia Buddy will walk in to see if HM is coming to his Christmas party. Trivia Buddy will spy the #1 son at the mini-fridge, and offer to help. It's one of those offers you can't refuse.

If Trivia Buddy tells HM all she needs to do is defrost to get rid of those ice ridges in the way of the freezer door, and unplugs the mini-fridge and microwave because he can't tell which cord belongs to what, HM will tell him to stop that. "It will make a mess overnight and I'll have to clean it up."

If Trivia Buddy takes a roll of school-issue harsh brown paper towels and stuffs half of it into the bottom of the fridge, HM will still tell him she doesn't want to do it right now. Trivia Buddy will insist, and waltz off into the sunset.

If HM arrives at school at 7:35 the next morning, she will see that her map of the world fell off the wall again, and that her entire table is covered with a shallow water puddle. HM will try to mop it up with those brown paper towels that have the absorbency of notebook paper. She will open the mini-fridge and fish out the sodden brown paper towels that have marinated all night. Her bottled water will be hot, and her lunch will rest in peace at near room temperature all morning.

If HM tries to plug in the microwave and mini-fridge without being electrocuted, she will step on that blasted map of the world. Tape that will not stick to the wall WILL stick to HM's shoe. She will take the map of the world on a short tour of the classroom before slapping it back on the wall.

If HM has papers still to copy before the 8:12 bell, because she won't have another chance until her plan time at 1:12, it will be 8:00 before she has the mess cleaned up enough to avoid a lawsuit due to slippage in the mini-fridge zone. Lacking a yellow plastic 'slippery' marker thingy, HM is all about the thorough clean-up.

If HM tells this story to her pranking class, they will chuckle politely, except for Cindy, who has a bone to pick with HM, and Velcro-Boyfriend Girl, who genuinely likes HM, and is the best audience for trying out new material.

Don't give HM a refrigerator.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #7

Yes. Here it is, after taking Thanksgiving Week off...Random Thought Thursday: The Return.

I'm exhausted from all my Christmas shopping today. I had a notice to pick up three packages at the post office. Yes. The one that smells like a dead mouse. When I got there, I had SIX packages. Then when we got home, and I let the #1 son out at the end of the driveway to run the trash dumpster to the house like an old-time newspaper boy, I saw something odd on the front porch. I could not tell what it was. Perhaps I should have put on my new glasses. Upon further investigation, the closer I got to the house, I saw that it was a package smack dab in front of the front door--with a black tuxedo cat sitting on top. That cat is nuts. He is Tank-the-beagle's pet. The one Tank molests on a regular basis. Anyhoo, when I pulled the LSUV into the garage, two more packages awaited. That's 9 packages today, people. My Christmas shopping is almost done!

News flash: the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet is not the part where he climbs up her hair. Just sayin'...

Just once, I would like to walk by The Smellinator that I have in every class, and fart silently, but deadly-ly, and listen to them whine about how "You can't DO that! That is nasty. That is just wrong." Heh, heh. Payback is a b*tch.

Can somebody teach the lunch ladies to grimace more fiercely? Cause I don't think you can. I'll wager $100 of my hard-earned greenbacks.

I am a master of paybacks. Don't mess with me. Last night, I left two pieces of pizza on the pan on the stove. I instructed HH to leave it there; it was for my lunch today. The kids did not eat pizza. My Little Pony will only eat cheese pizza, and the #1 son declares that he does not like The Devil's Playground deli pizza. Before bed, I went to make my lunch, and ONLY ONE PIECE REMAINED! This morning, I asked HH why he ate one of my pieces when I saw three of his in the refrigerator. We like different toppings, you see. He is partial to pepperoni and onions, while I prefer green and red peppers and NO onions with my souped-up hamburger pizza. HH replied that he did not eat it. He said, "Your son was in the shower when I went to bed. I imagine he ate it. You can have mine if you want." No deal. I don't like his toppings. I quizzed #1 when he rolled out of bed. "No. I didn't eat it. I don't even LIKE it." I asked if he was calling his dad a liar. "No. I don't know what happened to it." He might as well have signed a confession. But he wouldn't admit it. So I went to the pantry and moved his box of Little Debbie Swiss Rolls down one shelf. He went to grab one for the ride to school, and shouted, "WHERE ARE MY SWISS ROLLS?" Heh, heh. Payback is a b*tch. Indeed she is. (He finally admitted to the pizza pilfering after school, which ruined his ploy of begging for a separate meal every time we have it.)

"A Homeless Christmas" door decoration would have gone very well with our theme basket for the food pantry. How dare we be denied! What's wrong with my students' vision of 'bums standing around a trash can warming their hands over a fire', with the caption: "Families come in all shapes. Merry Christmas from our family to yours." That's not fair. I'm sure the denier wanted to steal the idea for HER door.

Time flies when it's your best TV night and you got home late with your problem children.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Down The Road To Inappropriateville

I returned to school this morning to see what the sub dragged in. She is the one who, a couple years ago, took my classes outside for a walk around the school instead of proceeding with the lesson I laid out for her. Oh, and she rearranged the desks, and told the class dirty jokes. It was OK, though, because she told them, "Don't tell your teacher." Which was the first thing they did when they saw me. I told the principal in Basementia about it. I have not had that sub again since. Until yesterday.

This time, all seemed to go as planned. The stacks of assignments had been graded as I requested. There was a note for each class with absences and tardies and absentee slips signed, and a comment on the assignments, and a note about the behavior of each class. Most of them received a comment of "Good class". One had, "They behaved well. For freshmen." One did not have any comment. I thought perhaps it was due to "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." The kids disagreed. "What do you mean, 'no comment'? She said she was leaving us a good note. Of course, she was lined up at the door right behind us, with her purse on her shoulder, when she said it."

The most puzzling was a comment she left for my after-lunch class. It seems a bit inappropriate. I had to read it three times. You decide: "Boys are flirtatious."

Okaaayyyyy. Bunnies are soft. What is that comment supposed to mean. Was she giving me some wisdom for life? What does she want me to do about it? "All right, you guys. The next time a sub is here, I'd better not hear that any of you were flirtatious! Or I will write you up! Now, all of you get out pencil and paper, and write a letter to Ms. Sub saying you are sorry for being flirtatious." I don't get it. What am I supposed to do, say, "Well...the boys are never flirtatious with ME!" Which makes her into a goddess, I suppose. Am I dense? What did she mean by this comment? Perhaps, "I am OH SO HOT that 14-year-old boys flirt with me." It is just kind of creepy, the more I think about it. But that's not the worst.

I didn't tell the class what it said. I asked, "What kind of report do you think your class got?" And they said, "Whyyyy......?" One girl had already tipped me off in the hall. She thought it was funny. "You know Sleeper? Well, he had to check his phone to see if it was turned off, and he didn't want to get in trouble, so he held it on his leg down behind the desk. The sub got up and walked around and looked at him. He told her he was just turning it off, and she said, "Oh, I'm glad that's all. I thought you were taking a picture of something you shouldn't." It went downhill from there. I won't embarrass us with the details. But allegedly, Ms. Sub said some things that 14-year-old boys should only hear from each other. Not from a female legal adult. Not from anyone in a position of authority. I think perhaps I should take that note to the principal tomorrow and ask his opinion. And mention the allegations. Just to CMA. And the school's A. Because I would not want my son in that classroom. Oh, the kids thought it was funny. Nobody seemed offended or embarrassed. But that class wouldn't. There are others who would. It is my job to protect them.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, superhero. Avenging inappropriateness one sub at a time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Chillin'

Well, I was chillin'...for most of the day. I took my mother to outpatient surgery today, and that place was a virtual meat locker. Perhaps it felt that way because we had to be there at 6:30, and did not leave until 4:30. There was no time to warm up between coolings. It was so cold that my sainted mother asked the nurse for another blanket. Oh, she declared that she wasn't cold--it was for me to wrap around my shoulders. The nurse brought it in and unfolded it and put it on my mom. As soon as she left, my mom said, "Here. It's so warm. It's heated." Who am I to look a gift blanket in the mouth? I took it. Mmmm. It was SO warm. My mom said, "You'll need that when they take me in. They always keep it cold in here."

Little did we know how long we would be subjected to this hypothermic chamber. My mom asked every man who walked by, "Are you Jim?" OK, she's not senile. A guy named Jim had left a message on her answering machine that he would come get her at 7:00 and take her to radiology for 30 minutes, then bring her back for two hours, the take her for some pictures. At 9:20, a guy who admitted to being Jim came in. That was right after he stopped at the nurses' station 2 feet away and told them, "This happens every time they schedule one of these. The picture-taker is broken." He then proceeded to tell my mom that they could still do the surgery, though not under ideal conditions. Which was perhaps not a wise move for Jim, because my mom dug in her heels like a calf on the way to a dehorning/castrating/branding party. She said that she had reservations all along, and this might not be the best day for her to have this surgery. Then that traitor Jim went back to the nurses' station (did I mention it was 2 feet away) and stage-whispered, "Now she doesn't want to do it. You'd better get Dr. NoPersonality down here." And they all cluck-clucked and stuffed in a few more bon-bons and gazed sideways into Room 2 as they pretended to go by the rooms and check on other patients. The doctor appeared, faster than a stoner at a Free Meth Convention, and Tattletale Jim followed him mouthing how he tried to explain, but she said this and she said that. After quizzing the doctor like he was a finalist on Tournament of Champions Jeopardy, my mom agreed to get it over with. Everybody in the hall on the way to radiology stared at her like she was wearing a scarlet 'C' for Complainer. During the two-hour wait for the surgery, my mom said, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to tell Jim not to call me anymore."

I went out to make two phone calls at 12:00 when they finally took her into surgery. I was gone about 10 minutes. When I came back, MY BLANKY WAS GONE!!! Those nurses were evil. In fact, when we got there, they let my mom in the cubicle, stepped in front of me, and snarled, "There's a waiting room out front!" It was like cutting a calf from the herd. My mom said, "But..." and they closed the curtain. Last time, they let me sit with her until she had to get undressed and have her vitals taken. Not so this time. Because of course they were in a hurry at 6:30 a.m. for that surgery that began at noon. I wish they had those little 'customer satisfaction' cards like restaurants. I surely would have filled one out, even if I had to sever an artery for lack of a pen. In all that time we waited, a nurse came into the cubicle ONE time. That's because I went out in the hall and flagged her down, because mysteriously there was no call button. Oh, and my mom asked if she could go to the bathroom before they took her into surgery, and the nurse said, "We'll do that on the way. We'll stop the bed right there by the bathroom." This was at 10:40. At 11:30, I flagged down a nondescript employee who was probably just a wheelchair pusher. She let the side of the bed down, and when I got out of the way for the IV stand to roll out, she said, "You can carry it. There's a hook in the bathroom." So I helped my waterlogged mother to the bathroom. They had been giving her arm a drink through a straw all morning. That's the way they explained the IV to My Little Pony at the GOOD hospital.

I'm not sayin' they lost my mama, but after the surgery, there was a big to-do. "Doesn't this patient have anybody with her?" asked someone from the surgery suite. "I called several times in the waiting room, but nobody answered." The nurses gazed up from their bon-bon eating, Devil's Playground Ad-reading frenzy. "Well, she had someone here earlier. I don't know where she went. The clothes are in Room 2." As was I. In the exact place I had been sitting for 2 hours. Where the doctor came directly after the surgery to talk to me. Where there was a glass door across the hall which reflected every move at the nurses' station to me. And, you would think, mine to them. But no. They had no idea I was there. Which makes you wonder. The surgery nurse explained that my mom was now in a hospital room, and could go home a bit later if she felt like it. She led me through a maze of corridors to reunite with my mama.

Again, it's a good thing. This wing was like a ghost town. But it was warmer. The nurse left. Nobody had explained the call button. Again, I had to flag someone down for the bathroom. They unplugged her IV pole attached to some kind of monitor, put the bed side down, and left. I am shocked by their lack of concern. My mom would have been as well off at home as laying around that hospital in a room by herself. We figured that by this time, Jim was home in his recliner with his feet up, drinking a cold beer, fiddling with the spare parts from the 'broken' machine, building one of his own to lease the hospital the next time this happens. We fear that when Mom goes back Friday for her follow-up appointment, she will be greeted with a framed picture of Jim near the elevators, proclaiming 'Employee of the Month'.

Anyhoo, I got her home around 4:30. My sister was going to sit with her for a bit this evening. Thank goodness she was out of that hospital. It's a lonely place.

And cold.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pimping The Light Fantastic

My #1 son has a fundraiser. Not for a club. For the school. I heartily disagree with pimping out kids to raise funds for the school. If you can't afford it, don't buy it. Stop all this namby-pamby here have some free pizza and soda for coming to the afterschool tutoring that we placed you in to try and raise our building's scores. Here's a reward for helping out with this service project. Great job for having good attendance, let's go to a movie, the bowling alley, the state park, the mall.

Whatever happened to intrinsic rewards, people? Life is not going to give these kids rewards for doing what they are supposed to do. I think it is Chris Rock who does the routine about a buddy saying, "I ain't never been arrested. I go to work everyday. I pay child support for my kids." You're supposed to, m*****f****r! Why should you be proud of that? Yeah. I'm sure it's Chris Rock.

My kids have been fundraising since kindergarten. How fair is that, pimping out a 5-year-old? There oughta be a law. What if I sent a gang of toddlers door-to-door selling magazine subscriptions? I'd be arrested for the pimping of the toddlers. But the school is exempt from pimping charges. Oh, the booklets always say 'Don't go door to door.' Where are these sales coming from? Mom and Dad and Grandma and Grandpa. Why don't you charge tuition and be done with it? Why don't you just ask for donations? Don't send out a cute little moppet who is impossible to refuse.

My Little Pony doesn't give a hoot about selling. He always says, "Naw. I don't wanna sell anything." Bless his little pea-pickin' heart. But the older boy is a people pleaser. He is gung-ho. He's a competitor. He not only wants to sell, but he wants the limo ride to McDonalds. In fact, he's won it twice. Now he wants a limo ride again. The price? Sell 20 items.

Therein lies the tale. 20 items of this ridiculously overpriced, unsellable junk is preposterous. I have never seen a catalog with more useless items. The boy worked the Thanksgiving crowd to drum up sales. In fact, he even sold a money clip to his cousin's boyfriend. I had promised him 10 items, but no more. I chose 2 cook books, and 8 polishing clothes. Not because I am unpolished, but because they were the cheapest thing in the book. None of this rigamarole of choosing items that I might use. I won't. But they're the cheapest. I don't need 12 oz. of candy for $10.50. I don't need a whisk for $9.00. I don't need ugly jewelry for $24.00. So I'm going to make myself a blankie out of polishing cloths. I think it will be soft and comforting when I cry into it the next time the fundraiser rolls around.

Here was my advice to the #1 son: Gather your cronies in the hall. Step up on your cram-packed backpack, raise your fist in the air, and shout, "I'm mad as h*ll and I'm not going to take it anymore! I refuse to be pimped by the school. I will not sell ONE item. Together, we can make a stand. Sell nothing. Everybody pitch in $2, and on the day of the limo ride, we will skip school and hire our own limo to take us to lunch. Everybody wins, and our parents are only out $2. Who's with me?" With that, he lifts up an 80s style jam box, cranking a little Twisted Sister: 'We're not gonna take it. No, we ain't gonna take it. Oh, we're not gonna take it, anymore!'

OK, perhaps the 'h*ll' was a bit strong. But you get my drift.

Let's get back to basics. Stop dilly-dallying around with our childen's education. I'm an old dog, like Betty. New tricks are superfluous.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How The Grouch Stole Sunday

Don't bother me. I am not in a mood.

Which is my way of saying that I AM MOST DEFINITELY in a mood to be left alone and not hounded for this and that minor undertaking that might be important to YOU, but is not at all on my radar and especially not today and this very moment.

HH is on a rampage to clean old toys from under the pool table. Never mind that I have brought up this subject with him at least 5 times every summer for the last 6 years. We still have some Weeble-looking plastic people with a merry-go-round and a roller coaster. My boys have WAY outgrown these toys. I wanted to take them to people at school, or to Goodwill. HH wanted to sort through them first. Hmm...he's had an entire week off, starting with Saturday Nov. 17, but he just started this mission today at 1:30. I am not in a mood.

HH had done this ever since I've known him. Always on Sunday afternoon. He bosses and grouches the boys to do his bidding. He did the same to the older boys when they were this age. Everything else in the world must stop for HH's project. He alienates even the one boy who is his little buddy and thinks the world of him. I feel sorry for the boys. But I dare not give my opinion, or WWIII might erupt.

Sweet Gummi Mary help us when HH retires and is underfoot all the time.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

It Ain't Golden

Happy Anniversary to me,
Happy Anniversary to me.
Happy Anniversary to MEE EEEEEE!
Happy Anniversary to me.

Oh, it's not my blogging anniversary. It's my wedding anniversary. I told HH not to bother with a card or gift, because I didn't have anything for him, and I wasn't getting out on Black Friday to look for something. Then I got to thinking...what if he DOES get something for me? Then I will feel bad. So the boys and I dropped in The Devil's Playground Friday afternoon around 3:00. Hey! It's on the way home. I figured the crowds would have dissipated by then. Which they had. Don't go thinkin' I bought HH something fancy. Just a card and some rawhide-looking work gloves and a Whitman Sampler. I know the way to that man's heart. Then it turns out he really DIDN'T get me anything. Which is OK. For once, he followed instructions. HH said he felt bad, but I think it was just a show he put on, because his eyes were not on me when he said it, but on the TV, watching Best Places To Find Cash And Treasures, which was not even about treasures, really, but about digging old bottles out of outhouses. I told HH that if they pulled up a jar of money, I would believe his outrageous claims that people used to hide money in a jar on a string down in the outhouse. Getting back to ME...I told HH that it didn't matter about the card and gift, because I KNEW he would take me on an overnight gambling excursion over the Christmas vacation. Heh, heh. I'm a crafty old bird.

Now HH has gone to my mom's house to...take a guess, people. Go on. What do you think HH is up to right now? You've had your clue. Ready? HH is at my mom's to walk down her property and look for old bottles. Oh, there's no outhouse. But the land used to be on a major road back in the day. And people back then were not so politically correct. Done with that beer bottle? Toss that sucker out the window! And there was also a dump on one part of the land. Not a dump as in 'landfill', or even a dump where they bulldoze all the crap over the edge of a hill and keep on a-dumpin', with fires burning, and rats to be shot with a .22, and an attendant who may or may not be a child molester. No. It was like a place where people pull off the road and dump their stuff and take off, thinking smugly: "There. Dogs will eat that stuff, and the rest will rot away. I've just saved myself a trip to the stinky, rat-infested dump. It's not like this land belongs to anybody. It's in the middle of nowhere. Nobody will even notice it." Then the dumper would pat his children on their freshly-Prell-shampooed heads, help them into the back seat to return to riding on that little back dashboard area under the back windshield of his Olds 98, light up a Marlboro, and drive back to town.

The times, they are a-changin'.

Tonight we are going out to supper to celebrate my anniversariness by not making me cook. We will, however still make me do yesterday's dishes. By hand.

The times, they are not a-changin' enough.

Friday, November 23, 2007

3000 Words

Welcome to the MiniMansion, HH's shanty down by the creek. It's a place for him to set a spell. Take his shoes off. He spends every waking moment down there, when he's not at work, or eating, or sitting in the Free Hairwad Hot Tub in his underwear. Notice the quality workmanship in the steps.

"Come and listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed. Poor mountaineer, barely kept his family fed. Then one day he was shootin' for some food...and up through the ground came...a fully-formed outhouse.

Scrap lumber, that is. Four by fours. From his work."

Yes, these are the facilities at the MiniMansion. It has a door and a roof now. But look at it. LOOK AT IT! Doesn't it make you claustrophobic? And there's no hole! But there is now. Just not a seat to put over the hole.

"Well the first thing you know ol' Jed's a Mansionaire. Kinfold said, 'Jed why'd you build that there?' Said, 'I think the loony bin's the place you oughta be.' So we captured poor HH when he'd just sat down to pee.

He does that, you know. Sits down. To pee."

Here's what's left of the Oreo cake. It's kinda popular in these here parts. It was hard to get a photo. The minute I took the lid off my Tupperware cakeholder, the smell wafted into the living room to HH's nostrils, and he came snuffling in. The reason it was hard to get the pic was because HH pulled a Waldo and kept popping up in frame. In his tighty whities. It would give you nightmares. I promise.

"Now it's time to say goodbye to Jed and all his kin. We would like to thank you folks for kindly droppin' in. You're all invited back next week to this locality. To have a heapin' helpin' of this Oreo cake if there's any left.

There won't be, though. 'Cause they're pigs, my men.

Y'all come back now. Y'hear?"

That concludes this episode of the Mansion Hillbillies.

DISCLAIMER: Nobody in our family is named 'Jed'.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving Turkeys

Whew! I am exhausted. Not from preparing a big Thanksgiving dinner. Laws no! M-O-O-N. That spells Hillbilly Mom is not a chef. My mom did most of the cooking. But I did help her out by eating. What I am exhausted from is laughing. My family you say...crazy. Like off their meds crazy.

My mom started the ball rolling when we had a discussion of how HH is so thrifty that he is always picking up free stuff. After we were first married, when I still cared about pleasing him, I stopped my car in the middle of the road one day just to pick up a piece of J-channel. Never mind that I did not even know what I was picking up. I saw it, and thought, "That has something to do with the siding that we're putting on the house. HH will be OH SO PROUD of me." It was quite a long strip of flexible vinyl stuff. I bent and twisted it to shove it in my Nissan Sentra. HH was less than impressed. "Well, that's J-channel. But it's been run over so many times that it's not any good." So anyway, my mom told him she heard that Governor Blunt had told the police to be on the lookout for people selling copper to recyclers, because there had been a problem with electric wire being cut and stolen. But when she said 'copper', she looked HH straight in the eye, raised her eyebrows, and nodded her head once. It was kind of like when you have an inside joke with someone, except that she wasn't joking. It was like she was accusing him. Because he DID used to sell copper to the junk man, from wire that his old company took out and replaced. And the junk man took his name and address every time.

The next crazy was my niece, who told a tale out of church on her brother, who was once upon a time asked to read out loud for the Sunday School lesson. He came to the word 'gentiles' and read it as 'genitals', which was OH SO WRONG, but not as wrong as his sister exposing her brother's 'genitals in church' faux pas.

Then my sister got into the act by insulting TWO of HH's cars with the statement: "Do you still have that ugly yellow car?" To which HH responded, "It's brown, not yellow." Then the argument ensued over whether she meant the Pimpmobile, so named by her own self a few years ago, which is HH's copper-colored 1980 Olds Toronado, or his ugly boxy wedding-mint-yellow 1986 Mercedes. After clarifying that it was indeed the Pimpmobile of which she inquired, she further argued that 'they don't make brown cars anymore'. Of course, HH got it in his bull head to prove her wrong, and tried to fire up my mom's computer, which is a cast-off from the #1 son, so not state-of-the-art, and he couldn't get it going, so Mom had to do it. Then he yahooed instead of googled, and my niece had to take the driver's seat to run a search for him. Then they argued when he pointed out brown cars that she declared were not brown. OK, so the dark red was his mistake, but she disallowed beige, sandalwood, camel, sand, and mocha until he found one described as 'dark brown'. Then she said, "OK. I was wrong. They DO make new brown cars." The whole debate took up 45 minutes, while The Mayor blatantly took HH's side by naming off all the people he knew with brown cars. And I pointed out that my sister herself had owned a first car that was indeed a brown Chevy Nova. She disagreed and declared that it was a Pontiac Ventura, while not tackling the color issue.

Meanwhile, the #1 son was so hopped up on caffeine and sugar from Grandma's liberal soda policy that we were able to tell many embarrassing stories about him each time his vigilance flagged and he wandered away from the table.

All in all, it was a very good time. I am SO looking forward to Christmas.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve At The Mansion

I am not feeling wordy tonight. I've been whipping up an Oreo cake and boiling eggs for the traditional Thanksgiving Oreo Cake/Deviled Egg combo that I take to my mom's house. Usually, I also take a Cool Whip Chocolate Pie and some veggies and Hidden Valley Ranch Dip. I'm slackin' this year. My sister-the-mayor's-wife won't be there until later in the afternoon.

The cake-baking hit a snag when I let the #1 son lick the delicious raw egg batter bowl. We gave the Pony his first taste of raw eggs tonight. I cautioned him not to drip his little spoonful on his clothing. Then the #1 son bellowed from the table, "Hey! I got it on my shirt!" No shirt, Sherlock. He had dripped more than we gave the Pony. I told him, "Your brother might want to suck on that shirt for a while." I made #1 go to the washer and take out the load I had just finished and put it in the dryer and hang the shirts. I told him three times, "Don't put any shirts in the dryer." He did. I made him get it out and hang it. The right way. He whined, "You know, Mother, every minute you make me take time to do this is another minute that this stain is setting in my shirt." Tough shirt. I made him do it anyway. So now I have another load going. Oh, and the boy forgot to turn on the dryer, so it sat 35 minutes wasting time that it could have been drying.

Now I am going to email my bestest friend Mabel, to tell her the most scathingly brilliant gossip that I gathered today.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Disturbed Hillbilly Mom

I am disturbed. Stop it! Stop looking at each other over my head and nodding with a raised eyebrow. What I mean is, I am disturbed by an incident I witnessed yesterday. The Pony and I hoofed it over to my doctor's office for my lab, which was a routine blood test. I'm not disturbed by the doctor's office. Au contraire! I was pleasantly surprised that it took only 5 minutes of waiting to be called into the lab. When I went for a flu shot, it took 45. Oh, and when we arrived and found a parking space on the 4th row, the trolley man stopped right in front of us. Normally, I refuse him and walk. But the Pony was with me. "Can we ride the trolley, Mom?" Never let it be said that I have disappointed the Pony. That boy has me wrapped around his little finger.

Our normal trolley procedure is for me to walk, and both boys to ride the trolley. I usually beat them. On occasion, I have ridden with them. They get in the very back, where there's a little chain to close to 'hold people in'. This time, the Pony and I were alone. So he couldn't ride in the back by himself. We climbed onto a side seat. The Pony adapted quite well to the wheel well area. We drove about 3 cars down, and the trolley man stopped. "Can I give you a ride?" he asked a high-school-looking dude and a girlfriend-looking chick. "Oh, bless you! I sure can!" The dude hobbled in front of the trolley and climbed in the other side with his chick. I'm no doctor, but I'm guessing ankle injury. Then we heard, "Please wait! Tell him to stop!" It was an older lady back by our LSUV. I hollered to the trolley man, who put on the brakes. The lady loaded herself in the back, and hooked the chain. Off we went. I could have been up to the 4th floor and signed in by the time we arrived, but the Pony enjoyed himself. "We never ride with this many people, Mom!" He's easy to please.

Anyhoo...back to my disturbance. Since it was a fasting blood test, I'd had no food or drink all day. When we left, I made a beeline to Sonic. Only the healthiest food for me and My Little Pony. I forgot my last experience and chose the grilled chicken sandwich, which was a lesser evil than the bacon cheeseburger I was craving. Little did I remember that the grilled chicken is served on a kiddie bun, not the big hamburger bun, and you say...piddlin'. It was bad enough that the thing was a Roloff of the grilled chicken world. It came with only a tomato slice and some lettuce. But the worst part was that it was OH SO DRY. Like when your HH cooks it too long on the grill, and it is so dry that you can't bite it, but those fibers like threads of celery peel off in your mouth. It was not tasty. But that is not the source of my disturbance. Of course, the Pony ordered two corn dogs and a soda. Corn dogs which take Sonic 10 minutes to cook. We always hold up the line. And while I was waiting, I saw it. My disturbance.

A 30- or 40-something woman pushed a baby stroller across the divided highway near the stoplight. Oh, she wasn't in a crosswalk. There's no such thing on this 4-lane highway. She pushed from The Devil's Playground side to the median without me noticing. Then she caught my eye when that stroller hung up in some high grass in the median. She came up the side of the median and shoved and rocked that stroller. I was afraid it was going to burst out onto the pavement when the light turned green and let all those cars flow. But she twisted it at the last moment, and let it sit sideways on the shoulder until the cars passed. The she wheeled across two more lanes and down through some weeds and up to a blacktop parking lot. The stroller hung up again at the edge of the asphalt. She heaved. The stroller hit its front wheels, and the back wheels went up in the air and dropped down. That woman did this about 4 times. Sweet Gummi Mary! I thought perhaps she was using it as a grocery cart. I've seen that happen in Hillbillyville. I peered closer. She was about 100 feet away. And inside, under the hoody top thingy of that stroller, was a baby. Not a newborn, but perhaps a 6-monther. And every time she hammered that stroller into the edge of the pavement, that baby's head flopped forward and back. I WAS DISTURBED! Not disturbed enough to climb out of my LSUV and rush over and give her a piece of my mind. It's not good to meddle in Hillbillyville. People don't cotton to meddling. Especially baby-floppers. I didn't think it rated a 911 call. What would I say? "A woman is driving a baby stroller recklessly by the Sonic at the Wal-Mart stoplight"? She would have been gone by the time a police car arrived. I didn't want to be charged with a false report or 911 abuse. She couldn't hear me yell because of the traffic. She may have been simple and not known that she was flopping the baby. She couldn't see through the hoody roofy thingy. It's not like she left the baby sitting on the sidewalk and went back home 20 miles away, like one of our former students. I'm at a loss here for the right thing to do. But I do know that I was disturbed.

By that, I mean: What Would Commenters Do?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Casino Day

And now, my tale from the casino.

I only had about 2 hours to lose my money. That's because we had to drag the spawn with us. First cat out of the bag, the #1 son had a tiff with HH over Lappy. HH decreed that Lappy would remain in the LSUV. Once inside, the boy whined, "What am I supposed to DO for an hour, anyway?" I don't know why Lappy was banned. Probably just a power play by HH. So when I asked if we could go back and get Lappy, HH relented. What did HE care? He was going into the casino. Once settled on a comfy bench near an electrical outlet, the boys and I passed the time until MY turn. #1 played games. The Pony had brought his DS Lite and a book, but he watched the amazing Lappy like a TV. I watched people.

A problem arose when I needed to use the facilities. I'm taking blood pressure medicine, you know. So I have to go a lot in the morning. The problem was that we were light years away from the bathroom, because of the electrical outlet situation. I was like a doe leaving her fawn curled up in a meadow. I gave the boys instructions not to talk to anybody, not to leave with anybody and told #1 that if someone ran off with his brother, he had to do something. Perhaps scream, "I WON!", because 'HELP' would be ignored, and 'FIRE' would get him arrested. There were several false starts. I would spy an especially creepy individual, like the guy rubbing his package in loose jeans. OK, maybe he just had an itch, but it was not appropriate. He was way down by the check-in counter, and I watched him until he went the other way. Then there were several sweatpants-wearing, clog-shod, Simpsons comic-book-guy lookalikes that strolled by. That's clogs, no socks. And ponytails. Not that I'm stereotyping or anything, but you can't be too careful when you're about to leave your children alone in the casino. I did not see any security people all morning. That is unusual. I was sure that the minute I walked away, they would swoop in and take my children to a super-secret holding area until I went to someone in charge and asked what happened to the kids I left alone. There are cameras everywhere, you know. But alas, my boys were right where I left them when I came out.

While people-watching, I pointed (discretely, people!) and said, "There is your future. You, #1, will be pushing me through the casino in my wheelchair while towing my oxygen tank, after your brother has clipped my toenails." He nodded. "And after he's changed you diaper."

After HH lost the money I graciously gave him from my stash, it was time for him take the boys over to Ameristar's game room while I got my turn at Harrah's. I wasted no time in leaving them standing in the hall. I raced to the Mardi Gras side, and found myself impeded by a threesome of geezers who had left their Rascals at home. The old man was leaning worse than the Tower of Pisa. He had on white pants and boat shoes. Maybe he was still on his sea legs, I don't know. But the casinos in Missouri ARE supposed to be on boats or 'floating platforms'. His two red-lipped concubines looked like they had a combined age of 225. They covered the entire aisle, from the bar to The Range steakhouse. I almost made it around them on the left, but a sweater-set duo cut me off. They were OH SO TALL, and looked like a possible mother-daughter combo.

Here is the horror. They jumped in front of me in the line to scan player's cards to enter the casino, and came to a dead halt. Neither of them had the card ready. They each had to fumble in their purses for them. I cry foul! You snooze, you lose! Step out of line and do your diggin', Lame-Os. THEN, the young one (and by that, I mean 55-year-old) got scanned and disappeared. I was afraid I might have to change a diaper. The older one pulled out the most gosh-awful keyring of casino cards you never want to see. They were all on her little stretchy telephone-cordy leash thingy. Her card wouldn't scan. Finally, the scanner told her she needed to take a few of the competitor's cards off the stringer. Thank the Gummi Mary, she didn't do it right there. Perhaps she had plans to call her daughter on her Jitterbug and have a card-sorting party over cocktails later. In any event, she went through the nonexistent turnstile, and STOPPED. She looked past the scanner to a security guard who was busy not keeping kids from being abducted. "Did anyone find a green sweater in here last night?" Jeez, Louise. Put a leash on your accessories already. The Alzheimer's has set in.

I finally entered the casino, poured myself a big cup of ain't gonna happen--oops! That's what I do at school every morning. No. I mixed up a free soda of Sierra Mist, Pepsi, and Diet Pepsi, and settled down at the third machine I tried. It was loose. I played out my remaining hours happily. Until the last 10 minutes, when Chatty Cathy sat down next to me at the round 3X 4X 5X kiosk. I think that's the game. I've never played it before. I'm usually a Hot Peppers or Triple Cherry kind of gal. And Chatty smoked. I was not pleased. I could inhale her second-hand smoke if it was quiet smoke. But she interfered with my system. I need silence. I keep a running total of the payback credits, and cash them out before I gamble them away. I keep a tally in my head of how many spins since the last payoff. That helps me decide how many credits I want to be on each pull/push. You can't do that while chatting. Unless you have a wicked case of OCD, perhaps. But mine is just mild. So I suffered through it until my time was up.

I went to the bathroom to count my money, because I figured there was less chance of being observed on the toilet, and less camera time. Then I met HH out front, and we scanned our player's cards for a chance to win some electronic goodies that was moot, because we would not be there at the drawing from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. But I DID win 2000 player's points. Can't beat that with a stick.

That's the tale.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Money Matters

WooHoo! Today was casino day. I go at least twice a year whether I need to or not. Don't go thinkin' HM was a big winner due to her enthusiasm. Of course I wasn't. But I could have lost a lot more. I was careful in cashing out my winnings and not playing them over and over. I still came home with less than I started with, but considering the amount of money I ran through that machine, I recouped a tidy sum. Of course, I gave HH and the boys $200 for gambling and gaming and eating. Not apiece! Collectively! Sweet Gummi Mary, do you think HM is manufacturing meth as a hobby? And don't be thinkin', "How sweet! HM loves her family OH SO MUCH. She gave them the gambling winnings right out of her casino purse."

We have no cash money right now. That's why I shared my years of accumulated gambling winnings. I don't get paid until Tuesday, and the checkbook is bare. I opened it, and a tumbleweed would have rolled out, if it hadn't been for that cobweb that snared it. Since we are cash poor for a few days, and the Pony's hospital and doctor bills arrived Friday and are due Monday, and the county tax bills arrived Friday and Saturday...we did what any respectable Hillbilly would do: HIT THE CASINO!

I have issues with those medical people. How can a bill be dated Nov. 5, and arrive 60 miles away on Nov. 16? With a due date of Nov. 18? That's no way to do business. It reminds me of when HH had his neck surgery on Dec. 23 a few years ago. That's a whole 'nother issue, him scheduling it for that day, and me the lone Santa with no helpers to carry and lift and stay awake for companionship. Everybody take Notes to Selves: muscle relaxers are not recommended for Santa's lookout. Anyhoo...we got the bill for HH's surgery, and it was somewhere around $1000 if I remember right, and I called to ask about the dates of mailing and past due-ness, because our payment would have been late even if I mailed it on the day we got the bill. The lady said not to worry, just wait until the next notice came showing 30 days past due. And then, when the next one came, they only billed us for HALF the amount if we planned to pay in full. Go figure. Insurance is such a racket. I told HH, "What do they think we are, paupers? Why did they cut that bill in half?" and HH said, "Write the check NOW and send it in. I don't care what they think--that's 50% off!"

The Pony's hospital bill had a note that you may get a discount if you pay by credit card. You can bet your big fat butt (sorry, I'm projecting) that I'm calling them tomorrow. Who cares if it's paid by check or credit card? We pay our credit card off each month anyway. Yeah. Credit card. We have two, but only use one. At one time we had about eight, and it was too confusing. I talked HH out of that right away. Maybe I can wrangle a deal with the Pony-fixers. Don't cost nothin'.

I'm not actually worried about finances, or I would have spent my gambling money on bills. HH will be getting paid after I do, and he will get his bonus at the end of the year, and I have been socking away money for Christmas since last Christmas. My two crowns since September, and three pairs of glasses for the Pony and I, have whittled away at the cushion we usually carry in checking. Thank the Gummi Mary, I have a double-secret cushion that I don't even tell HH about. (Let's just say I could still write that car salesman a $1000 deposit check if I was so inclined.) HH doesn't need to know that, but he might worry if he sees the balance of $15.32.

That's why I don't let him carry the checkbook.

(Tomorrow, I will tell some casino tales.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rehabbing The Pony

My Little Pony's physical therapy is going swimmingly. Not that he gets to swim or anything. The Pony is a landlubber. On the initial visit, he was lacking 20 degrees of extension in his elbow. He was given some exercises to do twice a day, three times on weekends. He has been very good about his exercises. Today, the therapist measured his elbow with a protractor-looking thingy, and declared that he is only lacking 9 degrees extension now. Alas, the poor Pony still has very much trouble holding his palm up on that arm. How will he ever beg for change? This week, he has two new exercises to do.

I did not accompany the Pony into the therapy room today. Instead, I remained in the waiting room, watching Jeopardy's Tournament of Champions, where an idiot made the most scathingly stupid calculation on his final wager, and gave his opponent the win. After Jeopardy, it was Oprah and the hoarders. Great Googley Moogley! Why couldn't Oprah spotlight a poor hoarder instead of a rich one?

The #1 son was with me. He plugged in Lappy and listened to a new contraption he bought himself. I don't know what it is. Electronics are not my bag. It reminds me of an iPod, but #1 says it is much better than an iPod. I just know it cost him $80 at The Devil's Playground, and he stores music on it, and he can watch TV episodes on it as well. And that he has christened it 'Phillipe'. That's because its brand name is 'Phillips'. But the point I was going to make about the #1 son is that he farted! OK, he does this all the time, but generally controls it in public. Granted, it was muted by the chair cushion, but it was unmistakably a fart. Perhaps it was no coincidence that on the ride to therapy, the boy announced proudly: "My forte is farting." Also, I knew the toot was genuine when he chuckled immediately after the unclassified release of deadly gas. I'm hoping those two women who stared saw #1 sitting in the corner on the other side of me.

I'm not sure what the Pony did today. His therapist said she was going to heat up his arm first. I saw a little girl throwing a ball really hard at a pitch-back thingy. I heard another therapist tell a man, "If you spend a lot of time hanging at home, I don't want you to hang here. That would make you sore." Hmm...I can't imagine the 'hanging' episode. Does he get out a noose? Does he have a big jungle gym in his house? Does he hang laundry? Drywall? I am mystified. I am also intrigued. At one point, I thought about a career in physical therapy. I had the anatomy and physiology and biomechanics and athletic training classes. The only thing that stopped me was the fear that I would end up working with old people in nursing homes, or severely dysfunctional people. That would have been too depressing for me.

We've got to get the Pony whipped into shape. Insurance only authorized 6 therapy visits. It's already paying for that no-cut surgery, you know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #7, The Return

Kids these days are SO needy, impatient, rude, demanding, self-centered, and hypocritical. Not at all like ME.

The school year is almost over, you know. In five weeks it will be Christmas break, end of 1st Semester.

For his next Scholastic Books order, My Little Pony has chosen a hardcover on Mythology for the sum of $20 (which is like, a million dollars in the regular book world, because Scholastic gets those puppies to the Pony for cheap), and another highbrow book on the Roman Empire. I don't know where he gets this historical interest. It bores the pants off me.

Waldo likes to dart about the room like a seat-saver at a televised awards show. Waldo does not like it if you refer to him as Waldo when he does so. Waldo says that Mrs. HM is a gossip because she calls him Waldo. Waldo did not see the humor in a page ripped from a mail-order catalog advertising a TV, showing a picture of a girl in a red hooded coat and a kid that is the spitting image of Waldo. Especially when I held up the picture for the class, and asked, "Where's Waldo?" Waldo decreed that if he got higher than 80 on his test, I would call him Waldo no more. I told Waldo I would stop no matter what his score, since it bothered him. I only did it because I thought it was fun to tease him. Waldo said, "It is. You don't have to stop."

On CNN, I saw an old lady who found Jesus in a pancake, and sold him on eBay for $83. It truly made me wish that my student had not eaten half the Gummi Mary and then dumped her remains in the wastebasket.

The Devil's Playground makes a mean Cupcake Critter. It is two cupcakes draped in buttercream icing in the shape of a Maltese doggie. Mabel adores buttercream icing.

The turkey dinner from the cafeteria was excellent. Well, except we don't get much turkey roll, but the trimmings made up for it. We had mashed potatoes, green beans, a square of dressing, two hot rolls, and a big wedge of pumpkin pie with whipped cream on top. I could not finish it all in the 20 minutes I had after sitting down with my tray. Sorry, green beans, potatoes, and a roll. I will eat you another day. You are served more than once a year.

This week seems to have taken 8 days.
I'm so glad the school year is almost over.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Wheelin' And A-Dealin'

I am quite late tonight. We made a trip to buy a new used LSUV. Except that we couldn't come to terms as to price and trade-in. The boys were very sad. Me, not so much. It's a buyer's market for LSUVs. The dealer kept saying, "Well, you know, it will be hard to sell your LSUV, what with the price of gas going up." To which HH replied, "Same for the one you're trying to sell us." He gave that gander some of what was good for us geese.

Soo, after much dickering, we walked. Makes no never-mind to me. We can find another one. Now that HH has put in a gallon of antifreeze and a quart of oil, the orange light is not coming on any more. He cleaned and shined my interior. So I am good to go, until the next major catastrophe strikes. We will keep shopping.

HH has tried to buy a car there twice before, with the same result. We will not be bullied. To offer us $9000 for our trade-in, which is listed on Edmunds as $10,209, while the retail is $13,549, is not the way to trade a car with the Hillbilly family. I see no need for them to profit $4,549 from our trade-in. Not to mention the profit they would have made on the LSUV we were prepared to buy. I know deals have been made for way less.

Once upon a time, I purchased a Toyota Corolla. It was not my first Toyota Corolla, the cherry red one which was the greatest car of all time, but a lesser Corolla, a silver one with a sunroof. Anyhoo, after cooling my heels in the sales cubicle for about 3 hours, reading The Stand while the salesman kept 'getting approval from the boss', I wrangled a scathingly brilliant deal. When I went back to pick up the car a couple days later, I said, "My husband collects hats, and wants to know if he could get a Toyota hat." This is common practice, you know, for dealers to give away promotional merchandise with a sale. The salesman glared at me, and said, "With the deal you got on this car, your husband ain't gettin' no hat." Well. I was not at all offended. I laughed all the way to the bank.

From the time we walked in, I did not have a good feeling about this transaction. Any other time I've bought a car, which is, umm...8 or 9 times including excursions with HH, the salesman will offer coffee, or a soda, and basically bend over backwards to keep you there wheeling and dealing. This guy did none of that. He didn't suck up to the kids before we stuck them in the kids' waiting area. No offers of even a cup of water. And it's not like the world was beating a path to that dealership on this cool, rainy Wednesday evening. I saw ONE other customer while we were there.

In the end, after much wrangling, a deal was proposed that we both agreed to. A deal that did not include the trade-in, but the final offer we made to buy the new used LSUV. You would think this would bring about the credit check, the financing options, the paperwork. But then the salesman would not write it up as we wished, contingent on the car passing inspection before we would buy it for the price stated. He wanted us to agree to the price IF the car passed inspection. Meaning that if it didn't, they could jack up the price and say it was for repairs to pass inspection. No deal. We were not in the market for a car that could not pass inspection. Even though it looked great, there was one little noise that at first the salesman denied, then finally admitted that the service man, an old friend of HH's, had heard. Not so fast, Mr. Haney. We were having none of that. By simply refusing to write the contract as we wished, the deal was off. Oh, he says he will call HH with the inspection result in the morning, but that ain't happenin'. Done deal. The nail in the coffin was the request for a deposit. I have written deposits before. For $150 to hold a car. But Mr. Haney wanted a deposit check of $1000. Did I have that much available? You bet. Did I feel like writing that check? Nope. I said so. Mr. Haney said, "Well, it's not like I'm going to cash it. It's just a deposit check." Fine. Since you're not going to cash is anyway, let's make it $1.00. I didn't say that, but I wanted to. He can think we're paupers, he can think we're hicks, he can think we're cheap-a$$es. I don't give a rat's patooty. That's not how the Hillbilly family does business. Through all this, he never even asked for proof of employment, a SS#, a driver's license...nothing to run a credit check. Methinks he would really need a crying towel if he knew what he let walk out that door. NO SALE FOR YOU!

Ka-ching! See the red No Sale thingy pop up on the mechanical cash register? Are you proud of me, Mabel? I wasn't born yesterday, you know. And neither were you. Tomorrow, maybe, if you're reading this on Thursday. I took your advice. This buyer was beware.

I told HH that when Mr. Haney calls, HH should explain that he lost the deal last night, but if he has trouble finding a buyer for that LSUV that is so hard to sell these day, he can call us back for OUR original offer, including the trade-in. Oh, and keep in mind that our trade-in will have even more miles on it by then, and we may have already bought something somewhere else.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cold, Heartless Hillbilly Mom

Is there a full moon again? There must be. I swear. Here's just a couple of goodies from my day. The first one falls into the category "You Don't Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry". The second, "You Don't Know Whether To Roll Your Eyes, Or Pull Your Hair Out".

A.M. A girl looked at a folder with a picture of a bulldog, eliciting the following conversation amongst her friends.

That bulldog has more chins than a Chinese phone book. Did you hear me? He has more chins than a Chinese phone book. Get it?

What does that mean?

Get it? Because they call Chinese people 'chins'.

Who does?

Why would they call them 'chins'?

I don't know, but they do.

What's that got to do with a phone book?

Oh, never mind. If you can't understand that, you'll never get it.

I thought of explaining the concept of 'Chen' in a phone book, but decided against it. Too much energy. It would be like a starving man climbing down a 200-foot cliff to get a single grain of rice off a ledge. Not that I'm being racist about the rice or anything.

P.M. A kid demanded to know HOW HE COULD POSSIBLE HAVE AN F in my class. A big kid. Not a scrawny Waldo freshman. An upperclassman. As in crowding into my personal space, looking down, demanding. So I did what any master teacher would do, and turned my back on him to bring up the computer screen showing that out of 12 assignments, he has turned in 6. And I haven't seen him since November 1, and today is, well, TODAY. November 13. To be fair, Friday Nov. 2 was an assembly, and then there was the weekend, and I was gone on Monday the 5th when the sub left a note that he was one of the boys who refused to do a 20-point assignment, and then he was absent Tuesday Nov. 6, and we had an early out Wednesday Nov. 7, and he was called out before my class on Thursday Nov. 8, and was absent Friday the 9th and Monday the 12th. So don't let me be accused of saying he's never at school. Even though several other students tuned in to my brain waves and said, "Dude! You're never here!" But he looked at ME accusingly, and sneered, "Well, it's not MY fault that my dad had a heart attack."

Touche', Sherlock. Grab one of those broken cell phones from that mysterious myriad of electronics that Fast Eddie is always trying to pawn off in class, and dial Scotland Yard. The jig is up. You're onto my modus operandi. You see, I had the most scathingly brilliant idea! First, even though I don't know you, I created a voodoo doll that was an exact model of your father. Then I set my spy network to task and found out where you live. While you slept, I crept into the house and took a toenail clipping off your dad. His big toe. Then it was easy to cast my spell on that corncob replica. I took a sharp plastic toothpick, the white kind with the bent end, and jabbed it into the chest area of Corny. Apparently, I was not vigorous enough when I gave him that heart attack three weeks ago. But since I am Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, overachiever, I vowed to try, try again. So I did. My next step was to sever all phone lines at the school so nobody could call in and have your work gathered so you could pick it up and complete it so you wouldn't fall behind. And I set up a barbed wire perimeter so you couldn't just walk in and ask for your work. With my master plan complete, I dared to enter 'M' for missing on your line for those 6 assignments. Excuse me while I consult OJ Simpson about a lawyer.

OK. I didn't really say this out loud. It just flashed through my mind. In actuality, I just ignored the 'fault' comment, and went back to my desk. Dude started digging through his book, and yanked out a paper as pristine as the day I gave it to him. "Is this one of them? October 31?" Fast Eddie grabbed it. "Dude. That's the one you just sat there and didn't do that day." Dude turned to me. "Well, I didn't know when it was due." Fast Eddie came to my rescue again, though usually we are on the outs. "Dude, every assignment is turned in the day we get it. If you do it. It's been that way all year." Dude shook his head slowly, like we were all simple. "It was Halloween. I didn't feel like working."

There's gotta be a full moon. There's no other logical explanation.

Disclaimer. I am not being heartless about the heart attacks. I believe it. Both of them. But we're talking a way lot of absences here, even besides those two episodes. Who else is responsible if not the student?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pony Bone

This has not been a good day. I had about 3 kids per class absent, which means make-up work, which means extra work for me. Not as much as it could be, though, because many of them never bother to turn in their make-up work.

After school, I had to rush My Little Pony to another town to start his physical therapy. We got there early to fill out papers as they requested. Then we waited 20 minutes past his appointment time. In the meantime, the Pony writhed in a chair while Oprah interviewed Celine Dionne. I don't blame him one bit. Then the Pony ran to the bathroom and vomited. Several times. I went in with him (it was a one-holer), and recoiled in horror when I saw him on his knees with his arms on the toilet seat. WHERE STRANGERS SIT THEIR A$$ES! I got him cleaned up, and then they called him back. He didn't want me to go.

After 10 minutes, I got restless and the receptionist took me back to the nether cubbies of the therapy room. I answered a few questions for the therapist, concerning dates, and the position of the bone that cracked off and laid beside its rightful position. The Pony acted up a bit. Of course, the therapist said, "He was pretty good until you came in." Yeah. Rub salt in the would, lady. I told her next time I will bring a book and wait outside. She said she would come get me if he acted this way. The Pony will be hurtin' for certain if he pulls those shenanigans again. We have some new exercises for him to do. If the doesn't improve, she will put him in a splint to straighten his elbow.

I've got a lot of homework tonight, so I must cut this short. Not as short as the Pony's former elbow bone, though.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

HM's Opinion

I am about to be politically incorrect. That's your warning. Don't read on if you are the kind to raise a ruckus. Just sayin'...

A couple weeks ago we hosted the conference choir festival. Or something artsy like that. There were several hundred extra students in the building, singing their hearts out. They rehearsed all day, then presented a concert. Which could have been a mite longer, if you ask ol' Hillbilly Mom's opinion. One of the guest directors came all the way from Texas, and had been to Belarus on an international singing thingy. So it was not a rinky-dink affair.

The guys' chorus went first. They had three songs. I recognized two of them. The second one I was not familiar with, but a lot of the kids were. It was 'The Auctioneer' by Leroy Van Dyke. That's not my issue. My issue was the first song those courageous young men sang. I recognized it when the director named the selections. It was 'Viva L'amour'. Perhaps you will recognize it. The majority of the song consists of "Viva la viva la viva l'amour, viva la viva la viva l'amour, viva l'amour, viva l' la campagne." OK, so to us hicks, it sounds like viva la more, viva la company. But still. Those poor guys. Can you imagine practicing that all day, and then leading off your concert with it? Maybe you see nothing wrong with it. But the question that popped into my mind as the first strains of music began was:

"Could you possibly pick a GAYER song for these poor boys to sing?"

Not that there's anything wrong with that. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has been acquainted with a few gays in her time. I mean them no disrespect. But c'mon. It's hard enough to get high school boys to take choir. Give them something meatier to sing. Maybe the Daniel Boone theme song, or Jerry Jeff Walker's 'Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother'. And their cause was not helped by the third selection, 'There's Nothin' Like a Dame'. A showtune. Because that still sounds gay to me.

I cooked up a plan to get even with one of the choirboys. Not for singing gay songs at the assembly. My mind has taken a leap to another topic. Because it's all about ME here at the Mansion. No. Here's the deal. Choirboy tries to sleep in my class, without actually sleeping, because I told him I would write him up if he did. He's not a bad kid. It's a game we play. He goes as far as he can, but straightens up when I tell him. Like putting up his hoodie. I don't allow that. It's like wearing a hat, which is against the rules. Besides, a lot of them try to listen to iPods like that, so you can't see the ear thingy.

I enlisted the help of two choirgirls in that class. The plan is in place. We're just waiting for the opportunity. When the choirboy lays his head on his arms and closes his eyes, they will go to the back of the room like they are putting their books on the shelf. Then they will come up the rows on each side of Choirboy's desk. They will lean over next to his head, and start singing 'Viva L'amour'. Dolce at first, then building to an embarrassing crescendo. Because he has to hate that song. He has to.

But that's just MY opinion. I shall keep it to myself. I've only mentioned it to my #1 son, who is in the middle school choir. He hates that song. When he acts up, I sing it at the top of my lungs. He holds his ears and screams, "Make it stop!"

I shall not prevent anyone from singing it. Perhaps you've all got it stuck in your heads right now. Aww. Too bad. So sad. Let if never be said that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom did not 'let every good fellow now join in a song.'

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bird Brains

There was an odd occurrence at the Mansion today. There I was, minding my own business, walking around my porch at 12:30, when I spied a plethora of robins. There were 13 robins, to be exact. I'm not talking 13 Robins, like in the old Kids in the Hall segment "30 Helens agree...". No. These were not Robins. They were robins. The birds. I've never seen that many robins in one place. Usually, robins are harbingers of Spring. Today, November 10, they were just creepy. They were standing on the ground, facing the Mansion. They watched me. They were about 15 feet from the porch. They started at the corner by the path to the barn, and finished out back by Poolio. They were evenly spaced, watching, always watching me. An array of robins. Gawking. It was a bit unnerving. I saw The Birds as a youngster, and have not watched it again. I waited for them to make a move to peck my eyes out. There was an episode of screeching from a treetop, and a whole flock of robins took to the sky. The sentry joined them. Even the dogs looked up from their sun-snoozing in the front yard. I don't know what to make of it.

My Little Pony is in the poorhouse. He has lost his wallet. It's green nylon, with a velcro fastener. Won't you please help us look for it? It was last seen on Sunday, when HH took the Pony on an antique store/flea market jaunt. They were gone for hours. That's the day the Pony returned and proudly showed me two Christmas presents he had purchased for me. Yeah. He's not so good with secrets, that Pony. He also bought himself a coconut monkey. I think I already told you about it. It's a squatting monkey, carved out of an actual coconut shell. It's the size of...well...a coconut.

On Wednesday morning, I asked the Pony where he left his wallet. He wanted money for the book fair at school, and he's getting a bit old to be sending his money in an envelope for the teacher to deal with. He said his dad had it, and never gave it back. This is a bone of contention. I let the boys carry their money to The Devil's Playground. Of course, I ask them every five minutes if they still have it, but I let them be responsible. HH takes the money. "Here. I'll carry that. You'll have it lost." HH is anal like that about water on the bathroom wall, too. Those are his pet peeves. Losing money, and splashing water. Go figure.

I asked HH yesterday where he put the wallet. HH said he put it in the (secret hiding place where we keep the Christmas money that I'm not going to tell you. Not ALL the Christmas money--some of it is in the safe. Just the saving up until we get enough to put in the safe Christmas money). I looked. It wasn't there. HH checked his pimp car. Not there. He checked his jeans that he wore that day. He checked the Pony's pants and jacket. The wallet was way better at hiding than Waldo. HH decided that either the wallet had fallen out of his pocket while he and #1 were cutting wood down by the creek last Sunday, or the Pony had left it on the counter at the antique store. He ordered me not to let #1 look for it (because it's deer season, don't you know, and some city fool visiting people up in here might blow his head off and make Oberle sausage out of him). HH said he would put on his hunter orange after work and bowling, and go search for it. He also said that he would run by the antique store, because if it was left, the girls would save it for him, because they know him. I asked him why he didn't just call and ask if they found it, and he said, "I can't do that. They don't know me." Which started an argument of logic, since he had just said that they knew him. "They know me as the guy who asks for Falstaff stuff. They won't know me on the phone." I told him to say he's the guy who asks for Falstaff stuff, and did they find a wallet after his little boy bought a monkey. HH was having none of that.

The girls at the antique store oohed and ahhed at the sob story. "Aww...and he was telling us how much money he had, too. But we didn't find it. Poor little guy." The wallet was not in the woods. Then I got to quizzing HH even more. "Did you have it? He says you did. Maybe you put it somewhere else. Did he have it in the car? Did he put it in his bag with the monkey?" HH looked thoughtful. That doesn't happen often. "Now that you mention it, I think he did. I bet he left it in the bag, and he threw it away. We'll never find it." I had to chuckle. "THREW IT AWAY? We're talking about your son. That bag will be right there under his pile of books and yesterday's clothes and the box to his cast-off castle. He doesn't throw anything away without being told, and he took that monkey out of the bag right there and showed me last Sunday." HH summoned the Pony to the living room. I was in the kitchen by then, stirring up a cauldron of noodles and butter, the preferred food of Pony. I heard chortling. "DAAAAD! I thought YOU had it." Pony came to the kitchen, all smiles. He found his green wallet. He immediately took the money to pay off #1, the Payday Loan King, who had bought the Pony a Nintendo game on the promise of making a $10 profit when next allowance day rolled around. But Pony was satisfied.

$43 is a terrible thing to lose. And a joyous thing to find.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Paul Young'un

I've heard some tall tales in my life. I've even seen Babe the Big Blue Ox on an episode of The Simpsons. But there are some things that are just too implausible.

I do not understand children. By 'children', I mean those who should know better, in the 14-15 year old age range. Are they not born with BS Detectors these days? Why, oh why, do they believe the crap they tell each other?

Here's an example. I overheard it. Believe me, it's not something I would ask questions about. A 9th grade boy has been telling the kids he is the father of twins. It's not like such a thing has never happened at our school. Except I think it was an 8th-grader. Anyhoo, this kid carries a picture of his 'girlfriend' in his wallet. The others say she 'looks like a model'. Lothario has told them that he doesn't want to get caught driving without a license, because he is behind on his child support. Some of the kids have functioning BSDs. They are the ones who quiz Lothario on his daughters' names, ages, how he met his baby mama, and if he has pictures of the babies.

One of them pointed out, "This is a big Christmas for them, you know. Have you bought them any presents? You really need to get a job. Be sure to take pictures so you can show us." She doesn't believe this story for a minute. I'm inclined to agree with her. My BSD is humming right along. It doesn't even need batteries. It's like one of those flashlights that all you have to do is shake it. Except my BSD doesn't need shaking. It charges itself on overheard gossip.

Lothario says his dad drove him to St. Louis to meet her. (I suppose he's never heard of the Canadian girlfriend ploy). His dad left them alone. Now Lothario has twins. Oh, but his mom and dad don't know about it. He told one girl that the twins are about to turn 1, and she said, "Wait a minute! Last time you said they were almost 2!" Another class started talking about it, and the smartest kid in there said, "It's true, you know. He really does have twins. They're 6 years old. But don't ask his mom and dad, because he's not paying child support, and they don't know he has kids." Then the doubters came to life. "SIX! What would he have been, 8 years old when he got her pregnant? No way would his dad take him up there and leave him at 8."

We'll see if any pictures develop at Christmas.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dividers and Dividees

I have a kid in my class who reminds me of My Little Pony. They have the same face and haircut and are both a bit smaller than their classmates and talk about science-y things. I have recently put his class on a new seating chart to regain control of my classroom from a roving band of hooligans, plus a wannabee. It has been working. I can actually hear myself talk. That's all that's important. It doesn't matter if they can hear me, because they tune me out. They hear, "Blah blah blah early out blah blah substitute blah blah blah."

Yesterday, I scoped out the classroom while doing my duty in the hall, and saw MLPlite standing behind my desk. That's on Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Never Ever List. I told him, "Go to your assigned seat." He said he didn't like it. He wanted to sit up front. Never mind that he used to sit directly in front of me, and asked to move to the back. Now he is off to the side, by the windows. He promised not to cause trouble. I told him that wasn't the issue. He is a divider. Obviously, this kid is not familiar with the concept of Divide and Conquer, which was invented by a teacher in 200 AD. I think. I might have my facts wrong, but it seems plausible. The job of MLPlite is to separate two shenaniganing factors. He does it well. On the one day that I let him move, the dividees put their hoods on their heads and tightened the drawstrings to an opening the size of a quarter, and pulled their arms in their sleeves, and had a sleeve-slapping fight. All this with a desk between them. Go figure. They are hardcore, these bad apples. Don't tell me it's not fair to MLPlite. I was used as a divider in school, as are my children. It's a job we're born to do. The world is made up of two kinds of people: Dividers and Dividees.

MLPlite went back to his seat. I turned back to the hall. Not much action this hour. I am the only class that is coming back from lunch on the whole end of my hall. Then I heard, "Pssst! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom!" I turned, and saw the head of MLPlite sticking around the metal door frame. Just the head. That kid is so slender that he was standing in the light switch corner, which is only as wide as...a light switch. He still wanted to move. No dice. I sent him packing. I said, "You're like Waldo. I never know where you're going to appear next." The rest of the class got the joke. MLPlite apparently had not been introduced to Waldo.

After reading and discussion, we broke up into partners of my choosing to work. I do this a lot. It's better for them to discuss and argue than to guess at the answers and turn it in 5 minutes after getting it. I saw where Waldo went. Five minutes later, there he was by the board. I have not idea what he was doing. Then he was over by the door, sitting behind his lunch nemesis. A bit later, he appeared at the back of the room, motioning the crazy gesture with his finger by his ear. I can't explain it. He's a good kid. He gets good grades. He participates in discussion. But he's a Waldo.

I said, "Waldo, go back to that last seat you were in. I'm tired of looking for you." Waldo went back. He looked hurt. "You're racist." He has this discussion several times a day with his lunch nemesi, who take his notebook and hide his books every time he gets up. My advice would be: STOP GETTING UP! Anyhoo, they joke about it, because one of the kids is Mexican, and Waldo himself holds a good tan. But I draw the line at being presumed racist because I called him 'Waldo'. "Excuse me," I said, "but how is that racist? I'm calling you a famous fictional character who is loved by children around the world." Waldo looked puzzled. "Oh." Another student woke up and chimed in. "Dude. He's a guy in a red and white sweater who gets lost in crowds. Get over it." I think he did.

This afternoon, before our tardy bell, Waldo appeared in a seat near the front. His assigned seat was stacked upside down on his assigned desk, the legs sticking up in the air. "There," said Waldo proudly. "You have your divider."

Nice try.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Culinary Review

I think it is almost winter. It was 40 degrees at the Mansion at 5:00 p.m. Note to Self: find the mask knit cap again, put on some pants already, and carry a tissue during that 30-minute walk. My face was OH SO COLD. It, like me, had no feeling. Like an unfortunate Botox faux pas, perhaps. But right now I am sitting pretty. OH SO PRETTY, with my giant vat of Hot & Sour Soup. Mmm...I nuked it to about 560 degrees. It's kind of like a vat of boiling oil. The delicious kind.

This soup was probably not the most scathingly brilliant idea. You see, I partook of the school lunch for the first time in several years. It was chili and peanut butter sandwich day, by cracky! With a slice of American cheese, unlimited saltines, a chocolate milk that was not even spoiled, and a little cup of pineapple wedges.

I had forgotten that school chili is a bit spicy. That concoction tried to eat its way out of my stomach this afternoon. The Parkingspacestealer said the same thing happened to her. She was 'dying' after lunch. Well, I know for a fact that this was not true. If she had been dying, she would have demanded an ambulance ride again, just like that time she fell off her wheelie chair and broke her butt. So perhaps she was just a wee bit uncomfortable. I, on the other hand, was in the throes of agony from that Alien-blood chili digesting my smooth muscle tissue where the esophagus hooks up with the stomach. Thank the Gummi Mary, my bestest buddy Mabel had some Pepsid in a baggie that was coated with pink residue. She told me it was Pepsid, anyway. So of course I ingested it. Mabel wouldn't steer me wrong. And it worked! No more gnawing, buring pain. Now I am healed, and having Hot & Sour Soup. I wonder if Mabel and her magic bag of medicinal tricks make Mansion-calls.

And while I'm reviewing the school lunch program, let's discuss that peanut butter sandwich. The last one I remember was delicious. Today...not so much. It used to be on fresh white bread, the peanut butter. And its constant companion: syrup. So much syrup, in fact, that you had to be careful. The teachers were constantly warning each other, "Look out, you're gonna drip." Because we're like cops, don't you know, and look out for our own. But today, my sammich was on the dry side. The bread was too thick. And a bit stale. And Mr. Peanut Butter might as well have been all by his lonesome, for all the sugary syrupy goodness that my taste buds detected. Then the coach came out with his tray, bit into his sammich, and I saw at least a half-inch of ooey gooey peanut butter and syrup. Hmpf! Somebody's playin' favorites in the lunch line. But at least I've never gotten the rock-hard, charred chicken nuggets and a stem in every green bean serving like Mr. S. They save those things for him. He swears it's because 9 years ago, he gave somebody's daughter a low grade. Guess he learned HIS lesson the hard way. Through his stomach.

I really must go now. My Hot & Sour Soup is calling me. Hear it?
"Eat me, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom...EAT ME!"

At least I think it's the soup.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

A Snoozer

Is it Friday yet?

I am bored with school and the weather and my falling-apart LSUV and this blog and The Devil's Playground and my daily chores and the lack of interesting TV shows and the lunch I take to school every day and trying to make time to do something FOR ME every once in a while and being so tired I fall asleep in the recliner before I can even start the work I bring home from school where I stay working until 4:45 and still can't get done.

Pardon me. I'm going to the recliner to take a nap.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

I am tired to the bone, and have about 2 hours worth of grading to do if I don't want to start the day behind tomorrow. I hate missing work. It's not economical for my valuable time.

To make matters worse, every time I lay down for more than 10 minutes, I start to cough from some snot draining down my throat. Where is that snot when I'm sitting and standing, I'd like to know. It comes out of nowhere to keep me awake. It's sneaky snot. I spent from 3:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. in the recliner last night. I may be there again tonight. Nothing outsmarts sneaky snot like sitting up to sleep.

In other news, my Lower Basementia buddy called tonight and informed me that my son went to Study Island today. Who knew? I certainly did not sign a permission slip for that field trip. And who do they think they are, shipping my son off without telling me? How do they know if he's had all his shots, or if he can swim? I was not even there to shout, "Bon Voyage!" How dare they! Then she told me, "Study Island is a computer program for math problems." Never mind.

Yesterday, My Little Pony brought home a coconut monkey from the antique store. It's a squatting monkey, carved out of an actual coconut. It's really kind of cute. He bought it for himself. A cast-off gift, perhaps.

And now I'm giving myself a gift. A gift of time. Two hours to do homework. Don't hate me because I can provide myself with such a lovely gift. Hate me because I have summers off.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Random Thought...Sunday

Tonight I'm giving you Random Thought Sunday. Because I can.

A perk to living in the country is that you can throw your garbage off the back deck.

Old boiled eggs make excellent targets for BB gun practice.

Hounds will eat the targets if they are left unattended.

I'm gel-in' like a felon. Whatever that stupid commercial means. I invested in some Dr. Scholl insoles for my walking shoes. Now my heel doesn't hurt like I have plantar fasciitis. Blogger does not like Scholl and fasciitis.

Monday morning, HH is taking the boys to school. That means he has to wake them and see that they are dressed appropriately and eat breakfast and brush their teeth and comb their hair and go to the bathroom and remember their homework and backpacks and lunch money and lunch. And that they leave on time. I am not optimistic.

I have to take my mom to the hospital for a bit of surgery on Monday. She has to be there at 6:30 a.m. I'm hoping she doesn't wake up during HER surgery. At least she's not having it on Halloween like I did, so she won't have to look up from the bed on the way to surgery and see a clown and a witch and Raggedy Ann.

I've had a headache all day. I usually don't get headaches. I finally popped an ibuprofen, because that Tylenol stuff might as well be a placebo for me. It has never worked. Unless it has a nice number after it, like 3, and has some codeine up its sleeve. Then it puts me to sleep in 5 minutes or less.

The Devil's Playground has a big ol' decorated Christmas tree just inside the entrance, and was piping traditional Christmas carols throughout the store. Whatever happened to their nondenominational stance? Or does this just happen in Hillmomba?

I couldn't resist buying all my guys some snow boots. They have the thick rubber soles and cushy gray liner and the floppy camouflage top with a drawstring to keep out the snow. I get sick of trying to lace and unlace wet shoestrings. And dry out socks on the stair rail. There were some funky Napoleon Dynamite-looking boots, too, but I drew the line at the camouflage.

As you can see, I am quite optimistic about a snowy winter. And I haven't even cut open a persimmon or seen a woolly worm.

Christmas shopping online with dial-up is a bit like letting your Amish buddy enter the Indy 500. Not advisable.

So many books. So little time. I really want to take a week and do nothing but read these new books I've got stockpiled.

Mabel is the best friend Chex Mix can buy.

One of my teaching buddies left early Friday to get a flu shot. She has sworn for years that she would NEVER get a flu shot. Last year she got the flu.

The Amazing Race starts tonight. I loooves me some Amazing Race.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Chili Day At The Mansion

It's chilly outside, so I brewed up a big pot of chili inside. I don't have a recipe. It's different every time. But I assure you, it's really chili. Not that Not-Really Chili that somebody is famous for. Mine isn't really from scratch. I tossed in two packets of powdered chili seasoning. Then there was that big pack of The Devil's Playground ground beef, which I am not too fond of, preferring to purchase my meat at Save-A-Lot, but I only made one stop the day of the meat-buying. From that traditional start, I added the customary can of tomato sauce, a can of tomato paste, a can of diced tomatoes, another can of diced tomatoes with garlic and basil and oregano. I think that's what it was. It smelled like pizza sauce. I only had one can of chili hot beans, so I foraged through the pantry to see what I could rustle up. I found a can of BBQ beans or something. It's a Save-A-Lot brand, and they don't call them Pork 'n' Beans, because there's no pork in them, and the beans are more sweet than tomatoey. Only that can expired in June 2007, so I tossed it out to the dogs, and found another that was good until 2009. In it went, into the bottomless cook-pot , which was crying for something more. So I also stirred in a can of black-eyed peas. A legume, by any other name, is still a legume, after all. This concoction was a bit thick. HH walked in on me stirring the cauldron with two hands. He said it looked really good. I told him I was about to add water. "Why? I like it thick." I explained that my mom and grandma were each getting a quart, and they expected it to be like regular chili. "Who cares what they like," HH said, in that way he has of winning friends and influencing people. When he left the kitchen, I stirred in two cans of water. After all, a long-handled serving spoon should not be able to stand at attention in the middle of a pot of chili. Oh, and I have not mentioned my secret ingredient, of which I added 5 tablespoons.

I must say, that was some good chili. I had it for lunch, and again for supper, with hunk of sharp cheddar on the side. And plenty of saltines mixed in. HH prefers his chili with toast. That is just un-American. Who ever heard of chili and toast? Not me, until I married HH. The #1 son ate a bowl with crackers on the side. I must admit that my mom had offered me some chili hot beans only yesterday, but I politely declined them. You see, they were the large cans, and they were in her basement. I have never known her to get food from her basement. The pantry in her family room, a level below her kitchen, sure. But not the basement. And knowing her penchant for serving 4-year-old Ranch Dressing at holiday dinners, I was wantin' none o' her beans. It didn't help matters when I told her of throwing out my June 2007 beans, and she said, "Oh, there was nothing wrong with them!"

I left my children unattended tonight to run to town for the PowerBall tickets. Don't call DFS on me. The #1 son is going to be 13 in 6 weeks. He actually volunteered to keep his 9-year-old brother. "Let him stay with me, Mom. We're playing the Wii. We'll be fine." I have left him in the house before, but not with a built-in victim, when HH was at the barn. Tonight, HH was down in the woods at his shack. Excuse me: MiniMansion. He had the Scout and his phone. He could be up here in 3 minutes. It's not like I was going downtown to buy crack while HH was in Germany. I was gone from 6:25 to 6:45. I called HH before I left to advise him of the child abandonment. He gave his OK. Of course, I worried about them the whole time I was gone. I can't imagine what I'll do when #1 starts driving. When I got back, HH was in the house with them. He said he was done fiddling about at his cabin. That empty plate with Cherries Jubilee Cheesecake crumbs from the school fundraiser said that he just got hungry for dessert.

Anyhoo, the sky didn't fall on them. They have survived to eat chili another day. And the day after that. It's a really big pot.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Beastie Weasties

My Little Pony is castless for the first time in 4 weeks. His arm is flaky and snaky-looking. If he can't bend and twist if completely after a week, he will need therapy. Most kids do, after this type of injury and immobilization. That's what the doctor told us way back when he got his first cast. He is happy as a clam, My Little Pony. His dad took him to see Bee Movie. This is the opening day for that movie. He never gets to go on the opening day. I declare that it's too crowded. However, people do not piss HH off to the extent they piss HM off, so they went.

Tonight we had a big cat-fight at the Mansion. There I was, walking around the porch, minding my own business, when there came such a yowling that I knew this was no little spat. Off the back of the 5th-wheel camper came my longhaired white calico cat. All of the other animals hate her. Let's just say that 'Snuggles' is not aptly named. The black tuxedo cat, who I swear is the devil, was after her. They balled up in a cloud of flying white fur, and rolled like Chinese acrobats across the side yard, through the wooden pool deck steps, under the deck, beside the Free Hairwad Hot Tub, and under the wooded, decaying playset that the kids have never liked. During the fracas, all the other pets ran to spectate. The 3 dogs followed along after the flying furball, like the townspeople in A Quiet Man. Only none of them proffered a stick 'to beat the lovely lady'. The 2 other cats ran around the deck, like baseball spectators in the nosebleed section, just itching to move down and sit behind the plate. Snuggles wedged herself under the deck of that wooden playset, which is about 5 inches off the ground. No other furry beast dared stick his head in there. Tank the beagle crouched down on his elbows, daring her to come out. He is a well-known cat-molester. The other dogs trotted over to the devil and sniffed noses, the doggie equivalent of a high-five. I guess we know who dwells at the bottom of the pecking order.

Speaking of pecking (I was dying to end that with -ers instead of -ing, but don't want that kind of traffic around my Mansion), HH called me on the way to the movie to report that he and The Pony had seen something in a field on the county road by the low-water bridge. According to HH, it was some kind of large bird with white behind its head, bright fiery orange eyes, black body, around 4-5 feet tall, ostrich wings, and a straight black flamingo neck. Wow. Too bad he didn't write the Seinfeld episode where they all try to meet at the movies and describe each other to the ticket-taker. My personal favorite was George: 'Humpty-Dumpty with a melon head'. But the #1 son prefers Jerry: 'horse face with flaring nostrils'. Kramer the 'hiptster doofus', and Elaine the 'frying-pan face, big wall of hair' bring up the rear. Anyhoo, The Pony corroborates the story. He adds, "I knew it wasn't a turkey because its neck was long." Maybe they've discovered a new Jersey Devil. Or maybe it's an emu that got away. People on the back side of our compound, near the other county road, used to raise them around the time The Pony was born. HH says he got a picture on his phone. That should be interesting. HH has glasses but doesn't wear them. The Pony brought home a letter from school that he failed his vision test at 20/30 and 20/80. Methinks of Seinfeld again, when George saw Jerry's girlfriend kissing Cousin Jeffrey, but it turned out to be a woman kissing a horse. I can't wait to get a gander at that photo.

That's EMU. Not EMO. Don't even get me started there. I've got enough of them in one class to start my own...well...whatever you would start if you had a lot of emos. Whatever that may be, it wouldn't be pleasant. Laws, NO! Not like IMO's. M-O-O-N. That spells, "That's some good pizza, that IMO's." Even if my next-to-next-door teaching buddy calls it 'Velveeta on cardboard.' She's not renowned for her taste. Let's leave it at that.

And my little blog, too.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Water-Hogs At The Trough

Random Thought Thursday is on hiatus this week, in order to bring you Water-Hogs At The Trough, a timely tale of the Haves and Have-Nots.

If the drinking fountains have been wrapped in black trash bags since Monday because the school is under a 'boil water' order, wouldn't you think the kids would quit drinking from the fountains? My flock of singing canaries told me they saw two boys unwrap the trash bags, take a drink, and put them back.

When the school provides bottled water due to a boil order, set out on a table in the hall, that means take a bottle to drink from throughout the day. Right? Don't ya think? Not pick one up every 50 minutes between classes. Or have 7 of them by lunchtime. Right? This is why we can't have nice things. Or more specifically: This is why we can't keep ourselves from dehydrating. The bad apples keep spoiling the whole bunch. This must be what it is like after FEMA moves in with FREE items after a disaster. Because hey, it's FREE! I'd better get me some of that in case I can sell it or trade it or just because it's FREE, by cracky! And better yet, I need to make sure I get more than anybody else, because I know some people won't want theirs anyway, and of course I am more deserving than anybody else, so I need to rent me one of those U-Haul trailers so I can carry it all, and rent me a storage shed to store it.


The Amazingly True Adventure Of One Boy And His Water Bottle.
(You're welcome. I cranked out this screenplay even though I went on strike last night.)

The curtain rises. Jeb sits at his desk, working studiously to expand a binomial, a nearly empty water bottle beside his pencil tray. He finishes, lays down his pencil, and puts the water bottle in the pocket of his enormous pants.

Jeb: Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? May I use the restroom?
Mrs. HM: Yes. Take the pass.

A few moments later, Jeb returns. Mrs. Hillbilly Mom continues to assist a student with a thirst for knowledge. She hates to see a student yearn. Jeb sits down and pulls a water bottle from his pants. He sets it on his desk. It is full of water, and missing the label. Jeb's friend Bo begs for a drink.

Bo: C'mon. Just a sip? I haven't had any water all day. There's never any bottles when I go by.
Jeb: Here.

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom catches them in the act. Jeb pulls the bottle away from Bo's grasping hands.

Mrs. HM: Hey! Why did you go get water when I let you go to the bathroom?
Jeb: You don't know that's a new bottle. Look. It's been opened.
Mrs. HM: Then why is it full? The one you came in with was nearly empty.
Jeb: Who says I didn't refill it?
Mrs. HM: Well, I don't know where. We're under a boil water order. Why do you think we have bottled water? Because you can't drink the water!
Jeb: There's nothing wrong with the sink water. Just the drinking fountain water.
Bo: Thanks, man.

Bo has taken the bottle off Jeb's desk during the inquisition. Bo burps, and hands the now empty water bottle back to Jeb. The rest of the students stare, bug-eyed, at Bo and Jeb.

Bruiser: What are you, an idiot? You filled it up with bad water!
Lilly: And Bo just drank it!
Bo: What?
Bruiser: You just drank that bad water out of the sink. Been nice knowin' ya.
Mrs. HM: What were you thinking?

Bo glares at Jeb. Jeb shrugs.

Jeb: I didn't drink it.

The curtain closes as Mrs. Hillbilly Mom bangs her head slowly, repetitively, on a desk.


Ain't I a great playwright? That's how I keep the union from suing me for writing screenplays. I pretend it's a play. There's a difference, right? This is my first one.