Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rootin' Tootin' Coin Roundup

Today we had a rootin' tootin' coin roundup. That means we gathered up all the spare change that was rattling around in the Large SUV and the kitchen cabinet change-holder thingy inside the Mansion. Not that it was a custom-made cabinet feature or anything-- just a plastic container that I dump change in when I've forgotten to take it out of my pocket. HH doesn't contribute. He actually SPENDS his change. Not us. Not unless we are in line at Sonic and it looks like they're going to bring out the drink before it's our turn at the window, and we want to give exact change because HELLO if we wanted to give a tip, we would have pulled into one of those order/menu slot thingies.

We have been planning the roundup for over a week. I told the boys that if they gathered up all the change and rolled it, I would let them split it and spend on fireworks. But being spoiled, unmotivated children of today's generation, they put it off. Today I told them I was going to do it myself, and they would get nothing. #1 jumped right in. He took a bowl from the clean pile in the dish drainer (have I mentioned that we don't have a dishwasher?) and hoofed right out to the LSUV for harvest. #2 son lay on the couch, playing his Nintendo DS Lite. "No. I don't care. I have money. I don't need it." Well, whoop-de-doo! Ain't that big talk for a little boy? So we counted and stacked and rolled, my firstborn and I. He took the car change, and I took the Mansion change. I told him from the start that he would not get it all. I told him he could have half, and I would take half.

Near the end, we ran short of a few coins to complete a roll. We needed 13 pennies. I sent #1 to the dresser in my bedroom, thinking HH had laid a pile of change from his pocket there overnight. HH was out front, scrubbing his 1980 Olds Toronado pimpmobile. The boy came back with 13 pennies. I made him leave dime in their place. What HH doesn't know won't hurt him. Oh, and then I asked #1 what he did with the wheat penny I found and gave him. "Umm...I think I put it in one of those rolls." Yeah. There were six rolls of pennies. I wasn't going through them. Bye, bye, wheat penny. We hardly knew ye. Then we needed eight quarters. Again, I gave the boy two dollars, and sent him to HH's stash. He came back with the two dollars. "I think they're all bicentennial quarters or something. And you know...I think those pennies were ALL wheat pennies." He dashed to the table. Yep. HH should thank the Gummi Mary that we ran short of penny roll papers momentarily. So back went the 13 pennies. And I sent #1 back to get my dime, too. So then we had to scrounge for 13 pennies and 8 quarters again.

We had already called upon #2 son for two nickels to complete our nickel-rolling needs. He was reluctant until I promised him a dime. That changed his attitude. He thought he came out ahead in that deal. The next option was to send #1 out to ask HH for the change in his pockets. He had nine pennies. He told #1 to go to his basement vault room and get his John Deere coin-counting conveyor belt thingy. #1 came back upstairs and ripped the innards out of it. There were NO pennies. But there were 11 quarters, so we helped ourselved to eight. We tried #2 son for the pennies, but he had none. Then I opened up the cabinet, and one lay right in front of my nose. About the same time, #1 shouted, "There's one on the floor!" So now we only needed two. Yeah. It's like it was a matter of life and death to find two pennies to complete a 50-cent roll.

#2 son was back on the couch. I told #1, "Watch this. Hey, that's gonna be A LOT of money when we get done. If we could only find just TWO MORE pennies, we could count it. Someone's going to be sorry he didn't help." #2 son jumped up. "I didn't know you needed help! I can help now! And I can get half of the money." Pin, meet bubble. "No. You said you didn't need the money. There's no way you're getting half. But if you can find two pennies, I'll give you some of the money." He rushed to the front door. "Where's my other flipper?" Then he ran out to the garage. In 30 seconds, he was back. "Here they are. Two pennies. And that's only from the front under your seat." Who knows what else is out there. But we were done.

Grand total: $37.50.

I told #2 son that if he could count it, he could have one fourth. He did OK with the two rolls of quarters, two rolls of dimes, and two rolls of nickels. It was the seven rolls of pennies that stumped him. He kept getting $37 or $38. I finally told him to count just the pennies. On the third try, he got it. I said, "Now how much is one fourth of that?" He's only nine, people. He just finished third grade. He thought for a minute, and said, "Eight dollars and fifty cents." Which is fairly close, a good ballpark guess. Then I told #1, who just finished sixth grade, and who I say has let his brain atrophy for a year, to divide it in half. It took him about 10 seconds to say, $18.75. I checked him on a calculator. Bingo! I thought of giving him a twenty, just to be done with it, but then I remembered that he owed me $5 for a fast-food lunch that he just HAD to have. So I told him to go to his billfold, get me $6, and I'd give him a twenty. He agreed. HEY! He got an extra $.25.

I told #2 son that I would give him $9. Yeah, I know that a fourth of the booty would be $9.38. But he doesn't know that, and anyway, all he did was find two pennies, so I though I was being generous. Then I saw that I didn't have small bills, so I said, "Bring me a dollar and I'll give you a ten. "WooHOO!" the boy screamed. #1 son and I rolled eyes at each other. We may need to teach the young 'un a bit more about money conversion.

Oh, and after taking all that money out of the John Deere silo, and running it LOUDLY up the conveyor belt so that it dropped into the coin stacking thingy again...#1 son picked it up and promptly dropped it, scattering coins all over the kitchen floor. #2 son even volunteered to help pick them up, what with his $9 windfall fresh in his mind.

Monday, I'll have to go cash in all that change. But now it will be MINE, by cracky. Even though I paid out the spoils already. Maybe that's where #2 gets his funny money ideas.

Friday, June 29, 2007

HM Waxes Poetic

Since we went to the library yesterday, and I'm only halfway through one of the four books I've checked out, and I've got to polish my science fiction story for this week's contest, and we're taking my mom to see Evan Almighty this afternoon...I'm cutting things shorter today and giving you a poem. I ain't no poet. And don't we all know it? Here it is, in all its 10 minutes of glory, because that's how long it took me to write.

Plopping in the Mansion on a Summer Afternoon

Whose mansion this is, I think I know.
He's working in the city, though.
He does not see me plopping here.
It's summertime. I take it slow.

My Little Pony thinks it odd
To watch TV until I nod
From staying up so very late.
QUIET! I'll not spare the rod!

He keeps his noise down to a roar
While building, playing IN the floor.
He storms the pantry for a snack,
Then with some darts attacks the door.

I'd like to dance and twirl and leap
But I'd collapse into a heap.
I've books to read before I sleep.
I've books to read before I sleep.

The comments are open for guesses on which poem I'm ripping off. The title AND the author. Since my comments lie fallow until I decide to publish them, nobody has to worry about giving away the answer too early, or giving someone else a clue. Methinks Meanie has the advantage in this one. First, there's that English teacher thing she's got goin' on. Secondly, she is, after all, a regular poetess. One who writes poems because she likes to write poems, not just to fill up blog space while copying the work of one of America's great poets. There. That was a clue. The title itself is a clue. Get after it, you Scooby Doos! Round up Velma and fire up the Mystery Machine. Time to get crackin', by cracky!

And I didn't even point out the most obvious clue.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Bookish Adventures of Hillbilly Mom

We made a trip to the library today. Great Googley Moogley! You'd think they were handing out free cheese or something. Most of the parking spots were full. That means there were about 9 assorted vehicles out front. And there was a waiting line when we went in, and when we left. #2 son wanted to return his two books, and get more. #1 son wanted to look up inventors and inventions. I was just looking for more free books that I paid $8 for last week. Never mind that I still have not finished my other two. Cerberus said we could check out 10 at once. And I just might. Because I can. And because Cerberus acts like they are her own personal property. OK. I know I am like that about my stuff at school. But that's different. That's MINE MINE MINE.

When we went in, there was a man at the counter. He was wearing cut-off jean shorts, some muscley-looking shirt, and white socks rolled down over brown suede work boots. The boots were clean. Methinks he was there to use the computer to surf some g@y pr0n. Perhaps that's a bit judgmental of me. I'm just going by the stereotypes I see on The Simpsons. Anyhoo...the Village Person was getting a library card made like we did last week. And d'ya know what? They gave him a temporary card. Which we were not even offered. Go figure! I might have been wrong about him, because he left without going to the computer room. They said they would let him know when whatever he wanted came in. And to look out for the woman in line behind him who ends sentences with prepositions.

#2 returned his books, and we got our laminated library cards that we bought last week. Now I KNOW they didn't give us our cards the last time we went. Because I could never throw away a laminated card. A new worker, perhaps a real live librarian, passed us on the steps. "I leave you for a couple of minutes, and you've got a crowd." Man, these librarians are a vicious group. We descended to the stacks. I started browsing in fiction at the Zs, and #2 found his two books right away. #1 went off and found one book on 20th century inventions such as the Jarvik heart. I got Salem Falls, by Jodi Picoult, and True Grit, by Charles Portis. That last one is because I just watched the movie again the other day, and it's been a loooong time since I read the book. The first one was because Oprah pimped one of her other books, and I think I liked it, and she's rather prolific, so I decided I was thirsty for more.

When we lined up to check out our books, there was a woman with THREE kids in front of us. She had to pay fines, and asked why it was so much, and was told that it was because her youngest spawn had been overdue with VIDEOTAPES, and they were $.25 per day late fee. Then the woman laughed and said, "Well, we like to support our library." And went on to ask if there were any writer's clubs in the area. Yeah. Right. We are lucky to have a library. Another worker came upstairs and opened the gates to the flight deck, and said, "Well, I know Mike Somebody used to go to one out at the Smorgasbord Restaurant, but I don't know if they have it anymore. I think he goes to 30-Mile Town now." The Scofflaw said, "My husband is a writer. Well, he has written 14 chapters. I guess you would say he's writing a novel. He was wanting someone to take a look at it." Worker said, "Let me make a note. I'll call Mike and see if he knows anything. You can check with me next time." Whew! Scofflaw & Co. got out of the way. While waiting, I had been browsing the used book shelves, and saw a book about writing. Any other time, I would have mentioned it to that Scofflaw, but today I was not in the mood to be the library pimp, and sell their $1.00 books for them. Anyway, that book had something about Christian writing on the cover, and that's just not my cup of tea, and that Scofflaw didn't look particularly Jesusy herself (not that there's anything wrong with that) so I just let it go. She can find it herself when she has to wait in line and wants to ignore her kids.

A woman had walked up to the side of the desk, but Controller ignored her. It was our turn, after all. Cerberus was working today, but in an assistant capacity. There was a young woman (under 50) who was at the controls. Dear, sweet Cerberus. How have you lived all these years and not learned that what goes around comes around? Remember how mean you were to that old lady working with you last week? Today, the Controller gave it right back to Cerberus. #2 son handed her his books and card. She shot them with the red-line gun thingy, and gave them back. I put my books down, and Controller wrote the date in the front, scanned my card...and said, "Do you still have the other books?" No. I'm a scofflaw. I put them on your shelf to sell for $1.00 apiece. But I really said, "Yes. Two. They're due on Tuesday." Cerberus shoved the books back at me. "Wait a minute! I'm not done!" Controller gave Cerberus a withering glare, and grabbed the books back and shot their spines. "Now. I'm done." Hee hee.

They were flustered because of the rush. It's not like we had ice cream melting while we waited in line. It's not like we left our kids in the car. I think they needed some Benadryl to calm them down.

Or perhaps, a life. Apiece.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ziploc, Tick Caught

We had a little downpour at the Mansion last evening. #1 son captured this picture. It caught my eye, and now you can enjoy it, too. Maybe I can ship him off to that town that got free cameras. Maybe I can just ship him off anywhere, with no return address. Then the Mansion would be more peaceful. I believe that #2 son would even donate his allowance money for the postage. He has grown weary of being shoved in the pantry and having the door slammed shut. And of being the perpetual target of the Nerf dart gun. I can not provide 24-hour bodyguard service. It's not my nature. He will have to fend for himself.

We have done nothing today except trap a tick. It was not on the itinerary. There I was, minding my own business talking to Mabel on the phone, and #2 son shouted, "There's a tick crawling across the floor!" I told him I didn't think there would be a tick in the house. "Yes, there is. It was in my armpit, and I grabbed it and threw it down." So I told him to grab it and throw it outside. Mabel objected. "You need to save it in a Ziploc bag in case he gets sick." So I told him to get a Ziploc bag. "A what?" Yeah. We call it a baggie around these parts. Then he didn't want to touch it with is hand, even though he had just wrenched it from the tender flesh of his armpit, so he grabbed a Kleenx, which is what we call all tissues around here, even though they are actually Puffs With Aloe. We bagged the tick, and put it on top of the fake fireplace. Which we call HH's Folly. Though not really, because HH might take offense, what with hoping for a power outage at the first cloud in the sky, so he can use the new generator he bought last winter.

After chatting with Mabel for over and hour, I made the boys some lunch and called HH. He was on his way to North St. Louis, which is a detail I would have been just as happy not knowing. I told him not to throw away the tick baggie. He said, "Save it? I've never heard of that." Which just tells you that HH is not up on his current events. Then he said, "Well, the vet saves all the ticks she takes off the dogs, but she puts them all in one big jar of alcohol, and doesn't label them for each patient." I spoke slowly to explain. "Umm...they're dogs. I imagine she does it to see what type of dieases are being carried by the ticks. But if it's your child, wouldn't you want him treated for the right disease from the beginning?" HH agreed. M-O-O-N. That spells HH understand now. Ticks bad.

I hope tomorrow proves to be as fraught with excitement as today.
By cracky.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Inspecting Lunch Shoppers

Today we took the LSUV for an inspection, since he needs a new license by July 1. I swear, it seems like only two years ago we just got him a new license. I really would have rather HH took LSUV, because I think car people are condescending to women. I was afraid they might tell me I needed to have the air in my tires changed, or some such nonsense. But they didn't.

My mom offered to pick us up and take us to lunch, so I didn't have to sit around with my annoying young 'uns waiting for 30 minutes. Or more. HH doesn't know how good he's got it, not having to drag them with him everywhere he goes. One time, when #2 son was about 5 months old, and #1 was 3-and-a-half, HH volunteered to do the weekly grocery shopping. I think he was feeling guilty for taking off work a whole week to 'take care of me' when the doctor put me on bed rest during the 7th month of #2's gestation, and then leaving me alone to go deer hunting every day. Anyhoo, we did our shopping at Aldi's back then, which is like Save-A-Lot, but not as fancy. This was because I wasn't working for a whole year, and ya gotta save a buck where you can.

OK, HH didn't really do the shopping like I did, because I still rode along with him, and waited in the car with #2. So he just had #1 son to deal with, and the groceries. When they came out of Aldi's, I thought HH was going to have a stroke. He was flapping his arms around and saying, "I can't believe you have to bag your own groceries! And you even have to put them back in the cart!" This was back in the day when the Aldi's checkers just punched in the price and shoved the stuff down the counter. You had to grab it and put it in your cart, then take it over to the counter by the wall and bag or box it. At least now, they put it in the cart as they ring it up. HH was truly flustered. "She went so FAST! I was trying to grab the food, and he was running around, and the stuff was piling up, and people were backed up in the line to the frozen food. I can tell you right now, you will never have to bring the kids shopping with you again. I don't know how you do it." Which was the best part, him admitting that it was kind of hard to do all that with TWO kids to watch. Yeah. That promise week, until it was time to go shopping again. HH had something he had to do, so I had to take both kids, just like always. But at least he walked one day in half of my mocassins. Ahh...good times. mom wanted to go to a nearby town to the new Rally's. Only the best for the Hillbilly family. We drove through the line where the passenger had to pay. Taking the hint, I got out my money. "Oh, no. I don't mean you have to pay. Here, take this money." You know how that goes. It's just easier to pay and get it over with. I don't need her money. I don't have to shop at Aldi's anymore. We hauled our burgers to the park and had a picnic. #2 son didn't want his toy, a Mr. Potato Head snap-together thingy. #1 said, "Hey, Mom. Remember? It's just like the My Little Pony incident." Yeah. He didn't want that toy, either. So #1 and I played with Mr. Potato Head, while #2 foraged for M & Ms under Grandma's car seats, and bent over into the garbage cans. Sometimes, my mom leaves a bit to be desired from a childcare standpoint. And now we another name to call that boy when we want to tease him. He can be either "My Little Pony" or "Mr. Potato Head". Heh, heh. Don't call that 1-800-BAD-MOM number. I think it was disconnected because it was lacking a digit.

We went back to pick up the LSUV and make a stop at The Devil's Playground. We needed some necessities, like soap, shampoo, hair color, and music CDs. #2 son wanted Tim McGraw, for the 'Last Dollar' song, which if you don't know it, is the one with the lyrics, "One, two, three, like a bird I sing, cause you've given me the most beautiful set of wings..." I'm sure Diva has heard it, because we're living each other's lives, you know. #1 son wanted Rodney Atkins, which I am not so fond of, what with that song about the little boy eating his Happy Meal and swearing like his daddy. Oh, and we got the new Sugarland and Kelly Clarkson. Because we all like Sugarland, and I saw the Crossroads show on CMT Sunday night with Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson, and while I am not a fan of either, that Kelly girl has quite the voice. I bet she could win a contest or something. She wiped the floor with tired old washed out Reba, though I did enjoy their rendition of 'Fancy' at the end of the show. Just for the record, we rarely buy CDs. I think the last one I bought was Sugarland, 'Twice the Speed of Life'. We used to offer to burn HH copies to play on the way to work, but since he was driving that Mercedes that he has since killed, he couldn't, because it only had a tape player, not a CD player. I guess we could offer again, now that he's driving the Too-Big Gas Hog.

Nahhh...we don't want to spoil HH.

Monday, June 25, 2007

First, The Slaughter

In keeping up with those trendsetting honeybees, our Mansion wasps have also done the disappearing act. Almost. They are kind of like a 3rd grade magician. You know, like they can pull a buttload of handkerchiefs out of a cane, but can't make an elephant disappear. MOST of the wasps are gone. There was still one little enclave, a nest about four inches in diameter, with four or five puffy white embryonic future-wasps stuffed in some holes. Oh, and there were five big black three-inch-long superwasps crawling over the old homestead. I didn't even know it was there. The #1 son told me, when I was crying some crocodile tears about the loss of our wasp population. So I did what any good hillbilly mom would do, and opened up a big can of wasp killer on their waspy black a$$es. Three were dead before they hit the porch, one writhed in agony for about five seconds, and another fell off the porch and pretended to fly away. But I think it was just bravado, because it's a long way down, and methinks his wings quit working after a couple of flaps. That nest was soaked and dripping globs of Save-A-Lot insect killer. I think the babies must also be dead. But HH is the one who's going to knock it down. Better me safe and him sorry. Because it IS all about ME.

When I went outside to check on the wasp herd, I noticed that Poolio was having some difficulties. Not so much Poolio as his own personal ROOMBA, who I shall call Polarious. Because he's really a Polaris, but he's quite the little blue comedian, and I find him to be Polarious. He always gets himself into a jam. Usually around the steps. Then he can't do his routine. It's like he has a stammer. He pulls forward, gets caught on his net hose, backs up, and tries again. And again. And again. And...well, you see what I mean. Usually, the #1 son can be tricked into going around back and reaching his arm over the side and freeing Polarious. Because he is all about the technology. But it seems the bloom is off Polarious this year, and the boy refused. So I wheedled #2 son into doing it. Except that he is a much smaller boy, and can barely see over the side of Poolio. So a different tactic must be used. I told him to slip off his jammie pants and go around to the backyard in his t-shirt and underwear. It was about 10:00 a.m., but that's really no excuse, because that boy wore his jammies today until 5:15 p.m.

Anyhoo...the plan was for the boy to climb down the ladder far enough to reach the dragging net hose of Polarious, and pull the net away from the bottom of the steps where it had become lodged. But the hose was too deep. So I told him he could take off his underwear and t-shirt and get down in the pool to free the hose. Oh, don't think #2 son minded. He lives to get naked. At least we've stopped him from bending over and pointing his butt. So he stripped down and got into the pool and freed that hose and even swam Polarious across Poolio so he could start his rountine over. It was all in a day's work for that boy. He is the helpingest kid I've ever seen.

I worry about #2 being tortured by #1 son when they are out of my sight. Just this morning, I heard gunfire and screams. OK, it was the Nerf dart gun. They both have one. What darling Christmas presents you give, Grandma. So I figured they were just waging their usual war. This afternoon, #2 went upstairs for a snack. We had been watching Shiver Me Whiskers, the Tom and Jerry cartoon. I thought #1 was safely preoccupied in his room with Lappy. Then I heard the squeal of terror, and the pounding of feet. I could see the feet by the stair railing. And a bigger pair of feet right after them. So I bellowed for the shenanigans to halt. And here is the story I got.

"I didn't do anything to him. He just started screaming. I don't know why. All I did was go to hug him, and he took off screaming. Yes I did. I wanted to hug him. Because when he was in the pantry, I got behind the door, and then he said I scared him, and he kicked me, so I felt bad for scaring him, and I was going to hug him, but he ran away."

I am concerned about that boy's future as a lawyer. He's got to think up better stories than that to protect the guilty. I could drive a Large SUV through the holes in that story.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

HH Almighty

We all went to see Evan Almighty today. It was good. I'll probably see it again. Shame on me for smuggling in movie candy. I can't see paying $3.26 a box for what I can get for $0.99 at Save-A-Lot. There were no annoying kids that sat in front of us. Only the little girl who went out for refills and yanked the door wide open so it stuck and let light flow in pissed me off. I made #2 son go close the door. That's why I had kids, you know. To do those little tasks that I don't want to do.

We had an argument on the way home. As we came out of the theater, there was a large black cloud in the direction of the Mansion. We live about 20 miles from the movie place. I said, "It looks bad over that way. That's right over our house." #1 son concurred. But not HH. Oh, laws no! M O O N. That spells: HH would argue that the moon is made of green cheese and there is a specimin of it in Area 51 if Mrs. HM said it was made of rocks and we never really landed there. He is just that disagreeable. HH said, "Heh, heh. We don't live that way. We live over there." No. We don't. We were driving that way, but that's not where we live. I can't believe he said that. I am the one with a bad sense of direction, but even I knew where our Mansion was located. As we got closer, we spied the tall water tower of the prison. A fool could find our Mansion from there. It is only about four miles back in the woods. HH still disagreed.

As we rounded the curve right in front of the prison, HH said, "OH! I don't see any raindrops falling from that black cloud." Smartypants. We waited. Just before the first low-water bridge, about two miles from the Mansion, raindrops started to hit the windshield of the LSUV. #1 son crowed, "Well! Here's the rain Mom and I were telling you about!" HH had an HH attack. He was livid. "We're not even home yet! I could't care less if it rains, except that we need some rain." Hmm...wonder why he was celebrating victory out on the county road, back by the prison? We weren't home yet then, either. If he didn't care, why did he bring it up? So he started saying how I said it was raining over our house, when all I'd said was that we were under that black cloud. Oh, and it WAS raining at the Mansion, with the roof and grass and driveway all wet as well. So HH said all we ever do is make fun of people, and plopped his butt on the porch with Grizzly, his only friend.

Let's recap. HH was the one who laughed when I said the Mansion was under a dark cloud. Not me. I merely made a statement about the weather. He was the one who made fun of my sense of direction. But I was right this time, by cracky! About something geographical. At least I know how to find my way home.

I swear, if HH said God told him to build an ark, I wouldn't doubt that part of it. But I know he would mess up the date, and we would all wash away the day before HH said the ark had to be finished. Because that's how he rolls. HH is just not known for his attention to detail. And he would probably bring three of each animal, too. Just so he would have a spare.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It Depends On The Jolts

We had a little thunderstorm roll through about two hours ago. Of course it crashed Crashy. Thank the Gummi Mary that Gamey is still critically dead. Or else it would have killed him again. The power didn't even really go off. It dimmed and came back, several times. And I don't even think they're executing anyone at the prison tonight.

I asked HH what we need to do about this electrical crap. Seeing as how that's his job and all. How he's elbow deep in electric boxes half the day. The other half, he's in something called the 'oil pit'. That's what he says. For all I know, he's wrestling oiled-up bikini-clad hoochies. Anyhoo...HH said we need good surge suppressors. I asked him what he considers good. Surely my $19.97 one is better than a $2 one. I asked, "How much is a good one? Two hundred dollars?" HH said, "I don't know. It depends on how many Jolts they can carry."

Ahem. Jolts. This is from a man who works with electricity for a living. Aren't you glad you don't live in Missouri? So I said, "Jolts? Are you sure that's the word you're looking for?" And HH said, "You know. Joels." No. I don't know Joels. But as a science teacher who has dabbled in physics, I am familiar with Joules. So I said, "Do you mean 'Joules'?" And HH agreed. But what with all the trouble I had dragging that scientific info from him, I don't know if it really lists such a thing on surge suppressors.

I am also not happy with HH due to his compulsive shirking of responsibility. For example, this morning as he was packing some snacks to take to his annual family reunion, he didn't have enough room due to an empty water bottle left on the cutting block. I walked into the kitchen and noticed his predicament. I said, "Where'd this water bottle come from?" Because, well, it wasn't there when I went to bed at 1:00 a.m. HH said, "I don't know. Maybe one of the kids left it there." Which is a bunch of hooey, because those kids wouldn't drink water from a bottle unless they were giving it away for free at school when the boil water order is on. And besides, it was a brand indiginous to the BARn, because HH bought a case of purified water one time, and keeps it over there because I won't drink it. And he had taken some of it down into the woods last night to the MiniMansion. Sooo...I continued, "The kids don't drink water out of the bottles. #1 drinks right out of the sink faucet, and #2 hauls out that 50 lb. pitcher of cold water to spill it when he pours." HH stalled for a minute, then said, "Well, it's possible it could be mine, from when I got up at 3:00 to get a drink. But I'm sure I threw the empty bottle away." So I had to ask, "Oh, and one of the boys picked it up out of the trash and took the lid off and set them on the cutting block while we were sleeping?" Because I had to wake up both boys at 9:30 this morning.

See? If he would just say, "Oh, I forgot to throw it away. Could you get it?", then I would. It makes me want to scream when he devises such elaborate scenarios to avoid responsibility. It's like when I ask if I can bring him something from the kitchen, and instead of saying 'yes', he says, "I don't care" or "If you want to". And when he does that, I say, "I don't care either, so I won't" or "I don't really want to, so forget that I offered". Because he drives me crazy with this freakin' avoidance of responsibility and decision-making. Like he had a pile of stuff on the kitchen table, and said it wasn't his. "Well, that's the bill for my breather that I had to talk to insurance about, and I figured you would put it away and not just leave it there." Which I would have, if he ever told me he was done with it, or had put it back in my purse, or on the bill stack. So I used his favorite excuse when he has done something wrong: "Well, I don't know what you're doing."

How would he like it if I threw a couple of lawn chairs out in the 6-acre yard when he's mowing? "Well, I thought you'd pick them up. I don't know where they came from. Maybe the dogs drug them out there. I guess it could have been me, trying to teach you a lesson, but I'm sure I changed my mind because it's not worth arguing about. And anyway, you can see I'm not sitting in them, so you know you can move them. I swear, I don't know what you're doing when you get on that mower every other week."

Just sayin'...he drives me nuts. It's not like I'm his personal servant. Even though he would like to think so. He sure doesn't pick up my stuff, or do anything, for that matter, when he takes time off and I'm still working. Except for clogging the sink this last time.

Don't get me started. I could go for days on this topic. I'll save it for another time. I'm sure it will be good for debate, with me being on the unpopular side. Because I am at the breaking point, people, after YEARS of dealing with this scoffresponsibilifellow.

That's my new word for this week. Scoffresponsibilifellow. Feel free to use it if you dare.

Friday, June 22, 2007

We've Got A Bleeder!

When #1 son tried to repair Gamey the other day after our 10-second power outage, he lost a chunk of finger. He did not know this until he saw blood pouring out of the hole. It was not a slice, but a gouge. It's small. But the boy can't stand the sight of blood, expecially his own. You would have thought I'd sent him to slaughter a hog and bring back the jowls for supper. He had blood smeared on his shorts. He sopped blood with several paper towels. Finally, I told him to squeeze the darn thing shut, and put his hand above his head. Which he did. I applied a generic Band Aid with some generic triple antibiotic ointment smeared upon it. That thing still bled through a bit, but he thought it was better. He got in the pool with it, and it opened up again, but sealed itself off. We bandaged it again, and by morning, he said it was really better.

We went out to lunch with a couple of teacher buddies. (Missed you, Mabel.) I sent him out to the car for his Lappy to prevent boredom, and for some change for #2 son to buy a sticky hand (more on that later), and for more change for another kid to buy a sticky hand. As we were leaving, I gave him the keys to start up the LSUV so #2 son wouldn't fry. I was standing by the car, saying final goodbyes, when the boy jumped out of the LSUV and said, "I did it again!" His finger was dripping blood. I told him to hold his hand under it and run into the bathroom for some paper towels. We were going next door to the pharmacy anyway, and I planned to buy some more generic Band Aids.

#1 said a waitress tried to stop him, but he held out his bloody finger, and she moved to let him through. Which kind of pisses me off, because even though we spent 2 hours sitting at their table, the place was not full, and I even left a $5 tip in their tip jar, though they were kind of rude and trying to make us leave and since it's just a tip jar, I should have only left a dollar, because it looked like that's what everyone else did, but NO, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom wanted to do the right thing for the group's $29.34 bill. Anyhoo, The Bleeder returned with a bloody paper towel (I bet that was good for business), and we were on our way. But not before Old Buddy said, "Hey, you might need stitches." I swear the boy turned white. I was in no mood to lounge about an ER all afternoon, so I said, "You know, they will give you a shot in that finger before they start stitching it up with the needle. And you don't even have a flap of skin to sew, so they will have to try and close that hole." He shook his head like Seinfeld refusing a bite of pie, so that was the end of that little fantasy.

When we got to the pharmacy, I made a beeline for the Band Aid section, while a clerk called, "Ma'am? Can I help you find something?" Maybe the attentiveness had something to do with #1 son running into the bathroom clutching his bloody hand. Maybe not. But that threw the regular clerk for a loop, since she had already found my prescriptions in the file drawer, and was standing at the register with them. #2 sat in the waiting chairs, flicking his sticky hand while I paid. #1 came out with some fresh paper towels, and we were on our way.

The bleeding stopped, and the boy is fine, bandaged again, which is anticlimactic, I know, but what are you gonna do? Sorry my life is not as interesting as a summer blockbuster.

And now...about the sticky hand...I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. You get it out of a toy machine thingy like a gum machine, and it's in one of those little plastic thingies that are impossible to get open, and it's like a stretchy, sticky, gummy flat hand with a long arm, and when you throw it while holding the arm end, it streeeeetches, and sticks to what it hits, and either picks it up, or snaps back. They come in various colors. #2 son got a red one. He is not usually allowed to have them. Those things are like the wall-walker thingies, and they leave greasy marks on whatever they hit. I suppose #2 knew that he would not get chastised so severely in front of my cronies, so he bought one without permission. He flicked it at the glass-topped table. He flicked it at its plastic holder, and picked that up. He flicked it at a dollar bill one buddy had laid down to pay for a soda, but couldn't snatch that. Old Buddy's little girl saw it, and wanted one. She didn't have change, either, so I sent #1 out to get some. She got a gray one, which was not nearly so pretty as my boy's sticky hand, but which she enjoyed trememdously. She's a bit younger than him. She flicked her mom, and wrapped the long sticky arm around her own arm tightly several times until the other buddy intervened.

When we walked outside, the little girl stood calmly flicking her sticky hand on the dark blue van parked next to my LSUV. I almost thought I heard it sizzle. It was 93 degrees, after all. Everything was fine until an old woman walked out and got into the blue van, giving the tot a withering look to rival Kathy Griffin's child-hating scowl. Old Buddy snatched up her young 'un and moved to the other side of the LSUV. Yep. It's all fun and games until a cranky car-owner catches you flicking your sticky hand on her sizzling hot mini-van. That little episode kind of broke the mood, and Old Buddy said they needed to be going. Especially the tot, who was going to hop on her port-a-potty that Old Buddy carries in the car for her. As she freely admits, she is a bit OCD about the germ thingy.

She assured me she was not wearing an astronaut diaper.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mansion Malfunctions

Whew! I have been slaving over a hot sink all day. And by that, I mean that I spent 30 minutes unclogging the kitchen sink with Drano. Actually, it took longer than that, because we had to drive to town for the Drano, and since we drove to town, I needed gas, and that mention of 'gas' must have sparked a connection with the kids, because they started hollering for fast food, and since they were getting something, I wasn't cooking lunch just for me, so there was another stop to make, and then once we got home, we committed an embarrassing trash dumpster faux pas, and...well...if you give HH an evening alone with the boys, you get a clogged sink.

I think it was graduation night that it happened. HH decided to take pity on me, and wash the pile of dishes that had been on the kitchen counter all week. Or else he ran out of eating utensils. HEY! If HH would put in that dishwasher that he promised me 10 years ago when he built the Mansion, maybe he wouldn't have to wash dishes once every couple of years. Anyhoo, ever since that good deed, my kitchen sink has drained veeerrrrrry slowly. I know it didn't happen all in one night, but I also know HH is the cause. If you ever saw him rinse his plate, you would know what I'm talkin' about. Green beans left? Rinse them into the sink. A couple spaghetti noodles? Sink. Hamburger crumbs from a homemade burrito? Sink. Lettuce leaves? Sink. Broccoli florets coated with cheese? Sink. Perhaps you get my drift. We don't have a garbage disposal. I've tried to explain that to Mr. Sink Builder. I pick out a multitude of wet food from the drainer thingy every time I go to wash the dishes. Garbage that won't pass through those four little slottish holey thingies. But I know he must have poked something down in there with a knife. I don't know why else the sink would stop up all at once. It's not like the kids are going to get near it. Not unless #1 son decides to drink from the faucet like it is his own personal drinking fountain. They certainly don't rinse plates, or put their hands anywhere near the sink. We told HH last night that the sink wouldn't drain. He nodded. And that was it.

HH was in a bad mood to start with. The toilet pinched his a$$. And not in a flirty way, either. At least that's the story I got from #1 son. "Dad said the toilet pinched his butt." Yeah. It got me, too. I wish he had warned me first. Again, I blame HH. When he built the Mansion, he put in three toilets. The one in the Nascar bathroom in the basement is a normal toilet. The other two are freakish long things. They are not round, they are oval. And they take a special kind of toilet seat. I don't know how much regular toilet seats cost, because I've never bought one. But these special toilet seats are $15. We have to replace them about every three years, because one side of them cracks. And if you sit your flabby butt on them, the crack pinches you when you get up. I suppose they are not made to take so much sitting. HH said he wanted this special kind of toilet because they are easier to pee in. He calls them 'urinal toilets', though I doubt that is their official name. And by 'easier' to pee in, I suppose HH means that he can sit down and shove his junk down in there and pee like a schoolgirl. Sorry for that visual. I know, there are some things you prefer not to have in your head. Gotcha!

Sooo...last night HH forgot to stop for a toilet seat on the way home from work, and had to drive to town. Never mind that he spent $28 of his cash budget at Lowe's. I checked the receipt, and the toilet seat was only $14.97. I have to monitor his spending on our cash budget, you know. I don't know what the other things were. It looked like latches and screws and stuff. For his MiniMansion, no doubt. But HH was not in a good mood when he returned with the toilet seat. #1 son told him the sink did not drain at all. HH hmpfed and went to bed. By this morning, the sink had drained. But one short run of water showed us it wasn't fixed.

We had not planned on going to town today, but there is another stack of dishes. Mainly from HH and #1 having a bowl of ice cream every night. So we got ready after the ER reruns on TBS, and hit the road. First stop was the Dollar Store, where we got Drano for $3 and change. Oh, and we bought a stash of $0.50 and $1 movie candy, so we don't have to pay $3.65 per box when we go see Evan Almighty. From there, we proceeded to Casey's for gas, which was a wasted trip because their pump wouldn't work right and kept telling me to "pay after fueling" which I planned to do, which is why I hit the "pay inside" button. But no. It wouldn't even let me squeeze the gas trigger thingy. So I threw up my arms after 5 minutes of trying, just to show the clerk inside that people piss me off, and drove a block to the old Citgo, which is now BP, with the gas cap dangling and everthing, because, hey, I was only going one block. Their pumps worked just fine, though the clerk was as unfriendly as a city librarian. We headed for Dairy Queen, so #1 could get the chicken strip meal and #2 could get a chocolate ice cream cone and a cheeseburger. Then I drove another block and sent #1 in to get me some hot & sour soup.

From there, we headed home for a stop at the mailbox. #2 got out to throw the stump from his cone into the creek ("I gave it to a school of small fish, Mom.") and #1 got out to let the mailbox give him the bird. Seriously. Every time we open the mailbox, a bird flies out. Not from inside the mailbox, but from behind it. We have a long wooden box that encloses about 10 mailboxes, and a bird has a nest behind our little compartment. It usually causes the boy to scream like a schoolgirl and flap his hands femininely about his head. He's getting used to it now, though, and is not quite so dramatic. He thumps the box on top to make the bird fly out before he leans his head down by the mailbox door.

When we got to the end of the driveway, #2 son announced, "I will bring the trash dumpster." Because Thursday is trash day, and #1 son brought it up to the end of the driveway last night, to avoid last week's 6:00 a.m. awakening because he had forgotten it. Poor #2. He's a bit small for his age. He struggled with that big green dumpster. He tried pushing it like #1 told him. That boy grabs it from behind and runs up the driveway like a hot dog vendor. I sighed, "My little pony is not nearly as good at this job as my workhorse." #1 snickered, because he loves any excuse to call #2 'my little pony', since the boy hates it so much. "Man! My little pony must be anemic or something. It's taking forever!" Again, #1 snickered. "What's anemia, Mom?" I told him it was a lack of red blood cells, so your body couldn't get as much oxygen, due to a lack of hemoglobin to carry it to the cells. "Oh. You mean 'himmaglobbin'. That's what Mr. Science Teacher calls it." But the point of this boring story is that when we got to the garage, I told #1 to get his trash out of the car and throw it in the dumpster. Because after #2 had pulled over in the grass to let us by, and we had sat 5 minutes in the garage listening to the radio, we heard the poor boy thump the dumpster against the garage wall where it belongs. #1 got out and took his trash. Then I heard a scream. "MOM! The dumpster is still full of trash." Hmmm...that explains why my little pony was so anemic. He was pushing the dumpster full of trash, not an empty dumpster, down the 1/8 mile gravel driveway. Poor little pony. I ordered him to help #1 take it back. Guess the trash guys are running late today.

Maybe their toilets pinched their a$es this morning. I hope they squealed like schoolgirls. There. I pulled off the 'schoolgirl trifecta'.


Summer RV: Readin', Votin'

Let's not forget that Redneck Diva has hung up the new works of art at her summer home. These stories were assigned, people, and we worked hard. And the voting thingy works now, too. So if you haven't read the stories, or if you haven't voted, get on over there. It's the Summer of Art Appreciation, by cracky!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Guts for Gamey

Welcome to the electronic intensive care unit. It wasn't enough that Lappy had to be sent away for new innards. Or that my Crashy shuts me down up to three times per day. Now, Gamey, #2 son's new computer that he received for Christmas, is on life support. Yes. Just a power cord keeps him alive. Gamey had received new life from our resident surgeon, #1 son, when he died during the Vista upgrade. #2 son had been happily gaming after a new sound card gave Gamey voice again.

This afternoon, we were all minding our own business in different wings of the Mansion. #1 was Lappytating in his room, watching Mythbusters. #2 was lying on the basement couch, watching a Scooby Doo dvd. I was in my dark lair, 33 minutes deep into a Freaks & Geeks table read on disc 7 of the dvd collector's edition. All at once, our power went off. TVs and Dish Network receivers and lights and computers and the air conditioner (sorry, Diva) went off. Only for about 10 seconds. Which was my second computer restart of the day. I glanced at #2's computer, which he'd left on after a bout of gameplaying. It was completely black, though the monitor had a green light and the 'no signal' status box. I called #1 son, Mr. Computer 911. He came and said, "All you have to do is turn it back on." He did. A few moments later, I glanced over at it, and there was a line of writing at the top. Operating system not detected. It might as well have said, "Rest in peace, dear Gamey. We will miss you."

#1 son tried his whole box of tricks. Knoppix told him that the hard drive may be bad. Then he tried to save a file to the hard drive and restart. No file. So he diagnosed that Gamey needs a hard drive transplant. That means a hardrivectomy, then a hard drive implant. Now we have to go shopping for hard drives.

The good news is that Compaq says they are sending free of charge a Windows Vista Home Premium DVD to reinstall Vista. Which is a far cry from the night three foreigners told the boy they could not send him an XP recovery disk unless he paid $28. That's when Gamey wouldn't downgrade back to his original XP after a Vista upgrade resulted in a serious lack of drivers available. And erased a sound file.

The boy was excited by Compaq tech support this afternoon. "She has no trace of an accent, Mom!"

We'll see if he can get Gamey up and running again. He is adept at fiddling about inside the desktops. It was Lappy that stymied him. Because he couldn't crack open Lappy's hard outer shell. Or perhaps he knew better. And now, the poor boy is upstairs with his arm propped in the air, convalescing. Seems that Gamey bit a chunk out of his left index finger. Which is bad news for the little southpaw. And bad news for Gamey, who lies on the cold, cold basement floor with his entrails exposed to the elements.

And at the end of the day, we must all ask ourselves, "Surge suppressors. What are they good for?" Because Gamey was plugged into one at the end of an extension cord that was plugged into another one at the outlet. So TWO surge suppressors couldn't save Gamey's hard drive.

As Gummi Mary is my witness, I shall never buy another Compaq. Or any other brand of computer from The Devil's Playground.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cerberus Guards the Gates of the Library

I remember why we haven't been to the library in several years. I remembered when we walked in today. The people there piss me off! They are OH SO UNFRIENDLY! That's no way to run a library, people!

I understand that the workers are probably unpaid volunteers. Because if the were paid, they wouldn't be volunteers. And they might be nicer, because they were afraid of being fired from a paying job. But these women are out of control. They want to be IN control. Of everything library.

I swear, this one old gal, I'll call her Cerberus, nearly snarled at us when we walked in. She must have smelled my preposition-ending-sentence-scented carcass a mile away. To begin with, this is a big stone building that looks like something out of The Scarlet Letter. Just not a real inviting place. It used to have a wrought-iron gate through a two-foot-high stone fence, but the gate has been removed. To present a more welcoming facade, perhaps. Then you have to open a giant wooden door. It is solid wood, not that hollow stuff that is used nowadays. And it is about 10 feet tall. So tall, in fact, that #1 son grabbed my arm, and said, "Wait! You're going to hit that ceiling light with the door." Sad thing is, he did this on the way out. The second time we went out, forgetting that the door had not hit the light the other three times. I told him, "Don't be so nervous, Nelly. This door has been used for a hundred years without breaking that light." Not the 'Nelly' part, because that might hurt his fragile self-esteem, but the '100 year' part I said. And as we walked up the short sidewalk, the boy looked back and replied, "Well, to be exact, you should say '140 years', because that's how old this building is." My son, the historian.

I'm betting that Cerberus was there for the groundbreaking. I don't generally make fun of people for their appearance. Not much. Every now and then, maybe. But Cerberus looked like a vulture. She wore black. She had that hump on her back, and her neck dipped down and curved up like the pipe under a kitchen sink, and she had a feathery cap of white hair over her leathery, beaked muzzle. Perhaps I should not call her Cerberus, because she only had the one head, and I don't like to compare a book sanctuary with H E Doublehockeysticks. It's not like I loaded the young 'uns in the LSUV and said, "We're on an express elevator to h*ll!" Laws no! M O O N. That spells,"I'm neither Private Hicks, nor his look-alike, Corporal Hudson, from Aliens, and the LSUV is certainly not a transport ship, and I would never tell my children that I'm taking them on a field trip to h*ll. They can find out when we get there, and then they won't be saying 'Are we there yet? How much farther till we get to h*ll, Mom?' for the entire ride."

So we walked up the short hallway to the admit desk, or whatever Cerberus likes to call her control center. Cerberus also had another white-hair as backup. I think she was a young trainee. They did not greet us. It was like Staredown at the OH SO NOT-OK Corral. Finally, I said, "I think we will have to pay a fee. We live out of town, and have not been here for a couple years." They hmpfed and huffed, and Cerberus typed in our names and asked our address. She said, "Do you have your cards?" I'm not sure they ever gave us the freakin' cards, because the first time we went there, they pulled this crap, and made us pay, and said we had to wait a week to get the cards before we could check anything out. Which did not set well with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, but we followed through, and DID check out books that summer, but for the life of me I don't think they ever gave us freakin' cards. That's because I am a collector, but not in the 79 cats in my house kind of collector, but in the I can't throw away paperwork kind of collector. And so is #1 son. So when Cerberus tapped her paw and said if we didn't have cards, it would be three more dollars plus the five dollar out-of-city-limits fee, I said we would go out to the car and look.

And look, we did. I told #1 he might have his in one of his old wallets, but he said, "No. I just looked through them yesterday. I was looking to see if I had any gift cards I hadn't used." I looked in the middle pouch thingy of my checkbook. It's a freakin' library of congress in there. I had a business card from a nutritionist at the hospital when I was six months pregnant with #1 son...which would be...oh...going on...13 years ago. And numerous lawyer cards from when I first met HH and he was dealing with custody issues, and allergist appointment cards from when the boys were 1 and 4 years old. So I swear by the love of Gummi Mary, they just forgot to hand us those cards that year. Anyhoo...we went back in and forked over the extra three bucks. Then Cerberus asked us what we were there for today. HELLO! To check out some books. "Oh, so you didn't want to use our computers?" NO. Lady, we have more computers in our house than you have in this Scarlet Letter-jail-impersonating library. She looked up some ancient history books on Rome and Egypt for #2 son, in the 930s, thankyouverymuch, and we descended into the bookatorium. Because even though you enter from the street, it's a good two-story descent to get to the main floor of the library. Lucky for me, there was a set of stairs, so I didn't have to rappel.

Oh, and #1 son was so kind to point out the elevator while we were waiting in line. His whisper may have been picked up by the eagle-ears of Cerberus, thus enhancing her unfriendliness. "Look, Mom. There's an elevator. Look at the sign. 'Do not use elevator unless you need it. It is not a toy.' Why put it in if you can't use it?" I gave him the stinkeye and said, "Shut up. We're not using it."

#2 son found his books right away. I wasn't sure how many we could take, so I told him TWO. He sat down in a comfortable chair while #1 and I looked. I just like to browse. I have no idea what I want when I go in. I read the book jackets. #1 wanted to look up books on the computer. I told him to go ask the Guadian, because we had told her all we wanted to to was check out books. She OKed him, so he searched for some, but they didn't have them. He even browsed the young adult section, but found nothing. I told him to have something in mind next time, perhaps an autobiography of Bill Gates, or something on major disasters. Things that interest him. I, on the other hand, chose A Million Little Pieces, just to see what the flap is all about, and I most certainly wouldn't buy it, and Comanche Moon, because I've always enjoyed Larry McMurtry, and there's going to be a TV mini-series of this, methinks, with Linda Cardellini, who is Sam-the-Nurse from ER and Velma from Scooby Doo rolled into one, and I want to know what the story is about before I watch it, but I think it is the saga of Call and Gus of Lonesome Dove fame in their younger years.

#2 son got Rulers of Egypt- Cleopatra: Ruling in the Shadow of Rome, and The Great Pyramid of Cheops. He already knows more about history than I do. Which doesn't take much.

We ascended to Cerberus level, and YO and behold, Cerberus had left her post. Trainee appeared a bit nervous all by her lonesome. It was almost like she was trying to be cordial. She said, "I'll have to wait until she comes back. I don't know what to do." Oh, then Cerberus got wind of us, and clawed her way back to the guard shack. She said, "What's the problem?" Trainee told her, "These are the people without their cards. I'm not sure what to do." Cerberus let out a sulphurous sigh, rolled her rheumy eyes, and said, "See? On the clipboard? Type in their numbers." Trainee did so. Cerberus said, "What are you waiting for?" Trainee said, "I don't know what to do next." Cerberus spat patronizingly, "You scan. The. Book." She picked up that little gun thingy with the red light coming out of it, and scanned the bar code. So then Trainee did it on her own. I was a bit unhappy with Cerberus. You know how old people are with computers. She didn't have to belittle her crony so badly in front of us eight-dollar-paying customers.

I yanked open that massive door and we stepped out into the sunlight. Ahh...I was feeling much like fictional Hester upon exiting the jail. Though I carried neither a painstakingly embroidered 'A' upon my bosom, nor a tiny, mewling bast*rd in my arms.

Methinks mecrossed the line into The Twilight Zone. Once upon a time, I muddled along, living the quiet life of Redneck Diva. Now, it seems as if I have been plopped down into Meanie's life. Diva's library ladies love her. But only in Meanie's world could there be beaurocratic library beasts, impeding people from getting their read on.

The Writing Contest

WooHoo! The stories are up! Go read them. Cast a vote. Remember, you only get one vote, so make it count. Also remember that we were each give a different type of story to write, with three different pop culture references, and a list of six words that we all had to use. Go read them. Validate our creativity, by cracky!

Go now! I mean it!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Lappy Returns

Lappy is home. It's about time. He's been gone over a week. It's not home sweet Mansion without Lappy. He arrived about 3:30 this afternoon. #1 son had been fretting all day, even though he knows we are at the end of the Unqualified People Shipping route. Every hour or so, he would dash up the steps and yank open the front door to see if perhaps Lappy had been laid on the doorstep. Our UPS lady leaves packages in the garage as requested, but if there's a substitute driver, he put them on the front porch in plain sight of the road. A Lappynapping would not go over well. And besides, we harbor The Chewingest Dog.

At 3:30, the boy ran up the stairs and went outside. After a couple minutes, he stuck his head back in. "I hear a heavy vehicle coming up the road!" He waited. And waited. I was just about to assume that the big brown truck had gone past the Mansion, and then gone past again on the way out. But no! Lappy was delivered in one piece. It was quite a sentimental reunion. The boy took Lappy to his room so they could get reacquainted. He brought Lappy's discharge information to show me. Boy and Lappy are doing well.

Since Lappy is back, we don't have to sit home and wait on his arrival any more. Tomorrow, we are going to the city library. We have to pay a fee, because we live out of town. What's up with that? There are no city taxes. How do they figure people who live in town pay for the right to be literate? We shop in town, and pay sales tax, same as the residents. I don't get it. In addition, WE pay $120 for fire tags every year. Those townies don't have to pay. I think their fire protection money comes out of their county taxes, which we also pay. Plus, we own a double lot in town. I think we're footin' their bills. The only thing we had to pay when we owned rental property in town was for water and sewer, so I don't understand the other fees. But I'm kind of simple about the ways of the world.

Life is kind of boring around the Mansion. I think we might have to go down to the creek and look for rocks to break up the monotony. I sure hope there's not any of those ocean fish that attacked Meanie lurking around in our creek. I mean the fish lurking. Not Meanie. She could lurk all she wanted as long as she didn't swim up in my shorts and die.

And on that cheery note, I think I'll stop.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Will Survive

I have been educating myself today. No need to ever worry about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom ever again. No matter where I fall out of a plane, I'm gonna make it after all. And I'm going to sing that theme from The Mary Tyler Moore show, too. By cracky!

I Will Return To Civilization
I know to head downhill, until I find a creek, and follow it to a river, where there will be settlements of people. Unless I am in Africa, in which case I should not follow the creek bed, because it is likely to disappear underground. So if I fall into Africa, I should look for the highest ground, like, umm...a mountain with a glacier, and then follow the meltwater rivers downhill.

I Can Travel Any Terrain
From the top of the mountain I fall on, I should obviously go downhill. But carefully, by cracky, because HELLO, I'm on a mountain, and that means it is steep. I should jam my fist into cracks in the rock, and find purchase with my feet. I can jump 20 feet down if I land with my feet together and roll. I can crab-walk down flat sheets of rock, maintaining contact with both hands and both feet, because friction is my friend. If I come to a river at the bottom of a canyon, I should make a raft and float. More on that later.

If I land in a swamp, I should tread carefully, and look for bubbles, because I don't want to step on an alligator. I can tie my shoelaces together and shinny up a tree to get my bearings. I should tie my empty canteen to a stick I jab into the mud, and watch which way it aligns after 20 minutes. Then I will know which way the water is slowly flowing, and can go that direction. If I get stuck in quicksand, I should take my walking stick that I should have cut the first thing when I fell into the swamp, hold it in both hands, and lay out across that quicksand and drag myself like a snake until I'm out.

If I land in the savanna, I should creep along careful so as not to disturb the lions mating or the elephants elephanting. If an elephant chases me, I should dart quickly to the left or right, because elephants don't see well, and it might keep charging in the same direction. During the day, I should find a cave the animals use to cool off, and barricade it with thorn branches so they don't trap me. I should not drink out of stagnant water with a decaying terrapin in it.

If I land in the desert, I should stop squealing with joy, because I'm in the freakin' desert, not dessert! I should cover my head so I don't overheat. If it gets too hot, I can pee on my T-shirt and wrap it around my head so I can stay cool. I should rest in the shade during the hottest part of the day.

If I land on an active volcano, I should go towards the coast, providing the volcano is on an island. If the rock is so hot that the soles of my shoes flame up, it is too hot to walk on. I should go until I find a rain foresty place in the midst of the lava, and look for a lava tube that will have water dripping down roots that has been filtered and it ready to drink. To see inside the lava tube, I should take the nuts off a certain kind of tree and skewer them on green branches, and light them. They will burn five minutes each, so light the top one of six, and you have 30 minutes.

I Can Build A Raft
I can build a raft from driftwood or balsa wood, if I happen to be in the rain forest. I can tie it together with vines. I should float feet-first in case of rapids and rocks. If I am washed out into the ocean, I should not fight the waves, but go with the flow until I wash up on shore. If I don't have anything to make a raft, I can tie the legs of my pants and blow them up for a flotation device. I really must remember to take them off first.

I Can Eat
I can eat ant larva, and some kinds of ants if I bite the head off first. I can eat snakes, but bite them behind the head and discard it, because nobody wants to eat venom with their raw snake flesh. I can skin a big snake and peel the meat off the entrails and wrap it around a stick and cook it over my campfire and mmmm...tastes like chicken. I can club a rabbit in the head and roast the meat on a stick. I can eat raw bird eggs, shells and all. I can smoke out the honey bees and steal the comb. I can catch crawfish and fish with my bare hands, or drop some of my parachute line in an ice hole and catch fish to eat raw. Just bite them behind the head. Mmmm...sushi.

I Can Drink
I can find water under rocks to slurp with a straw made of a stem. I can chew pine needles. I can squeeze the moisture out of fresh elephant dung and let it drip into my mouth. Or I can get water from a stream and boil it.

I Can Build Shelter
I can sleep in a tree in the swamp. I can build a lean-to from dead branches and leaves. I must make sure I am not in the middle of a game trail, because, well, I might just as well park my 5th-wheel camper in the middle of I-270 and hope for a good night's sleep. I must make sure that I don't use my pants with an apple in the pocket for a pillow, because I might wake up with a bear in my pants. Darn! And I do that all the time. I can put stones in the fire, then cover them with sand, and I've got a nice warm bed.

Yes, a Hillbilly Mom can survive. As long as I don't fall into the Arctic. I'll need to watch a few more shows for that. Until then, I'm staying off planes flying over the Arctic.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


Nothing going on here today. I am slowly getting over my dog sickness that I had when we left on vacation. I know you're all concerned. Thanks for asking. Even though you didn't actually put it into words, I could sense your deep interest in my well-being. I'm psychic, you know.

This morning started at the crack of 9:00, with HH deciding to dash to town with a water sample for the pool. One hour and $77.75 later, he was back, ordering the young 'uns to get dressed and pick up sticks and pull weeds out of his rock garden. They did. I think he caught them before they were fully awake, or else they know how quickly he can turn psycho. HH got out the push mower for about 15 minutes. I don't know the reason for that, unless he just wanted to terrorize the kids during their chores. Then he went to the barn for his big straw hat, and mounted the riding mower for an hour or two.

No stranger to common sense, I made myself scarce and withdrew into the confines of the Mansion. I laid around in the recliner for a couple hours, watching Death Road or something on the History Channel. I'm not sure of that title. It's some road in Bolivia or somewhere else in South America where there is a kind of dangerous one-lane road that winds up a mountainside and took 100 years to build. Hey! Those workers must not have been very efficient, because it's still GRAVEL in most places, and they don't even have those guardrail thingies. Perhaps some places are meant to be uninhabitable. Machu Picchu. Just sayin'. Cause I saw that Anthony Bourdain went there one time, and I thought, Why in the world would anybody want to live here? Apparently they don't, because it didn't look real inhabited on that show, what with the buildings in ruins and all. But what do I know? History is my worst subject.

Anyhoo...there are tourists who want to ride bicycles down Death Road, which seems kind of rude and self-centered to me, because I know how mad I get when a big bike rally thingy impedes traffic when I'm trying to cut through the state park to get somewhere, and that is a two-lane blacktop road without huge 10-wheeler trucks trying to haul freight, like on the Death Road, because that is just one-lane gravel in the most dangerous of places. Without guardrails, people! And with waterfalls pouring down over the road in a rain. What kind of crazy are you? And maybe you want to call that thing Road to the Heavens or something a bit more positive than Death Road. Although I'm sure that's not the real name of it, though who would know, because I didn't see any road signs posted along the shoulder. Ahem. Because there was no freakin' shoulder!

During that show, they kept running commercials for Ice Road Truckers or some such new show. I think I'm turning into HH. This show looks really good. But I still won't stoop to watching The Most Dangerous Catch every week. Because once you've seen one crab harvest, you've seen them all. In my opinion. Because EVERY week can't be the most dangerous catch. Most of them have to be Kind Of Dangerous Catches.

Since my butt was tired from sitting on it, I washed up a sink full of dishes. Because what I haven't told you is that before the History Channel, I was on E! watching The Life and Death of Anna Nicole Smith. But I missed the beginning of her life, and switched channels just before her death, because that's really kind of sad, even for a rich drugged-up floozie like her.

And while we're discussing my TV-watching habits...I also caught a few Trick My Truck episodes while HH was slaving over a hot six-acre lawn. I saw a patriotic wall-of-veterans truck, and a giant locomotive engine truck, and a diner truck, and part of a classic car truck. By then, HH had joined me, after floating around in Poolio and the Free Hairwad Hot Tub ignoring the boys for about 90 minutes, and I lost interest and went to pay some bills. Can you believe HH watched TV while I was slaving over a hot checkbook?

Then HH took off to cut some boards before going to a wedding reception, and I took the boys to The Devil's Playground to get him something Devilish for Father's Day. OK, here's what he's getting: a $5 t-shirt with a flag on the front, and a $69.97 dremel tool. He should be happy, because #1 son reports that HH broke his old dremel tool, and had to use a rasp (or as the boy called it, 'a long round file kind of thing'), to sharpen 'each little part of the chainsaw blade'. If he doesn't like it, he will take it back and pocket the money. This much I know for sure.

And now, after such a tiring day, I must finish up this post and watch my new Special Collector's Edition of the John Wayne 100th anniversary DVD of True Grit. The movie with perhaps the worst acting of all time by the three main characters. Yeah. I enjoy the classics.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Met My Old Lover On The Street Last Night

"I met my oooold lover on the street last night. She seemed so glad to see me, I just smiled. We talked about some old times, and we drank ourselves some beers. Still crazy, after aalllll these years."

Sorry, Paul Simon. I think you you say...just a little bit better than I do.

OK. I didn't really meet my old lover on the street last night. What old lovah? And what was I doing on the street, anyway, you Perv-Os? D'ya think I walk the streets at night? And I don't even drink. But I am crazy. And I did talk about some old times today with an ex-teaching buddy. That's to say, she's still my buddy, but not a teacher. But it didn't sound right to start this post with:

"I talked to my eexxxxx teaching buddy on the phone this afternoon. She seemed so glad to hear me, I just smiled. We talked about some old times, and we didn't drink anything at all but I think she was doing the dishes while we talked. Still crazy, after aalllll these years."

Other than that, was just like that Paul Simon song. Some people, you can pick up with like it was yesterday. We are going to meet for lunch next Friday. Mabel? Do you want to join us? It's going to be at 11:30 at the place where we all went one time and you went somewhere else by mistake. Got it? Shoot me an email, or give me a call on your FREE long distance. Oh, and we are inviting the COOK from down the hall, if you know who I'm talkin' 'bout. There. Now the housekeeping is out of the way.

I've been trying to call this crony for a week. I even saw her at graduation, and told her to call me. As you can see, I am quite influential. I had begun to think she was screening her calls, and I was not to be answered. But no. She had just forgotten (see what close friends I have?) that she was supposed to call me after she listened to the first message. And then she was out of town. And when we tried to make this lunch date, she couldn't go on the first day I suggested, because...well...she already had plans to go to COSTCO with one of her friends! Gosh. I think I'm getting a complex. Anyhoo...I suppose this shows that nobody, but nobody, kisses ol' Hillbilly Mom's butt. And that COSTCO is more stimulating than lunch with HM.

So she called, and #1 son answered the phone. Crony said, "HILLBILLY?" And of course the boy said, "Yeah?" because apparently he has such a booming social life that people even call him on MY cell phone as well as his. When she continued with "What are YOU up to?" the boy stammered, "Uhh...I think you want my mom." And then Crony told me, "He's SO grown up now, he scares me! (Yeah. Me too.) He sounds just like you!" I'm not sure what to make of that. Because even though the boy is 12, his voice has changed, and why should he sound like ME? Which I asked Crony, "What does that say about MY voice?" And without missing a beat, she said, "That you sound like a man." NO. I don't! Mabel? I don't. Do I?

Crony and I traded info on a particular situation, and decided on what WE would do if we ruled the world. Or at least our own small part of the world. I even told her such earthshaking information as: "Yesterday, out of the blue, #2 son announced, 'Ms MyTeacher's feet and shoes don't smell very good.' " I'm not sure what to make of that. One summer, he announced, "I would kiss Ms MyOldTeacher if I could. But you are not allowed to kiss at school. Only to hug. And only when your work is all done." I'm not sure what will become of that boy.

All in all, it was a productive afternoon. Is 90 minutes too long to talk on the phone?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Romance, Tip

I have been trying very hard to complete this week's task in Diva's writing competition. I'm not sure when she will post the entries, but voting is supposed to start Friday. This edition is called 'Cazzmania', in honor of the word-chooser, last week's winner, Cazzie. The biggest problem I had was that I drew the genre of Historical Romance. Actually, I didn't draw it myself. As Diva explained in her very own words, to make absolutely sure we were clear on how things were picked: Fine print: This official drawing was conducted by the independent accounting firm of Paul, from the official site of Paul's recliner, under the supervision of Paul.

After googling 'historical romance', I discovered that I would need to pick a time period before the 1920s. Which made it a bit difficult to throw in my three pop culture references: KISS-the rock band, The Beatles, and M. Night Shyamalan. Because...umm...they didn't freakin' EXIST before the 1920s. So I did the best I could. In fact, I got so carried away with my Historical Romance that I didn't want to stop, so I tacked on a little ending from a more recent time, kind of like an M. Night Shyamalan thriller ending, only not really, because it was not very thrilling. So that's what I've been up to this week.

Last night, my grandma took us out to supper. She paid, but we actually took ourselves and her to the restaurant. It was a BBQ restaurant, and we think it has changed ownership. The old lady waitresses were gone, and in their places were young men and a young woman. I'm so sorry. I don't give young people as good a tip. I know that's not fair, but when it pops into my head that I might be giving this tip to a kid to buy two gallons of gas to cruise around town, or I might be giving it to a little old lady so she can buy the premium cat food to eat this week...I give the old lady a better tip. And she's friendlier, too.

Another reason we thought the restaurant had a new leader was that the food and service was just a little bit different. For example, they have 3 large rooms, but tried to fit everybody into one. In fact, one room was blocked off. And to make a table for 5, they put a chair at the end of a table for 4. Which means HH stuck out in the aisle. They used to put us in the other room, at a big round table for 8, even though we only had 4 people. That way, we didn't have to wait. Oh, and the waiter guy only brought 3 sets of silverware, in their paper wrappings. And mine only had a knife in it, and the paper wrapping had mustard on the outside of it. Uh uh. I'm sure somebody used that packet. I don't want no knife that's been fingered by a wild mustard-user! HH tried to make excuses..."Well, it was in his apron. That's why it's crinkled. And maybe the fork fell out." Yeah, right. Are you getting a cut of his tips? What did HH know? He didn't have any silverware.

The servings were also different. My Terrible Tater was not terrible at all. At best, it was merely mischievous. I mean, that tater used to be about 8 inches long, with a pile of meat on it. This one was perhaps 5 inches long, with a sprinkling of meat. And the side orders that HH and Grandma got were in bowls. They used to come on a serving plate, so you could even share side orders, they were so big. Not this time. A serving plate came with two bowls of sides on it. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned #2 son's 1/4 lb. corn dog. It was still pretty big, but he said, "Eww. There is something on the stick." The stick he takes out of it anyway. I grabbed a napkin to pull that thing out, and it came away covered with ketchup. Ketchup! Nobody at our table had even touched the ketchup yet. How was it on the stick of his corn dog? And not on the dog? This made me think that they took that corn dog off someone else's plate because it was uneaten. Not that it mattered to #2. He's the boy who eats broken granola bars off the garage floor. Cries for them, in fact. And when we asked for a couple of boxes to take home the leftovers, one of them had the little latch thingy broken. Don't worry. Waiter Guy still got a tip. It's not like he messed up the drinks or put corn in BBQ sauce or spilled stuff. Though he did put his thumb on a pork steak. Oh, well. It wasn't MY pork steak.

I'm going to end this abruptly, because my computer has crashed 3 times while trying to write it. I have a name for my computer, too.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dog House Goat

My children are in the dog house. Not literally, because even Missouri probably has some kind of law about that sort of thing, though there would be plenty of room for them, because the dogs prefer the giant holes they've dug halfway to China under the 5th-wheel camper in the front yard to the dog houses, or even the shallow dust pit in the middle of their path on the way to the barn, the dust pit so popular that I've witnessed a dog fighting a cat for braggin' rights to said dust pit, and when you go to pet these critters, the dust flies off of them like dust out of an old couch being whacked by a toddler with a plastic pirate sword, which doesn't really have anything to do with my kids being in trouble, but sometimes my mind wonders when I sit down to post without a subject in mind.

My boys are like twin PigPens from the Peanuts comic strip. You know, PigPen, the friend of Charlie Brown and Linus and Lucy and Sally and Snoopy and Woodstock and Peppermint Patty and Franklin. PigPen, who always had that cloud of dust around him. My boys don't even get dressed until about noon. And by 1:00, they have soiled their clothing. AND THEY DENY IT!!!

"No. I didn't get anything on it. That was on there when I put it on. I don't care. It must have been on there when you took it off the hanger. I didn't do it. I don't care if it looks like Pepsi slush that I just bought in 7-11. It's not. Feel it. It's dry. So it's not Pepsi slush. Well, I don't know what it is. It was already on there. So stop blaming me."

Which is not a very far cry from yesterday, and the saga of the Sonic Bacon Cheeseburger Toaster Sandwich.

"Don't get that on you. Wrap it back in the foil to eat it."
"I'm just taking off the lettuce and onion."
"Wrap it back up."
"I will."
"You're not."
"Look. I can't take off this lettuce. It's in little pieces."
"Don't get it on you."
"Next time, order it without tomato and lettuce."
"Fine. Wrap it up."
"I am."
"Lean over. You're going to get it on you."
"No, I'm not."
The boy started digging at something in the crotch area on the leather seat.
"What's that?"
"It's nothing."
"You got it on your shorts, didn't you?"
"What is that?"
"I bit into it, and the tomato squirted out."
"So you got it on your shorts."
"You are PigPen."
"I couldn't help it."
"I knew you were going to do that."
"It's not my fault."
"You could have waited until we got home."
"That takes too long."
"Next week, you are learning to do your own laundry."
"No, I'm not."
"Yes. You are."

The #2 son is a butter freak. Not real butter. Save-A-Lot I Can't Believe It's Not Butter margarine. He had bread and butter with his lunch. Somehow, it got all over his shirt. These boys of mine don't deserve clothes. They can run around in nothing, and I'll hose them down after every meal. Something in the back of my mind tells me that there's some law against that, too. #2 wouldn't mind. But #1 wouldn't stand for it. He won't even pee outside. He never has, even as a tiny tot, when we were trying to potty train him. Or 'outdoor' train him. I'm sure HH is his father. I can't explain the modesty or the blue eyes, though.

Boys will be boys. Might as well say 'terrorists will be terrorists'. From morning to night, they are scheming ways to get my goat. Only I don't have a goat. They got it long ago. The big one decided to measure the size of his foot against the size of the small one's head this morning. He stuck his foot right up on the boy's cheek.

"It IS bigger than your head!"
"Hey, it's sweaty. Get your foot offa me!"
"Let's try your foot compared to my head."
#1 lies down IN the floor. #2 puts his foot on #1's face
"NO! You'll grab his foot and flip him."
"Hey! Is that what you're gonna do?"
"No. Not now."
#2 jumps into the chair vacated by #1
"Hey! Get outta my chair!"
"Uh uh."
#1 grabs #2's feet and drags him to the floor. Thump!(butt) Thump!(head)
"Ha ha! I got it back!"
"That's not fair! You got up!"
#2 tries to get out of the living room.
#1 blocks the way with his freakishly large feet hung over the side of the chair.
"You guys need to settle down. You're driving me crazy."
#2 climbs over the back of the couch and sneaks up behind #1's chair.
"Hey! How did YOU get out?"
"Heh, heh. Now you're gonna get it!"
Nerf darts start to fly.
"MOM! He's shooting me!"
"No I'm not. I just threw the dart at you. I don't even have my gun."
"I'm going to tell the kids at school that you pick your nose."
"No I don't."
"Yes you do. They know already. They saw you at the Christmas Program."
"That was a long time ago."
"They remember."
"I'm going to tell them that you used to pee in your own face."
"I'm going to tell them that you still drink out of a sippy cup."
"No I don't."
"Then what's that under the table by the couch?"
"That's from a long time ago."
"No it's not."
"Yes it is."
"No it's not."

So much for my ER-watching this morning. And the second show even had a chimp and a robot. I don't get no respect. It's going to be a loooong summer.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Clean Lappy Rocks

Can someone lock me up for 45 days so I don't have to deal with anybody? I promise I will eat and pee and take or not take meds as requested. Seriously.

The boys worked on beautifying the grounds of the Mansion today. Per order of the commanding officer, King of the Mansion, HH. He told me last night they were to clean up the leaves around the Free Hairwad Hot Tub. His instructions, according to his second-in-command, #1 son, were to 'sweep up the leaves onto the shovel and throw them in the woods'. The woods which are...umm...25 feet from the hot tub. Methinks HH has been reading up on Sisyphus. I suggested that perhaps the leaves could be scooped into a trash bag, which, when full, could be carried to the woods and dumped. Which still doesn't prevent the leaves from blowing back, but which could save a bit of legwork in the initial cleansing round.

Now that the vacation report is over, I have nothing to say. Go figure. I'm going to have to dip into my bag of tricks for tomorrow. Our Wednesday agenda of withdrawing the weekly cash and buying $3 of PowerBall tickets does not a blog post make. We are behind on the PowerBall. It's been almost two weeks since we've bought any tickets. I need to be careful, lest my Hillbilly membership be revoked.

Lappy has been banished from the Mansion. He was sent away on Friday. He may possibly return next week. #1 is lost without him. He has been spotted reading, watching MythBusters, installing a DVD recorder into an expansion slot on his Desky, playing with his Wii, shooting his little brother with Nerf darts, throwing rubber balls at a tower constructed of foam tile squares, watching TBS morning ER episodes with the Queen of Hillmomba, making a virtual Gingerbread Man move about on some kind of computer animation program, showing off his armpit farts, and parceling out leftovers to the dogs so that each gets a fair share. Lappy is sick in the hard drive, and still under his first warrantee, though shipping is not covered. The boy says, "He will be like a brand-new laptop when I get him back!" Yeah. Until he starts fiddling about again. Though he swears that no amount of abuse could have made Lappy's hard drive go bad.

The #2 son has been busy killing people on his Age of Empires computer games. He can hardly tear himself away from the computer, except to jump into Poolio. He and I let Grandma pick us up Saturday to go to the Rock Show. That's when HH was repairing the brakes on the LSUV. The boy took some allowance money, and bought himself an $8 hunk of copper, and a fossilized shark tooth, and three grab bags of assorted minerals. We enjoyed a hot dog/hamburger meal sold by the fundraising junior class from our school, which I didn't know until I went to pay for them. We walked around the mineral museum, which had free admission for the weekend, but didn't watch the lead-mining movie, as we've seen it numerous times. Both my grandpas worked in the lead mines, so it's not so novel as you might imagine for the Hillbilly family. We walked around outside and looked at the displays, and chatted with my grandma, who is a member of the rock club. #2 was going to buy some geodes, 3/$1, but changed his mind, because we can find those thingies around here. A good time was had by all. Except perhaps #1 son, who stayed home, and had to help with the brake project.

And now we're all caught up, except with the casino excursion, which I will get to one of these days.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Braker, Braker, One Whine

OK, vacation's over. Back to the routine, people. Don't you feel like you've been on the vacation with me? Now it's time to unload that smelly LSUV and wash up the laundry. Step lively, now! I don't have all summer, you know.

Speaking of the LSUV... HH put new brakes on it. I know. I just heard that collective "GASP" from all of you. If I don't post for a few days, that means I am DEAD from an unfortunate braking faux pas. I told HH a month ago that my brakes were making a noise. I told him, because that is HIS job, the automobiles. I don't ask him to pay the bills, because that is my job. Well, and because I don't want everything repossessed when he 'forgets' to pay them. HH said he had the brakes checked when he took the LSUV for an oil change. He used to do these things himself, when we were just married, and lived in my $17,000 house, when I drove my favorite car of all time, a cherry red 1990 Toyota Corolla, and we had no garage, so HH had to change the oil in the driveway. Now that we have the LSUV, and a nice barn with a concrete floor, as well as a nice garage with a concrete floor, not to mention that slab of concrete we call a carport, HH takes the vehicles to Quik Trak. Or so I thought. Then I found out he took my darling LSUV to The Devil's Playground for the oil change, which is just OH SO WRONG, ever since they left the oil plug out of my brother-in-law the mayor's little white pick-up and he burned up the engine and they refused to take responsibility. Like he was fiddling with the plug after they changed the oil, and burned up his engine the next day on the way to work on purpose.

Anyhoo, getting back to MEEEE...HH said he told them to check the brakes when they changed the oil, and they said the brakes were fine. Which I do not believe for one hot Hillbilly minute, because no way would The Devil's Playground pass up a chance to stick it to us by charging for brakes and the labor to replace them. So we went on vacation, what with HH driving all the time and his technique according to then-4-year-old #2 son of "gas, gas, gas--brake, brake, brake". And when we pulled into the driveway upon arriving home, HH said, "Those brakes don't sound right." I'll fix them tomorrow. Which would have been Tuesday, but he didn't, and Wednesday we went to the casino, and Thursday, when we got home, HH said, "Those brakes have GOT to be replaced!" But Friday and Saturday, HH went to antique stores and flea markets and left us at home with no brakes, so on Saturday we cured our cabin fever with a trip to CiCi's Pizza, and noticed that the brakes sounded like a big ol' jet landing in the backyard every time we tried to stop.

Sunday, HH started his little brake-repair shop. He said he didn't want to pay retail for parts, and for all that labor, and since he has a tech school degree in auto repair, he would do it himself. He spent about $150 on parts, and worked on it about 3 hours, methinks. Unless he was just sitting in his BARn drinking. Now the brakes work, but they still make a little squealing sound, which HH says is just the ceramic brake pads on metal, whereas the jet engine screaming sound was metal on metal, which was very very bad. I don't know. It's all Greek to me. HH said he took the front rotors to town for turning, and replaced the entire set of rear brakes, which was the problem, and did everything except replace the right rear emergence brake. He says. For all I know, it's like he's telling me I need to change the air in my tires. I am automotively challenged.

The boys and I went to see Surf's Up today. Oh, and we took my mom with us. She likes that G-rated fare. She was kind of shocked when that little bitty penguin said another one was 'a dirty trash can full of poop'. That's how she rolls. The movie was better than I expected. And the previews of Evan Almighty look hilarious.

I don't have time to chit-chat tonight. I must begin my newest challenge for writeinthethickofit, Diva's writing contest. We all have a different assignment this week, with a specific genre, three pop culture references, and the list of words we must include. Karma is a b*tch, baby. Why, just last week I confessed to cheating, and now this week I have been assigned a Herculean task. No. That's too easy for my luck o' the draw. I have garnered myself a Sisyphusian task. And if you were not cursed with a teacher who made you learn Greek mythology in 10th grade, this will all be Greek to you. Every time I think I have come up with an angle to make this little story work, I remember that I have not used something trifling, like, umm...THE FREAKIN' SIX WORDS WE ALL HAVE TO INCLUDE, and I have to start all over again. I'm starting to think my little assignment can't be done. But if it can, I'm just the Hillbilly to do it.
By cracky!

So I'm off to beat my head against the wall. Wish me luck. Not on the head-beating, of course. On the writing. And if you are also entering this week, you don't even have to do that. I understand. But don't be tryin' to wish me luck on the head-beatin', either.