Monday, December 31, 2007

Ringing Out The Old

It's New Year's Eve at the Mansion. Take my word for it--this joint ain't jumpin'. In preparations for this non-rockin' eve, HH called to tell me to send the #1 son out to the garage with two bottles of Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. That's because we are Hillbillies, and chill our not-champagne in the milk-crate basket of our army-green 4-wheeler. The basket itself is royal blue. HH used to put The Pony in there and ride him around the grounds. Not when he was a baby. When he was 7-8 years old. Yeah. He's kind of a small Pony. Anyhoo, the time for riding in the makeshift basket ended when I caught them in the act. Not that I'm one of those overprotective mothers or anything. I don't make the boys wear bike helmets to ride their bicycles on our gravel driveway or through the fieldy front yard. But I draw the line at putting my child in a milk crate on the front of a 4-wheeler. Helmet or no. And being as how HH came up with the idea, I guarantee you it was a 'no' on the helmet.

Today has been another lazy day. Did you know there was a Planet of the Apes marathon on AMC? Now you do. Planet of, Beneath, Escape From, Conquer of, or some such thing. I only made it through the first three. There was an Intervention marathon on as well. A & E channel, though I don't particularly find an intervention to be art OR entertainment. That's in real life. I do find it entertaining to watch.

My children continue their diet of carbohydrates. For once, they didn't beg for noodles for lunch. One demanded biscuits, and the other muffins. Let me tell you about Bony Pony Biscuit Eater. That boy loves butter. Not real butter, of course. Margarine, from Save-A-Lot. That boy would drape himself in butter if it was socially acceptable. He can not be left alone with the margarine tub. The #1 son prefers packaged muffin powder. He wanted Strawberry and Blueberry, mixed. I will put my boys up against any marathon runner, any time. They do not wind down. They will be ringin' in the New Year while I am snoozing in the recliner.

In keeping with our very bad dietary habits, HH called to say he was bringing home some Subway sandwich. Don't think he was tryin' to be nice, what with me tendering my resignation only yesterday. No. They had to do inventory at work, and it was just the management type people, not the hourly plant workers. So they ordered a giant Subway sandwich, like, the 6-foot kind. HH was quite excited about his bounty. You'd think he was Homer Simpson, after Marge threw away his wilting sub, and he fished it out of the garbage can and got all psychedelic in his hallucinations after eating it. "It's a good 12 inches of sandwich!" HH declared. "I don't want any. I had it for lunch. But YOU might want it." Hmm...typical of the male measuring standard, that ol' sandwich tipped the ruler right at 8 inches. I gave half to the #1 son, and I took the other half. Funny thing, when I went to pick it up, I felt something slimy on the bottom slice of bread. It was a piece of clear plastic wrap. By this time, the boy had already wolfed his down. I called him in. "What did you do with your plastic wrap?" The boy got a slightly sick look. "Um. I didn't have any on mine." OK. That's your story and you're stickin' to it.

Right now, we're merely marking time until the New Year, when HH will probably take a gun out into the front yard and shoot it. I'm hoping he shoots into the ground. I've tried and tried to tell him that a bullet does not go into orbit, it falls back down, hopefully not on some lady in town washing dishes by the kitchen window. That actually happened in St. Louis one year. Killed her dead, if I remember right. Or just winged her, if I don't. Those city Hillbillies need to smarten up. Maybe they all traded in their guns for $100 last week to the police.

The boys are passing the time by driving their Remote Control Jousting Knights at each other, full speed. It looks and sounds quite fun, though I might try some more maneuvers than the 'head-on crash' technique. Those things will go forward and backward. I would be evasive (like in real life) and then try to circle back and whack my opponent. But the boys are all about the crash. Hillbillies will be Hillbillies, I suppose.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

HM's Letter Of Resignation

To The People Who Live In My House:

Consider this my 2-week notice. I will no longer be servicing your every whim. Please take it upon yourselves to find a suitable replacement.

I wish you the best of luck in finding an employee who will work for free while listening to your litany of complaints.

Signed, Your

Personal Shopper
Life Coach

Saturday, December 29, 2007

HM Bores The Pants Off

I am at a loss for words today. It doesn't happen often. Enjoy it while you can. Nothing of interest has happened. I spent the day reading and watching 'Heartbreakers' and 'Girl, Interrupted' on TV. They were on at the same time, so I had to switch to the one with the most interesting part at the time. I will say that both lost a little entertainment value to TV censorship. Just sayin'...

Let's see just how boring I am today. Feel free to comment on my boringness.
I'll get us started: I'm as boring as...

* a 50-minute lecture on standard deviation from the norm

* a 9-year-old's recap of an entire Tom and Jerry movie

* HH's description of how the gap was off on the machine that cuts the teeth into the bands of steel to make them saw blades, right down to the last millimeter, and what he did to fix it

* the index of an Earth Science textbook

* a 6th-grader's sick day spent at Grandma's, wrapped in a quilt and seated in a rocker in front of the fireplace so that one side sizzles and one side freezes, in a house with no cable, no magazines, and no books, with a lunch menu of head cheese on sourdough bread sandwiches, home-canned beets, and cottage cheese with canned peaches for desert

* a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a seascape and sky

* a two-hour radio analysis of the President's state-of-the-union address

* a 50-minute drownproofing test in the 12-foot end of a college swimming pool, where the rules are that you can not touch the side or the bottom, and must keep your face in the water except to get a breath every now and then, and if you don't pass the test, you either fail the class, or you drown

* a night-time drive across western Kansas

* a Friday afternoon lecture in a Wildlife Biology class that meets from 3:00 to 4:00, where to topic is "Identifying Bird Calls"

Ho hum. I'm going to call it a night.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Random Thought Thursday On Friday #2

Better late than never. And without further ado...

Beagles will eat and eat until they look like small, leaden Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons. They will eat cat food and stale bread and boiled eggs in the shell and potato salad and vegetable soup. Shepherd-mix doggies, on the other hand, play with their food. It is not uncommon to see one guarding a loaf of French bread, or a raw potato, just so a Beagle can't eat it.

HH complained that he took his cough medicine as directed at 9:30 last night, but couldn't fall asleep until after 10:30. And he thinks it has nothing to do with sleeping for 36 hours on the day and night before. It was faulty cough medicine.

Dan Fogelberg died, and nobody told me.

Hammacher Schlemmer shall rue the day that 'Lifetime Guarantee' slogan was coined.

The #1 son is getting glasses. He is actually excited about it. Nerd!

So many little I dare to share.

Is it just me, or was that Oprah show at the spa place thingy a few weeks ago really, really, excessively creepy? I was watching it at The Pony's elbow therapy waiting room. I'm not a regular Oprah watcher. I gave up on her when she declared herself Queen of the World. When she stopped having real shows. When she stopped her Book Club for regular people books, and declared that she was now recommending the classics. Since when did Oprah's poo stop being odiferous? Anyhoo, on this spa show, Oprah took her bosom buddy, Gayle, and a bunch of other women I don't know and don't care about to a spa place. And next thing you know, they are outside at this ropes course thingy, only they have cables. Have you seen Oprah lately? So the deal is that they strap a harness on you, and hoist you up to the top of a telephone pole, and you release a clamp thingy and 'swing' down near the ground. Gayle is afraid of heights. Oprah insisted that she do the pole. AND made fun of her while they were cranking her up. Oh, and if you looked in the background, there were like, 300 people holding the cable to hoist Gayle. But we're not to the creepy part yet. Oprah and Gayle kept referring to each other as 'Mommy'. Or maybe it was 'Mami', though I don't recall either Gayle or Oprah being particularly Hispanic. Or having children. What is up with this 'Mommy' business? It makes me think "Eeewwww!"

Tigers should not be taunted. Seriously.

It's all fun and games until you get a screwdriver jabbed into your brain. Does anyone else see a problem here? A two-year-old wanders away at church, and finds a screwdriver, and stabs it into her own eye socket? I know two-year-olds can be rambunctious. But this is too, too much for me to fathom. Perhaps she tripped and fell on it. Perhaps an older child was roughhousing in the unsupervised pointy-tool horseplay area with her. You can bet I would have come up with a better story than, "She just disappeared for a minute, and I guess she stabbed herself in the brain with a screwdriver she found."

Did we not all hear the scream from Paris? "OH SH*T!!!"

I need to stop watching CNN.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Still Kickin'

Reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. The miracle elixir, Hot & Sour Soup, has saved me to whine another day. HH seems to have benefited from his twice-a-day cough medicine regimen. He is as cranky as all get-out. Which means he is back to normal. Maybe the antibiotics had something to do with it. Or the 36 hours of sleep.

Tomorrow, the #1 son goes to the optometrist. I'm sure he needs glasses. I had no inkling until The Pony got his, and #1 kept swiping them off his face to watch TV. "I can't believe how CLEAR it is, Mom." Go figure. I thought they did vision screening every year at school. That's how we knew to take The Pony for his eye exam. Then a student in my class said, "Oh, the school nurse that retired? She only had us read the first two lines. Over half of the elementary got those notices this year." It must be true. The students always know these things before HM.

Enough of this. Now let's get back to ME. I ordered tickets to see Kathy Griffin on Feb. 10. My niece tipped me off. I had no idea Kathy was coming to town. My niece is 18, and a big fan. I even loaned her my Kathy Griffin DVDs. She has quite a potty mouth. Kathy, not my niece. She will be at the Fabulous Fox Theater. I've been there before to see Joan Rivers, and Marie Osmond, and Randy Travis, and the Oak Ridge Boys. The bad news is, we're taking HH as our driver. He knows his way around the city. I can barely make it to Lindbergh. I was born without a sense of direction. Like HH was born without a funny bone. He's not going to like Ms. Griffin. I can hear him now. "That's entertainment for morons." Or he might say 'Mormons'. Words are not HH's friends.

I mentioned yesterday that the boys and I went to see National Treasure 2. It was not as good as the original. In fact, the premise seemed a bit of a stretch. I still don't get the beginning, like whose name they are clearing, and why. That Nic Cage solves those clues way too fast. What is he, some kind of history savant? Or maybe he IS, and that's what the movie is about. Every time I see Jon Voight, I split my time between wondering who is crazier, him or his daughter, and thinking about the Seinfeld episode where George thought he bought a car previously owned by Jon Voight. And that little assistant guy is still cute as a bug's ear, but I never know his real name. I have problems with the ending. We're to believe that after all these years, the rock of that balancing thingy is unstable and cracks away, but the vines holding the decaying rungs of that ladder together are strong enough for four people to jump on. Those crafty Olmecs must have woven some steel cable into that ladder. Oh, and when I see Ed Harris, I think he just might be imaginary, like he was in A Beautiful Mind.

That's really all that's in my head today. Maybe tomorrow you will get your overdue Random Thought Thursday.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

HM Whines Some More

Remember when I told you how HH always manages to horn in on our holidays? Like last May, when he decided to contract the flu virus in May, specifically, the week we got out of school for summer vacation? Well, now that his two-day vacation of Christmas eve and Christmas day is over, he has decided to contract a strep infection. Uh huh. Leave it to HH. He breathed that breather on me all night. I even put a pillow over my head, hoping those ol' bacteria would land on it instead of being sucked down into my tender alveoli. I don't think that plan worked.

This morning, HH moaned and groaned and asked me to feel his forehead right before he went to work. The MOMometer said HH had a fever. I, myself, had a medical appointment at 10:00, so I got up early and called to return #1 son's broke-down gift, and showered and woke the kids and laid out their clothes. HH called and said he was coming right back home because his bosses didn't want him in the plant. In fact, he got home right before we left, signaling The Pony to whine that he didn't see why he had to go with me, because DAD was home to watch him.

I know what kind of Dad-watching goes on. The child would be on his own, only acting as an unpaid butler. HH does not think he has any responsibilities when he's sick. He had to come home and go to bed until he could get a doctor's appointment. Oh, he's OH SO SICK. He's the first man in the world ever to have strep throat. I called later to ask the diagnosis and if he got any medicines. HH reported that he got some cough medicine (even though he doesn't have a cough) and '500 milligrams'. That's all he knew. I was curious if it was an antibiotic. HH didn't know. It was 500 milligrams. I suppose he thinks that means he's really sick and taking strong medicine. Oh, and he says the doctor wants him to take the cough medicine twice a day. That's a mystery to me. I questioned him some more. "The doctor said he wants me to sleep, and the cough medicine has codeine in it, so he wants me to take it twice a day. That means morning and night." Hmm...why would he want to take that in the morning? HH explained that when doctors tell you twice a day, they mean at regular intervals, like morning and night. Duh. I think that is with ANTIBIOTICS, which need to keep a fairly constant level in your bloodstream. I've never heard of taking cough medicine in the morning as soon as you get up so you can go back to sleep. I'm thinking maybe he meant in the evening and later that night if you wake up coughing or can't sleep. But I'm funny that way. Then HH said, "Well, he said I probably shouldn't drive to work if I'm taking the cough medicine." I see his scam, now.

And furthermore, when I asked a goofy HH how he was taking his cough medicine, he said, "With a teaspoon." You know, like silverware. Even though on the countertop right by the silverware drawer is a little plastic measuring medicine cup thingy from The Pony's medicine. HH declares that all silverware teaspoons hold the same amount, 'a teaspoon', because they are pressed in a mold. Never mind that on his cough medicine label is a sticker that says taking too much of a dose could result in severe breathing problems. And HH has already said he had trouble breathing all last night with his breather.

Can you see me throwing up my hands at HH's wisdom? It isn't enough that he's going to lie around the Mansion like he's on his deathbed, doing absolutely nothing, expecting me to wait on him hand and foot, even though when I was put on bed rest for a week in my 7th month of pregnancy with The Pony, HH took off a week of work to 'help me' and left me alone in the house every day with a three-year-old while he went hunting AND told me "You ain't the first woman ever to have a baby" as well as, "By 'bed rest', I don't think the doctor meant that you couldn't stand at the sink to wash dishes and cook supper." No. Now he's going to overdose on the codeine, too.

Sorry. Bitterness makes HM write run-on sentences. I have been feeling poorly all day. I don't exactly have a sore throat. It is sore down in my lower neck approaching my right lung. I get a bit wheezy when I exert myself. Like when I had to leave the movie theater to go out to the LSUV for my coat, because I was FREEZING, and didn't warm up until the end of National Treasure 2, which has a running time of 2:04.

Thank the Gummi Mary I had some Hot & Sour Soup for supper. This is the best I have felt all day. I think that stuff is a strep-fighter. Thanks to Gummi Mabel as well. She gave me the bestest Christmas present ever: a gift certificate for Hot & Sour Soup. And in case anybody is wondering, I heated up some Chunky Chicken Noodle Soup for HH's supper. Not that he would have done the same for me. And don't think I'm holdin' out on the Hot & Sour. HH does not like it. Perhaps that's why he's so sickly.

I can't remember when I have taken off work for having a cold. Oh, yes I can. NEVER! But then, I didn't take my codeine in the morning, either.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Cheesy, Wheezy Christmas

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is OH SO TIRED. She got 2 hours of sleep last night. Whether she needed it or not. Specifically, the hours of 4:30 to 6:34 a.m. were occupied by a clandestine rendezvous between HM and The Sandman. Don't worry about HH. He doesn't know. He was snoozing soundly during that time.

It all started with My-Sister-The-Mayor's-Wife's Christmas Eve party. We were told it began at 6:30. That's it. My mom said she was told it was from 6:30 to 8:30. She left at 8:30. The Hillbilly family, on the other hand, did not. We got home at 10:25. Which means the young'uns were not in bed with sugarplums dancing in their heads at a reasonable hour. Oh, and the #1 son must have consumed a keg of Pepsi at that late hour. I tucked The Pony into his bed at 10:35. #1 was supposed to go right to bed. He made a show of it, dressing for bed and climbing in to watch a Myth Busters DVD. That's how he usually falls asleep.

I in my kerchief sat up for a while, reading, while HH in his cap staggered off to bed, having drank over half a bottle of wine at The Mayor's house. Around 1:15, I had some business to attend to. At 1:55, I went upstairs, puttered about the kitchen for a minute, and turned off #1's
TV. I then adjusted my kerchief and went to bed. I was pooped. But then a naggling thought bounced into my brain. The Pony. Was he OK in his bed? He usually sleeps on the couch, but for two nights he slept in his bed. I'd heard a thump earlier. What if he had fallen out of bed? I got up to check on him. And found the #1 son with his TV on again, getting out of bed! BUSTED! "Where are YOU going?" He stammered a bit. "I...I had to go to the bathroom." I stood in the hall. "Go ahead." I peeped in on The Pony, who was perfectly fine. And I stood sentry so that #1 could not go ogle the presents. Then I had to sit in the living room on guard for 45 minutes so he did not slip down to the basement tree and squeeze the gifts.

When I thought it was safe to go to bed, I found out that was not the same as going to sleep. HH flipped and flopped like a flounder on a hot bed of coals. He bounced me and jounced me like I was on the non-jumping half of a trampoline. Then he spouted some ice-cold, virus-riddled exhaled breath at me through his breather. Oh, and did I mention that every time I almost dropped off to sleep, HH cut the cheese at the level of a gold medal Olympic cheese-cutting champion? Pheewwww! HH was like one of those AirWick thingies that shoot out fragrance every 9 to 32 minutes. Only the air came out of his butt, and did not smell OH SO FRESH. I thought I was going to asphyxiate. How I wished for the icy gust of contaminated breath to disperse that cheese vapor! But no. That cheese fog settled over me like fireworks smoke on a humid July evening. The last time I looked at the clock, it read 4:30. I couldn't look very often. Those gaseous cheese fumes made my eyes tear up.

The next thing I knew, the #1 son was nagging me awake at 6:34. And now I am very tired, and have to deal with two presents that do not work. OK, one is not so surprising, having come from The Devil's Playground. The other, however, came from Hammacher Schlemmer, at a pretty penny, too, I might add. Thank the Gummi Mary it was purchased with a credit card.

I WILL get satisfaction, by cracky! Customer service reps, beware!

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Twas The Night

'Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the Mansion
The rooms had been dozed
For a predicted toy expansion.

The stockings were hung by the electric fake fireplace
And behind the Christmas tree with care,
Because HH was the hanger,
And please believe me, you don't even want to go there.

The children were nestled in front of their electronic doodads,
While visions of sugarplums would have made them shout, "Egads!"
And I in my sweatpants and HH in his tighty-whities
Had called a holiday truce from our plethora of fighties.

When out on the porch there arose such a baur baur baur,
HH wished he'd moved those doghouses from the house way more far.
Out onto the porch HH flew in a flash,
Lest a tool-burglar at his BARn steal part of his stash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Is too poetic a line for Mrs. HM, you know.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But HH in a Santa suit with the head of a deer.

This Santa was not even remotely lively, or quick.
Don't forget it was HH, who's not exactly St. Nick.
As bald as an eagle, he called out our names.
We're lucky he remembered, he's usually so lame.

Hey Pony, hey One-Son, hey HM, hey 'billies
Let's unwrap those gifts before I have to take my pillies.
We ripped at the presents, the paper, it flew.
"Here's one from you to me, and one from me to you!"

HH spoke not a word, but trudged out to his Scout
The deer-head in hand, the one he's been talkin' about.
Since November, he's begged for that flea-market find.
It's the only present this year for which he has pined.

And laying his finger aside of his nose,
HH blew a snot rocket clear down to his toes.
And I heard him exclaim 'ere he drove out of sight,
"I'm hangin' this in my Mini-Mansion, like I said that I might."


Merry Christmas from HM, HH, and the young'uns!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Boys' Club

Yesterday we celebrated Christmas at the home of The Veteran. He is back in the states on a family hardship something-or-other involving his wife and their own personal business which I won't go into here. Not that I'm complaining. I think two tours of Iraq are more than plenty for anybody, and serving the rest of that 18-month third tour here at home is fine and dandy with me. Not that I was consulted or anything.

He just bought a house for his new family. He got married at the end of July, and has two kids now. Not that he works that fast or anything. They were a package deal. So anyhoo...we met up with HH's other son, The Veteran's brother, and his not-quite-wife and five kids. Don't even ask me to explain this one. Your collective heads would be spinning. I don't know if I really have a point here except that we went to their house and unwrapped gifts, and HH's boys shot my boy's Nerf-like 20-round Tommy gun at one of the small fry after telling him to lift his shirt. He didn't know any better. He's only three. The four-year-old closed himself up in the bedroom when he heard that shirt-lifting command. Apparently, he's played the 'dart game' before. And the 'lick the battery' game, according to his brother. Then all the boys had a wrestle-royale on the living room floor. That includes The Veteran, who won. Go figure. He's only 20 years older than them.

The #1 son tried on The Veteran's helmet, because they got to arguing about whose head was the biggest. You see, HH is known for his 50-lb. bowling ball head. That's what I call it, anyway. The Veteran could not get a helmet to fit on his first tour. He had to take the biggest one they could find, and take out all the padding. He said it took them almost two years to get him a helmet that fit with the stuff that belonged in it. So he put that giant helmet on the #1 son, and it fit like it was custom made. Then he tried on the vest thingy with all those plates in pockets around it that are supposed to save your life or something. The Veteran said he didn't have in the thingys that go on the sides like at the ribs under the armpit area. He said the full gear weighs about 70 pounds. That's more than The Pony weighs.

Today I had a discussion with HH about Brett Favre. OK, some may call it an argument. You be the judge. HH was talking about the game we were watching, and he kept saying 'Brett Far'. Of course I had to correct him. To save him future embarrassment, as that girl told me when she corrected my pronunciation of 'lunar' in class. Anyhoo, HH said that's how the announcers say it. I told him no, they were saying 'Brett FARVE', which is the pronunciation. HH went so far as to tell me it was on his jersey. I said, "Yeah. FAVRE". Then HH declared that there was no 'V' in the name, and if you look at Brett's jersey, you can clearly see a 'Y', not a 'V'. So now I don't know if HH thinks Brett's name is 'Far' or 'Fary', if you keep with the pronunciation of 'Favre' that is 'FARVE'.

HH. He's killin' me. OH SO SLOWLY.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

20-Minute Meals, With Hillbilly Mom

Here's a bit about our school carry-in dinner we had Thursday and Friday (leftovers). As I mentioned in my 'Egging' post, I was coerced into bringing a vegetable tray and dip. I KNEW people wouldn't eat it. Oh, the Math Crony made a token attempt, because she felt bad that I was talked out of deviled eggs, which I had no intention of bringing anyway. And my 2nd cousin who made the big deal over me not bringing mayo and a loaf of white bread did not even touch my veggies, as far as I could tell. Fie on them! I will never again bow to their peer pressure. That being said, here's some ironic incidents from the dinner.

The meat was ham, provided by the principal, and cooked by the home-ec teacher. Only don't let her hear me call her that. It's FACS, by cracky! But I prefer to get her goat. She's the ParkingSpaceStealer, you know. So we had a lovely baked ham, which I did not consume, because I was just not in the mood for ham. Funny thing...all we had utensil-wise was plastic forks and spoons from the cafeteria. We're not to be trusted with knives, you see. Except for the PasswordDeleter, who flaunts that big butcher knife. Oh, and a Basementia teacher who wears one on her belt. I suppose nobody wants to be the first to question that little Weapon Free School Zone faux pas. they were, those ham-eaters, trying to saw bites of ham with plastic forks and spoons. Just think, they could have had some lovely white bread to slap in on, and some mayo to wash it down. As it was, they picked up those ham slices like total barbarians, and gnawed off smaller bits to chew. They shall rue the day they coerced Mrs. Hillbilly Mom into NOT bringing sandwich-makings.

Nobody thought to use Mr. S's rolls to make mini-sandwiches. Those folks are not creative. They keep thinking inside the box. Mr. S further touted his rolls by saying, "Yes. This faculty really enjoys bread. A while back, we had some who wouldn't eat it. The low-carb thing." Yeah. And that never stopped him from bringing bread, either. He just brought less. Mr. S continued winning friends and influencing people by disparaging Math Crony's husband's eggs. He first whispered to me, "I really like your eggs." To Crony, and the table, he announced, "Her eggs are really good. Not that your husband's aren't, but I like hers better. What's that secret ingredient again?" Ahem. Then it would no longer be a secret. But I told him, quietly. And the librarian asked if I would whisper it in her ear. "Hmm," she nodded. "I use Dijon mustard." At least that's what I think she said. I lost interest. I'm not changin' my deviled egg recipe. And if y'all want to know the secret's dill pickle juice. And a lot of black pepper. And MAYO, not salad dressing like Miracle Whip.

Then there was the Hot Wing Dick incident. It's really Hot Wing Dip, but NotACook has that Freudian slip every time she mentions it. (Funny thing, I just typed 'Freudian slop'. Go figure.) I eat that stuff as a main course, not a dip. It's easier to slice than ham. But I have a bone to pick with NotACook. A literal bone. I bit into one while chewing on the Hot Wing Dick. It was the size of half a wishbone. The next day, during leftovers, the librarian got the bone. I told her I had the first bone, and the biggest, so I was the official winner. I hope it's not like a King Cake, Mabel, where the baby-biter has to buy a cake. I don't especially want to furnish a round of Hot Wing Dick.

Later that day, after I promised my crying Pony that I would get him a gift after his Christmas party meltdown, NotACook wrote down the recipe for that Hot Wing Dick. I'm giving it to my sister-the-mayor's-wife for Christmas. Not as a gift. To make for her Christmas Eve dinner. She always has a bevy of spicy stuff. And the recipe began: Boil six chicken breasts. Let them cool. Remove the bones (or leave some in)...She's a regular comedian, that NotACook. She's just not much of a cook.

The final chapter of that carry-in dinner involves dessert. I'm not much for desserts. I prefer savory fare like Mabel's potato-bacon-cheese thingy. But that first day of the carry-in, I spied a container of small muffins. I snatched one up, what with two minutes left until the bell. That 20 minutes is not enough time to fill a plate and eat like a civilized human being. I had a choice of blueberry, something, or lemon. The lemon ones looked so pretty. The store label described them as 'lemon streusel'. I have no idea what that is, but they looked appealing, and I made a snap judgment. That is where I went wrong. When I bit into it, that pretty yellow pastry tasted just like my dishwashing liquid!!! Not that I have ever tasted my dishwashing liquid, mind you. It tasted like my Joy smells.

It was not a just dessert.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Pity Party for Poor Pony

Here's the trauma of the day: My Little Pony cried. He got off the bus crying. He had been crying for quite some time, judging from his red raccoon eyes and the pink blotches on his forehead. There he sat, that poor pitiful Pony, all dangly legs and snuffles, at the corner desk in my room. I had been up the hall watching the principal receive his gift, and the Pony had slipped by me like the last 174 days of the school year.

I leaned over and spoke quietly to him. He would not tell me what was wrong. He's a tough nut to crack, that Pony. Mrs. NotACook was supposed to write me a recipe, but she went on to her own room. "I'll come back later," she said. I had to quiz the Pony. "Did something happen on the bus? Did you get your feelings hurt? Did something happen at school? Did you lose or break your glasses? Did you think I had left you?" Each question brought a shaken head. He shook. He sobbed. I started to cry. It hurts my cold, cold heart to see my Pony like that. He is too tender-hearted. He patted my arm. "Mom! Don't cry!" We sniffled together.

Finally, I hit it on the 19th question. "Did you get a Christmas present?" Again, the Pony shook his head. But this was a bad thing. His class had a gift exchange at their party today. He was supposed to take a boy toy. I wrapped it and sent him off with it from the LSUV this morning. It was a football and two round balls with rubbery pointy things all over them. Hey! The limit on gifts was $5. Now I was disappointed that my Pony did not get a gift. I had to get to the bottom of it. That boy lives for parties. He's been excited all week. Now this.

"Did somebody forget to bring one?" He shook his head. "Tell me what happened. Do I need to call the teacher?" The Pony squeezed out a few more tears. He shook his head. "Tell me." He took a breath. "I can't. I have a lump in my throat." Finally, I got it out of him.

"We all picked a number to get presents. I got number 3. I unwrapped my present, and it was a Nerf dart gun. Then it was Classmate's turn to unwrap one or take it. He took mine. Mrs. Teacher told me to get another present, but I didn't want any that were left. When there was only one left on the table, I wouldn't take it. So she took it."

OK. First of all, I know it is my boy's own fault he didn't get a present. He had the option, but he chose to be stubborn. All the other kids went along, but he didn't. But what teacher in her right mind would play this gift swap game with 4th graders? I certainly would not attempt it until at least 9th grade. Middle school kids would fight, not cry.

That boy was heartbroken. I told him I would look for a Nerf dart gun for him. He said, "If you can find one like it, I would like to have it for Christmas." We had just been in The Devil's Playground yesterday. There were no $5 Nerf guns. The closest was $7.98. I had to go back today anyway. I got the Nerf for Pony. And I gave it to him tonight when I picked him up at his grandma's house. But we had a talk. A talk about how sometimes you have to go along. To pretend that everything is OK, even if it isn't. Like go by the rules, and take another gift, and give it to someone else later if you don't like it. And then we can talk about it at home. But if you go through life crying when you don't get your way, the kids will make fun of you, and people will think you're a whiner. Pony though about it. When I asked him specifically if any of these things happened today, Pony said that nobody made fun of him, but his teacher was kind of mad. She didn't yell at him, though. She just took the book on reptiles that he didn't want anyway, because he really is not interested in reptiles. And a couple of his friends felt bad for him that he was sad.

I think he got the message. Whether he can put this plan into action is another story. He's been like this since he was a couple years old. At daycare, when he got hurt, he wouldn't tell what the problem was. His teacher even called me a couple times. "I don't know how he's hurt. He won't tell me anything. I looked him over, but there's no bleeding or bruises. I let him sit by himself, and after a while he was OK again."

I know. I'm spoiling him by giving him that gift. I should let him go without one so he learns not to look a reptile book in the mouth. But he didn't ask for the Nerf. I volunteered it.

We won't go into what HH had to say about the teacher.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ain't That A Shot In The Head

Twice this week, I got home after 9:00. I don't like it. It's for the birds. It's even after the cows come home. I'm a night owl, but that's ME time. Not school time. I begrudge that place the precious 1-2 hours a night it drains from me. It's a load of crap. Crap! CRAP, I say! OK, that's a bit dramatic, even for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. My son saw a t-shirt with the 'crap' saying on it. I don't think so, son. I'm not in a mood to leave work to pick you up to go home and find another shirt. I'm an insider, you know. You can't slip one by me. But you can try. Just like that one kid who had the Christmas spirit and wore his "I've got a big package for you" t-shirt.

Sometimes, I am a bit dense. I took a look at the winning Christmas door (not mine, thank you very much). It was some saying about not spreading the Christmas staph. And it had pictures of numerous faculty on a tree, including Mabel. Each teacher had a single red dot on his/her forehead. "Oh, dear me," thought Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. "Some scofflaw has defaced the winning door! It looks like each one has been shot in the head. I'm surprised this hasn't been taken down. That 'hit list' mentality is something we do not want to encourage." Yes, leave it to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to jump to the worst case scenario. Perhaps they all could have been turned into Indians (dot, not feather). Hey! It could happen. And then my 2nd cousin explained to me that the red dot represented 'staph'. Never mind. Don't worry, Mabel. You haven't been killed instantly. You're dying a slow, painful death. Which is probably fitting for such a CHEATER, which I believe was a word written quite close to your photo. At least you didn't cry over your own image. Oh, Christmas time. It's such a hurtful season, don't you find it?

And now, a bit about The Pony's program. I stumbled in on rehearsal after Mabel tricked me to the gym. There he sat, on the front row of risers, in his own world. He spotted us and waved. He is so tender-hearted, that boy. At the program, he marched out and climbed up on the back row. That was a first. Then we lost sight of him. And he reappeared on the bottom row. When it was over, I asked him why he was moved. He wouldn't answer until we were halfway home and I threatened to take away his reading and computer and TV. I'm cold-hearted, you know. I thought he was playing me. He got that clammy look when I asked about it. Clammy, as in 'clammed up', never gonna talk. He gets that way instead of having a fit like his brother. Almost in tears, he said, "What do you want to know?" I asked why he was moved. Did he clobber someone? Voice trembling, he replied, "Well, I was on the back row, and Mrs. Music Teacher said she couldn't see me, and she moved me and left someone the same size as me on the back row!" Sob! My poor little Pony had his feelings hurt. He IS one of the smallest in his class. And the therapy lady told him every week how weak he was. I felt his pain, but not much. Get over it already! At least he wasn't in trouble.

I don't mean to be mean about other people's kids, but there was one little soloist who should have had the mic turned off. Oh, the pain! My dog howls better than that at 2:00 a.m. She couldn't carry a tune in a bucket. With a lid on it. And she belted it out LOUD. The guy in front of me looked at his buddy and rolled his eyes. I almost had tears in mine from the pain. It finally ended, and I felt a whoosh as the crowd sighed with relief. And I'll be Gummi Maryed if they didn't sing the same gosh-darn song as a reprise! That music teacher is sadistic. Or deaf.

One more half-day until Christmas vacation. The school year is almost over, you know.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Egging Of Hillbilly Mom

Don't get your hopes up. Nobody hit me with eggs. Or even threw them at me.

Tomorrow is our Christmas dinner at school. As in, we carry in dishes and do not eat in the cafeteria. Here's the deal. I did not participate in it for several years. This year is the first time in about 5 years. It's a really juicy story why, but I'm not going into it here. Anyhoo, at the lunch table yesterday, Math Crony asked what everyone was bringing. She didn't want to double up, since we had 3 green bean dishes at Thanksgiving.

I told her I would not be bringing anything homemade, because this is a really busy week for me. There was the therapy and birthday dinner Tuesday night, the Pony's Christmas program tonight (along with #1's church program practice), and the church program tomorrow and Friday night. Which is neither here nor there, because it comes after our carry-in dinner, but it really is a busy week.

When Crony asked about the state of the luncheon, Mr. S said, "I'm bringing rolls." Now, I or anybody else in that school could have told you what Mr. S was bringing. It's what he always brings. To give him credit, it's an improvement. Years ago, he brought bread. Bread. A loaf of store-brand white bread! Sliced bread. Just bread. Which did not set well with those who slaved the night before, expending the effort and expense to bring an actual side dish. And when Mr. S told Crony of his plan, he said, "She makes great deviled eggs." Meaning me. And I DO make great deviled eggs. But they require effort. I won't go so far as to say I make them with LOVE like those creepy Tylenol manufacturers proclaim in their disturbing commercial, but I DO have a secret ingredient, and I can whip up a tasty deviled egg.

Crony's face fell. "Oh. My husband is going to The Devil's Playground tomorrow, and he was going to buy eggs." I said, "He can buy eggs to his heart's content. I am NOT bringing deviled eggs." Mr. S could not stop talking about my deviled eggs. I'm glad he likes them. But I'm too busy. Crony said, "You could bring mayonnaise. There is never any mayonnaise, and we're having ham." I announced, "That's IT! I will bring mayonnaise. And maybe a loaf of bread. For sandwiches the next day." Mr. S did not look pleased. My 2nd cousin at my left elbow piped up, "You could bring a vegetable tray. And dip." Why, for the love of Gummi Mary, could these two not leave me in peace to bring mayonnaise and a loaf of bread? Now I feel obliged to bring a vegetable tray that nobody will eat, because, HEY, there's 3 kinds of green beans and a pack of rolls and some deviled eggs. Nobody wants a vegetable tray. Which, I might add is about $8 more expensive than a loaf of bread and a jar of mayonnaise. That might cut into my gambling money. Mr. S, I believe, felt that I was encroaching on his bread monopoly. I wash my hands of the whole shindig. I think I will go back to not participating next year. Long gone are the days I brought my spectacular Oreo cake to these festivities.

There's more to that story, too. But I'm not telling it now.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Few Competencies Short Of A Project

I don't have much time tonight. And I won't have much time tomorrow night. So don't say I didn't warn you.

This was a busy day back at school, what with setting up for my Hot Wheels activity (thanks for the ramps, Mabel), getting observed 2nd hour, chastising my 3rd hour for their whining ways, slapping up our door decoration for advisory group, giving those kids a Christmas bag of goodies, cleaning up my room from the decorating, turning in 7/9ths of my project list that must be done before Christmas break, and sweltering all freakin' day at 74 degrees. I don't know what's up with the heat. It's usually cold. I set my room thermostat on 68, and it was STILL hot. I opened the window, but that just made the heat come on. I guess I could have put on the air conditioner.

I was glad I gave those advisory kids that bag. I'm down to 10 kids now. They're dropping like flies. Perhaps it's the heat. Anyhoo, one kid said, "This is SO cool. Like, I will get one present at home. An $18 something-or-other." She said what it was, but it escapes me. It's not like a gave them diamonds and Godiva chocolates. It was just some pencils and erasers and a Santa bumper car and a walking snowman and a couple Slim Jims and a pack of sugarless gum and three Hershey kisses and a Santa hat that plays music if you push a button and a bag of Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's famous homemade Chex mix. I hesitate to tell that last part, lest Mabel mug one of my young charges. Mabel is fond of the Chex mix. Play your cards right, Mabel, and you will get more with your Christmas gift. Thursday. That's the day of the giving of Mabel's gift. If I remember to bring it. Perhaps I can deliver it to her classroom 6th hour. Mabel used to come to my room 1st hour, but I have an ornery little group this year, which may spoil the festive mood.

After school today, I rushed My Little Pony to his last elbow therapy session. His therapist gave him some neon green putty to work on his hand and forearm strength. She really shouldn't have. Really.

After that, we took HH to supper for his birthday. Then the #1 son and I went to The Devil's Playground to shop for that John Deere Barbie that HH wanted so badly. She was not there. Apparently, some other man wanted her worse.

I didn't get home and get stuff carried in and give HH's gifts until 9:00. And I still have the other 2/7ths of that project to do. Maybe 1/7th will be done tonight. When I turned in my other parts, I saw that the only people who had turned them in so far were Mabel, her math crony, and that foreign lady. Quite good company I'm in. Until somebody notices that I'm a few competencies short of a project. Anyhoo...I'm workin' on it.

Right now.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Anatomy Of A Phone Tree

Here's the way it works. If we're not having school, the faculty emergency phone tree goes into effect. OK, I don't really know if the word 'emergency' is on there. But we have one of those little guys for each building. You're only supposed to be on one, where you start your day, but one of the travelers last year was on two. So she was sure to get the message. Of course, she also had to call two people. Even Steven, don't you know.

Usually, the phone tree works just right. But sometimes you get a dead branch, or worst of all, the tree sprouts too late in the season. Last night, the tree was a bit sickly.

It all started with my #1 son. I heard him talking in his room. I am the nosy type, who believes in keeping her children under her thumb. The boy is known to be talking in his room for two reasons: he's on his phone with a crony, or he's talking to the imaginary 'Tony'. Thank the Gummi Mary, that last one hasn't occurred since he was three. But sometimes he will talk for hours, or past 9:00 p.m., and I must put a stop to it. Around 6:15, I went in to see who he was talking to. "Just SmellALot," he replied. I told him, "Ask how the roads are around his house." SmellALot (who does not smell, but that sounds like the name my son calls him) lives in one of our rural areas. The conversation went downhill shortly thereafter.

Some are clear; some are snow-covered.
That fills me in.
Hey! SmellALot says his mom called ElemTeacher, and she said we're not having school. Wait a minute, SmellALot! How do you know that? My mom hasn't gotten a call.
That's right. Ask him how ElemTeacher found out, and how long ago.
How old is she?
What are you asking him? She's in her thirties. That has nothing to do with it.
I mean, how old is the call? How long ago did she find out?
I swear. You don't know what you're doing.
SmellALot says it was just a few minutes ago. ElemTeacher got the call from her list.
Well, it was just a few minutes ago. I might get one any minute. I know--I'll call Mabel.
Do you need the phone? I'm on internet.
You big idiot! No wonder I haven't got a call! How are they going to call me if the line's busy?
Oh. I'm an idiot.
Get off it. I'll use the cell to call Mabel.

Mabel verified that indeed, we did not have school. She had just received her call, but hadn't called the next leaf on her branch. Of course, we had to chat for 15 minutes. During that chat, my phone rang. It was the wife of the leaf above me on the phone tree. It went a little something like this:

I tried to call you, but your line was busy.
Yes. My son was on the internet.
Well, when I couldn't reach you, I called Traveler. She's the one below you, isn't she?
Yes. So I don't have to call her?
I got her answering machine. I left a message. So you might want to call the leaf under her.
OK. I will.

I finished my chat with Mabel. Then I rang the next leaf, who sounded as if she was in the bathtub.

May I speak to NotACook, please?
Sure, let me get the phone to her.
(Splash, splash) Hello?
This is Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. We don't have school tomorrow.
Are you sure?
(No. I'm prank-calling you because I don't have enough to do)
Yes. Mrs. LeafAboveMe called while I was talking to Mabel, who also said we don't have school.
You're not the one who calls me.
I know. Mrs. LeafAboveMe left her a message because my line was busy.
Are you sure? Why aren't we going? The roads are fine.
According to Mabel, TheFreshmanHater who calls her asked Mr. Principal why, and he said we have some roads that we definitely don't want any buses on tomorrow.
I'd rather go now than make it up in the summer. We didn't really have to miss last Monday.
I'd rather have my days now, thank you very much.
Well, I guess I go shopping tomorrow.
Not me. I have to get my special projects done by the end of the week.
OK. Well, I guess I'll call the next leaf.

Whew! It's tiring to call off school. One year, the boys and I had already left before the call came. In fact, I had dropped them both off at school. A lady came out the door and said, "Boys, go get back in your car. There's no school." So I took them to my first building, where the principal was standing out front by the drive, telling people school was canceled. Just my luck. That building has a downhill to get to the highway. And three cars had just slid off the side and were in the ditch. The boys and I went to my room for an hour until the road was cleared. Then we put the LSUV into 4 Low and chugged down that slippery slope. It took us over an hour to get home. That's usually a 35 minute drive.

Mabel doesn't pussyfoot around on snow days. She takes the bus. The school bus. I prefer to trust my own driving skills as sit with my sworn enemies. Oh, and the bus doesn't run a route to my neck of the woods.

That emergency phone's the greatest thing since sliced bread. But I still watch the news to verify that we're off.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Pummeling The Pony

OK. We got the snow. HH took the kids out this morning at 8:45 and pulled them around on sleds. Don't get that warm fuzzy image of HH pulling a sled by hand. Laws, NO! HH tied them up to the back of the Scout (the sleds, not the kids, because we have laws against that kind of thing here in Missouri), and buzzed around the field like a madman. Oh, every now and then he looked back. Which means he had to backtrack and pick up My Little Pony, who fell off frequently.

HH thought he was behind the wheel of a speedboat, methinks. A speedboat towing professional water-skiers. Because he whipped those poor boys around the curves unmercifully. The wind chill was in the teens, and I made them wear those ski mask sock caps. You know, like bank robbers wear in the winter when it's too cold for pantyhose. That poor Pony ate a bucketfull of snow every time he toppled head first into the field of screams. HH has selective hearing, so it took the #1 son hollering at him to make him go back. Not that the #1 son was being protective of his little brother. He just wanted his target back. You see, HH had tied them in a long-rope/short-rope configuration so they wouldn't collide. More likely, he just had one long rope and one short rope. But anyhoo, the #1 son's sled was behind and to the left of the Pony's sled. #1 balanced on his sled with no hands, and used those paws to scoop up snow, mold snowballs, and fire them at the back of the Pony's head as they swerved around the field.

Poor Pony came in with icy red hands, blowfish lips, and a scrape on the side of his nose where his glasses should fit. He said his dad made them take off the gloves to warm their hands. Go figure! HH must live in the Bizzaro World where things are backwards! Pony's lips got swollen from smacking into the field face-first so many times. And the scrape must have been from something harder than snow that he landed on. It's all fun and games until the Pony loses an eye. Next time, I suppose he'll need safety glasses. And to garner more sympathy, the Pony stuck out his bottom blowfish lip and said sadly, "And one time, I fell on THIS arm when Dad threw me off my sled." He gingerly held up the elbow formerly known as 'broken' with his good arm, and made big puppy-dog pony eyes. That boy has me wrapped around his little finger. The #1 son is more hardy. He didn't have a mark on him, except for a bad case of hat-hair. I offered to make him some hot chocolate, and he said, "I'll do it myself." Wow. He's only been 13 for five days, and already he's more self-sufficient.

That's all Mrs. Hillbilly Mom can write today, folks. She's getting observed tomorrow, and has to skedaddle off to type up a blue-ribbon lesson plan. Because that's how she does things, you know. It's all about the show.

And shame on any of you who thought this title was about something else.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Let It Snow

I wish the weather outside was a bit more frightful. Our snow is sorely lacking in the delightful department. In fact, we didn't even have any snow until around 2:00 this afternoon. The kids jumped up at the crack of 8:30, ran to the door, and sighed. They have trust issues with meteorologists now. I hope those news stations are proud. We are waiting again tonight for our 8 inches that were promised.

I tried to wrap some Christmas gifts today, but that was kind of hard, what with no nametags or bows. HH had chastised me about the wrapping paper earlier this month. According to him, we had a tractor trailer full of wrap on the duck. That's what HH calls the ductwork, where he piles things he doesn't want to deal with. If a robber tries to sneak in through our ductwork, he'll end up all pretty and gift-wrapped when it collapses. But without a bow or nametag. I bought three new rolls anyway. I should have listened to that little voice in my head that said to buy nametags.

My Little Pony was supposed to have his Christmas program tonight at 7:00. I asked him if it was still on. He said he didn't know. A bit later, he mentioned that he didn't see me at the high school because his class didn't come over to practice Friday as scheduled. He said, "We're going to practice on Monday instead." Yet he couldn't explain why they would practice Monday if the program was still scheduled for Saturday night. I threw up my arms and sent him out to the LSUV to get his backpack. Then the mystery was solved. HH was flabbergasted that the cancellation was not announced on the radio. I suppose we should comb through the backpack more carefully.

The #1 son had his program Thursday night. I missed Survivor. But I saw a commercial that showed Denise as one of the final four. She's my pick to win, but I think she's a bit too weak in competitions and a bit too congenial with everyone to make it to the final two. They tend to select people with more enemies. Anyhoo, about the song featured the kids making hand motions. It was not by any stretch of the imagination American Sign Language. It was like when your mom has laryngitis and is trying to yell at you with her arms. Friday morning, when it was time for #1 to stop lollygagging and get ready, I did my own little sign language. I'm the regular MAD TV of moms, ridiculing everything that suits my fancy. In fact, HH calls me a smarta$$. And not endearingly. Back to my message...I pointed to my eye, and to #1, and circumscribed a little clock and put my forearm in it as a ticking second hand, and pointed to his clothes, and pantomimed pulling on a shirt and pants. My boy laid sideways across the next-best recliner, his head lolling over the arm of the chair. His look said it all. He did not even need to move his arms. The message came through loud and clear: "You are an idiot." But I did see the corners of his mouth quiver. Uh huh. That's what I'm talkin' about. I declare myself the funniest mom in the world.

Because Kathy Griffin doesn't have kids.

Friday, December 14, 2007

The Great Conspiracy

My teaching buddy, Mabel, says that if I miss a day of school, everything will continue without me. Nothing will fall apart. And furthermore, I'm not nearly as important as I would like to believe. As in, when I die, nobody will say, "Good ol' Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. She never missed a day of school." No. They will say, "Who's Mrs. Hillbilly Mom."

Tonight, I'm here to prove Mabel wrong. OK, not on the funeral comments. Because I ain't dead yet. The bone I have to pick with Mabel concerns her mistaken belief that everything will be fine if I miss school. I only missed ONE class. I wasn't playing hooky. I was taking my mom to the doctor. And LOOK what happened:

I missed 7th hour on Wednesday. On Thursday morning, I went to the back of the room to my trusty computer to take attendance and lunch count. Or so I thought. That darned Dell wouldn't log me on. It said 'incorrect password'. I've had my password for several years, and don't forget it. I checked to see if the caps lock was on, or that freaky numeral thing. Nope. A-OK. I sent a student to the NotACook's room to see if she could log on. Oh, yes. And she came to my room to explain that when she filled in for me 7th hour, a student came in and said TechLady wanted to be sure I knew that she had accidentally changed my password, and that it was now ANNOUNCE OUT LOUD. Hmm...I asked if that was with caps or not. NotACook didn't know. I tried that password.

And... I got a message that my account had been locked, and a report was being sent. Well, now. That's a fine How Do You Do when you need to get on there and report attendance and lunch count. So I wrote a note and sent it to TechLady. Not with the most trustworthy of students, but with one I enjoyed being rid of for a few minutes. Because it's all about pleasing myself, you know. When he returned, he reported it had been unlocked, and my new password was ANNOUNCE OUT LOUD. Yep. There it was. Written on the back of the note. An unstapled, untaped note, naked for all to see. So now, we're at a count of approximately 35 students, plus anybody the message-bearer encountered in the hall, knowing Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's password. The one she uses to...umm...enter grades and report attendance. So anybody faster than Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to log on could change the password to their own deep, dark secret, and have their way with Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's data.

I was not a happy camper. I didn't even feel like camping. Who can camp, worrying about students changing their grades willy-nilly, and resetting their perfect attendance? It would be like those born-again abstinent virgins, or whatever they call themselves, who get a ring and pledge no sex (anymore) until marriage. How dare somebody accidentally change my password! What was she doing in my records, anyway? This new system won't let us look up anything but our own grades. I smell a conspiracy.

I told the kids I needed to have a word with TechLady at the lunch table. There might be a rumble. One of them asked, "Is there going to be a sword fight?" Which gave me pause, because TechLady is known to bring a very long and shiny butcher knife to lunch, to cut the cheese and smoked meat product that she ingests. So I told him, "No. I will have a few words with her if she doesn't have the knife. If she does, I will pick another time when she is unarmed."

I rushed to the lunch line at the bell to get my vegetable soup. It's the first time we've had it this year. With greasy, crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches. I might have elbowed a few kids out of the way, but I was in a hurry. I had to get my soup and set it out to cool while I returned to my room for a bottle of water. And there was TechLady coming up the hall, right by my room. I asked if she had her knife. "No. It's still in my refrigerator." Aha! I grasped my window of opportunity by the horns and let her have it. She again apologized for accidentally changing my password. But she gave no explanation as to how it happened, or why she did everything but fly my new password up the flagpole and call a Meet Me At The Pole assembly.

Thank the Gummi Mary that a 2nd hour student told me how to go in and change my password once I was logged on again. Another bullet dodged by Mrs. Hillbilly Mom.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Random Thought Thursday #Something

Let's get to the randomness forthwith:

It is not good to have school children out until 9:00 p.m. singing. They need showers. And computer time.

Do not talk to me. Just don't. I am tired of listening. Really. Leave me alone. PLEASE! For the love of Gummi Mary, just BE SILENT.

If you are in a hurry to pick up your Mabel-watched kids at school after taking your mom to the doctor, you will get behind a trailer-truck-load of 4 x 4 lumber and an old geezer with a handicap license plate who believes in driving 20 in a 30. But you can beat the geezer in a short cut if you are wily and clever.

I never thought I would hear the following: You know, since my mom is a paraplegic from the knee down, she takes pain pills, and she is not the same when she is coming down from them. OK. I didn't know you could be a paraplegic from the knee down. And I thought a paraplegic had no feeling in that plegic part, except maybe phantom pain, but I thought that was for amputees, and I didn't know pain medicine would help. Who knew? I am so ignorant sometimes.

Don't ever miss your 7th hour class. Because when you come in the next morning and try to take roll and lunch count, your computer will tell you that your password is not correct. More on this conspiracy tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Get A Whiff Of This

My nose knows. But it won't tell my brain.

There's something fishy going on. You know how a smell can trigger a memory? That's what started this puzzle. The pieces don't fit. My snoot has put me in a snit. Yesterday, I stopped by The Devil's Playground after taking My Little Pony to his elbow therapy. I was looking for an item in the deli case that is never in stock. I've only found it once: Mozzarella Roll with Prosciutto. That's because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a true gourmet. I tried this item a few months ago, and now the cupboard is bare every time I search for it. The Devil's cupboard. Mine is piled with items that may or may not rival the 4-year-old Ranch Dressing of my mom's pantry.

Right next to the gaping, empty space where this delicacy belongs was a buttload of Mozzarella Roll with Spicy Salami and Oregano. Normally, I'm not a fan of salami. But I was hankerin' for a Mozzarella Roll of some type, and this was the next best thing. When I got it home, I sliced off two slices. Yes. I cut the cheese. I know you wanted to say that. I made a big glass of iced well water, and settled down for my snack. As I lifted a slice to my mouth, I got a big whiff. I'm not sure if it was the oregano, or the spices in the salami, but I was transported to another place and time.

I was very young. Preschool age, methinks. I was sitting on my little wooden stool with the back that you could fold down and make it a step-stool instead of a little chair. It was blue and red and yellow. I loved that little stool. I could carry it around and always have a chair, and even have a kind of toy to play with, what with converting it to a step-stool. I was not in my trailer-house. I was in a big field up at the lead company property. My mom and grandma were picking blackberries. It was OH SO HOT. Sweat rolled off my forehead. The sun beat down. We walked through a brambly area down a faint path. I sat on my stool. Mom and grandma picked and talked. My mom had a large, tall Tupperware clear container with a black plastic harness-looking handle. She filled it with blackberries, and then began on one of several assorted tubs that she had brought. Grandma would make blackberry cobbler later that night. My mom never made cobbler. She made jelly. It was OH SO HOT. Just in case you'd forgotten. The cicadas made a deafening noise. And there was that SMELL. The smell just like that pinwheel slice of Mozzarella and Spicy Salami with Oregano.

I wish I knew what was in that field that smelled like my cheese roll.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not Nice Hillbilly Mom

Life is never simple for Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Perhaps I mentioned that I am going to a doctor's appointment with my mom Wednesday. I moved heaven and earth to make these arrangements. I had to consult no less than four people to swing it. I completed my preparations today around 2:00. I have lined up Mabel for child care, the NotACook crony to cover my 7th hour class, and Mr. S to stand sentry in the parking lot after school. I got approval from the Big Man to set these machinations in motion.

I put the effort involved in this endeavor at the level of moving Jon and Kate plus 8 to Disneyland. You know, the up-tight ex-nurse and her half-Korean husband the IT guy, and their twins and sextuplets. Or perhaps the effort required to move the London Bridge to Arizona. I think. I'm not so good with history.

So what does my dear, sweet mama call to tell me at 3:15 today? She changed her appointment to 10:30. NOOOO! It ain't happenin'! She said they called and told her they had a cancellation, and could she come earlier in the day? NOOOO! You can not go earlier in the day so they can go home at 2:00 instead of 2:15. Absolutely NOT! Think of all the times doctors have kept you waiting an hour or two, when you were there faithfully, 15 minutes before your appointment, so they wouldn't have to wait on YOU. It is not your responsibility to make their schedule more convenient. I can not go at 10:30. That would require me missing lunch and part of two classes. I can not expect someone to cover for me for two separate classes during the lunch hours. Any teacher on MY lunch would have their own classes at that time. Any teachers on other lunches will HELLO be at lunch during my classes. I can not take the whole day off, because that would have necessitated me leaving detailed plans of actual lessons that I would have needed to leave on my desk at 3:10 when I left school!

I hated to tell my dear, sweet mother to call them back. But I did. She acted like she didn't even know I was going with her at the 2:00 appointment. Ahem. It's all I've talked about to her for the past week. How the kids would be OK. I'd make arrangements. And why, WHY would she have called me the minute she changed the appointment if I was not even going with her? Something is fishy here. But she called them. And she got her 2:00 appointment back. So all systems are still GO.

I hope they don't take it out on her. You know how they treat the elderly sometimes. They talk all loud and simple. I'm not having it. That's why I'm going with her. To pick any bones they toss at her. Because she is TOO nice.

Something which has never, ever been said about me. And never, ever will.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The HM Express

Ahh...yes. A lovely snow day was delivered to me at 6:10 a.m. Of course, by then, I had already been up for two hours, made the lunches, laid out the clothes, had a shower, and taken my morning nap. But who's complaining? By 7:00, I was working my fingers to the bone on my schoolwork, had a load of laundry sudsing, and had taken calls from HH and my mother. I'm a multi-tasker of the first magnitude.

At 9:00, everything stopped while I watched two episodes of ER on TBS. Or TNT. One of those Turner channels. They were good ones, too. Abby delivered baby Joe, and Sam killed her husband. Sam's own jailbird husband, not Abby's husband and Sam's former lovahhhh, sweet, sweet Luka. Jerry almost died. Hey, his mother is George's mother off Seinfeld. Who knew? Weaver fell on the knife for Luka, abdicating her throne as Chief of Staff. Neela made a drunken pass at Uncle Jesse. Pratt had nothing to do, and red-headed Morris wheedled his way back into his job. I still haven't figured out when he became a salesman. It must have been when HH called me the second time. He was bored, waiting for a delivery at work. HH is like that. He can't stand for me to have a day off. I asked him how many more times he was going to call, and he hung up in a huff.

By 11:00, it was time to boil up a big pot o'noodles for the boys' lunch. At 11:15 I was in the garage, holding a ladder for the #1 son to climb on top of the LSUV to get the fake Christmas tree out of the garage rafters. Then I hung the shrinkable clothes to dry in the laundry room. I made myself a delicious chili cheese dog for lunch, with a side of Cherry Diet Coke from my own stash of Save-A-Lot Maraschino cherries and canned Diet Coke. It was acceptable. I watched an episode of St. Elsewhere Season 1 for my dinner show.

By 2:00, I was back to work. Out of the 10 sets document thingies that I need to turn in before Christmas break, I completed four. There are two more I plan to get done tonight. Then I will only have to do one every couple of nights to meet my deadline. The 90-minute dinner break was not on my schedule, but what can you do? There are always three people in my Mansion clamoring for food.

This is a busy week. The Pony has elbow therapy tomorrow after school. Wednesday, I must not forget my morning duty, and I have to accompany my mother to a doctor's appointment, abandoning my kids to Mabel or the Book Fair until I can get there after school for them. My Not-The-Lunch-Lady crony has agreed to take my 7th hour class on her prep time so I don't have to take a whole day off. I think Mr. S can be persuaded to take my afternoon duty with the usual bribe of a bag of food. Now all I have to do is get this plan approved by the principal. He's usually quite accommodating when you save him a sub. I don't mind if they dock me the hour. I would rather avoid missing the whole day. Let's see...then there's the #1 son's church program practice Wednesday night. It happens to be his birthday Wednesday, but he wants his presents Tuesday, and no cake, so I think I can oblige. Then there's his school Christmas program Thursday night, and The Pony's Christmas program Saturday night. Whew! Are you tired yet? I'm hoping the Christmas door contest thingy is extended, because I also have a gift bag I want to give my sweatshop workers on Wednesday, and I don't know when I'm going to get that ready. Everything happens on a Wednesday.

This has been a nice respite, but now I must get back to work on my documentations.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Snow Day Crack

Shame, shame on all you people who googled 'crack' and ended up here! I suppose it's fair punishment. I can imagine the puzzled, disappointed looks on your wasted little faces. Try, try again.

I'm hoping for enough freezing rain tonight to keep us out of school tomorrow. But not enough to take away the electricity or TV. I could get a lot done tomorrow. I always run out of days on the weekend. I can get the shopping and laundry and enough cleaning that we don't have rats done, but then I'm out of time for my schoolwork. Or, I can do the schoolwork, but everyone the store won't sell groceries to complains that there's nothing to eat. And they ask those silly questions like, "Where is my underwear? Why don't I have any socks?" I'm not too optimistic, unless the forecast strikes fear into the larger schools. Then we will jump on the snow day bandwagon, because we're always out when the big three neighbors are out, but we don't like to be trendsetters.

HH is gone to a company Christmas 'party'. He didn't want to go, and instead of driving his 4WD truck with the freezing rain forecast, he drove his Mercedes. I guess it's a status thing, even though it's about 20 years old, and ugly to boot. He's hard-headed that way.

I'd love to prattle on about my boring life, but I have that pile of schoolwork, and the checks for the taxes haven't written themselves, so I need to get crackin', by cracky!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Season's Eatings

It's a dreary day at the Mansion. My kind of weather. I will admit that it makes me a bit drowsy. So far, the only thing I've accomplished today is baking the season's first batch of Chex mix. Mine is famous, you know. Hillbilly Mom's Chex mix is clamored for throughout the land. This batch is earmarked for my sweatshop laborers. I hope none of them have a peanut allergy. If I remember correctly, one is diabetic. Perhaps I should check with the school nurse before I kill somebody.

We need to get our live Christmas tree this weekend, but I'm thinking it will be put on the back burner until next weekend. I need to watch my mouth. Oh, if only I had a hundred dollars for every time someone has told me that! But in this case, I need to watch my fingertips. I wouldn't want anybody to try this at home. We don't actually put our Christmas tree on the back burner. It's too tall. And then there's that flammability issue. Also, I doubt my free labor would want the famous hillbilly Chex mix if they read that it was earmarked. Who knows what mental image that would create.

HH has taken the #1 son to the city with two of his friends for a birthday bash. His birthday is not until Wednesday, but this was the least busy weekend for the festivities. They are at some gaming place at a mall, planning to ride go-karts, climb a fake rock wall, and shoot each other with lasers. It was HH's idea. Leave it to HH to take kids to a mall two weekends before Christmas. HH did not want to host another sleepover. Apparently, he needs his beauty rest.

I think I hear the laundry calling me. That makes me really, really tired. Instead, I think I will pay the taxes, or make the grocery list. I have a severe case of selective listening. HH diagnosed it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Random Thought Thursday On Friday

From the people who brought you jumbo shrimp, boneless ribs, current history, even odds, working vacations, live recording, tight slacks, second best, retired workers, and plastic silverware ...a memo was drafted to Mrs. Hillbilly Mom. Seems that Random Thought Thursday was found missing yesterday.

Now, on with the boring entertainment.

The office sent a worker to me at the lunch table to ask if I was putting up a Christmas tree. Wait a minute! They can't ask that! What if I don't celebrate Christmas? Oh. What's that, you say? At school? Well. I've never set up a Christmas tree at school before. And I don't plan to start now. Why would the principal need to know that? He's taking my space? Whatchootalkinbout? What space? My parking space stolen by the ParkingSpaceStealer three years ago? Oh. The space where my tree goes. I didn't know I had a designated space. Maybe I would have been putting one up all these years if I knew a space had been reserved for me. But for the time being, I suppose you can tell the principal he can have my space.

Can everybody just stop talking like a man awakened from a 20-year coma and let me get a single thought into my head? Because I feel like yelling "Will you people please, for the love of Gummi Mary, shut the f*#@ up?" See? I said please. It's not that you're too loud. It's that you all want to talk to ME. I am one person. With two ears. And not a h*ll of a lot of interest in what any of you have to say at the moment.

Isn't it fitting that one of the parties involved in that 'comforting' incident in the girls' restroom a couple years ago has announced that she is planning a career as a sex therapist? It's always good to hear that my students have goals.

When one young lad mentioned that he can't wait until he gets his first tattoo, I said, "You know that when you're old, it will be faded and saggy, don't you?" He didn't answer, but another student declared, "When I'm old, I'm going to do my best to stay covered up. Like, if I go swimming, I'm going to wear a shirt. I'm not letting people look at my man-boobs."

Why is it that kids complain about Reading Day, but when you are going over a test from the day before, they prop open a book and read with wild abandon?

HH needs to look up 'cookie sheet' in a dictionary. He thinks you cook cookies on a piece of aluminum foil on the botom rack of the oven. He thinks the burning smell means they are baking. He thinks they are not done until they turn brown. Better yet, HH needs to look up the difference between 'cookie' and 'pizza'.

I will leave you with that image of HH and Miriam Webster.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Child Labor Scofflaw

I tried to put my advisee kids to work today, in a sweatshop of sorts. After they finished their test, I commanded them to pick a skill and demonstrate it. Did I say 'commanded'? I meant 'invited'. We have started working on the Big-A$$ Do-Gooder Basket. By 'started working on', I mean we have dumped out all the bells and whistles, and left the basket bare. The door thingamajig is still in the planning stages. It is only some disjointed heads at this point.

But listen to this! I might be breaking the rules! Go figure! Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a common, garden-variety scofflaw! Laws, NO! M-O-O-N. That spells Mrs. HM is a law-abiding do-gooder. I know the rules said that the door has to be put up on judgment day. I mean 'judging day'. But the way it was explained to me was that you can work on it, you just can't hang it up until J-Day. Not even for a quick photo to see how it looks. But you can work on it plenty. Is that right, Mabel? That's how the in-charger who took away our Homeless Christmas theme put it to me. I know for certain that some groups have been working after school.

Mr. S put the kibosh on my sweatshop of horrors today. Why should those kids be sitting in class learning when they could be with me on my plan time, listening to Bing Crosby croon Christmas carols, and slapping that door doohickey together? Two kids were certain he would let them out once their work was finished. But NO! He told them it was not allowed. Hmm. I need to have a chat with him at the lunch table tomorrow. Let me know, Mabel, if I really am breaking the rules. Oh. I forgot. You're the one who started campaigning for Turkey Teacher a week before the contest started. Perhaps you're not the best choice for a consultation on RULES. If you know what I mean.

Lucky for me a sub felt like getting rid of two other kids, as long as I sent a note that made it legal. And Mabel's math crony also donated a child to my cause. Lucky for me, I had already assessed their skills. I had a sketcher, an outliner, and a cutter. But we sorely missed those basketeers. Time to get out my rootin' tootin' homemade hillbilly corncob persuader doll. Mr. S might feel a twinge in his lower back later this evening. Because I really need those basketeers. They are female. As opposed to the three young males I had sweating up my shop today. I am very conscious of kid-gossip. In fact, I even propped open my classroom door while they were perspiring to Bing's oldies. I normally keep it closed against the sewer aroma from the boys' bathroom that permeates our hall every afternoon, like a forgotten mouse abandoned in a trap over a two-week summer vacation. I don't want any hints of impropriety in this witch-hunting day and age. My first year of teaching, a crony let a 9th grade boy sit in her car at the baseball field when a thunderstorm suddenly came up. The next day, he told everybody he made out with her. He apparently missed the memo that she was of an alternative persuasion.

In other news, the sleet came a-callin' around two o'clock this afternoon. All after-school activities were canceled, and we surged out of that building like so many rats off a sinking ship. Or undocumented workers from a clandestine sweatshop. It has been melting and re-freezing over the last two hours here at the Mansion. I have a feeling we will be doing illegal sweatshop business as usual tomorrow, but it was nice to be commanded to bring home our emergency phone tree. One can always hope.

The school year is almost over anyway, you know.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Big-A$$ Basket O' Pain

WooHoo! I'm gonna win me a contest. Don't even try, Mabel! Throw in your cryin' towel now. My advisees are a-gonna take the cake. Let me rephrase that, Mabel. THERE IS NO CAKE! I mean I'm winning the prize. Not you. The prize for the do-gooder basket. The door contest, not so much. But listen to this fine kettle of fish. My mom gave me a kick-a$$ basket for our food pantry stuff. Too bad that your group has the women's shelter. That toothpaste and tampons and hair spray ain't gonna look as sweet as our generic vegetables, Mabes. In fact, we could load up our basket-o-plenty with 4-year-old ranch dressing, and we'd still win.

Perhaps I've mentioned that my mother is a saver. I wouldn't go as far as to say she's a 'collector', because her house is not ankle-deep in trash or kitty cats. But she saves stuff that she gets from after-Christmas sales. She gave me a basket the size of the Grand Canyon. OK. That's a bit of an exaggeration. But it's a big-a$$ basket. It's woven wood, I tell you. I have one just like it. I call mine 'The Clean Clothes Basket'. It holds 4 loads of laundry if you mash it just right. Except that my new do-gooder basket still has both handles. One of mine broke off. My basket handle, that is. What do you think I am, some kind of freakish overgrown teapot? Maybe I should only stuff it with 3 loads of laundry.

Oh, but that's not all. My mom threw in some fine trinkets with which to decorate our do-gooder basket. I don't want to brag, but I will. We have a drum on a stick, wooden ornaments, plastic apples, pipe cleaners, ribbon, golden bows, fake presents, and maybe a partridge in a pear tree. Maybe not. I don't want to give away ALL our secrets. But I think we've got the basket licked. Now all we have to do is stock it with food. If I can get each kid to bring something for the basket...we'll have 11 cans of creamed corn. Yum! Some family is going to be very lucky.

I've got a pain in my neck. No, its name is not HH. That pain is a bit lower. This pain in my neck is actually down in my right shoulder blade area. That's 'scapula' to all you anatomy aficionados. It kind of goes around my side, and about halfway through to the front. It's not a constant pain, but intermittent. I've tried taking an aspirin, which worked the first day, and not since. It starts in the morning as I'm driving to school, which tells me it is probably from stress. I know. What does Mrs. Hillbilly Mom have to stress about? She likes her job. But she doesn't like all the rushing that goes with it, what with Christmas preparations and the Pony's therapy and doctor's appointments and the #1 son and his academic team practice and churchy PowerPoint thingy and newspaper staff meetings and Christmas program, and my mom's medical agenda, and oh, did I mention that Mrs. Hillbilly Mom still has work to do? Work that she managed to get done until now by staying after school every day until 5:00. And now that those two extra hours are taken up with everyone else's appointments, the work doesn't get done. Which is perhaps why Mrs. HM was up at 4:00 a.m. washing the dishes. In case you haven't heard: she has no dishwasher.

I tried all manner of far-fetched ideas to explain the pain. Stress, sleeping wrong, leaning sideways when sitting at my Delly, heart attack, leaning on the door while driving, the way I sit in the recliner to watch TV, scrunching up to avoid HH's arm which is always on my side of the bed, lifting things to the back seat of the LSUV to the Pony, etc. Then tonight, my mother had the most scathingly brilliant idea. "Could it be from balancing the back door of your LSUV on your head?" BINGO! That's the one ailment I hadn't entertained. By cracky, I think she's onto something! That's about when this pain started.

That is typical of my thinking. I can't see the forest for the trees. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've been heard to utter, "What forest? Maybe if someone would get all these confounded trees out of my way, I could see a forest!" Indeed.

In case anybody (Mabel) looked for this work of art earlier in the Delly had issues again. I think he has an alien in his belly. An alien. In Delly's belly. Anyhoo, it even stumped my little techno dude. Then he suddenly shouted, "I don't know what you tried, but a simple restart did it." Hmpf! I tried a restart first. Then a system restore. Then I poked at keys randomly. Nothing worked. Delly refused to recognize the keyboard. Never mind that the boy also had the mouse on strike after he commenced to fiddlin'. But now he thinks he fixed it. He's so bright. I think I'll call him 'son'.

Monday, December 3, 2007

HM's Procrastination Makes Her Bitter

Ho ho ho! The postman hates me. I had a notice for 2 packages on Saturday. Today, I rushed like a madwoman to get there 5 minutes before closing. The #1 son came out with 5 packages. Oh, and for the record, he also refused to use the CRUTCH to hold up the back door of the LSUV. Like me, he preferred to let it slam on his head, then wriggle it down to waist level while he ducked in and arranged his packages.

HH came home with the necessary parts for repair. $60. There's one less present for HH. He'll never know. He always gets me way less than I get him. But who's counting. HH put those thingies on in about 10 minutes. I don't know what he's done with the crutch.

Yesterday, it was OH SO WINDY. HH said he was going to burn the cardboard that we toss into the dishwasher void, behind the kitchen wastebasket. The winds were gusting to 39 mph. After a half hour, I called him. "What is taking so long? I can't believe you are burning trash in these winds." HH answered back, "I'm not burning them outside. I'm in my cabin. I'm burning them in my wood stove." HH. The mother of invention. At least, the mother.

We had a lengthy faculty meeting this afternoon. It's virtually unheard-of outside Basementia. We learned of many items we need turned in before Christmas break. So now I've got more work to do. OK. I've known since school started that I needed these 18 items. Some people might have even more. But in true teacher fashion, we've been putting it off. You never know when something might happen. Like the teachers who sign up to chaperone the last dance of the year. You never know. Dances might be outlawed, and then all those other poor suckers will have done their free duty for nothing. And we also learned that it's not necessarily a good idea to request early out days to be days of reading for the last 30 minutes. Because, you know, we still have 30 minutes instead of 50 for meaningful educational activities to continue. Even if it IS the last 30 minutes before Christmas Break, and the semester ends that day at 12:45, and finals have been given two days earlier, and many people actually prefer to have their grades done and turned in, and not have to do them first thing when coming back after New Year. Because apparently, reading is not a meaningful educational activity on the last day before Christmas Break, but merely something we adjust the schedule to do for 30 minutes every Friday, and even though the early out day before Christmas IS a Friday, we will still have 15 minutes instead of 50 for meaningful educational activity to take place what with the adjusted schedule. How dare we expect to READ for that time! Of course we must give an assignment, and grade it over the holidays. What were we thinking?

Teaching. The job that never ends. The gift that keeps on giving. By that, I mean the work that begets more work, every time you think you are caught up. Until summer, that is. Oops. I remember this summer. When I had that two weeks of work that wasn't even mine to do at the end of the year. Bah! Humbug!

The school year is almost over, you know. But the work will never end.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Crutch Stops Here

It's one of those cases of good news, bad news. You don't know whether to laugh or cry. HH says he found a solution to my LSUV back door issue. No, it's not a replacement for the hydraulic thingies that hold up the door. We're talking about HH here. Pay attention! He came home from my grandma's house with the most scathingly brilliant idea. NOT! His exact words were: "I found a crutch for holding your back door open." So of course I had to ask, "Are we talking an actual crutch, here? Or is it something I can use as a crutch until you get it fixed." And HH said, "It's a crutch. It's just right. You prop it on the bumper and it holds the door up."

Arrgghh! That's just what I need. Another reason for people to ridicule me. I can SO see me arriving at school each morning, and propping open my back door with a crutch while I gather my coat and bag of work I didn't do at home. Can you shout, "Loser!" as you drive by? Why don't I just wear jeans under a dress already? Am I the only one who does not see this as normal behavior? HH acts like there are people all over the place propping open the back doors of their LSUVs with crutches. Maybe I'll get him a bedpan to carry his lunch in.

Three weeks until Christmas break. I am cleaning my house on the installment plan. Each day, I do one little thing. For example, today My Little Pony and I cleaned out one shelf of the big pantry. Yesterday, we cleaned out four shelves of the small pantry. No 4-year-old ranch dressing will ever be served to my guests! The way I figure, I only have 19 more jobs to do until Christmas break. Then, I might do two jobs a day until Christmas. Of course, I will take that day off. And after that, well, who cares if the house is clean? No need to answer. It's a rhetorical question. I, myself, do not care. I will lounge around and enjoy my mini-vacation.

The school year is almost over, you know.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Uncharacteristically Short

I'm not having a good day. My main email server thingy has gone all wonky. The email where I am keeping track of my online Christmas shopping, so I can remember what I've received and what is still floating around on a US Postal Service truck. And let's not for the Unqualified People Shipping brown truck, pulled over alongside a back road while the crew opens all my packages before delivery.

The LSUV is giving me headaches. Literally. Those springy thingies that hold up the back door have lost their get-up-and-hold. They never were the most stolid of holder-uppers, but at least if I shoved that door up, it stayed. Now it creeps down on my head. And I don't mean ever-so-slowly. If left unmolested, that door will slam shut. When I tried to load my Save-A-Lot boxes, it was like a fine piece of performance art. I opened the door, let it balance on my noggin, and reached for the first box. But then I was on the horns of a dilemma. Should I let go with one hand to push the door higher so I could turn and put in the box? Or should I keep both hands on that heavy box, and coax the door open a smidge more with my head. I opted for the latter. I was a bit like a seal tossing a ball into the air. Only I didn't use my nose, I used the point of my head. Then that ungrateful door slammed down on my shoulders while I was leaning into the cargo hold with Boxy. I called HH, who was Santa-For-A-Day with the Parents As Teachers group. He had already resumed his regular identity of Grouch. He said he would look for some shocks for the back door. No, that's not a euphemism for something naughty. He came home empty-handed, and said all 4 stores he checked were out, so he would get them Monday on the way home from work. Pshaw! If it was something HE needed, he would drive the 20 minutes up there and get it today. But I'm not that important. It doesn't matter that I'm the sole food-buyer and Christmas shopper. I can manage to load my purchases while being cut in half by that gator-mouth. It's my unpaid job, you see.

Oh, and my lunch has grown cold because I got sidetracked by a few things like laundry and dishes and a leaky refrigerator and waiting on my kids hand and foot. At least my pets are fat and sassy, what with the purging of 4 pantry shelves and the bottom of the refrigerator. Did you know that dogs like stale Doritos? And year-old chocolate chip cookies? But not-so-much sprouted Vidalia onions, or Russet potatoes. They waddle as fast as they can every time I open the door, because hey, unlimited food today! They also have a thirst for water. I filled two water dishes. Heh, heh. Thirst for water. I suppose that's where the word 'thirsty' came from, huh?

That's all I have to say. Really.