Thursday, January 31, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #4-08

WooHoo! Early out, baby! They sent us home from school at 11:20. It was supposed to be 11:30, but the snow was pouring down and getting on the road. When we passed through a town, the roads were clear. But by the school and out at our house, they were covered. And slick. We even slipped on our gravel road, with rocks still showing through the snow. I hope Mabel made it. I did not think to look and see if she rode the bus today. That's what she does, you know. She rides the school bus when there is snow in the forecast. Come to think of it, I don't even know if Mabel was at school.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled Random Thought Thursday...

I am happy to announce that the illness I thought I was dying from two days ago has virtually disappeared, except for a bit of nasal congestion. The body aches, sore throat, and headache are gone. I attribute my miraculous recovery to two nights of intensive Hot & Sour Soup therapy.

This morning, just as I was changing into my teaching shoes and putting my lunch in my mini-fridge, I heard and odd noise in the hall. It sounded like a balloon popping. I stuck my head out into the hall to investigate, because you can never be too sure that it's just a balloon and not a random school shooting. I spied two Basementia teachers hastily exiting the back door of Newmentia. I'm guessing they were decorating a classroom for somebody's 40th birthday, and something went horribly wrong. Since one of them was a knife-carrying crony, I did not worry any further. Any random shooter would rue the day he tangled with the knife-carrier.

The Pony got off the bus Tuesday near tears, claiming that "Somebody took my coat!" His new hooded camouflage jacket with all the pockets for things like shotgun shells and small game. I got it for half price at a neighboring Devil's Playground two days before Christmas, and had not yet put The Pony's name in it. A colleague who used to teach at Elementia happened to walk into my room at that time. I asked her if it would do any good to call over there and tell them. She said, "I would." So I called the secretary, who put me on hold to intercom Pony's teacher, and then reported, "His teacher says he told her midmorning that he left his coat on the playground, and when he left for OT at the end of the day, he said he would look in lost and found." She also editorialized, "You know how kids look for something. You might want to come over and check out the lost and found box." Hmm...The Pony had told me that at morning recess before school, he set down his pack and put his coat on top. When it was time to go in, only his pack was there. He came in the 4th/5th grade entrance. Later, he asked some boys to look for his coat when they went out. He and the OT teacher looked through lost and found. I loaded The Pony in the LSUV and headed to Elementia. We went to look for the coat. Kids sitting in lines against the wall waiting for late buses said, "Are you looking for your coat, Pony?" He said, "Uh huh." We dug to the bottom of that overflowing 'found' box, and did not find his coat. As we stuffed everything back in, a buddy of Pony's walked by. "Your coat might be on the playground, Pony." I said, "Isn't he one of the boys you asked to look for it?" Pony said, "I guess he didn't have time." I told Pony he was going to all the 4th grade classrooms to look in and ask if anybody had left a coat. We thought they might have picked up the wrong one by mistake. And The Pony is so small, it would not fit any 5th graders, and very few 4th graders. On the way there, The Pony said, "We can check the playground first, but it was not there on the lunch recess." We started out the door on the 2nd/3rd grade hall, because it was closer. I looked through the door window. There were about 6-7 coats on the concrete porch area. One was camouflage. "Hey, I think that's your coat!" The Pony brightened. He shoved the door open and grabbed the coat. Then he said, "Eeewww!" It was soaking wet. There had come a deluge right after lunch. I'm thinking that either a younger kid picked it up by mistake and left it outside at a later recess, or the strong wind blew it off Pony's pack earlier that morning, or an adult found some coats that had blown around the playgound and picked them up to hang them on the rail to dry. Then the wind blew them off the rail. Anyhoo...The Pony's coat was recovered.

I love the emergency phone tree.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

High Hopes

I think some snow is on the way! The TV weathermen and weatherwomen are calling for 8-10 inches! I hope they're not as wrong as last time they called for 8-10 inches, and we got flurries. I'm hoping it truly does arrive around 11:00 a.m. They were calling for it to hit around 6:00 p.m., but when I got to the lunch table today, Mr. S told me the good news on the updated forecast.

That means they will send us home early. There is nothing quite so good as being sent home early, knowing that you should be out tomorrow as well. Except maybe the last half-day of the school year. (Which is almost here, you know!) Two years ago, there was snow in the forecast for afternoon. We all arrived at school like we normally do. Then it started to snow around 8:00 a.m. School started at 8:10. By 9:00, they had announced that we would be eating lunch at 9:30, and leaving after 3rd lunch shift. We got all excited. The snow kept pouring down. Parents flocked in to pick up their darlings. We watched out my windows as the cars slip-slided away.

The first bus arrived from Basementia. Middle school kids got off. High school kids got on. The bus pulled away. We waited for the rest of the buses. But they didn't come. Then the radio announced that there would be no more buses. They could no longer make it up the hill from Basementia to Newmentia. And since the roads were so bad, they were not loading any buses at the elementary. Parents were being called to come pick up their children.

Which threw a little monkey wrench into my day, because my children were at Elementia. I had one student left in my classroom. One student whose parents did not love her enough to come get her. Okay, that's not really true, but it sounds pretty dramatic in my story. The counselor, who fancied herself in charge, told me I could go to Elementia for my boys, and come back to supervise my 'class'. I sent my student to the cafeteria, threw the LSUV into 4WD, and putted over to Elementia. The roads were very slick. I only had to go about a mile. Elementia had its act together. A teacher with a clipboard greeted me at the pick-up door. She wrote down my boys' names, and radioed the office. The office intercommed the classrooms, and My Little Pony was prancing down the hall before I could say 'Paula Deen in my front yard eating a lobster tail'. The Pony and I waited for #1. And waited. And waited. We waited for nigh on 30 minutes. He couldn't be found. I was about to have a cow. The Pony grew fractious. I finally said I would walk to #1's classroom and see what I could find out. Just then, #1 came in the door right behind me. He had been chosen to shovel the walk. He had to go back to his classroom to get his coat. Because nobody wears a coat and hat and gloves to shovel a walk. They just do it in shirtsleeves.

I took the boys back to Newmentia. The roads were even worse. I parked out front, on the flat, instead of on the sloping backside of Newmentia. The counselor waved to me. "You don't have to stay. Go ahead and start home." Which was really considerate of her. But there was no going home for the Hillbilly family. Three vehicles had slid off the hill where the bus couldn't come up. And they had been going DOWN. We had to wait about an hour for the road to be cleared. Lucky for me, I could see it all from the windows of my room. Once we got going, in 4WD LOW, it took us 1:45 to get home. It usually takes 40 minutes.

The people at school were stuck supervising children until we could get rid of all of them. Mr. S hurt his knee pushing students' cars up the hill of their parking lot. One of the coaches drove a lot of kids home. The custodians chauffeured Mabel and her Mabelmobile to her abode. And the kids that were stranded were forced to eat hamburgers left over from the 9:30 lunch. I think it was 1:00 before we got rid of everyone.

And the point of this boring story is: I think they will call off school a little earlier this time.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Smartypants Competition

Breaking news: my son's academic team won their first match by a score of 61 to 8. I'd say that's a respectable showing. The other team, hereafter referred to as The Pitifuls, were not very competitive. In fact, you might say they were pitiful. I don't think they rang in ONCE the entire match. They got their points on the second-chance answer when our team got one wrong. The poor, poor Pitifuls. When the buzzer sounded to end the match, they clapped, and one softly uttered, "Yay!" I suppose they'd had a bellyfull of losing. Better luck next match--as long as it's not against US.

Pardon me while I brag for a bit. My #1 son was a starter. It was him and three 8th graders. My boy is in 7th grade, but he is bigger than all the other 10 members of the team, except for the basketball-playing classmate of his. I daresay he is smarter, too, because size doesn't count on the academic team. Their coach rotated the players, leaving one 8th grader in the entire match. "That's because she is the best, Mom," my son told me. I would rank him at #2 or #3 in the pecking order. There was another boy who earned about as many points as him, but he also gave more wrong answers than my boy. HH got there in time for 4th quarter to start. There had been a mix-up in the times, a mix-up that nobody noticed until 3:00. My boy called me after school to say that the starting time was 3:30, not 4:30, as had been listed on their schedule that they brought home before Christmas. Lucky for HH, the little genius also got to play 4th quarter.

They are just kids. I had a good time honing my Trivia skills. I tried not to appear flabbergasted when they said that the language spoken by most Quebec residents is Spanish. Also ripped from the pages of the Encyclopedia of Common Knowledge were the following answers:

Bile, secreted by the liver, is yellow
The country that Cuba developed close ties with in the 1960s was Europe
The planet that has a little bit of ice at its poles is Pluto
The branch of government that can issue money is the treasury
Deaf people can tell what people are saying by looking at their mouths and lip-syncing
A powerful liquor from Barbados, made with sugar cane, is called Black Liquor
Linguistics is the study of bones
Convection transfers heat through solids and liquids
Martin Luther was associated with the civil rights movement
An English king decreed that one-third the length of his arm was a hectometer
The Painted Desert is in Nevada
The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Betsy Ross House are in Washington, D.C.

That's all I can remember. But rest assured, there were a hundred more that I can't think of right now. I am wondering if the poor, poor Pitifuls even had team tryouts and practices. I'm thinking that maybe they just rounded up kids waiting for the bus and threw them on and drove them here against their will. They WERE about 10 minutes late. Maybe some of them put up a fight, like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes, when the apes threw the net over him.

There's another academic team meet on Thursday. I don't plan to go. It's away. While I might be obsessive, I'm not going to be one of those parents that follow my son around like a groupie with a video camera to catch his every breath. I will go to the home meets. That's enough. And the weather is supposed to get bad Thursday anyway. It might be canceled.

We have visions of a snow day dancing in our heads. Our heads that are full to overflowing with common knowledge.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Oh, Crumb! No Drinking For The Storyteller.

Oh, crumb! I hope my students are kind when speaking about me in other classes. Though I seriously doubt that they are. We know I have control issues. I tell them that the first day, in my Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Never Ever List. Like don't touch my stuff, and don't argue with me, and do as I say the moment I say. Because I can't have disorder. I must have it MY way. One look at my writing on the white board in capital block letters should tell you that. So if that's all they mock me for, I am getting off lucky. I freely admit to being a control freak and a snitch.

The "Oh, crumb!" line they stole from Math Crony. And they talk about how she hates people to touch her desk, so when they ask for help, they lean all over it. And how somebody's phone went off, and she said, "What could that noise be?" And how she freaks out if somebody puts their paper up against the white board to write their name on it. And how she dares to say, "Happy Friday!" to people. Give her a break. She is not as dumb as they think she is. Even some of the students stood up for her. "She knew it was a phone, idiot! She was just pretending it wasn't. Like, giving him a chance to shut it off so she wouldn't have to take it, stupid."

Then there's another of the core teachers who tells them, "Absolutely no drinks in my classroom" while she has a bottle of water, a gas station fountain soda, and a bottle of juice on her desk that she swills from all day.

They were merciless on Mr. S today. He tells stories, you see. You'd think that the kids would like stories. It keeps the lesson at bay. But no. These kids always want the greener grass. Give them stories, and they want a lesson. Give them a video, and they want a lecture. Go figure! Their issue with Mr. S is that they don't believe his stories. "He has a story for everything!" they say. One asked him if it was possible for a U.S. soldier and a Vietnamese soldier to be standing two feet away from one another, and not see each other, due to the camouflage. Mr. S allegedly replied, "You know, Spike, I have a friend who won't smoke at night." Spike was a bit confused, so Mr. S said, "My friend was shot at by a Vietnamese sniper who could see the glow of his cigarette." And Spike said, "But could a U.S. soldier and a Vietnamese soldier be standing two feet away from one another and not see each other?" A persistent lot, these freshmen.

Two of the kids started making up their own stories and telling them a la Mr. S. "I was the best basketball player in the world. I could jump from the free throw line and dunk it. I was so good, they gave me 4 points for that shot." The other chimed in, "My knees are bad now because of the force necessary to jump that high. The cartilage couldn't take the shock of the landing." Back to the first one, "I am actually a superior human. I have a tail, you know. It helps me run fast, and gave me balance for jumping." Then they decided he had many descendants through the ages, who were also storytellers. "I killed a woolly mammoth with just a sharpened stick." The other added, "I used my tail to hang from a tree limb until it walked under me, and then I stabbed it." They swore that no matter what you tell him, he will have a story about it. He's either done it, or he knows more than you.

Mr. S dropped in to talk to me after school. I decided to test their theory. I showed him a picture in our Science World magazine. "Look at that. The guy got gored during the running of the bulls. See that horn stuck in his leg? It looks like the tip is going to come out just below his knee." Mr. S looked at the photo. "I had a milk cow pin me against the wall one time. A cow with horns. I don't know why she had it in for me. My dad was milking her once, and she went to the bathroom on her tail, and then swished it around and whacked him in the side of the head with it. I thought he was going to come unglued." Then I showed Mr. S the article on King Tut, and how they had to enclose him in Plexiglass because all the people breathing on him were molding his face. Mr. S said, "Well, their first mistake is that they shouldn't have broken him in 3 pieces back in 1927."

I don't really want to know what the students say about me.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Are You Ready To Rumble?

First thing, I regret to report that I WILL be going to work tomorrow, having not won a fortune at the casino. I did not win a single penny by the time I had fed all my winnings back into the gaping maw of the collective one-armed bandit. But I had a pretty good time, what with staying up until 5:30 a.m. giving away my easy-come, easy-go dispensable income. The boys were in hog heaven with high-speed internet. Yes, we had to pay for two sessions, because The Pony doesn't have some kind of card thingy. But with it being only $10.97 per 24/hour session, that was the least of my worries. Not that I had any worries.

But there IS something stuck in my craw. Remember how People Piss Me Off? Uh huh. The saga continues. I almost got into a rumble around 3:00 a.m. with an inebriated young man who must have just turned 21. His mama should have left those apron strings attached. I know you're dying to hear about Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's virtual cage match. Let me set the stage.

I had gone from the Mardi Gras side of Harrah's to The Island. I normally do not like The Island. I never win there. The older style slots are junky. Like, the colors are all faded out of the Wild Cherries so they look like they need to ripen in a paper sack on the kitchen counter for two days, and the Hot Peppers look merely warm. But I had tired of my surroundings at the Mardi Gras, and took a jaunt over to The Island. It was a big mistake. It was hotter than H*ll, and not quite as pleasant. The ashtrays were overflowing, leftover cups of melted ice were at every machine, and the ventilation system must not have been working, because smoke permeated every cranny of that Island. I tried a few machines, 10 spins each, and cashed out when I was not rewarded. I eventually settled down at an old Wild Cherry machine at the end of a bank of oldies, across from the back aisle. The Cherries and I go way back.

After warming up to each other, the Wild Cherry and I were getting along sweetly. He even gave me $75. I was firing on all cylinders, a Mountain Dew by my side, switching denominations, counting out my little pattern before betting max, alternating intermittently among the Play One Credit button, Play Max, and the crank. Then it happened.

A young man staggered up to me and got all up in my bidness. He must have just turned 21 that night. He had that obnoxious way of a frat rat about him. There I was, minding my own business, somewhat like Gizmo playing with the toy bugle under the Christmas tree in Gremlins, when Spike decides to turn his life into a living H*ll. There was nobody on my row of 5 slot machines. There was one lady in the row behind me. And here comes Punky Drunkster right up to me, unsolicited, and says, "That's it, that's whatcha gotta do, uh huh, uh huh, right there, grab that, pull that thing right there, that's it, yeah." He made a reach for my bandit's only arm. He didn't touch it, but he feinted that way. I was lost in thought in my little system, and did not take kindly to this intrusion into my own little world.

In case you are new here, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a people person. She is not warm and cuddly and touchy-feely. She is bristly and abrasive. She does not suffer fools gladly, but begrudgingly, and only when it is required by her career. I must say, this little dude really PISSED ME OFF! His interaction was totally unwelcome. First of all, Punky, you're not cute. You're not funny. I don't give a rat's a$$ about your tender self-esteem. This is the real world. This is not your frat house. A casino is not a place for Pinto and Flounder to earn their pledge pins. Nobody is sporting a toga, nobody is singing about giving his love a chicken that has no bones. Mind your own freakin' business and don't be a drunken nuisance. I am a hillbilly. I am not an animal! Do not rattle my cage. Go to the zoo and find your own tiger to taunt.

When he got all up in my space, blabbering, I pulled back. I was startled by his over-familiarity. I gave him my 'what do you think you're doing?' look, honed from years behind the desk. He went on behind me up the aisle, giggling like an idiot. I just might have said, as he passed, "Go to H*ll, you f---ing m-----f---er." Maybe. Because I really can't be held responsible. I was startled, you know. And I do not suffer fools. AT ALL. Don't mess with the Mom, or you get the Mouth. That's all I've got to say about it. His little companion, Drunk Girl, said, "Oh my God! She said something back at you!" Like I'm supposed to be their entertainment for the evening, taunted but not heard. I was just trying to prepare them for life. The world is a cold, hard place. Especially Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's Casino World.

Hey! That's a grand name! Maybe I can open my own casino! You must be 30 years old to enter, or show your Not-An-A$$hole card.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm Not Home

I'm not home. Stay away from my Mansion. I have a Baur Baur Baur dog that will not bark at you, but might chew the rubber off your tires.

I am going to the casino tonight. It was a spur of the moment decision. Actually, it was a two-day spur. The kids are taking their laptops, with visions of high-speed internet dancing in their heads. We have packed snacks and clean underwear and medications. That's all you need, isn't it, for a night at the casino? We are getting a late start, what with one kid bowling, and HH gone to a wedding. The Pony and I are left to pack and clean out the LSUV. We're OK with that.

Not much else to report at the moment. I'm sure I can tell you about my losses tomorrow. I may be lucky on the scratchers, but the casino whips my but into EvenStevenness every time. Sometimes, I'm even down a few bucks when I leave. Go figure. Good thing the kid won me $100 and $10 on some scratchers this afternoon. And I got a room for $100 off, which is good business strategy on Harrah's part, because they know they can make that up easily on HH and me, once they get us in the door. It only takes HH about an hour to lose HIS money (that I give him). I will play most of the night while HH minds the kids (which means he snores on the bed while in the same room with them).

I've got the Reel Rewards Coupons laid out, the money divvied up, and the wheelie bags packed.

I'm off!

Friday, January 25, 2008

That's Just Sick

Thank the Gummi Mary, there were no kids at school today! Oh, there were students. I'm talking about real kids. Offspring of faculty. Because somehow this year, it became OK to bring your children to school. Not in an educational way, like Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. Laws, NO! I mean like the kid is too sick to go to his school or the daycare, so you bring him to our school. Am I the only one who sees something wrong, here?

I can understand if it is an emergency. Like if the kid gets sick at school, and you have to wait for someone to come get her and take her home. I've done that once. My kid was there for all of 10 minutes from when the nurse called me until my mom could get to school to take him to her house. What I'm b*tchin' about are a teacher's personal kids at school for the entire freakin' day. Yeah. You read that right. All the live-long day! Do their symptoms magically disappear when they cross our threshold? Do their bacteria and viruses become dormant? I am not getting it. Perhaps there is a bigger picture that I can't see.

Don't think I'm complaining about only one person. It has happened with several. I'm sure it goes on in our other buildings, and in other districts. It's all part of the world's big handbasket ride. We have sick days, people. Don't tell me that in the 7 or more years you've all been working here, you have used up every one of your 70 sick days. And even if you have, there's a little thing called 'docking a day's pay'. It's not like you're going to be fired for staying home with your sick kid. But the way YOU must see it is that you're not going to be fired for bringing your sick kid to work. I appreciate the dedication, and saving the school substitute pay. But how effective can you be at your job with your sick child in tow. I know that I would be useless. I would be a mere babysitter. For my kid and my students.

Is it really good for that little kid to be around the big kids? I don't want mine anywhere near these malcontents. They will corrupt the young'uns. And should the big kids be exposed to the sicknesses of the younger set? What if the youngsters haven't had the chicken pox shot, or all their immunizations? One of our pregnant high schoolers could be endangering her fetus! I, myself, do not like being exposed to whatever creeping crud that is carried by the small fry. You know how kids are. They sneeze and cough and put their fingers up their nose and down their pants and, well, I just don't like them sitting three feet from me at the lunch table. They are too sick to go to school. ANY school.

You can bet that if I had to have my kid at my school for any length of time during the regular school day, he would be sitting in the hall right across from my door while I was teaching my classes. That way, he doesn't distract my students, they can't corrupt him or make a pet of him, and his germs are somewhat segregated. I would definitely keep him in my room during lunch. That means I would eat in there with him, not abandon him so I could join my lunch mates. Then back to the hall he would go. Between classes, he would stand right next to me in the hall. That way, I could keep him out of mischief.

I suppose I'm just a grinchy old curmudgeon, a child-hater, trying to break up the family unit. I drag myself to work on days that I am sick, and spread my germs that I am recycling for my class. But I draw the line at inflicting my personal children on my students. Again, I don't mean to pick on any one person. It's the whole scenario that bothers me.

I'm going to push for a national Stay Home With Your Sick Child Day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #3-08

Thursday here, and Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has issues. Let's get right to them.

I am OH SO TIRED of these kids expecting me to do their homework for them. Specifically, kids in my remedial-type algebra class. Kids who were told from Day 1, from my mouth and the class syllabus, that I WAS NOT there to help them with their regular algebra homework. I am here to give them extra lessons in the same stuff they do in regular algebra. I give my own work and my own grades. I have told them by mouth and by paper that I can not help them with their other algebra assignments, because it CAN AFFECT THEIR GRADE in that class. Math Crony does not need to know that I can do algebra. She needs to know if the kids are getting it. Which they might be, IF THEY WOULD PUT SOME EFFORT INTO IT.

Today, MY CLASS was doing board work for bonus. That means I draw names randomly, and send from 2 to 7 kids to the board at once to see who gets it. The winner stays, possibly qualifying for the finals and bonus. The losers stay while I direct them through their errors step-by-step. I have found this effective for the kids who will turn in paper after paper with wrong answers, yet won't ask for help. But at the board, they will turn around and say, "I really don't get this."

And one copped an attitude because I would not stop what I was doing to help with regular algebra, and another dared say that it was my job to help them. Sweet Gummi Mary! Please, please get me out of 3rd Quarter and the remnants of a full moon. Please. Before I snap! (I had way better details, but it was too identifiable.)

OK, that wasn't so random.

I'm addicted to little chocolate donuts.

Did I tell you that my boy broke the ocean? I can't remember if I told this story, so I'll just do it again. It never stops me in real life. My #1 son has a hard case for his new glasses. It is black, and snaps shut with a vengeance. He had it out in his advisory class the other day, and held it open at his ear. "I hear the ocean." He passed it to his singing partner from the Hillmomba Idol Contest. "Can YOU hear the ocean?" The kid listened. "I hear the ocean. Smelliot, do YOU hear the ocean?" The boys passed it around until one kid was left. He said, "Let ME hear the ocean." My boy held it out to the kid's ear. The kid said, "I hear the ocea--" and my boy snapped that sucker shut right on that kid's ear cartilage. "--nnn, AND IT BIT ME!" the kid screamed. Which I suppose is neither here nor there, except to show how much devil my child really has in him. Today after school, he said the ocean was not snapping like it should. I took a look at it, and fiddled and faddled. "Look, there's a little piece of something there that I haven't noticed before." It was a small metal piece along the hinges. Which promptly snapped and fell under the lining after I snapped the ocean about 20 times. Who knew? The ocean has a limited amount of bites to it.

The Pony is doing well on his horse pills for his UTI. Unfortunately, I nearly scared him out of a year's growth the other night, the night before his doctor's appointment. He had finished some errand for me in my basement lair, and was headed back upstairs. I told him, "Thanks. You're the best helper! I know you don't feel good, but don't worry. We're going to get you fixed." He stopped dead on the steps, and turned and looked at me. I swear I heard a screech like a phonograph needle on 33 1/3 vinyl. His eyes were wide open. And then I sensed what set him off. "Don't worry. I didn't mean 'get you fixed' like the pets." He sighed. "Oh. That's what I thought you meant." Poor little Pony.

Mabel almost had a rumble yesterday. You go, gal!

I've had Hot & Sour Soup for supper two nights in a row. Feel the burn, baby!

There's a pile of papers that need signing from the boys' schools. I hate raising productive members of society. It's so time-consuming! What about ME?

Why did someone send an office worker to my room to tell me that I needed to compete the anonymous survey on school climate? And no other teachers were notified.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


The ParkingSpaceStealer has reared her self-centered head again. I went out to my LSUV yesterday, and found a ratty envelope stuffed under my driver's side wiper blade. Written on it was: Parking Ticket. Citizen's Complaint: What are you thinkin'? OK, maybe that's not exact. It was not written in stone, but on a ratty envelope. I should have known. My psychic abilities must be on the fritz. You see, there was some foreshadowing which I ignored.

Precisely, the appearance of the ParkingSpaceStealer outside my classroom door after 3rd lunch shift, brandishing a black-handled, serrated knife near my throatal area. "Why did you park in my spot?" she demanded. So I OH SO POLITELY explained, "Oh, you mean the spot that was MINE for the 7 years before you came here? I didn't even think about it. I just wanted to be on level ground instead of on that slippery slope, what with the weather this morning. Because if I started out there after school, and slipped, I would go sailing down the blacktop mound until I came to rest in the frozen-over lake." She countered with, "Well, if that was your parking space, how come you never said anything?" To which I replied, "I did. But not to you. You should have sensed it. Don't you have any psychic ability? Perhaps you should have thought when you pulled in there at 7:00 a.m. on the first day of school 3 years ago, into the space by the door at the building in which you are not even scheduled until 11:00, 'I wonder if any of the hardworking teachers who have been here for years use this spot as their unofficial parking space.'" THE VERY NERVE of that woman! It's not all about her, now is it?

So I had to write her a note for her van windshield today:

Citizen's Automobile Restraining Order.

Please keep 300 yards away from my large SUV. It was here long before you were.

If you want to settle this in an adult manner, I will meet you at ThatPlaceNamedInTheLetterAllTheTravelersGotInTroubleFor at the time of your choosing. (Once I find out where that place is.)

P.S. I am not afraid of your black-handled, serrated, grapefruit knife. Brandish it all you want.

But that was not enough. In the border of the note, which I wrote on a clean piece of paper, not a ratty envelope, because that's how I roll, I added more commentary. She had to turn that paper around in a circle three times to read all that was in the margins. It went a little something like this:

Some people really, really need to take an "It's Not All About Me" class, because then maybe they would know that there is no such thing as a designated parking space, even if you park there twice a day. In fact, a graduate of the "It's Not All About Me" class would have thought, on the very first day of work at a new school, "I wonder if I should park across the street or on the chat behind the school, because maybe the teachers who have been working in this building for the last 5 years have developed their very own parking code, a parking pecking order, perhaps, which I will upset if I go parking willy-nilly, wherever I please, and expect them to adapt to the parking lot world according to ME." And as a graduate of the "It's Not All About Me" course, you would have a diploma to hang on your classroom wall, which might impress some people, which would raise your self-esteem, so you would not find it necessary to roam the halls with a serrated, black-handled grapefruit knife.

Do you think that will get the point across? Or should I take my own knife tomorrow?

Now, to the extortion boys...I showed the the ransom note that I found shoved under my door this morning. The ransom note that I wrote myself and shoved under my own door. They both played dumb. "I did not write that. Really." And the other said, "Why would you think I wrote it?" Hmm...because YOU are the one who asked for a 20 oz. soda in return for the property that rightfully belongs to ME. I showed it to another class, the one with the other kid who has been named. He still swears that my first suspect has the hall pass. He liked the ransom note, though. He said, "What is he, The Riddler?"

I'm trying to get a photo of the purloined pass for tomorrow's note. We'll see. I've got too many pranks in the fire. And then there's that pesky business of teaching 6 lessons per day, every day. Sweet Gummi Mary! I don't know how these school officials think I can get everything done with only 24 hours in a day!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why The Pony Prances

My Little Pony can't pee like a racehorse! It's true. I had to take him to the doctor today for his peein'. Saturday, he drank about 6 cups of water and peed every 30 minutes. "Oh, great," I thought. "He's come down with diabetes." Actually, I did not think it like that, in that flippant way, which HH likes to refer to as 'smartass'. I was very concerned. Then on Sunday and Monday, he still had the peein', but not the thirst. Which was a good thing in my book, because it smacked of 'bladder infection' instead. I had to write his teacher a note so he could go to the bathroom 3 or 4 times in addition to their regular breaks. I told her my suspicions, along with 'sorry if this is too much information'. So after school, he saw the nurse practitioner, who was the only one without a double-booked schedule, and after peein' in a cup for her, The Pony was diagnosed with a UTI, and prescribed antibiotics.

That's another story. I had to rush to the pharmacy before it closed at 6:00, because the 4:15 appointment didn't let us out until 5:15. Oh, and the doctor that I handpicked for my boys because he was 5 miles from our Mansion has now moved his practice 20 miles away, behind a Burger King to boot, and has waiting times in excess of 1 hour if you actually want to see a doctor, when we used to get in within 5 minutes. I suppose that's progress. I haven't felt the same about this doc ever since I saw him at Catholic Trivia Night wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a green Rasta knit cap with fake braids, swilling Bud out of a long-neck bottle. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

So I got to the pharmacy at 5:40, and you should have seen those workers a-hustlin'. They had that prescription in my hot little hands within 5 minutes. But you should see these pills. They are HORSE pills. I suppose Bactrim does not come in Pony size. They are dime-sized, but flat like an aspirin. The #1 son took one look a them and declared that he would just have to die, because he could never swallow one of those. He even has to have his acetaminophen cut in half, and then gags several times with each piece. Thank the Gummi Mary that it was The Pony. He popped one of those bad boys in his mouth, took a swig of water, tossed back his head like a champion, and swallowed that behemoth.

Now let's just hope he's not allergic.

In other news, I am behind in my hall-pass prankin'. Funny how life gets in the way. My grandma had a wreck today, totaled her car, and is in the hospital with a cut on her head and 'her good eye swelled shut', according to my aunt. Who knew? I thought she had two good eyes. I tried to call her room, but she didn't answer. I didn't want to bother her. Maybe she can't see the phone, what with that eye thing goin' on. I can try tomorrow. They are keeping her overnight because of that huge knot on her eye, and the fact that she takes Coumadin. She is very lucky to have no broken bones and no concussion, because from what I hear, she rolled that little PT Cruiser. The second thing my mom (her daughter-in-law, not her daughter) said when she heard was, "You know, Grandma has always hated that car." Which is true. Her son bought it for her, and she never wanted it. My family has quite the dramatic touch.

The extortion boys are laying low. One's brother said 'hi' to me in the hall, and I told him to tell his brother I wanted my pass back. He said, "I heard. Bro and FaceChanger have been talking about it." Hmm...FaceChanger was not an original extortionist. Methinks the Bro probably accused him of taking the booty. Now, to add fuel to the fire, I am making up a ransom note. Something along the lines of: IF YOUR PASS YOU EXPECT TO SEE, BUY A 20-OUNCE SODA FOR ME. Does that sound good? Like a freshman may have written it? I'm going to print it out in something like 26-point font, or whatever you call those thingamabobbers.

I can tell them it was put under my door last night. Yeah. That's the ticket.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Crime 101

I just had the most scathingly brilliant idea! I'm going to write some fake ransom notes to frame my little hall-pass extortionists! Who says school isn't fun? I might even bring Mabel on board as a note-writer. Yeah. We'll fix their wagons, those boys who dare to charge me for my own property. OK, technically, it was the property of Basementia. But I seriously doubt that they wanted it back, to await the day when somebody with my name wants to teach there.

Last Friday, one of my other students had made a little visit to the principal's office. I got his paperwork for In-School Suspension, and asked what that was all about. He gave his story that he's stickin' to, which I actually believed, and then he asked if I'd done my little plan yet with the hall pass. He said, "Here's how it should go down. The principal calls both of them in there." He leaned back, with his hands clasped over his stomach. "Then he'll say, 'Boys, you know why you're here, don't you?' And they'll say, 'No.' And he'll say..." (with this, the kid leaned forward, hands still clasped, and rested them on his desk) "...'There's a thing called stealing. And we don't have that in our school. I understand that you boys took something that isn't yours. That is wrong. In fact, it's a crime. I'm going to have to call the sheriff and make a report. And then I'll have to call your parents. What do you have to say?' And by that time, they should both be bawling. That one kid will rat on the first one that took it, and say he had nothing to do with it. Then when Mr. Principal tells them it's all a joke, they'll be so relieved, they'll think it's funny." I told him he looked just like the principal. In fact, he could play the part better than the actual principal. "Well, I've spent my share of time in that office," he said.

I can't decide if I want them both called in together, or separately. Wouldn't it be great if the principal took out some of my self-made ransom notes, and asked them what they knew about them? Then they would really be bumfuddled. They would think another student had the pass, and was framing them. Or I could show them the notes as the week goes on, acting as if they had sent them to me. But I think the office scenario would be better. I'm wondering if I should tip off the mom of the actual pass-thief. She teaches at Basementia. I think she would go along with the joke, and that way she wouldn't have a fit if he doesn't take it well. But then again, she might tell him, and enable him to come up with some double-secret payback plot. This is your tax dollars at work, Missourians.

Oh, what a tangled web I weave...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

He Who Laughs Last Laughs Sweetest

I have a plan. A plan for revenge. Ahh...revenge is so sweet. It seems like only yesterday that I was pranking Mr. K with those cat pictures from My Cat Hates You. I can't remember exactly what I was getting even with him for, but it sure was sweet.

My hall pass has been missing since before Christmas break. It was a brown plastic rectangle with my name in white sunken letters. Truth be told, it was the name plate I ripped off my door from Lower Basementia. Hey! Nobody else was going to use it! It was handy to set on the desk, and send with a kid down the hall. No passes to write and date. If it was left somewhere, it was returned. It was my NAME, you see. So it always came back to me.

There is a kid in my 2nd Hour who asked how badly I wanted it back. This was after it had been missing for a couple weeks. He said he knew where it was. I told him to bring it. The next day, he said, "What's it worth to you?" I told him I might have a small reward...such as a big 'Thank You'. He was not impressed. So every couple of days now, he brings up my hall pass. The way he acts, he has it hidden somewhere. I'm a fairly good reader of people. Teachers have to be. Now one of his cronies has also started asking about the reward. They are in cahoots, those two. The one said that if I give them the reward, they will give me the hall pass. I said that if they give me the hall pass, I will give them the reward. We are at an impasse. I have progressed from the Thank You to a pack of gum. They are holding out for more.

Just Thursday morning, I told them this was starting to smell like extortion. They replied, "What's extortion?" Those wacky freshmen! I refused to feed their thirst for knowledge. I have plenty of dictionaries in the cabinet.

Also Thursday, 7th Hour, a known troublemaker came to class and said, "Oh, I have something for you." He reached into his pocket and pulled out my Basementia pass. What a thoughtful thing to do! I told him, "You know, I thought that kid had it! Just the way he acted. It was in his gym locker, wasn't it?" I told him the kid's name. He said, "How did you know that? I was looking in his gym locker for some deodorant, and there it was!" Aha! My psychic powers are still strong! So I swore that class to secrecy. They are mostly juniors and couple of seniors. They will not be telling any freshman of my dastardly plot. I paid the finder a fee of one cold bottle of water from my mini-fridge. He was pleased. He had not even asked for anything.

I'm going to offer a very special reward for the return of my hall pass. All the while, it will be snuggled in back of my bottom desk drawer, under some boring forms. And I will watch the little extortionists squirm. I will watch them go from a panic over losing the very thing that will bring them treasure. Then I will do some extorting of my own. I will tell them that since they seem to know an awful lot about my hall pass, I'm turning their names over to the principal for taking my personal property. I think I can get him to play along. He's done it for a bus driver, except the girl they were pranking burst into tears, which kind of backfired on them, but I don't see these two hardened criminals squirting out any saline.

I can't wait to put my plan in motion. I think next week will be good. Friday, I upped the reward to a 20 oz. bottle of soda for each extortionist. It was their suggestion. Little did they know, they no longer had my personal property which they are trying to charge me for. After the Hillmomba Idol Contest on Friday night, one of them came over to my section of the bleachers to visit me. I said, "Where's my hall pass." He told me to wait a minute. He went to consult with his crony. When he came back, he said, "It has been moved to a more secure location. I do not have the combination to the safe. We will get you the picture on Monday."

Suuuuure you will. Heh, heh. There is no more secure location than in my bottom desk drawer under some boring forms.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I'm A Rock Star

I wasn't here last night. Did anybody miss me? It's the first day I didn't post in about...umm...three years. I stayed after school for my son's Hillmomba Idol Contest, and didn't get home until after 10:00. Frankly, whipping out something for you people was not high on my priority list at that time. But I'm back now. With a vengeance. I can't report on the Idol because the contestants would be too identifiable. But I need to bend Mabel's ear when I get back to school. Of course the most talented singers did not win. That's what happens when they let the audience vote, you know. Don't think I'm crying over the spilt milk of my son's performance. He didn't deserve to win, and it was questionable whether he even belonged in the top 3 out of 5 in his category. But I voted for him, because he's my boy. And I'm loyal like that. But on the others, I voted for the BEST, not for who I knew. HH voted for one act because they had a cute little moppet in a suit. I call foul. The thing to do to win is pick a patriotic song that everybody knows, have a cute child in your act, and hold your family reunion in the gym that night.

But let's get back to ME. I have been out thieving again. Redneck Diva has a nifty little thingy that I it's MINE now. She won't care. We have kind of a running swap meet going on. Here's the deal: you can create your own band name, album title, and album cover. I'm not so technologically advanced as she, and I don't have the fancy Photoshop capabilities, but here's what I came up with. My son tried to explain how to open it in Paint and write on it, but of course that did not pan out. He can not be bothered to help me step by step. Even though I feed and clothe him and bought him a new laptop with my lottery winnings, and act as his personal taxi, all without even a simple 'Thank You'. Just pretend that my band name and album title are actually ON the cover instead of above.

Here's the new release from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's band,

No Sorrow to Die

Look for it at The Devil's Playground next Tuesday, in the 'Music for EMOs' section.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #2-08

Kids are really, really annoying.

It is probably not a good sign that when I rest my foot on a big black extension cord about an inch in diameter that runs under my desk, I feel it hum.

Meteorologists on TV are descended from the village people (not THOSE Village People) who told the Emperor how good he looked in his new clothes. If you believe them, you must be descended from the Emperor.

Hot & Sour Soup is quite refreshing on a frigid January evening.

Contrary to some theories, Mabel is neither hot, nor sour. Nor imaginary.

My #1 son is competing in the Hillmomba Idol Contest at school tomorrow night. One of his cronies asked him to sing a duet. They are doing some country song. According to #1, there are only 4 entries in his category. He only has to beat one other entry to win prize money. Since I gave him the entry fee, I told him I expect to get my money back if he wins. He disagrees. He seems to forget that I just bought him a new Lappy with my $1000 lottery winner. I don't think it's too much to ask for my $5 back if he wins prize money.

$47.75 is a lot for a half-tank of gas.

The copier AND server were working at school today. I marked my calendar.

I had a vivid dream about traveling to the state capital with NotACook to grill the governor on her teacher certification. I got all dressed up in a dress, but since my ride was leaving early, I didn't have time to get shoes. The governor's building was a bit WhoVille-ish. It was done in brightly-colored plastics. Instead of stairs, there were curved chrome rungs build into the walls. There were blind curves where you had to grab a rung by hand and swing around to the other side. None of the floors were level. They canted at about 45 degrees. On the way upstairs to see the governor, in an unlevel elevator, I snidely commented to NotACook, "You'd think that with all the money they spent on this palace, they could have gotten the floors level." And the only other lady in the elevator looked at me calmly and stated, "My son, the architect, says..." Whoopsie! I suppose that came up because NotACook has a habit of saying the wrong things to people. For example, she will ask somebody she hasn't seen in years, "How's your mom?" and they will say, "She died last week." Then there was the time she told that sophomore girl at the Halloween dance, who dressed as a pirate, "Oh, you even have the facial hair." And the girl turned and walked away, taking her real-life wispy mustache and chin hairs with her.

Winter needs to get a-wintering. I NEED SNOW!

Down in the mill pond swimmin' naked, showin' more than we shoulda showed; we were just kids explorin' nature, learnin' more than we shoulda knowed. Oh. Not ME! I'm listening to Dolly Parton singing 'Sugar Hill'. Don't worry. I'm not making you a mix CD.

This is ER night. I have to watch to see if Abby is hopping ON or OFF the wagon. That crazy alcoholic, with her bipolar mother who used to be a flying nun, and her bipolar brother who controls air traffic for the Air Force, and the absent father who looked her up in adulthood by coming to her hospital with a lung disease and giving a fake name! What a wacky character she is! I especially liked the time a teenage girl asked Abby if she was good at her job, and Abby replied, "I'm technically proficient...with certain attitude issues."

Which is probably written somewhere in my summative evaluation.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't You?

Don't you hate it when...

your son makes you late for work every day because he won't get up on time, even on the one day a week you have duty?

the same son gets off the bus after school carrying a handful of what you think is the wire and headphones to his fancy-schmancy $200 music/video-playing handheld thingy, which you discover a few steps closer up the hall to be his 2-week-old $200 glasses?

you spend 30 minutes at the optometrist while a girl who wants to leave at 4:00 starts trying to fix those glasses at 3:55, and asks two other girls to help her, and then says it just won't work, and then finally gives them back, and when the boy puts them on, the left lens is above his eyebrow, and the right lens is below his cheekbone, so he tells her they are crooked, and a different girl takes them to 'fix', and after she finally brings them back, she asks, "Has he had them a while?" and you say, "For two weeks" and she says, "Well, the string is sticking out the top", and you look at them, and the fishing line string thingy that attaches the rimless lens to the frame is sticking out a good inch right by the boy's nose, and the girl says, "I'm going to order him a new pair", which is OK by you, but you hope they are not going to charge another $200, because you got some kind of insurance thingy when you bought them TWO WEEKS AGO in case they broke, and shouldn't he also be able to keep the broken ones, by cracky, which he will be wearing with a string sticking out by his nose until the new ones come in?

the same dark-cloud son says not to cash in your lottery tickets and buy more when you stop for the PowerBall, because "This really has not been a very good day", and the minute you step up to the convenience store counter with each boy holding three donuts because Gummi Mary knows they don't get enough junk food at home, the cash register stops working, and the guy has to figure everything on a calculator which he is apparently not trained in, because he tells me it will be $18.87 for half a dozen donuts advertised as $3.49, and a $5 PowerBall ticket, which means that not only can he not add, he can not calculate sales tax, which is around 7.5 percent, and is not charged on lottery, so you have to say, "Umm...don't you mean $8.87?", and the very minute the clerk hands you back your change, you hear a little noise, and he says, "Wouldn't you know it? Now it's working again" ?

you go through the line to get a school lunch, only the 5th one you've had in two years, because it is chili day, and the cooks do not give you your two half-slices of cheese, but your second-cousin gets FOUR half-slices of cheese with her chili, and doesn't want them, and gives them to you, and you see that the end of each one is that hard yellow orange color that cheese gets when it is not covered properly, which means that it is leftover cheese, which is not permitted in the school lunch program, but you are so glad to have cheese that you rip that end off of each piece and stuff that cheese in your chili, watching your second-cousin dip her peanut-butter-and-syrup sandwich into her chili, thinking "Ewww, who would do that to their chili?"

your school computer will not let you into your gradebook program to take attendance and enter grades, and the only way you can get online is to use that dastardly IE instead of Firefox, because in IE, your home page is not set as the school website, which is cantankerous since it picked up a virus on Friday afternoon, district-wide?

the copy machine is broken, with a message to call the service man, so you go to the office to use that copier, and Mr. S is running a test, but he lets you make three copies ahead of him, and when you go back at 4:00 to run some more, the office is LOCKED UP (Mabel knows the special connotation of that phrase), so you take your work home and run copies on your personal copier, because you know you have the duty the next day, and you will not be able to find a copier that works or is unused, unless it is because it has not yet been turned on, and by the time you turn it on, it will be time to be outside on duty?

your small son leaves his new winter coat at school, in some room on the stage in the cafeteria where he has OT the last hour of the day, and he's afraid to go in to get it when you drive him over there after school, so you have to go in with him, and hope that it's actually still in the unlocked room, and not tossed in the bottomless pit of lice-y lost-and-found items?

I hate it when that happens.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Midwestern Fashionista

The state of Virginia wants to outlaw truck testicles. Good for them! They also tried to prohibit saggy pants that let the underwear show. Thanks for tryin', Virginia. I have a few more spigots to attach to your pipe dream.

Can we get rid of those 'shorts' that are calf length? Especially on men? Because they are not at all flattering to the figure, guys. And while we're at it, tighten up those uniform shorts on basketball players. The time for wearing split skirts has now ended. What's your deal? How can you play with an extra three pounds of fabric flapping around your knees? And why do you need a t-shirt under your basketball jersey? Just wear a t-shirt, then, and save the price of the jersey. In keeping with the fashion show of sports, somebody tell those baseball players that the pants are not trousers. They are athletic wear. They should show off the fancy sock, not go over the heel and over the laces of the shoes. That just looks stupid.

Women need to stop with the dresses over jeans, already. That is OH SO 5TH GRADE, by cracky! Not a good look. OK, so you say that they're blouses in the style of dresses. But they look like dresses. Too-small, too-short dresses. Dresses that your momma laid out for you. Dresses that can't stand alone, but need the crutch of jeans to be seen in public. The jeans are enablers.

Thank the Gummi Mary, we don't see many of those UGGly boots around these here parts. Back in my days of teaching in the one-time center of the United States, the Roper boots were all the rage. They, too, were disturbing, with that little fringey flap over the laces. And the duster coats were just too much. No good came of them, you know. Especially the black ones. It's not like the kids just returned from a cattle drive with John Wayne. Those were a totally unnecessary waste of fabric. Much like the MC Hammer pants, which turned into pro football team pants (with the team logo--not to be worn for games).

I could go on. But I won't. I'm only trying to save some of you from future embarrassment. I'm quite the midwestern fashionista, you know. Just trying to beautify the world, one hillbilly at a time.

Monday, January 14, 2008


I need to check my biorhythm chart. Never mind that I haven't done this in nigh on...oh...let's not measure time in years. Let's just say that I haven't consulted the biorhythm chart since my #1 son was born. You see, I used to ride to work in St. Louis with a guy who fiddled about on his computer, and printed out biorhythm charts for all his co-workers. It was a good way to pass the time on our government job. What else were we supposed to do, serve the 250 people we had waiting on the unemployment line during the Old Bush years? And the internets were still a novel idea back then. I must say that I saw a connection with those charts. Even when I saw them after I knew what kind of day I'd had. It was no self-fulfilling prophecy. It's a month-long chart, with lines that show if you are low, or high, or in-between in the areas of physical, emotional, intellectual, and intuitional qualities. The time to look out for is when the lines cross, especially if they are all low at the time. It's like a quadruple whammy.

This morning, my child made me 10 minutes later for work. Within 100 feet of entering the county road from our gravel road, a car crested a blind hill right in the middle, with its lights on high beam. I jammed on my squealing LSUV brakes, and did a little tightrope walk down the edge of the pavement. That sent a rush of jetsam flying from the console onto the floorboards. I did not regain my sight until 20 minutes later. There was a big black circle where there should have been sight. Lucky for me, nothing got in my way. When I got to school and tried to carry in my things, the LSUV went nuts and started screaming with his car alarm. The chairman of my department (you know who I'm talkin' 'bout, Mabel) was just going in (which says how late I was) and closed up her cell phone and said, "Can you keep it down? You're giving me a headache." To which I silently in my mind replied, "Paybacks are such a b*tch, by cracky!"

I rushed around to get things done enough to start first hour. I figured that I could eat lunch in my room and get the rest finished. Oh, but NO. I got called to a meeting at 10:00. I had to stay until 11:15. Which meant that I missed my lunch that runs from 10:57 to 11:20. So much for that idea. I figured that I could grab a bite and squeeze that work into my plan time. But NO. We had an assembly during my prep hour. And in this building, you are expected to attend, even though you have no students under your supervision that hour. When 2:56 rolled around, I was mighty glad to be reunited with my Devil's Playground turkey-and-swiss-with-tomato-on-a-croissant. Oh, and to rub a fly in my ointment, it was suggested at the meeting that a reward for a kid might be to have lunch with me, since he likes me. Umm...since when did I become a commodity? I wouldn't mind giving up my lunch time once or twice, but not every day. That's not how I roll. I am not one of those warm, fuzzy teachers who want to spend extra time with the students. I'm all business. Don't even think about coming to my room in the morning to shoot the breeze. I have work to do. And it's NOT babysitting you!

My computer grade system thingy would not work today, so I had trouble taking roll, not to mention that I couldn't enter grades until 4:00. Oh, don't worry. I was there until 5:10 anyway, trying to catch up. The Pony stepped out into the hall and declared, "They've already turned the lights off down at Mabel's end!"

On the way home, HH called to say that on his way past the boys' land, which is a mile up a forking gravel road from the Mansion, he saw that somebody had bought the land next to it. And had dumped a garage door, various assorted ripped out fixtures, and paint cans onto the only land we own free and clear. Oh, and the paint cans were all around the WELL. Don't go picturing a nice wishing well, or even the well that Nicole Kidman bent over backwards for in Cold Mountain. No. Ours is a modern, funtional well, a well that increases the value of the property by about $5000. Unless it is contaminated with something like...oh...I don't know...perhaps...PAINT! So HH did what any hillbilly worth his corncob pipe would do, which was leave a note on the door of the being-renovated double-wide manufactured home. A note which declared that they needed to move their junk back onto their own land, or he would be forced to pile it in their driveway, or perhaps set fired to it, since it was trash on our property. Keep in mind that their living structure is about 20 feet from our property line, which is brightly marked with glowing orange paint. Oh, and HH signed the note, and left our address. WHAT WAS HE THINKING? I don't want these people coming to my Mansion for revenge! Why couldn't he leave his name and cell phone number? Oh. Because that would be the LOGICAL thing to do.

And adding salt to my wounds of today...HH bought a $10 scratch-off ticket, and won $10. Which is something I haven't done since last week. My luck has cooled. Steven has returned with a vengeance.

Oh, and just so you know, I had finished this post, and had gone back to hook you up with a link to a free biorhythm chart site, and as thanks for this selfless deed, my New Delly crashed. You're quite welcome. I was only trying to share my knowledge. My knowledge for which I have a thirst, and for which I yearn. It's not even fun to end sentences with prepositions tonight. So I had googled some biorhythm sites, and had perused the page for the very safest-looking link, and the minute I clicked on it, 60 minutes exactly from the time I started this post, my Firefox went kablooey. I tried to restore the session, quickly closing out the offensive offender by right-clicking, and got back my New Blogger creating page, but not my precious words of non-wisdom. New Blogger does not have that recover post thingy. Thank the Gummi Mary, by going to the edit posts laundry list, I was able to find this masterpiece again.

Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed. And even if it did, Steven would snatch away the paycheck with his hot little hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Dog Treat

Another lazy Sunday at the Mansion. I have a date with The Devil's Playground in about 20 minutes. Upon my return, I plan to slap together a meat loaf. The Pony is still in his pajamas. HH puttered around his MiniMansion for a while, and is now in his BARn. I have no idea what he's up to. Yesterday, he fell off a ladder and skinned his knee.

Tonight, I plan to watch the first of three parts of Comanche Moon. It is the first installment of the Lonesome Dove saga, I believe. I will have to see if it is competing with The Amazing Race. I might have to bribe my son to record one for me.

This week holds some promise for snow around Thursday. IF you believe the weather man. At least it will bring seasonal temperatures. That's a good thing. Our dogs have discovered a new favorite toy: horse turd. In fact, they had a regular pile in the front yard the other day. I don't know how it got there. Surely there was not a loose horse roaming around. Our neighbors across the road where the LandStealer used to live have two horses, and the people next to them also have two horses, plus a pony. When we left for school Thursday, I sent the #1 son over to see what Grizzly was curled up next to. I thought he had a dead woodchuck or something. No. It was a pile of horse turds. Friday morning, I looked out the laundry room door to see a single turd near the dogs' unfreezable, plug-in water bowl. You can't tell me a horse has been up on the porch. Or even a pony. Those dastardly dogs are playing with horse turds. And then they want to lick me. Ain't gonna happen. I asked HH this morning if he kicked the horse turd off the porch. "Well no." I suppose that's another one of my jobs. You'd think he would have seen it when he filled the water bowl. And it's much better to kick it when it's frozen. Not that I am an experienced horse-turd-kicker. I'm a novice.

I must leave you with that pleasant image. I've got The Devil to pay.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

HM Is A Blog Tease

Reports of my casino trip via the old people's bus have been greatly exaggerated. I did not go. Oh, it was not really my choice. My aunt called me at 8:50 this morning to report that she was sick, and going to the emergency room. I, on the other hand, was going nowhere. That's because I was not going to take a maiden voyage on that old folks' bus alone. No. That's not how I roll. I was OH SO DISAPPOINTED.

I had planned to leave home at 9:15 to get to the bus on time. I arose at 5:30, took my medicine, showered, primped, did two loads of laundry, washed the dishes, laid out clothes for my young 'uns, wrote out some bills. I stopped at The Devil's Playground on my way home last night, because I knew I would not have time today. My mom left home early to come out and mind my children. She was almost here where I called her. Did I mention that I was disappointed? And that I want those three-and-a-half hours of my life back--so I can sleep?

HH said he would take me to the casino tonight, and we would stay overnight. Except that there was no room at the inn. So HH took the boys to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. Now I'm all revved up to gamble with no place to go. I hate it when that happens.

I'm going to turn out my lights, sit in the dark, and hope Steven doesn't come a-evening.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Bon Voyage!

I'll be shoving off from the Hardee's parking lot at 10:00 a.m. sharp as I embark on my gambling excursion. No need to see me off. I'm a big girl now.

Top 10 Reasons To Ride The Old Folks' Bus To The Casino:

10-I can let someone else drive slowly in the fast lane
9--If I fall and break my hip, there is someone to sue
8--Next to the other passengers, I will look youthful
7--When we disembark, I can beat them all to the turnstile
6--They will play the nickel machines, making the quarters all mine
5--My clothes will look stylish
4--When it's time to leave, I only have to look for blue hair
3--It a fight breaks out, I could take at least half of them
2--I can remember why I'm there, thanks to my NOTcatfood diet
1--No line in the bathroom, courtesy of Depends

I think I will get along with the old people. Maybe I will be their pet.

"Come here, honey. Let me pinch your cheeks."
"Isn't she cute?"
"Give her this shiny quarter. Watch that she doesn't put it in her mouth."
"Do you go to school?"
"Are those your big-girl shoes?"
"Don't get her wound up. You know she's missing her nap."
"Look at her read that book."
"She's sharp as a tack."
"Do you liiiike to gamble?"
"Let her sit by the window so she doesn't spit up."
"Should we put her on one of those leashes?"
"Don't let her out of your sight. Someone might take her."
"Do you have to go potty?"
"Can she have a cracker? I have some in my purse."
"Come sit on my lap, sweetie."

Thank the Gummi Mary, my aunt and grandma will be on that bus to protect me!

Yeah, baby! I'm stoked! But I fear that my hot streak has cooled since Monday. My luck has a freshness date, like that Ranch Dressing in my mother's pantry. If I don't use it within a certain amount of time, it's very, very bad. I bought some scratchers on the way home today. There were no big winners. There were only three winners out of 15 tickets. That's what I get for buying the $2 tickets. I need to dance with the one who brung me, the $10 ticket. But on the positive side, my big check for my extraordinary winner was in the mailbox today. $960!!! They only withheld state tax, because I furnished my SS#. Remember my SS#? It's "1", you know. I only have to report the whole thing on my Federal 1040 next year. You can bet I'm stowing away all my losing tickets, and keeping a gambling log. I am keeping track of the Stevening, because you only have to report gambling winnings to the extent of gambling losses. I figure I will break even by the end of the year.

If I don't get back too late, I'll update you tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #1-08

I find Thursdays OH SO LIBERATING!

Today's school lunch was vegatable soup and grilled cheese. The best lunch ever. Except that I think I hurt my eyes. Looking for the vegetables. I must compliment the chef on the grilled cheese, though. They were just crispy enough, almost dripping with oil, and just the right brownness.

I am going to start my own interactive stage show along the lines of 'Magique'. Except that I am not going to sit some guy on a straight-backed chair, take off his shirt, and draw a face on his belly. No. I am going to call MY show 'Critique'. I will ask for volunteers, and when a wife waves her hand wildly and shouts, "Take my husband! Please!" I will bring him to the stage and sit him down in a La-Z-Boy and make sure he's comfortable, give him a beer, turn on a TV with football, or NASCAR, or one of those 'How to murder your wife' shows on Tru TV, and then I will get down to the real business. Criticizing him. I'm sure I can think of something.

Mabel is addicted to my Chex mix. I fear that we might need to stage an intervention. Mabel, if you are reading this, I am only joking. If anybody asks you to go to a motel room, followed by a camera crew, just to talk about how delicious my Chex mix really is, it is because they are doing a segment for the Food Network.

Saturday, I am riding the old people's bus to the casino to gamble for 4 hours. My aunt talked me into it. She had to twist my arm. I have packed up my free cash coupons that came in the mail, and put my nest egg in order. Now all I have to do is find a book to take along for the ride. Oh. And arrange childcare from 9:30 a.m. until 12:30 noon. Because then HH will be home to revel in the amazing eccentricities of his offspring. I foresee an excursion down into the woods to sit under the mighty deer head in the MiniMansion.

HH is getting a buttload of free wood from work. Actually, it's a truckload, and it isn't costs him $0.25. But that's beside the point. I asked what he planned to do with it, build on a bathroom? HH scoffed, "I already HAVE a bathroom." Yes. The claustrophobic outhouse. Now he says he might build a bigger one, and use that one for a tool shed. Duh. I don't know why he's so obsessed with some nearly-free wood. And I don't know why he wants to go hanging tools all over the grounds. This place is like Disneyland for thieves.

Note to Thieves: You don't want to know the price of admission.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

HM And The Angry Hour

All right. It was two hours. Two hours of my time that I will never get back. I ain't no spring chicken, you know! My time is valuable.

It all started when the last bell rang, and I grabbed my coat and raced the kids down the hall for my parking lot duty. Upon exiting the building, I was a bit discombobulated to see our leader and another staffer standing by the steps. The staffer said, "There's Mrs. Hillbilly Mom." No poop, Genius. That's what happens when I have duty. I suppose she thought I was trying to sneak out, and code-ily alerted our leader. Aha! She doesn't know that I park at the OTHER end of the building. I started on my merry way to the other set of steps, where I do my duty from. It's more prepositionendingsentence-friendly. Our leader turned, and called, "There's a man with a camera. He's supposed to be here." Good to know. Before I dash across the yard and tackle him to protect the helpless students from him in case he's an unidentified pervert.

After cooling my heels and all other body parts for 15 minutes while shooting the breeze with Mr. S and his cohort, we declared that the time for duty had ended. The photographer had entered the building, but HIS cohort, who was spied standing beside the drive with a steno notebook before the kids even got out of the building, came over to chat. Seems they are safetly consultants that we've hired. She had issues. She thought we needed a speed limit sign on the 100-yard drive, and a stop sign where it connects with the road. Oh, and she saw a kid in a maroon truck squealing his tires, but she didn't get the license number, and she thinks someone needs to talk to him about it. I wonder if she knows that people in H*LL want ice water? D'ya think? We always report activity like this to the principal. And he talks to the kid about it. Then the next day, a different kid does it. The cycle continues. Maybe we need to put up signs at staggered intervals that say 'No Tire Squealing... We Mean It... We Really Mean it.' And if that fails, we can whip out our district-issue coiled-up spike strip tire-shredder thingy from the holster on our belt of Kid-Be-Good tools, and make sure they get the message. She kept harping about stuff, and asked if we had any concerns. She said she would be there tomorrow, observing the hallways, and students entering and leaving classes. So I told her there was one issue that personally concerns me, and that is the fact that the kids go to their lockers when they get to school. And roam. When we first moved into the building, they had to go to the lunchroom, or the gym. That is where the supervision is. If they walk the halls, you don't know who is bringing in what. And this safety woman had the nerve to tell me, "Well, that wouldn't go over very well with the kids, this being a high school. They need to go to their lockers. They would feel confined." Sweet Gummi Mary! Are we running a school or a country club?

Oh, and it got worse. My #1 son was put on a committee at the beginning of the year, and it was supposed to meet from 4:00 to 5:00. So I had to stay longer than I wanted today. I planned to get some grading and planning caught up. But no. When I got to my room, my aunt was there. She invited me on a trip to the casino Saturday. Well, she invited me to go on the bus that anybody who calls to reserve a spot can ride to the casino. Then she left to go to the same meeting as my boy, and my Basementia Buddy called. She finagled me into playing Trivia in a few weeks, even though it's my birthday weekend and I had planned to sit this one out. After hashing out the specifics of our strategy, she called our team leader to get the low-down, and then called me back. After we trashed the competition for a while, and she finished chewing all the ice in her soft drink cup into my left ear, she hung up.

Then the safety photographer waltzed in. He wanted to take some pictures and talk to me. Because obviously, anyone found after school at 4:10 is there to be interviewed by an outside firm. Then he told me of all the violations he saw in my room, like I was supposed to rush and fix them without consulting my leader. Oh, and one of the things he noted was my bookcase from Basementia, which is over four feet tall, and not secured to the wall. I said, "Well, that would mean I could not move it when I wanted to rearrange the room." And he countered with, "Let me guess. That is your personal bookcase." Them was fightin' words. You see, my Basementiacase is you say...attractive in any way. It is dark brown wood. There are scrapes and scratches and the shelves are bowed one way or another, and it has those metal tracks that you set the shelves on with little hanger-thingies that always fall out, so you only have three per shelf instead of four, and then the balance is upset by adding or removing books, and a shelf teeters. Not that it is dangerous. But it looks like, perhaps, it would have a future on Antiques Road Show. As if it were hewn during the Middle Ages, and hauled by donkey-cart down a pig trail, and shipped overseas by the Airbus of Mayflower times, and floated down the Erie Canal without a boat, and dragged by oxen sled to the mighty Mississippi, where it was harnessed to a long rope and towed across behind a ferry, then pulled on a travois by He Who Hauls For Hire to the area where Basementia now sits. In fewer words: it's a bit rough. That fella had nerve to suggest that it was my personal belonging. I assured him it was not. And he said, "Well, if there happened to be a little kid there when an earthquake struck, and it fell over on that little kid, you can bet that the parents would have issues with it being district property." I countered with,"These pictures up here over the blackboard are cut from calendars, and they are secured to the wall with tape. But every now and then one falls off, and theoretically, it could slice open a students jugular vein." He did not respond. He puttered another minute, told me my TV should be secured to its rickety metal cart with a strap, and that my mini-fridge on its sturdy plastic table should also be belted, but Miss Hoity-Toity Microwave, a resident of the same table, did not need to be tied down. Then he made a not-so-hasty exit.

Oh, but seconds after he left, the custodian came in and hoisted himself onto a desktop (which I do not let the students or my own personal kids do) and swung his legs gleefully, and asked, "Who IS that guy? Why's he walking around?" Of course I had to dish the dirt, even though we'd already had a lovely chat during my PLAN time. I told him how the guy says I need curtains, and to cover my door window. I did not tell him how I wished the guy would have opened one of my cabinets and received the rain of flotsam and jetsam that he so richly deserved--I'd give him somethin' to safety-report about, by cracky! Oh, but then the safety guy came back. "There you are. I've looked up and down the hall for you several times. Room 104 is locked!" Duh. I think that's the safe thing to do when you leave for the day. My new best friend at first told the safety guy, "Just kick it in." Then he followed him out the door, neither of them to be seen again.

At this time, my #1 son returned. It was now 4:50, so we packed up the LSUV and headed for the Mansion. With my work undone.

I didn't even bring it home. I had a blog to write.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Money Balls

My money woes continue. I can't keep it off of me. I found that $109 worth of winners from the LSUV, and cashed them in Monday evening. I spent $50 of it on 6 tickets, and took the rest in cash. And we won $150! Now I have to take that back and cash it in. It's like one step back, and two steps forward, by cracky! I must strike while the iron is hot. It's all or nothing with me. One year, I played from February until September on $10 worth of tickets that Mabel gave me for my birthday. I'd say she got her money's worth. And speaking of Mabel's money...I forgot to take her $4 of PowerBall winnings to work Monday. Shame on me. I'm good for it, Mabel. I put it in your mailbox this morning.

On Monday, I did not want to check out my new textbooks and start a chapter. I opted for a writing assignment. We do them every week, you know. It's writing across the curriculum. I called this one Science/Fiction. It had to be a fictional story about an invention pertaining to some branch of science. I had wanted to call it Unwanted Gifts, but that did not suit my subject matter. To get the ball rolling, I told the students to think of a time that they, or someone they knew, had gotten a gift that they really did not like. I gave them a scrap of paper to write it down, and then collected the folded papers. Then I told them MY unwanted gift, and explained the rest of the assignment.

My gift was just this Christmas: a bottle of Resolve cleaning spray. Yeah. Thanks, Mom. So I explained that I couldn't make lemonade out of that Resolve, but perhaps I could tinker with it, and change its chemical composition, and turn it into a gasoline additive to increase gas mileage. Then I would be famous. I might win a Nobel Prize. Matt Lauer would interview me on the Today Show, and I could say anything I wanted on live TV. Like "My mother gave me Resolve for Christmas." That should get even with her!

Once the kids understood the premise, it was gift-giving time. Yes. We exchanged unwanted gifts. Some of those gifts were worse than Resolve: a jar of olives, a fan, socks, a can of corn, a little kid's make-up set, an oven mitt, 5 bottles of Listerine, a stick of Sam's Choice deodorant, a lamp, a box of Styrofoam peanuts, a broken game, a pack of balloons, a toothpick, a can of air.

Some inventions were used to help mankind. Such as 'Meal-in-a-Balloon', which could be sent around the world to starving nations. Or Sock Puppet, which turned out much better than sock hats or sock mittens, because you can make a stage and bring joy to the world. Or the make-up concoction which can make people or objects invisible, so soldiers can fight without being shot at. Or the baby's chew toy made of Styrofoam peanuts and not-famous glue.

OK, I had to draw the line with that last one. Everybody agreed that neither Styrofoam nor not-famous glue would be a good thing to go in a baby's mouth, even if the baby couldn't bite a piece off. As I told the little inventor, "Oh, you'd be famous alright. You'd be the famous baby-killing Styrofoam-and-glue inventor. I'm sure you'd be on the news." After that little infanticide faux pas, I really needed to sit down on my beach chair with attached fan, pop open a nice cool Dr. Olive, and reminisce about the ease of cleaning my oven with that magical Monopoly money cleanser.

A couple of classes could only think of themselves. Mankind is on his own. For example, Sam's Choice deodorant can be made into a hair-growing paste. The inventor reveled in the nice, thick hair under his arms. He called a press conference, and rubbed that paste on his chest. It got hairier than Bigfoot. And he was voted 'Sexiest Man in the World'. Forget making money off of bald men jonesin' for some hair. This dude was all about the FAME. A girl used her hand soap to create 'Instant French Manicure Soap'. In her words..."Yay, me! I can't believe I can get a French manicure just by drying and washing my hands! I have to call my BFF!" Who was so excited that she called 911, and of course they sent the news team. Or the guy who hated the shirt he got so much that he threw it across the room and found that it hung itself on a hanger. He took it to school, and the same thing happened. He went on tour. Teams of scientists studied that shirt, but couldn't find out what made it hang itself up. He was offered 2, 3, 4, 30 million dollars for that shirt, but he turned it down. That's how he became famous--for turning down $30 million. Then he was killed in a freak frying-pan accident, and became a legend. So I asked him what happened with that frying pan, and he said, "My wife was so mad that I wouldn't take the 30 million that she hit me in the face with a frying pan." Oh.

I could go on, but the point is, it passed the time quickly on the first day back, the kids were excited by it, they all got some writing practice, and they even talked about it outside of class. I know that, because every time I mentioned the beautiful silver paint with yellow flecks, somebody in each class shouted, "Carl's can of corn!"

Today was a bit anticlimactic. All I overheard was that a guy's mom was buying his truck balls for him, because they're expensive, and he doesn't have a job, and his girlfriend can't afford his balls.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Oh, The Humanity!

Duh. Let me share some stupidity with you. I'm sure you don't have enough of your own to go around. I'm generous like that.

Remember back when we were planning to trade LSUVs? When HH drove home that one that I really, really wanted, but the salesman insulted us by saying that our trade-in was $2000 less than what we looked up? And then looked it up right in front of us, and said, "Oh. It was less this afternoon." Yeah. Like we were born yesterday, and one of us is born every minute.

Anyhoo, way back then, we cleaned out my LSUV. We were in a hurry. I took stuff out of the console, and told the #1 son to grab things off the visors, and The Pony to get stuff out of the seat backs. We threw everything into a box. I took out the CDs and piled them on the kitchen counter. I think they're still there. I have a big kitchen. Lots of counter space. Later that week, I needed that box to take some things to school. I put the stuff in a bag. When my mom had surgery, I needed that bag. I put the stuff in an Aldi's freezer bag. Never mind that I don't shop at Aldi's. I have three of those bags that I keep in the LSUV in case I need to transport an Ice Baby, or if I am shopping at two stores and need to keep things cool. Last night, I was cleaning up stuff around the kitchen table. Hey, it's not as if we sit down and eat at it regularly. And what better time to clean up around your kitchen table than the night before you go back to school after a 2-week vacation? By this time, I had three Aldi's bags in the house. It's not my fault the #1 son should be fired from his allowance for not taking them back out to the car after we bring in cold food. It's hard enough to get him to carry in the food. I planned on asking HH to take them out when he carted out some cardboard to burn. Which means he loads it in the back of the Scout for about a week, then burns it down at his shanty the next weekend. I mean his MiniMansion.

I sat down and reached my hand into the bag. It's like foil, you know. Like a space-age silvery thick foil bag, only painted blue on the outside, with 'Aldi's' across both sides. Wow! This was like a game of Feely Meely. I found a couple of The Pony's fundraiser prizes, such as a freaky whistle and a pen with a fan on the top. There was a comb, a box of Skittles gum at least three years old, a lens from some glasses that is not mine, a proof-of-insurance card from 2004, three Great Clips punch cards to earn a free haircut on the 9th visit, a receipt from when #1 son went to the allergist in 2006, and some old lottery tickets.

I tossed the junk, saved the treasures, and took a look at the old scratchers. I wanted to see if any were still good to enter in the second-chance drawing that ends Tuesday night. I need $6 worth of specific losers for another entry and a chance to win a Chevy Avalanche, $1000 gas card, or $500 cash. The $1 ticket was no good for the drawing. I started to put it in the throw-away bag, but turned it over. Hey! It won a ticket. I looked at the two $2 tickets. Hey! They each won $2. Wait a minute! They didn't match the number, they had a symbol. A symbol that translated into doubling the prize! WooHoo! I'd just found $9 that I almost threw away. Then I went back to the $10 ticket. I knew it was good for a second-chance entry. It's the same game I've been winning with. I turned it over to look at the front. Every prize had been scratched, so I'd figured it was a loser that the boys had looked at to see what we could have won. The top left number was a winner. $5. I looked some more, because $10 is the least you can win on these. There were a couple of winners. I called in The Pony. He looked. "That's an overall winner, Mom. Every prize is a winner." WHAT! That was 20 x $5. I HAD ALMOST ENTERED A FREAKIN' ONE-HUNDRED-DOLLAR WINNER IN THE LOSER CONTEST! I wonder if the computer would have told me, "Sorry, Ma'am. That is not a loser." Like the clerk told me, "Sorry, Ma'am. That is not a winner." when I took in a ticket way back then that I thought was a big winner. Then I figured I had already cashed it in and forgotten. There was a tidy sum in the secret purse pocket that holds my gambling nest egg, so I thought I'd already cashed it.

Oh, the humanity! What if I'd carelessly tossed out that ticket? My mom says, "If you don't even know where you keep a $100 ticket, you must not need the money." Well, of course I don't NEED it. I WANT it.

Don't hate me because I'm a stupid, sloppy housekeeper. Hate me because I have $109 more than I knew I had yesterday morning.

Or just hate me. Don't cost nothin'.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Hi Ho, Hi Ho.

Gosh. I'm busy doing all those things I put off until tomorrow. Now it is the evening before we go back to school. I've got work to do! I would have thought about doing it over the break, but it seems like every day somebody had to go to the doctor or optometrist or wanted food three times a day, or demanded clean clothing.

The #1 son wanted to wear an Abercrombie shirt my sister-the-mayor's-wife gave him for Christmas. Too bad. It has long sleeves. It's a winter shirt. And the temperature was 72 degrees here today. He would fry.

I have not heard from Mabel in OH SO LONG. She does not even know she was a PowerBall winner last week. Yep. Our Miss Mabel hit the PowerBall and one number. She's a fourdollarionaire, she is! I will be renting an armored car to take her winnings to school. I'm holding off on the press conference for now.

The new laptop my #1 son was getting with my $1000 scratcher win? He was going to customize and order it online. Then he got to thinking that what he had come up with was the same model that the church techies use. They had bought it around the beginning of December. He called one of the guys and got the specs on it. We determined that we could drive to Office Max and get the same thing. No need to wait on shipping and worry that the shepherdy doggie Ann would eat it before we got home. According to our calculations, what with having to pay in-state tax, and without the free shipping, the grand difference would be $50. Of course this was a miscalculation on the boy's part. It was actually about $100 difference. He forgot that the church guy was tax-exempt. Anyhoo, we picked it up. He got the 2-year service agreement instead of 1-year. We charged it. They gave him the pamphlet to call in and activate his service agreement by registering his new Lappy.

He tried all day Saturday to activate it. No such luck. The website was not there any more. The website he had looked up that model on to begin with. Today, his grandma took him back to Office Max after church. #1 said the sales clerk got kind of snotty with him, telling him that the store could NOT register it for him--he HAD to do it online. So he got snippy with her, asking her HOW he was supposed to do that with no website to register it on. She called around, and found out the website had changed. It must be a well-kept secret. While he was waiting, he called the church guy, who said he'd had to do the exact same thing. Except that he had mailed it in like they told him, and never got a response, so he went back to the store and they told him about the new website. It sounds like they have been taking Devil's Playground lessons.

So...that clerk finally gave him the new website, and while waiting outside The Devil's Playground, where I was on my daily shopping mission, he stole Papa John's internet signal to register. I asked him if the clerks had been that snotty to the churchy guy. "No. He said they were nice to HIM." I looked at him and said slowly, "Well, you know, HE was doing God's work." #1 laughed. "Yeah. Unlike ME, who was buying a computer with money won by gambling!" That boy might have a point.

Our new mattress slept like a charm. My back pain was reduced by 50% upon arising. HH whined, "At least YOU like it." I don't know what he's getting at. He slept a good 5 hours more than I did in it. It did not seem to keep him awake. In fact, he liked it so much that he stretched out way onto MY side, and I had to whack his arm to keep from being shoved out of the bed. And I wouldn't want THAT to happen, because this mattress is TALL. It must be one like Mabel got her mom. You know, that time she had to saw the legs off the bed. So I don't want to be shoved out. It's enough that HH has that one restless leg that goes all the way to my edge of the bed. Now it has a partner in crime. I swear, I'm going to have to tie a kink in his breather-hosen.

I've really got to go. I've got lessons to plan before I sleep.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

HM Forks It Over

Whew! I'm exhausted. Spending money is such hard work.

We bought a new mattress and box spring combo today. I think that after 17 years, the old one was just sick and tired. While at the mattress store, we sat on some furniture that I liked. After an argument on whether it would fit, HH measured our humble home after installing the new mattress. It was just as I had said. To the inch. I TOLD you women can measure better than men. HH had sworn that the loveseat of the new sofa suite was 6 feet long. I declared it to be 5 feet. The salesman got a tape measure, and proved that it was 64 inches. Which is 4 inches over my estimate, and 8 inches under HH's estimate. I win. Anyhoo, upon measuring that area at home, he found that it was exactly 64 inches. Heh, heh. So he went back after bowling and bought a sofa, loveseat, a coffee table, 2 end tables, and 4 pillows. OK, they tried to tell him the pillows were extra, but when he said he would walk over that extra $30 above what he offered them, they threw them in.

Now we have to stop spending the money that doesn't grow on trees. We had a bit left over from Christmas, and HH got the same bonus as the last 4 years, and I won that $1000...but now we have to stop. Even though I would like a nice Berber carpet one of these days.

HH made us all go to town for the mattress quest. We had to pick up #1 son's glasses. He loves them. He has worn them all day. I told HH I'd drive myself back to town for my PowerBall ticket for tonight. I consider him a dark cloud of bad luck hovering over my head. He stopped and told me to go get it, so I did. Never mind that he parked that Ford F250 4WD with the off-road package at a 45-degree angle. I have trouble getting into that beast on a level playing field. It has those pipe kind of running board thingies. When I get out, it bends my knee too severely, so I generally stick both legs out and drop, without stepping off the running board. This added about 2 feet to my drop. Or so it seemed. HH said, "I'll back out when I see you coming, so it's level." Yeah. Right. HH is like Lucy promising Charlie Brown that she won't move the football. So I came out, and there HH sat. "Oh. I didn't see you." Duh. I hoisted myself up Ford Everest and winched the door shut. I'm surprised I didn't tip the whole truck over during my entry. That's how steep the grade was. I suppose the mattress counterbalanced me.

I did not like getting those tickets with HH. I rarely do it. He is OH SO NOT lucky. I got 5 scratch-off tickets. Every last one was a loser. Darn that HH! I went back to bowling to pick up The Pony, because he's not much help in loading sofas. I told him we'd stop and get a few more scratchers. We still have winnings left from several months ago. I got 3 scratchers. The first was a loser. Then second won $10. The third won $100. That's my Pony! OK, so I spent $56 to win $110. I'm still ahead. I haven't Even-Stevened yet. And I still have my nest egg of past winnings. For those who tell me they never win on scratchers, allow me to give this advice: don't go anywhere near HH. Oh, and buy the $10 tickets, which have a chance of winning of 1 in 3.33. Those others have a 1 in 5 chance.

For those who tell me they never win on scratchers, allow me to give this advice: don't go anywhere near HH. Oh, and buy the $10 tickets, which have a chance of winning of 1 in 3.33. Those $5 and $2 and $1 tickets have about a 1-in-5 chance, and the pay-offs are smaller. So you could spend $10 on 10 $1 tickets, and have a 2-in-10 chance of winning. But you might only win the minimum prize of a ticket. Or two tickets. On the $10 tickets, the minimum prize is $10. It's playing the odds, baby! Any Mabel can tell you that.

I'll leave you with that advice. Don't be callin' me to be your Gambler's Anonymous sponsor, by cracky!