Friday, February 29, 2008

An Odd Conglomeration

News Flash! Possession is now only 1/7 of the law! Who knew? Certainly not Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, who had scheduled the computer lab in good faith with the computer teacher on Wednesday to use for four hours on Friday. But no. As soon as I went to get the key and unlock the door, somebody else laid claim to my lab. And acted all pissy about it. I call foul!

The computer teacher asked if I would leave and let that other one have it the other six hours. So you know what? I agreed to give it up at the end of 1st hour. Because Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is a pacifist. She will bend with the tide and cooperate with her peers, and when that old summative evaluation time rolls around, the pissy peers with get marked higher in the category of interpersonal relations than Mrs. HM, who will only get a 'satisfactory' for all her trouble. That's how it works. Squeaky wheels, you know.

Oh, and my ex-best-friend Mabel, hereafter referred to as 'Taunto', repaid my favor of bestowing her with fresh Chex Mix by taking it to the office, standing outside the window, and shaking it in an early Eddie Murphy stand-up 'you ain't got no ice cream' moment. So today, I brought some of my precious Chex Mix to my NEW best friend, the secretary, and my NEXT best friend, the principal, and my 4th Quarter best friend, Math Crony. Take that, Taunto! That'll learn ya to go flaunting Mrs. HM's Chex Mix, heretofore seen as a holiday consumable.

It's been quite a day. I also found out why that Anger Girl didn't wallop the Purse Girl yesterday. Anger Girl told her other classmates that if she goes 3 days without an argument, her anger management counselor takes her out to eat. Apparently, the way to a girl's anger is through her stomach.

I had a teary-eyed moment this afternoon at an assembly to give items to the troops. What with the soldier bringing his toddler son along, and talking about how he had only just completed basic training and was going to some special training and then shipping out, and how you had to go when Uncle Sam said it was time to go, no questions asked, and him having another baby on the way, and my own Veteran finally here locally after 3 tours of duty, it was just a bit much for my cold, cold heart, which thawed a little bitty bit, with the melt-water filling up my eyes.

Because some things in life are just not fair.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Tale Of The Tape

A girl asked to borrow some tape today. And by 'borrow', I understood that she would be keeping it. Just like when somebody asks to 'borrow' a Kleenex. I don't want it back, you know. To be specific, she asked, "Can I borrow your tape? That big kind?" Yeah. It's OH SO HARD to pronounce 'masking tape'. I saw that I had an end of a roll in my top drawer. That's because of my ongoing battle with the posters which MOCK me by jumping off the wall nightly. I tossed her the tape. I always toss, because I don't want to be accused of winging a roll of tape and raising a lump on some catchingly-challenged child's forehead. That's how I roll.

First of all, she had to complain about my toss. Let's make it clear that she sits in one of the front-row seats right in front of my desk. The seats that creep forward throughout the day due to my magnetic attraction, or perhaps gravitational pull. A distance of one Pony from me. Yep. If you laid him down across our desks, his head would be on mine, and his feet on hers. So we're talkin' a short distance. "Why do you throw like this?" she whined, mimicking my toss and making me look all girly and feeble at the same time. "Why don't you throw it like this?" Please note that she drew back her arm like a Cy Young Award-winner and mimed firing that roll of tape at the speed of light. "Oh, I don't want to give anybody an excuse to file a lawsuit against me," I said with my fake smile that shows my fangs but does not reach my eyes, the windows to my dark, dark soul. "Hmph. Like anybody would sue you for something like that." Apparently, she lives in some alternate universe, with unicorns and bluebirds and rainbows and unlimited flying masking tape.

Secondly, I must explain that I thought she wanted the tape for her calendar. A student worker came in with a stack of March calendars for the students. It was shortly after this when she asked for the big tape. I assumed she was going to tape the calendar in the front of her notebook. Silly me. You know what happens when we assume.

My mouth dropped open when I saw her rolling that tape around and around her hand. "What are you going to do next, put on a boxing glove?" Mrs. Hillbilly Mom has a thirst for knowledge, you know. She looked at me like the deer that crossed the road in my bright headlights on the way home tonight. "Why would I do that?" Oh, no reason. Why would you roll tape around your hand to attach a calendar to your notebook?

The next thing I knew, she was spanking her purse. Spanking it. In an abusive manner. The boy next to her beat me to it. "What are you doing?" She looked at him like he was simple. "I'm getting the lint off my purse." Sweet Gummi Mary! She saw nothing wrong with doing that right in the middle of class. The boy said, "Do you always use tape to get the lint off your purse?" Again, she gave him the exasperated simpleton look and heaved a big sigh. "No. I usually use a lint brush, but I didn't have one." And I jumped in, "You mean I didn't have one." Another sigh. "Whatever." A girl on the other side of the room said, "I'd like to come over there and smack you right now! Who worries about lint on her purse?" And purse-girl said, "Well, at least I'm not like SOME people who walk around school all skanky and don't even care what her purse looks like." Ooohhh. Them was fightin' words if I ever heard 'em. But the smacky girl has been attending anger management classes twice a week this year. They appear to be working. She just shrugged her shoulders and rolled her eyes at me. And purse-girl wadded up the tape and threw it at the wastebasket, but HELLO, it's tape, by cracky, and it stuck to her hand and then released and came flying past my head and landed behind my chair.

I can't get no respect.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Still Kickin'

The world went on without me while I was gone to the conference. Go figure. While my students did not get a good report from the sub, they did not get a bad one, either. All papers were turned in, absences were recorded, some of the papers had been graded, and there were no inappropriate comments or walks around the building or off-color jokes told to my students. So I will have to grade that sub back to neutral for now.

We are kicking off our big science project extravaganza tomorrow. It will take us through three weeks of looking like we are doing something, and the students will unknowingly be getting a heavy dose of scientific inquiry skills. I have booked the computer lab for hours 1-4 on Friday. No mean feat, but since there is no sign-up-to-reserve system in Newmentia, I hope possession is still 9/10 of the law. I would hate to make a scene after booking with one of the two computer lab possessors. The other whiles away her mornings in Basementia, so I should have a leg to stand on.

This morning got off to a rocky start. What with returning from the conference to find that HH had rearranged all the living room furniture, I was a bit discombobulated throughout my morning routine. My napping recliner had been moved. My end table for setting my water and medicine was on the other side, along with the TV and dish remotes. The TV is at an angle that is not conducive to good watchin'. I overslept, and had to be awakened by my mother's wake-up call. The Pony laid on a different couch. It was all bad feng shui, I tell you.

I dropped off the #1 son at Basementia. Going down the hill on the way to Elementia, my heart skipped a beat. It was not from my deep, abiding love for The Pony. It was not from fear that some calamity might befall him during the school day. It was literally a skipped heartbeat. I had forgotten to take my medicine this morning. Sweet Gummi Mary! You do not want Mrs. Hillbilly Mom walking in to see what carnage two days of a substitute hath wrought, running out to do her parking lot duty, playing catch-up with the grading while maintaining order and doling out a healthy dose of learning all day, running copies needed by tomorrow, and rushing back to that blasted parking lot for duty again after school without being medicated! M-O-O-N. That spells 'better living through pharmaceuticals,' by cracky! I hurriedly called HH, who agreed to fish my meds out of the cabinet and bring them to me. So I'm still alive and kickin'.

Hey! Tomorrow is already Thursday! At this rate, the school year will be over before you know it!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Return

I'm baaaaack. And I don't want to go to school on Wednesday. It's my duty day, plus I had the sub that left me the note which read, "Boys are flirtatious." So I'm expecting some brouhaha to be a-brewin' when I return. I don't care if they did their work. I've only had two substitutes who actually followed my plans, so I just leave them some Science World magazines and worksheets. No trusting the vital GLEs to a sub.

We got back to school town around 1:30. I stopped and took The Pony out of school early. Because I can. And I didn't want to hang around for 90 minutes just to wait on him. He did not complain. When the school social worker who was relieving the secretary buzzed The Pony's classroom and told his teacher to send him to the office, he was leaving...I heard my little Pony say, "Already?" He thought his grandma was picking him up after school. And he wasn't even disappointed that it was me instead of her.

The Pony had a birthday on the 15th, and all he got was 3 computer games. Which cost a pretty penny, by the way. He already had one of them, and we have yet to return it to The Devil's Playground. Usually, his grandma gets him a present, but there was that inconvenient ice storm, and she just gave him money. The poor Pony lamented the other day, "I wish I had gotten more for my birthday." Not in a spoiled way. #1 son, the squeaky wheel, always gets a party or some flamboyant gift. I felt bad for The Pony. So I got him some things at the conference. We already gave him the pirate treasure chest. He loves it. Later tonight, he's getting a long twisty sucker on a wooden stick, a bag of magnetic rocks, a bag of gemstones, a hand-carved wooden 'secret box', a glass egg with a little stand, a twig pencil, and a gummi rat. The rat is from his brother. Most of the stuff will go in his new pirate chest. The Pony is all about the treasures. He's excited. He already did his homework. When #1 gets home, The Pony gets the rest of the loot.

Now we are waiting for #1 to call. He had an academic team meet, and my mom volunteered to bring him home. I don't want her all the way out here on our bad roads, so I am meeting her in town. She's a peach. The boy, on the other hand, is cutting into my Big Brother 9 and Democratic Debate time.

I'll plan tomorrow's lessons while I am on duty in the parking lot before school. Priorities, you know.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Nothing new to report. I prefer not to type on NewLappy tonight. He is very needy in the backspace function. Or perhaps it is just my typing.

We will be home tomorrow. Mansion Sweet Mansion. I'm sure tomorrow will be an abbreviated post as well, what with the debate to watch.

We drove up here through the snow, and there is freezing rain and snow forecast for tomorrow. The circle is complete.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Conference In H*ll

High speed internet, baby! Oh, yeah! The drawback took me 5 minutes to type that. I am on NewLappy at my conferencde. as you can see I have stopped to correct errors. this should be faster. NewLappy has some keys a bit farther apart that I am accustomed to. Also, I am just lazy.

Ther came astorm last nibght during Catholic trivea. It was not over until 11:00. The Tivia, not the storm. yeah. Three inches of snow overnight. Maybe 4. We dalayed our trip to the conference by two hours so the main oroasds would be cleanr. Ib ke lets try that agaiub, One three-hour drive later. we were here. We checkined in at 12:00. By that I mean that ewe went to the desk and paid with a credit cartd and were told that sometime between now and 4:00 a room would be ready and here is a slip or paper with our front desk extension so you can c all. Umm...without a room, where are we supposed to get a house phone to call the extension? So ie went back after lunch, which is anoterh tale entirely. And I said, "Am I supposed to check byachk here until I get a rooom number? Because that other ladey told me it was on the 4th floor of E buildign, but she didn't give a room number." The girl who is the onoy nice person here said, "Well, it's ready now" and gave me my room keys whcihc mean credit card thingies and we were on our way to try to find it.

When I mived the LSUV from the main entrance, I ened up parking in the golf course lot where the surly door mand guy with maps of the complex told me. he said to take the sidewald between the chapel and the mini golf course thingy, which I knew must be a mistake, because it was ICE VOvered, and surely they would not want a lawsuit what with 900 people here this weekend. so we walked down the road and find another entrance, but you can't get there from here, becauae the stairs had a baby gate metal thingy saying only use for emergencies. So we asked some asian maids and they said to take the elevator up one floor and use the walkway over the road, whcih we did. But the we didn't know how to come back after lunch and get back to the parking area with out walking around the building in the roasd. My boy found a way after going to every floor ane looking for a back door. Then we walked up the ice covered stairs and i told him I might light down and scream and then I oculd ifile and injury lawsuit against them for megligence without actually hurting, but i could still get the painkillers and the money.

Now let's talk lunch.. It was supposed to be served until 12:45. My Lower Basementia Buddy and I got there at 12:15. All lines had been closed up except on. There was some tired saldad, some king of mini potato balls, some fried chicken and some BBQ something slices. I wnet for the chicken, thinking I was getting two thighs. I tried a slice of BBQ something, a rooll with butter, and a piece of spice cake. We tried to go back through the little cattle gate we came in through, seeningas how it ws us and two tother peple at the food line. Oh no. Two workers told us we must use the exit gtavte so we woulnd't get trampled. As if. So instead of walking 10 feet to our talble, we made a diagonal trip to the opposite cornier adn took a 100 foot walk. That's exponential! LBB is a mathie, you know. So we had to sit at a used talble with other people's chicken bones on the tablecloth, and their dirty drinking glasses. I saw two glassed still upside down, so we figureed the were safe. LBB saw a worker cleaning up tables, and said, 'Ma'am, if you tell me where I can find it, I'lll go get some tea." The workder sighed heavily, and grabbed up a pitcher. She came and pouured it into the cglass. There was no ice. The tea was barely brownere than ther water I asked for. After onother heavy sigh, she brought me a pitcher of what looked like lake water. i t was not clear, but had a grienish brown tint tyo ity. I dramk a bit, but not too mu ch . Not enough to get Sigh-a-zuma's Revenge. Teh chicken turned out to be not thights but back. Back bones coated with breaded breading. I scraped it apert, ate teh two bites of meat that I found, then tried the BBQ . It was pork. cold, jellied, pork. The roll was good. The spice cake was good. That's all the good I can say.

By the time I ameade it to a oconference room, it was one i didn't awwant to tstart with. About smartboard stuff, and i can't even get the smartboard for my end of the hall. It took 90 minutes out of my life, and tomorrow I will attend more that I didn't ask for. That's likfe, I supoose.

Look forward to more from newlappy tomorrow night. If you dayre.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Pony Laughs Last

I'm in a hurry today. I have to pack for my conference for which I leave home at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, and I have Catholic trivia, which will keep me out late tonight. It's not trivia about Catholics--it's sponsored by them as a fundraiser. And they serve beer there! Which makes it different from other trivias. Maybe we will have a chance, since most of us remain clear-headed. OK. I'm speaking for myself. I don't care about anyone else. It will be easier to force my answers on them if they imbibe. Anyhoo, there are many, many teams that play there. Last year, we were happy to get 12th place. We'll see how it goes this year.

Because I'm short of time, I'm giving you a vignette from Ponyland.

My Little Pony is usually meek and mild. He does his own thing, and does not get overly excited about much. He is used to taking a back seat to his big brother. Literally. The #1 son rides in the front seat of the LSUV. He's 13 now, by cracky, and the size of a high school senior. The Pony just turned 10, and weighs in the 60s, and probably should not be riding near an air bag. Never mind that when I was a kid, my parents let me ride on the shelf under the back windshield of their Olds 98.

Monday afternoon, I turned up our gravel road. The Pony took off his seatbelt, which I allow on the gravel. He usually rides behind the driver's seat, but he moved over to the other seat to look at the creek. He does this quite often. I know, because when we hit a certain bump, his head cracks against the window.

I was not paying a lot of attention to the boys. I was driving the LSUV on a twisty gravel road, by cracky! The #1 son leaves his seat reclined halfway, like an astronaut on the launch pad. The Pony has to struggle to climb out the passenger door in the mornings, what with his pack on his back. The boys were squabbling about something, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw #1 reach his arm back over the headrest. "I'll get you," he said. Then I heard The Pony giggle. I turned to look, and saw my 10-year-old facing backwards, standing on the seat, his butt up in the air. #1 had a-hold of The Pony's butt. I laughed. #1 said, "What's so funny?" He bent his head back and saw what he was grasping. He screamed in horror, and yanked back his hand. "EEWWW! I thought I was poking him in the eye!"

Score one for The Pony.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Dead Man Talking

HH called me on his way home to report that The Veteran has a buddy in the county sheriff's department. Yeah, you say, so what? Oh. That's what I said to HH. Then HH said he had asked The Veteran to have his buddy get a copy of the police report from the shooting incident a couple weeks ago. I don't think that's improper. I'm sure it's a matter of public record. These things are in the local paper all the time. And I know that HH could have gotten a copy if he had taken off work to go down to the county court house and request it. He's the one who filed the initial report, you know. Back when that Yosemite Sam neighbor put his old garage door and other trash on our land and refused to move it and told HH he'd shoot him if he came back.

Anyhoo...HH said The Veteran called him and read the report. It seems that right after the two deputies took HH's statement, they went a-callin' to Mr. Yosemite Sam's manufactured home. And Mr. Yosemite Sam, hereafter referred to as 'The Shootist', had a mouthful to say to those deputies. Specifically, that he would shoot HH with buckshot. Uh huh. That's how we do things here in Hillmomba. Don't lie and cover your a$$ after you threaten to shoot someone. Tell the law HOW you're going to do it.

Long story short--the deputies arrested The Shootist for 3rd Degree Assault, and hauled him in and made him post bond. Yep. That HH sure has a way of winning friends and influencing people. So now he's a dead man, basically. Just when I thought the whole flap had blown over, I find out that HH got this guy arrested. HH differs in opinion. "Good thing I did! What if I had let things go?" Hmm...the guy would have forgotten about it, and would have cleaned up that crap in his own good time, just to show you he was boss. But now, he's got a reason to kill you.

HH went on to say, "How crazy do you have to be not to lie about threatening to shoot somebody? How crazy do you have to be to tell the police that you're going to shoot a guy?" I don't know, Genius. You tell me. It seems that you are the one who told the very same deputies: "I'm not going to say that I'll get out my gun and shoot him, but if he comes up in my yard, I will." Duh.

HH also reports that a relative of a guy he bowls with works for the DNR. Oh. That's Department of Natural Resources, I suppose. Anyway, this guy says, "Those are the kind of people we like to investigate. They know how to actually do something that might be dangerous. What's his address?" This was in reference to The Shootist telling HH that he would ruin his land so bad that he would have to pay a million dollars to clean it up. HH said he wouldn't give The Shootist's address, but that HH's land is right next door, and it has a big sinkhole on it, and maybe the DNR should come out and take a look, just in case there was something hazardous in there when we bought it 10 years ago.

I hope they wear bullet-proof vests.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #7-08

Thursday again. It keeps rollin' around, whether I'm ready for it or not.

I prefer to get my no-school-phone-tree-call the night before. Not at 5:00 a.m.

Sleet is some slippery stuff.

My paycheck wants to be deposited.

A pot of chili is a good supper during an ice storm. With some garlic toast on the side.

No school for me until Wednesday. Read it and weep.

What if school is canceled Monday and Tuesday? I will be working for free!!! I call foul! I will still have to make up those days in May.

In case you were wondering...the capital of Brazil is not 'Montezuma'. Just sayin'...I learned that at the academic team match on Tuesday.

If you carefully calculate which of three chew bones should go to which of three dogs, and hand them out accordingly, the three dogs will all put the bones on the porch and walk away to sniff another dog's bone. And one dog will end up with two bones, another will have one, and one poor dog will have none. Dogs. They're animals!

The #1 son's preferred outfit to wear outside at 20 degrees in sleet and freezing rain is pajamas, flip-flops, and a $10 coat from The Devil's Playground.

The spellings bees, both scheduled for tonight, have been canceled. The #1 son's bee is to be made up on Monday night. He will be gone with me. I asked him if he wanted to change his mind, and he barked, "NO! I'm going with you!" I hate for him to miss it. His teacher called to tell me this morning, and she really bragged on him. I had told her last year, he is a child of Spell Check. He's been doing really well at academic team as well. He answered 17 questions the other day in the 62-30 win. And he answered them RIGHT.

The Pony's Old Lappy CD drive is kaput. It is still under warranty or the service agreement or something, but we will have to send it off. Poor Pony. He gets a free laptop, and the thing he uses most breaks. Have I mentioned that I will never buy an HP computer again? Look for a slightly longer unemployment line in India. Those service reps will become obsolete with my boys not calling them once a week.

The Democratic debate is tonight. I'll be watching. I wonder if John McCain will be kicked back, sock feet up on the coffee table, bowl of popcorn in his lap, one arm around his Barbie wife, one arm around his girlfriend...Oops! Did I say that out loud? There I go again, letting my thoughts out. Shame on me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


The roads have been striped with saltwater. My lesson plans are laid out. My room has been sub-proofed. My Little Pony is planning on staying up a half hour late to watch Cash & Treasures: Colonial Artifacts. The #1 son is floating on Cloud 9 in Hog Heaven with his new iPhone. All that's missing is the snow. There is so little snow, in fact, that there are no clouds. We have a grand view of the total lunar eclipse off our back deck. It won't happen again until 2010!

I should stop counting my chickens. They may not hatch until tomorrow evening. That would be too late to miss school. I'm thinkin' that I may not be back at school until next Wednesday. Wouldn't that be OH SO SAD? If this nonexistent storm drags out, I might miss tomorrow and Friday. Hey! It could happen. That's why I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off getting things ready today. I didn't even set a spell with buddy Mabel at the assembly we had today. I was busy grading today's papers so I could enter the scores in the computer and print out the weekly grades that are to be preserved every week. Duh. Somebody please tell Mabel, because I am OH SO BUSY. Weekly grades should be printed every week. Who knew? Not Mabel. It is only the 7th week that we have been back from Christmas break, you know. Maybe Mabel isn't keeping the Old Red Gradebook (she ain't what she used to be--the gradebook, not Mabel) and can't see the school year measured out in 36 installments. Mabel is marching to her own drum, methinks. And thankfully, unlike another Mathie, Mabel marches without a pair of floral panties dangling out her pants leg. She's a classy gal, our Mabel.

The Pony left his pack in the LSUV overnight. I had nothing to put his lunch in. This morning, I made him carry it to the LSUV, dump yesterday's leftover sandwich carcass from his lunch sack, and put in the new items. A simple chore, I thought. When The Pony climbed out at Elementia, he reached back in the car. "Oh. I forgot my SpongeBob gummies. I was sitting on them." #1 added, "Hey! He might have made a new Gummi Mary!" If so, she would have to be a MiniMary. They don't put many gummies in those packages.

Perhaps they won't call off school until tomorrow morning. I don't really like that scenario, but I'll take it. Since I would already be up and dressed, I would wake the kids with a vengeance, and drag them to town before the roads get too bad, to put my check in the bank. Don't you hate it when you can't enjoy the fruits of your labor? I couldn't do it tonight because the academic team meet was not over until 4:55, and everybody told me the bank closes at 5:00 unless it is Friday. And if the weather gets bad, I won't be leaving the Mansion until Sunday morning at 6:00 to go to my conference, and then I would have to hold onto my check until Tuesday afternoon, and we all know that a check held that long will burn a hole in your pocket, and frankly, I don't feel like replacing my meager wardrobe with money I don't have from a burnt-up check.

Now, I shall go burn the midnight oil watching for school closings.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Late Edition

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is OH SO BUSY tonight. She didn't arrive home until 8:00 p.m., and forsook her loyal readers (Mabel) for a dose of Big Brother 9. Now Mrs. HM must type up her lesson plans for the two days she will be gone next week. Just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse on Thursday and/or Friday. What with her duties before and after school Wednesday, with a surprise meeting thrown in, and a make-up academic team meet, and that pesky paycheck to put in the bank, and prescriptions to pick up before the out-of-town trip, Mrs. HM is leaving nothing to chance. Everything will be laid out on her desk when she leaves school Wednesday evening. If the weather is normal, so be it. That's several fewer items to squeeze in before Friday afternoon.

Then there's that Science Fair info that Mrs. HM researched and printed out today for her #1 son. The son who won 1st place in his division last year. The son who was not informed of the Science Fair dates by his teacher this year. The Science Fair with an entry deadline of March 6. Talk about cutting it close. He is selecting a project that can be done in a week. The fair itself is not until March 20, so he will have ample time to research and put his project together. Of course, that should be half the responsibility of his partner he insists on retaining. The silent partner who is partner in name only, and used for companionship by the #1 son. Funny thing it would be if the partner wanted to do his OWN project this year. But I don't think that's gonna happen. Who would want to, what with half the prize money coming your way for sitting around one day answering questions from the judges.

That's all there is tonight. Mrs. HM has gone to enroll in a course in Making Hay While The Sun Shines. That's because Doing Work On Snow Days was canceled due to lack of interest.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mabel Makes My Morning

Let me step down from my "It's my birthday, and all I got was this $2 change purse" high horse for a moment to profusely thank my bestest buddy, Mabel. She arrived at my classroom slightly before noon today, bearing gifts. And she wasn't even teaching today! Sing her praises with me:" On the eighth day of my birthday, my buddy brought to me...4 losing MegaMillions tickets for tax purposes, 3 birthday cards, 2 scratch-off tickets, and a small round cake with buttercream icing." Yeah! We'll take our act on the road. Perhaps on that Idol show thingy. I think we sounded great!

The cards were a hoot. The first one showed two white-haired old ladies chatting. "My pool boy thinks I'm hot." The other replies, "You ARE hot. That pool boy is correct." And inside, the words of wisdom: "We'll always be good for each other." I heartily agree, Mabel. And that card was in reference to this flash from the past: 'Truckload of Hot Cabana Boys'. Eat your hearts out, people. For my birthday gifts, AND my pool boys.

The next card was 'Tips from Helen, the almost-licensed party planner.' Helen advises us that when seating guests, it is not a good idea to place all the shallow people together. She recommends a pattern of 'shallow-deep-shallow-moody-shallow-deep...' But Mabel and I, the perfect mixers, can sit anywhere.

The third card was musical, by cracky! It has a picture of a young girl with both index fingers plunged into her nostrils up to the second knuckle. A young girl who looks somewhat like me as a toddler. And when you open it, it plays DISCO. Boogie Wonderland, to be specific. And it says, "It's your birthday. Can you dig it?" Which is very cute and all, but the more I mull it over, I wonder if Mabel is trying to tell me something. Surely not.

Thanks a bunch, Mabel, for remembering my birthday, even though I've forgotten yours every year but ONE, and for the birthday wishes phone call at 6:00 a.m. on my birthday, and for saving my loot and bringing it to me on the first day back at school since my birthday.


Sunday, February 17, 2008

Back In The Swing

I was almost feeling creative this morning. Then I folded last week's laundry, put in two more loads for this week, cooked lunch, washed dishes, laid down for five minutes...and that creative feeling went away. Go figure.

This week will be busy, what with missing 5 DAYS last week. The boys both have a regional spelling bee to attend, and I only know the date of one of them. The #1 son has two academic team meets, math team practice, and a dance. I have to write real lesson plans for the substitute I will have next Monday and Tuesday while I am gone to a scientific-type conference thingy. I told the #1 son he could go along, so I will have to write him a letter for school. Then there's the laundry to get caught up by next Saturday night, and arrangements to be made for the boarding of The Pony. Perhaps I should have been doing some of that stuff while I was off for 5 DAYS. Nawwww!

There are some important bigwig people coming to our school this week. I must straighten up my room. By that, I mean I need to stick everything back on the wall that has fallen off. And put some stacks of papers in the cabinets. That should do it.

It's almost the end of 3rd quarter! Did you know the school year is almost over? Sweet Gummi Mary, it will be springtime before we know it. And Daylight Savings Time kicks in on March 9. That's not far off. One of the weathermen gave his spring forecast the other night, and he says winter will have one last hurrah in early March. Time will tell.

I need to get back into teaching mode. Like read over the material I'm going to cover tomorrow, because I can barely remember what we were on, by cracky! I suppose I can't hold the kids responsible unless I am. We were on speed, to the best of my recollection. Not the illicit drug. The concept. As in Distance divided by Time equals Speed. Stimulating, isn't it? We had just finished an activity where we tipped dominoes and calculated their tipping speed. My other class was just starting Mitosis. See? It gets better and better, doesn't it? I'm going to assign them a Science Project 4th quarter. We'll see if that gets their creative juices flowing. They've never had to do one before. I was torn between that, and Science Olympiad. Next year, I will have a better idea of what they need most. This year has been an eye-opener. Thank the Gummi Mary, at least one class learned that all blind people are not in wheelchairs, and that pickles are made from cucumbers. Never mind that neither of those items are a part of the Grade Level Expectations that I am required to teach.

Let's look at it as 'bonus knowledge'.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Movie Review. Sort Of.

I heartily recommend The Spiderwick Chronicles. But don't take young children. Those beastie thingies are a bit frightening. The Charlie Bucket kid from Willie Wonka is in it. Twice. He plays twins. Very convincingly, by cracky!

The #1 son did not go with The Pony and I. He was busy feuding with the HP people about NewLappy's data recovery disk after replacing the hard drive. It seems that the first two people he talked to LIED to him last Wednesday, swearing that it had shipped separately from the hard drive replacement, and would be here on the 15th. I dropped him off at my mom's house, where he was told by "Erdnis, Mom. I don't know what country he's from, but he sounds like Apu at the Quickie Mart" that the first two representatives he had talked to had 'misled' him. Now the recovery junk is on the way, overnight FedEx, expected to arrive Feb. 21. Yeah. You do the overnight math. I have chastised the boy thoroughly for purchasing another HP product. I declared a moratorium on HP after all the trouble we had with The Pony's Christmas computer. #1 would hear none of it, and used my $1000 scratcher winnings to get NewLappy at Office Max. Now he's reaping the benefits. I, on the other hand, am quite pleased with my New Delly, which has not crashed once since we welcomed him into our Mansion.

Getting back to the movie...The Pony and I both took our glasses. We got the two seats at the very back. That's where I like to sit. Nobody sat in front of us. We staked out our territory with our coats, and went back for the refreshments. It was Pony's birthday, you know. I didn't even make him take in Dollar Store candy. We got sodas and popcorn and Reese's Pieces. The Pony even chatted with me until preview time instead of burying his head in his DS Lite. He's a pleasant little fellow. He doesn't ask for much. No $200 mall/arcade trip for him. No bowling party. No sleepover. He just wanted a movie.

Near the end, I made a trip to the bathroom. That's because DUH it's crowded when the movie lets out, and we were going to dinner with HH for my birthday from Monday. I rounded the corner of the corridor, and came face to face with a CLOSED door, decorated with streamers of yellow plastic caution tape. Yep. The women's room was CLOSED. I can't imagine a restroom faux pas serious enough to block off the ladies' room. Unless somebody gave birth in there or something. Anyhoo...the counter boy said, "You'll have to use the men's room, ma'am." I looked at him like it was a trick. I put my hand on the door handle and peeped in. I knocked. "I don't think there's any men in there," assured the counter boy. Hmm...he didn't seem real sure. I went in. The urinals were pristine. The stalls, not so much. It was kind of like the bathroom in Daddy Day Care, after that overgrown un-potty-trained kid went in there. I chose the least of three evils, scoured the seat with folds of toilet paper, and did my business. All the while hoping some guy didn't come in and berate me for being a peeper.

You see, once upon a time, when I still had my gallbladder, it malfunctioned at school, and my aunt, an administrator, rushed me to the emergency room. The principal at the time was a bit nervous about this, wanting to call an ambulance, thinking I was having a heart attack, but we persuaded him that this way would be faster, and she was family and all, and he gladly let us go. The triage people were not so concerned as the principal, and told us to cool our heels in the waiting room. My aunt whiled away the minutes by chortling to The Nanny, while I alternated between cringing with pain and fighting back nausea. The nausea won, and I dashed around the corner to the bathroom. It was a one-seater. Thankfully, the door was propped open, and all I had to do was run in, bend over the toilet, and vomit. So urgent was my need that I did not have time to close the door. When I stood up and stepped to the sink to wash my face, I saw a man in the mirror behind me. He was holding a red-and-white Igloo cooler. Something tells me that it was not his lunch in there. I said, "Oh. I was sick. I didn't have time to close the door." He gave me blank look like Hank Kimball from Green Acres, and said, "Well, this IS the men's room." Ever since then, I have been leery of entering men's rooms. Not that I make it a habit or anything, but I've joined a crowd of women storming the men's facilities at the old Busch Stadium. Hey! It's better than that drain at the bottom of an outdoor stairwell at the old Strassenfest! I really need to learn how to resist peer pressure.

Oh, but the movie was entertaining. On the way out, the crowd backed up as women mumbled, "It says closed. I guess we can't go in there." The counter guy told them, "I can run the guys out of the men's room if you want." No. They decided to wait. I, on the other hand, smugly marched out the door into the cold, cranked on the LSUV, and drove My Little Pony to CiCi's Pizza for his birthday dinner.

Not exactly my restaurant of choice, but The Pony doesn't ask for much.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Pony Turns Ten

Surprise, surprise! No school today. I was resigned to going. The phone tree didn't branch out until 10:15 last night. I had watched the early news from 9:00 to 10:00 with eternal hope, but when we were not one of the eight schools canceled, I switched back to CNN for another round of Hillary-bashing. Around 10:10, during a commercial, I switched back to the ONE station that our school notifies for cancellation. There we were! The very last one! I did what any sane eternal optimist would do, and called my mom to see if she saw it on her TV. Yep. She did. While on the cell with her, my real phone rang. It was the branch above me. He said he had seen it on the news, and called the principal, who said that he was just getting ready to call everyone. It seems that around the same time, about five other schools, big schools, also canceled. Anyhoo...I've had the whole week off, one day at a time.

Today is The Pony's tenth birthday. I'd write a little ode to him, but I'm not comfortable with sharing mushy gushy memories of my boy with the entire innernets. I'm more likely to write it in a notebook to give him when he's 21 and can appreciate fine literature. I'm taking him to see The Spiderwick Chronicles this afternoon. He doesn't ask for much, that Pony. No sleepover and CiCi's and bowling parties for him. He's getting three computer games tonight. Shh...don't tell him. He also requested an Oreo Cake instead of a store-bought cake with buttercream icing. (I know, Mabel! What is wrong with him?) The cake is baked. In fact, he has already eaten two pieces. One for breakfast, and one for lunch. He wanted another as a snack, but I drew the line. Don't tell HH about the breakfast and lunch. HH thinks everyone needs meat for every meal.

The #1 son has eaten up another hard drive, this one on his New Lappy. He already got the new one, and sent back the old one, but is awaiting the software to save his data. I'm not sure how he's going to do that without the old hard drive, but that's his problem. He's all restless and annoying without New Lappy. It's like crack for him. He's withdrawing. The only thing that seems to calm him is a little game I call 'Torturing My Little Brother'. I know to intervene when I hear the thumping of little Pony hooves, and screams of terror. Of course, there is always a logical explanation. "I don't know what's going on. I was just laying in my room watching TV when he ran in here and flopped on the floor and started thrashing around and screaming. Ask him." I have found that The Stockholm Syndrome takes effect very quickly.

Now I must go put some jeans in the dryer, because the boys will not have any pants to wear to the movie. I could make them wear a couple of my big shirts, like unfashionable dresses, but that would probably not go over very well, even with a belt to cinch the waist, and a pair of red Devil's Playground fake-Crocs to complement the outfit.

Kids these days. They're OH SO FASHION-CONSCIOUS.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #6-08

Happy Valentine's Day. My kids are having a battle royale after ingesting major chocolatage from giant Hershey's Kisses. I might rethink that gift choice next year.

The roads are a slushy mess, preparing to re-freeze overnight. So far, we are having school. I suppose I can manage one day this week.

I really should be doing something useful right now.

The #1 son fell on his butt when he took trash up to the dumpster at the end of the driveway. The dumpster the trash people didn't empty because they can't get up the gravel road. The boy looked like he wet his pants. For somebody so smart, he is really dumb. He came in the house, all the way to my basement lair, and asked, "What should I do?" Umm...make a Note-To-Self: If my pants and underwear are soaking wet with melted snow, change into dry pants and underwear.

This work business is for the birds.

This is the fastest January and February have ever passed, in my opinion.

HH went to the parts store for work today, and an old man came in. HH panicked, thinking it was The Shootist. He looked out front to see what kind of car. It was a Mercury Marquis, which is not the Ford pickup or the van that The Shootist has parked at his compound. HH is mighty jumpy these days.

The wet-pants boy is back, bothering me. It is a losing battle. I must go. He needs somebody to tell him, "Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Repeat repeatedly."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hot Expensive Phone Experience With Happy Bidding

Another day off for ME on Thursday! WooHoo! Some teachers will be complaining that we will have to go until the end of May, but thank the Gummi Mary, I know that the school year is almost over!

We ventured to town today, because HH was running out of money on his cash budget. The roads were fine once we hit the state road and the townie roads. But our county road was a slippery sloppy mess, and our gravel road did not get the message that it was 29 degrees and sunny. It was a solid pavement of hard-packed white stuff. You couldn't even see tracks in most of it. I am OH SO GLAD that I have the LSUV with 4WD.

The Pony's birthday is Friday. He has requested an Oreo Cake from the kitchen of Hillbilly Mom. The #1 son is a cheap brother, and says he will only buy The Pony a present if he does not have to pay, because he is saving for a new phone. The Pony, unwise in the ways of the world, offered, "If you get me a present, I will give you $25 for your phone." Poor Pony. There's one of him born every minute, I suppose.

Speaking of the new phone, #1 wanted to buy one off eBay. I refused. I will not buy electronics off eBay. It's just a general principle I have, what with some local people arrested a few years ago for selling laptops, and mailing the buyers boxes of rocks. So the kid thought he would outsmart me, and gave me this link to see where else he could get his special phone. Take a look. Don't cost nothin'. This is it. I did not take the bait. Let's see...what was it that made me think this might not be a good deal? Was it:

*the cartoonish drawing of the phone that is not even a real photograph
*"Having a Hot expensive phone experience with spending ten times less."
*"Check out more on this Brand new lovely Garget."
*"Let's have world Phone experience!!"
*"Please read the following policy before the happy bidding."
* Or all of the following:

  1. We reserve the right to sell the item after 48 hours after you win the bidding, when no payment received. (please email us, if there is any situation)
  2. PayPal is only payment method.
  3. Our auto system will open unpaid dispute for all 7 days late payment
  4. For bank transfer, please ask our UK bank account information

1. We handle your parcel within 48 hours after the payment confirmed
2. By tracking mail, 5-15 business days to arrive, from the day of clear payment.
3. We only ship to verified PayPal address.

*We accept exchange on the first month from from the date of receiving, which we will pay one way of shipping for you.
*We accept exchange on the first 3 months from receiving, from which buyer need to pay both ways of shipping fee.
*We guarantee they are 100% brand new from Factory, there is no refund
*We reserve the right to sell to account whose score are lower than 100

*We do the price watcher for you, you will find our unique product are still with Best price in the world.
*We ship every working day for you, our customers told our item even arrival faster than local sellers sometimes.
*We believe you don't just buy the quality product, but the quality experience to buy from us.

*Provide the professional sunshine feeling to our customers and turn out to have mutually positive feedback.

*We believe communication solve all problems.

Umm...I don't think so. He can buy a good ol' American phone made in China, but we are not gonna buy one from China.

Not even for a Hot expensive phone experience with Happy bidding.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sleet Is My New Best Friend

Wednesday will be Day 3 of the bestest ever birthday present nobody gave Hillbilly Mom. We are out of school again. But on the down side, my grandma sent me a birthday card on Friday, and it has not yet arrived. Carrier Pigeons could have gotten the job done quicker, by cracky! On the other hand, it's quite possible that my grandma forgot to mail my card, and sent one to The Pony instead. He got one today, with $20 in it. His birthday is not until Friday. I can't get no respect.

HH must feel bad after the $2 change purse debacle. He brought me some Hot & Sour Soup for supper. Oh, and he brought TWO. "In case you want one tomorrow." Yeah. That's the guilt talkin'. Then he accused the #1 son of drinking his 20 oz. Diet Coke that he brought home after Kathy Griffin Sunday night. I swore as a witness that I did not see the boy with the soda. He drank a regular Coke from a can. HH carried on a bit more, and then said, "Oh. That's right. I drank it last night." Then a man arrived at the Mansion door to borrow a tool, and HH led him to the BARn and back to the basement of the Mansion and out to the truck and back to the BARn, where they found the three-quarter inch socket on a shelf under a cloth. I don't know if to declare early-onset Alzheimer's, or an elaborate ruse.

My TV Guide horoscope said this could be my most creative week of the year. I'm not feelin' it. Which does not bode well for this blog.

There is nothing to report, what with school being out, the roads iced up like a 6-month-old Totino's Pizza, and The Pony, the #1 son and I going to our separate corners all day. HH won $25 in a Super Bowl pool, but did not know it until today. I don't know what he's been up to, but supposedly it was at some convenience store on the way to work. Which tells me he spends way too much time at the convenience store. "Why didn't you and YourNiece tell me on the way to Kathy Griffin? It was on the big sign out front 'Mr. Hillbilly Mom, stop in and claim your Super Bowl winnings'. Didn't you see it?" Why didn't he see it driving to and from work all those days since the Super Bowl? And why didn't he ask why Niece'sBoyfriend didn't see it? He was in the LSUV with us. Is he exempt? Are men not required to read signs along the road?

I'm packin' it in for the night. The juices ain't a-flowin'. Time to get ready for the premiere of Big Brother 9.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Happy Birthday To ME

Excuse me while I sing a few choruses of Happy Birthday To Me.

There. All done. And what a lovely gift I've received: a day off from school. Which is good, because we didn't get home from the Kathy Griffin excursion until 11:15 p.m. Then I couldn't get to sleep until 2:00 a.m., and it was only with the help of sweet, sweet Histinex. My alarm went off at 4:00, so I could shower before HH and get the lunches made. Then I reclined for my one-hour nap. At 6:00, I called my mom to see if the kids were OK, because we couldn't exactly leave them home alone while we went to see Kathy Griffin. While on the phone with her, my phone tree call came in. The forecast was for freezing rain, so all the local schools canceled instead of trying to squeeze in a day. I still had to go pick up my children before my mom was stranded with them. While I was whipping up some breakfast, Mabel called to wish me Happy Birthday. And while I was on the phone with her, my Lower Basementia Buddy called to see why school was canceled. She lives farther north, where the forecast was slightly different.

After fetching the boys, and being rejected by the ATM, I came home and called Mabel again to shoot the breeze. Then I pretty much frittered away the day watching CNN and making lunch and taking an hour nap. We're thinking school will be out again tomorrow, but I haven't gotten a call yet. Just in case, I disconnected my internet lifeline.

Kathy Griffin was quite amusing for two hours. My niece had a wonderful time, but her boyfriend was sitting next to two gay couples, and was annoyed by their laughter. What can I say? He's only a high school senior. He said, "I don't have anything against them, except that their voices are really high, but when they laugh, they go all deep and loud. I wish they could just laugh normally." Who knew? There's a gay laugh.

Let's see...what did Kathy tell us? She thinks she might open a theater in Branson, between Yakov Smirnov and The Osmond Brothers, and call it 'Kathy Griffin's Jesus Can Suck It Follies Theater'. She decided on it when she asked if anybody in the crowd had been to Branson. When over half of us applauded, she said, "What are you doing at MY show?" It was a sell-out crowd.

Other topics for the evening included:

Oprah...she has a handsome boyfriend named 'Gayle', whom she beats/needs to stop giving away $60 cupcakes, cable-ready refrigerators, and woolen Ugg boots to people in Macon, Georgia/went to somewhere in Mississippi, the fattest town in the U.S., and people were so excited that they didn't mind being on TV for being fat.

Britney...she is clearly mentally ill like one of Kathy's old boyfriends whom she visited in the nuthatch, who taught Kathy that crazy people feel more secure in their own filth, which is why he coated himself with his own feces (though Kathy didn't hug him that day).

Kathy's new boyfriend...Steve Wosniak of Apple computer fame, who talks like a robot/got speeding tickets in his Prius to prove that it can go over 35 mph/gave Kathy a gum-machine ring in a giant Tiffany's box (she was not amused)/bought a suit from the Men's Wearhouse to go to an award show/dares to HELP people with his money.

Mama Griffin...keeps an empty fine wine bottle that she fills from her box of wine when guests drop in/stole all the bottles of condiments from a resort restaurant by putting them in her Target bag (not a purse from Target, but the plastic bag with the red circles on it that she carries as a purse)/told the waiter "You got a lotta crust!" because a chicken sandwich cost $8.95 (a sum with which she could have fed her children for a year).

The Cracker Barrel...told Kathy she could not film her show there because she was too 'gay-friendly', so they went to the Waffle House instead.

Marie wicked and beats Donnie/in a most cringeworthy moment on the 100 Osmonds show, gave Oprah a black doll with cornrows and gingham, holding a black baby who the Mormons no doubt thought was a b*st*rd of the plantation owner/faked her faint on Dancing With the Stars, because everybody knows that when you actually faint, you don't fall down so prettily, but flop down and show your p*ssy, even if your are wearing jeans, and when you revive, you don't act all composed, but wander around asking strange men "Are you my mommy?" and "Did I show my p*ssy?"

Reality TV...when Kathy heard there was a dance contest show featuring a woman with one leg, she became an instant fan/The Bad Girls Club, where Britney really belongs, because it is full of Wiggas who boob-butt each other without spilling their drinks, and shout things like "You better pop off, son!" which is way better than The Amazing Race, where all the contestant have to do is set up a lemonade stand in a train in Mumbai, India.

The cameras were there, filming for Kathy's show, which was a bit annoying, what with the bright light grilling you while you were trying to see the stage. The row in front of us remainded empty for quite a while. My niece said, "I bet they're holding it for a church group." She's a regular Kathy Griffin, that little gal.

And that's all I have to report on my birthday evening. I need to go not open presents HH and the boys didn't get me.

Oops! I stand corrected. They got me two boxes of Sno*Caps and a $2 change purse.

Happy Birthday to me.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Results

Oh, crumb! My Trivia team finished second, by a score of 79-81. Not too shabby, but we won last year. We had three answers that would have put us ahead, too, but we overruled them for wrong ones. So it's not like we drew a blank and couldn't answer, just that we made bad judgments. Or let somebody else in the group browbeat us into using his answer. Anyhoo, that's water under the bridge now. Let's move on to my latest Pet Peeve.

I dropped my #1 son off at church this morning, and stopped to gas up the LSUV for the Kathy Griffin excursion tonight. It was the slowest pump in the universe, what with taking 15 minutes to pump in $42.00 worth of gas. That's not a lot. It's not even half a tank. But with the price at $2.70/gallon, I figured I might as well get some before it went up. But gas is not the source of my peevishness. No. It is the gas-money-collector.

This guy has waited on me before. It's not my regular convenience store, but one I only use for its...well...its convenience. It is on the way home from school, and home from church-dropping-off. The guy annoyed me a few weeks ago when I bought two scratch-off tickets and he started telling me about a woman who won $20 and was so grateful that she came back and gave him $5. OK. I got the point. He expected me to give him money if I won. I started to leave with the tickets and he said, "Where are you going? Why don't you scratch them here?" I told him I let my kids scratch them, and the kids were at home. Which was true at that time.

Today, I cashed in a $10 winner from a $10 ticket that I bought last night at my regular ticket-buying store. I also had that $42 in gas to pay for. And I bought two $10 tickets. The guy said, "Well, that's $62, but we have to take off the ten-dollar winnings." I handed him two twenties, a ten, and a five. That's $55 for a bill of $52. Mr. Greedypants took out the three ones for my change, and said, "Hey! Why didn't I get a cut for the winner?" I said, "I didn't even buy that ticket here. I bought it last night." Not that it was any of his beeswax, you know. Sweet Gummi Mary! Why would he think I would give him money off of $10 that I won on a $10 ticket bought at another store? It's not like I won $10 million!

I truly have issues with this scammer. First of all, I don't see why I should tip him for doing his job. He's not in the waitress business, where he doesn't even get minimum wage. He knows part of his job is cashing out lottery winners. It's like a Devil's Playground cashier thinking I'm going to tip her for swiping my coupons. Not gonna happen. He's the only guy who's ever dared ask for a cut of the winnings. I doubt he pays off the cashier where HE buys tickets. I've had it with Mr. Greedypants. I refuse to buy a single lottery ticket from him. again. I don't care it I carry in a winner with the express purpose of buying more tickets. I will carry that sucker right back out to the LSUV if he's working. And if he asks, I'll tell him that I don't feel like being solicited for a donation to his Beggars' Academy. Fair is fair (can you tell I saw part of The Legend of Billie Jean yesterday?). I don't owe him a flea off a rat's behind.

Those are MY fleas, off MY rat's behind, and I'm not sharing. Got if?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Trivial Pursuits

Tonight is the Trivia Contest. I haven't heard from anyone on my team. They didn't mention it Friday. I assume they know about it. But you know what happens when you assume...

My son's team has fragmented since last year. There is an offshoot that sucked away two members. I think he will be fine without them. He is extra motivated to beat them. I see a hot race for the Last Place banner shaping up.

This morning, I had a flashback to the Trivia years ago when that lady kept walking by my table, even though she was serving food and not playing, to talk to her husband, who was playing. And then in the last round, when I put my arm over our answers, because I suspected her of cheating, she stopped behind me and picked up my freakin' arm!!! I yanked it back and looked at her, and she said, "What's the matter? I'm not even playing. I just wanted to know the time." Then she traipsed over to her husband again. And his team beat us out of 3rd place by ONE point. And they kept the prize money, instead of donating it back! Mabel knows what I'm talkin' about. Yeah. A flashback. It gave me a cold sweat. Thank the Gummi Mary, these people haven't been playing for the past several years. And my team WON last year.

My Lower Basementia buddy has thickened a plot for tonight. We have a few new people on our team. BB says she will write down the answers on the turn-in sheet instead of me. She's not writing on me...I am the one who usually takes that task, because nobody else wants to do it. BB says that if there is a conflict, she will put down MY answers instead of theirs. That's because she thinks I'm a freakin' genius at Trivia. I refuse to take my answer over the group's answer, ever since that time I cost us two points when they agreed with me, and I was wrong. BB says she will take that responsibility. Who am I to divulge her little secret? She says that if anybody calls her on it, she will say, "Oh, was that what you wanted? I misunderstood. It goes so fast. I thought we decided on the other one." She figures that will work a couple of times. It will be interesting to see what enemies we make by the end of the night. That's what happens when somebody meddles with the winning mix that made us champions last year. Bet you never knew Trivia could be so cutthroat, huh?

I don't know if I can stand the excitement. Trivia tonight, Kathy Griffin tomorrow night. Spelling bee Monday night.

Friday, February 8, 2008

My Social Calendar

One of my oldest blog buddies, DPA, asked if I was really going to see the REAL Kathy Griffin. Yes. Yes, I am. The real one. Not an old lady in a wheelchair, with one eye and blue hair, who talks about her cats, and goes by the stage name of Cathy Griffen. Not a punked-out, pink-haired tranny who moonlights as Kathy Griffith. Not that there's anything wrong with either of those fictitious personas. But I am going to see the real deal. KATHY GRIFFIN. I know we are sympatico. She's my kind of gal. She would have my back if a drunken frat boy pulled my crank in a casino. "Go to hell, you f---ing m----rf---er!" she would snarl. Then we would high-five, and take a sip of our non-alcoholic drinks, and rally the casino crowd into a frenzy until they would do our bidding. Perhaps a pleasant evening of tar-and-feathering f---ing m----rf---ers who dared disrupt our catty banter.

That's not until Sunday night, at the Fabulous Fox. More imminent on the horizon is the annual Trivia Contest sponsored by our Band Boosters. It's the one we WON last year. But this year, Mr. H has dared to tamper with the mix. We will be sportless. That right there is throwing away 10 points. We have no hope. We can't even name The Great White Hope. Unless somebody has seen the movie. We are also without our Mr. L, who has forsaken us to concoct a family team. Blood is thicker than water, apparently. Who knew?

The excitement does not stop. Monday night, I will be attending an elementary regional spelling bee. It's true! I'm a regular social butterfly these days. Tuesday brings an academic meet, and Wednesday is an early out to prepare for an upcoming invasion. Did I say that? It must be the sweet, sweet Histinex forming words at the tips of my fingers. I meant to say 'to prepare for an upcoming inspection by some hoity-toities for a program we are hoping to add to our humble school'. Which doesn't sound much better. Thursday will be another academic meet, and Friday, a middle school regional spelling bee. Somewhere in there is my birthday and Valentine's Day.

I'm tired already. But it might be my sweet master, The Histinex.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Random Thought Thursday #5-08

Let the randomness begin!

It's cooler to say that you told Mrs. Hillbilly Mom to F-off to explain your two days in ISS than it is to say you refused to stop talking on your cell phone as you entered class.

Just so you know...I'm not putting my self into rehab. I'm not mixing prescription medications. I don't have hoarding issues. I'm not loaning myself money to continue my campaign for President. I'm not dropping out of the presidential race. Just so you know.

Sunday night, I am going to see Kathy Griffin. Not like in a visit to her house to play pinochle or have a scrapbooking party or help her with her act. No. Like, going to watch her perform at the Fabulous Fox.

Some people just need a good thrashing.

I don't mean Kathy Griffin, though some would beg to differ.

Friday is the best day of the week. Due to the anticipation.

Thursdays are not a very creative day of the week, apparently.

The school year is almost over, you know. There is only a quarter and a half left. That's not much, if you're comparing the school year to a cookie.

I ordered some Girl Scout Cookies at work. Thin mints and those coconut kind that nobody likes but me.

HH has a heavy tread. Especially when he returns from bowling, and clomps about on the tile floor of the master bathroom whilst I am below in my basement lair.

It is time for those celebrity freaks in rehab with Dr. Drew.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Two Bees Are Better Than One

OK, now I have two spelling bee champions living under my Mansion roof. And HH is not one of them. My 7th-grade #1 son took the middle school contest today. Oh, and his next round will be on February 14. That locks up my birthday and Valentine's Day. Good thing I am OH SO UNPOPULAR and had no plans for those days.

The Shootist moved his crapola off our Upper 10. I suppose those county deputies put the fear of redneck justice into him. I keep picturing a bandy-legged Yosemite Sam, hoppin' mad, tossing junk back onto his own side of the property line. But I have a feeling this feud is still simmering on a back burner.

Can you break your neck by falling asleep and jolting awake when your head bobs over your keyboard? Just wondering, because sweet, sweet Histinex is kicking my butt right now. But I am coughless.

Tomorrow is Vegetable Soup and Grilled Cheese day at school. My favorite school lunch. Today called for mini corn dogs, but they served regular corn dogs instead. It made no nevermind to me. I brought my lunch. Oh, and I observed Math Crony chowing down on some bean soup, or beans and ham, or something rife with navy beans, and she was putting broken-up saltine crackers into them! That is just wrong. Crackers do not belong with the beans. And chicken nuggets do not belong on the floor. I saw one go flying yesterday. It smacked against the wall, and landed behind the principal. He was not the target. It was an accidental ricochet. I believe the target was a kid called 'catfish'. We called out the girl's name, which is a common one, and half the cafeteria yanked their heads around. The guilty party said, "What!" The principal told her to pick it up, so she did.

Hope I haven't raised your heart rate too much with all this excitement. It's time for me to toddle off to the recliner, after a side trip to the laundry room to toss in a load of perpetual laundry.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A-Voting I Did Go

It is a dark and stormy night. I'll hurry, before my power goes off. I have already instructed the men that when it goes, one of them should come to my basement lair with a flashlight.

I drove through a tornado warning to vote after school. Not a watch. A WARNING. I haven't been this excited since the Old Man Bush/Bill Clinton/Ross Perot election. I do not like my polling place. When I lived in town, I voted at the firehouse, a mere 3 blocks from my home. My first home. My $17,000 home. It was OH SO CONVENIENT to pop in there before or after work. Even when I worked in the city. But now, I have to go out farther into the sticks, past my Mansion turn-off, to a little church-basement venue. Oh, the red-cushioned pew is comfortable if you have to wait a while, but the parking is atrocious. It's a little church, by cracky. With a parking lot that holds 18 cars if they are not all LSUVs. There are about 5 more spaces out front, but you have to back onto the county highway to get going, which I definitely do not recommend, because folks around here equate 'county highway' with 'autobahn'. And they equate 'autobahn' with 'how fast can I go before I blow the engine in this-here mo-chine?'

The last two times I voted, the old blue-hairs didn't have my name in their book. It was like I was on the naughty list, and I had to jump through numerous hoops to exercise my right to vote. As if all the hoop-jumping wasn't enough exercise. Third time's a charm, baby! There I was, right under HH. No comments on that, you perv-type people! I took my ballot, filled in my little oval like a champ, and fed my ballot to the Hungry Hungry Vote-O Eater. Mission accomplished. The problem was, I was faced with another trip back to town to pick up the #1 son from his Academic Team meet. Thank the Gummi Mary that my mom volunteered to risk her life to go out in the tornado warning and pick him up. That saved me 90 minutes. My mom ROCKS! But not on Guitar Hero. HH was commanded to pick up the boy on his way home from work, even though my mom's house is not on the way. HH rocks, sometimes. Lower-case rocks.

On the way to vote, I deposited my check in the bank, gassed the LSUV, cashed in a $10 scratcher and won $20, bought The Pony a donut, picked up some sweet, sweet Histinex for me, and an antibiotic for #1, spied on The Shootist, and picked up the mail. Now I am going to have some pizza, enjoy a coughless few hours thanks to lovely lady Histinex, and kick back to watch some election returns.

Don't hate me because I have captured the elusive sweet, sweet Histinex. Hate me because I possess the cracky meth-man neighbor that all of you yearn for.

Monday, February 4, 2008

My Day Just Gets Better And Better

Not really. You knew I was being sarcastic, didn't you? The past 24 hours have been a little slice of heaven. NOT! But I didn't think it would end up with three policemen on our front brickwalk. There was no room in the front yard, what with Paula Deen eating a lobster tail.

Now I've got you hooked. But you have to wade through the minutia to get to the climax. Uh huh. That little arrow thingy won't work, and neither will your scroll wheelie thingy. Don't try it! Take my word for it. Would Mrs. Hillbilly Mom lie to you?

In the past 24 hours, I have dealt with:

1) HH tossing an infantile fit while I prepared the Super Bowl snack supper. So much fit, in fact, that he stormed out and refused to eat it. I wish he had done that before it was cooked.
2) I coughed all night and again this morning during the time for my 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. nap, so I'm running on 4 hours sleep.
3) We left 10 minutes late for school because #1 son forgot his gym clothes.
4) I wasted 30 minutes of my lunch and prep time trying to make my doctor answer the phone. Darn him for hiring psychic girls who know I'm calling for some sweet, sweet Histinex.
5) I wasted another 15 minutes trying to call Hammacher Schlemmer over #1's Christmas present that arrived broken, and has not been credited even though we sent it back 4 weeks ago.
5a) In calling the credit card 800 line, I discovered that the credit was made TODAY, but that we have $700 worth of merchandise from a home building store on our card, and it was a purchase each day for a week, and twice on Tuesday, which HH has not mentioned to me, and would not answer his phone when I tried to check it out.
6) I coughed so hard in class that tears rolled down my cheeks. One empathetic cherub said, "You're sick, aren't you?"
7) I had a faculty meeting after school, where I did not even get to see Mabel, who was minding the low-graders.
8) At the meeting, we were given a survey to be turned in by Wednesday which took 30 minutes to fill out--THE FIRST HALF.
9) My Little Pony proudly proclaimed that he won the Elementia spelling bee, and will be competing in the next round at a neighboring school at 7:00 p.m. Monday night, which is MY BIRTHDAY. (So it's kind of Even-Stevenish. He won me a nice birthday present, but there are other ways I'd like to be spending my birthday, seeing as how that day should be all about ME).
10) When I got home, I coughed so hard I vomited.
11) An hour later, the #1 son vomited a bowl full of blue Gatorade. Followed by Round 2 an hour later.
12) HH arrived home, and out of the blue announced that he has a crazy man after him.
13) Unable to take it anymore (the coughing, not the day), I swigged some of HH's cough medicine with codeine. I hate it with a passion. First of all, it is grape flavored. I can't stand grape flavoring. Secondly, the codeine only makes me sleepy, and does not take away all of the cough. And thirdly, I did not even get a good codeine buzz, because of the vomiting and the shotgun brouhaha. Thank the Gummi Mary I don't die from codeine, like Redneck Diva could. Ever dramatic, that one!

OK. Let's get down to the nitty gritty. I mentioned a while back that somebody bought the land next to the 10 acres we have about a mile away from the Mansion grounds. And that they had dumped junk onto OUR land, and HH left a note on the door about moving the mess to their own side of the property line. A note that included HH's name AND address, which I made him go remove. HH had another hissy fit around that time.

Tonight, on the way home, he saw that somebody was at the squatter's shack listed as a double-wide manufactured home by the real estate agent. According to HH, "I stopped, just to be nice, and introduced myself, and said I had left a note about the stuff on our property." And then the conversation went a little somethin' like this:

I got your note. And I didn't appreciate it.
Well, your stuff is on our land, and I notice that you haven't moved any of it.
Union Electric says they have a 12-foot easement. I'll put my stuff wherever I want.
Look, you have your land, and I have my land. Keep your stuff on your own land.
You wanna sell your land?
Then I'll ruin it so it will cost you a million dollars to clean it up.
You need to keep your stuff on your own land.
I'll keep it wherever I want. And if you come back here, I'll shoot you.
We'll see about that.
Then go call the police.

Lordy, lordy. That's a triple dog dare for HH. He called that police quicker than you can say 'Paula Deen in my front yard eating a lobster tail.' A neighbor farther up the road heard the dispatcher on the scanner. He's an officer with a local lake development police department. He came a-knockin' and heard the story. Then the real county deputies showed up. There were two, in separate cars. We had a regular law enforcement convention convening on the brick sidewalk HH created from discarded bricks from town. HH had to write out a statement and agree to press charges and appear in court. Which he did, gladly, because as he says, "If he threatens to shoot me, who knows what else he'll do?" To which I replied, "Aren't you glad I made you take your address off that note?" Because I like validation, you see.

One of the sheriff's deputies asked HH, "Did you think of getting an ex parte order on him?" HH said, "Well, since I don't even know his name, that would be kind of hard to do." Then he went further than necessary, as he always does, and said, "I have no intention of getting my gun out and shooting the guy, but if he comes here, I will." Great. Now we're the Hatfields and McCoy. The other deputy said, "You are certainly justified if he comes here with a gun." I wonder how much he knows about the law. I think in every case, even when the rogue gunman comes INTO YOUR HOUSE WITH A GUN, you can't use deadly force. Maybe he just hasn't watched enough CourtTV. I mean, TruTV. He also told HH to take whatever he wants of that stuff. It is abandoned property that he found on his own land. HH might be interested in the roll of copper wire, to burn it and scavenge the copper. But he really has no use for the broken garage door. And I don't recall the other jetsam that currently lolls on our upper 10, but I DO remember that is it more like a broken garage door than a roll of copper wire. Knowing HH, he will build his burn fire right up there on the property line, just to taunt the McCoy. But he will take his posse with him. And he might borrow some body armor from The Veteran. Because that's how he rolls.

HH said the guy was about 60 years old. Or older. Who knows what this unkindly old curmudgeon has going on up there. Maybe he is cooking meth. Perhaps he's the Paula Deen of the meth set. Stands to reason he would not want to be interrupted by HH bumbling around near his cooking zone. There was that mysterious portable meth lab dumped up in here last year. Who knows. Ain't y'all glad you ain't Hillbillies?

Now I have to sleep with one ear open to hear the Baur Baur Baur dog not bark at a real intruder.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Malingering With HM

I should not have proclaimed my quick cure from Hot & Sour Soup. Because I had a relapse the very next day, and have been sick as a dog ever since. My bones are aching, I had a headache royale, and now there's this nagging cough that hurts my liver. But HH still expects his Super Bowl snack menu supper to be prepared on time. Go figure!

Most of the snow is gone now. HH has announced that he is in the market for a car hood to use for towing the boys behind the Scout next snow. Apparently, their sleds are not flashy enough for him. I have no idea where he thinks he will come across a car hood. Two weeks ago, he called me on the way home, near tears, because there was a perfectly good metal tool chest just sitting beside the road, and he was driving his Mercedes. "If I had my truck, I could stop and get it," he whined. I told him he there is a reason for everything. He might have been run over if he stopped to get it. That seemed to pacify him.

The Pony refuses to dress himself on the weekends. He says there is no need to change out of pajamas if we are not going anywhere. I suppose we're lucky that he doesn't refuse to do homework because it doesn't teach him anything.

The #1 son is wanting a new phone. Let's not forget that his is a year old. And mine is 5 years old. He is buying this one himself. He has been doing odd jobs for one of the teachers, scanning things into the computer after school in his spare time. He also burned a bunch of CDs of the Hillmomba Idol Contest, and is awaiting payment as people pick up their pre-ordered copies at $5 per disk.

I have a science conference coming up in a few weeks that I am not looking forward to. I have to leave on a Sunday morning, and get back on a Tuesday night. It will take about 3 hours to get there, if I remember right. The #1 son wants to go, so I am going to fill out an absence thingy for him. The same week, on Friday, the music teacher wants to take him to a competition so he can run some electronic thingy. I'm letting him go. I consider it 'gifted education'. Since the school dropped the gifted program three or four years ago, I think it's up to me as his parent to provide him with opportunities that challenge his intellect. Or just let him out of school because his grades are good. I'm tired of all the special programs being for the kids we don't want to leave behind. That's what's wrong with this country.

Since when did 'average' become our goal? Is this what landed men on the moon and brought them back safely? (Forget the part about where I don't really think we landed on the moon). We can't build bridges that won't collapse. We can't fix those spy satellites so that when they're used up, they come down at a predetermined spot in the ocean. Think about it, people...there is ample room in the ocean. In fact, there is more ocean than land. We can't make an old satellite splash down where we want it, but we can send living, breathing men to the moon and land them not only THERE, but HERE, and all with the technology from the 1960s and 70s? We didn't even have cell phones then, or microwave ovens, or CGI, and the only iPod a kid had was called a transistor radio. I call shenanigans! I don't think those moon landings were possible. How come nobody else has done it, huh? Those techy Japanese would be living up there by now if it was possible.

I seem to have gotten horribly derailed. I'm off to whip up a Super Bowl menu.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Donut Shop Comment

Mrs. Hillbilly Mom is not a political entity. She makes up her mind and casts her vote, usually based on the issues and not on the attractiveness of the candidate. And she enjoys a good debate, even the one the other night referred to as 'The Democratic Date'. Much like her fellow Hillbillies watch NASCAR for the crashes, and hockey for the fights, Mrs. HM watches debates for the fireworks. For the loss of composure that leaks out of a candidate every now and then. For thinly-veiled hostility that finally bubbles to the surface. For subtle, unspoken nuances that speak volumes.

And now I must take issue with Mr. Barack Obama. I hold nothing against him. All is fair in love and political campaigns. But don't pretend Big Bad Bill Clinton is the devil incarnate, when you and your advisers play the gender card. I'm talking about the entrance on stage at the Kodak Theatre. seemed to be 'ladies first'. And when they went to take their seats, Obama at one point put his hand out behind Clinton's back, like he was guiding or steering her, in a gentlemanly way. Then he fake-pulled-out and fake-pushed-in her chair, like a waiter at a fancy restaurant. I take issue with that. That is subliminally undermining her equality. What next, a walk down the street where he chivalrously takes the path next to the road, so that any water splashed from a carriage, or detritus from a chamber pot thrown out a window, will hit him, and not her? If one of them spill their bottled water on the stage, will he lay down his jacket for her to walk across? I just see this little tactic as a slap in the face to the women watching the debate. It smacks of packaging Clinton as 'the weaker sex'. Not an equal. It could only gain him favor for doing the gentlemanly thing, and beg the question that wouldn't she be better-suited in a kitchen, barefoot?

Like I said, all is fair. But I don't have to like it. And I didn't see her whining about it. But you can bet that she knew what he was getting at. She's not exactly a shrinking violet, in need of somebody else to fight her battles.

And while we're on the debate, Obama did seem to show displeasure when asked if there might be an Obama/Clinton ticket. He did his usual dance around the question, until pinned down, and could only agree with the moderator that 'Hillary would be on anybody's short list', though not specifically his. Clinton herself was a bit discombobulated on the question of voting for that 'going-to-war bill' for Bush. She dwelt on it a bit much without really saying anything. So I saw cracks in both their armors. Heh, heh. I said I saw Obama's and Clinton's 'cracks'.

Anyhoo...what really got me on this topic today was a comment I heard while washing dishes this morning with CNN playing in the living room. A comment from Obama: "I've spoken with teachers who are working at donut shops after school just to make ends meet; who are still digging into their own pockets to pay for school supplies." Not so fast there, Sherlock. Everybody knows teachers pay for a multitude of classroom supplies from their own pockets. What happens to all that money earned by the schoolchildren hawking overpriced candy and wrapping paper I'll never know. But I seriously doubt that a teacher would take a second job just because of buying supplies. Those who need a second job to make ends meet will no doubt spend that money raising their own children, not on supplies. OK, he didn't really say that in so many words, but that's what it sounded like.

Here is the bone I have to pick with this quote: What kind of freakish donut shops are open from 3:00 p.m. until, oh, I don't know...7:00 p.m. if the teacher has taken a part-time job, and 11:00 p.m. if it's a second job? Aren't donut shops open early in the morning until around noon? Because we used to have a true donut shop here in the nation of Hillmomba, and it closed at 1:00 p.m. And teachers are not off until at least 2:30 p.m., with most of them being closer to 3:00, and then there are duties and faculty meetings and two-hour tutoring sessions so we don't leave a child behind, and then ballgame duties and conferences and workshops and inservice meetings and mandatory insurance meetings and CTA meetings, and graduate courses to take to make a little more salary, or fulfill career ladder or certification requirements. So an after-school second job for a teacher is not truly feasible. But let's say, for argument's sake, that a teacher needs a second job. Those I have known have worked part-time at The Devil's Playground, or another full-time job in the summer, such as cooking at a canoe floating camp thingy, or selling candles in a fancy little shop on weekends, or selling licensed guns out of their home as a part-time business.

Perhaps city folk can find part-time work at a Dunkin' Donuts that stays open later. Or maybe they actually work in a deli or a convenience store. But don't go generalizing that teachers work after school in donut shops, because that brings to mind the scene in Primary Colors, where John Travolta as a Bill Clintonesque presidential candidate sits down in the early morning hours to have a cup of coffee and a cruller with a simple-minded donut-selling man who used to have a future.

I don't really think that's the image Obama and company wanted to plant in my head.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Great Conspiracy Finale

A while back, I told you how a couple of students were holding my hall pass hostage. They were trying to extort two 20-oz. sodas from Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, for property that was rightfully hers in the first place. Unbeknownst to the perpetrators, a Good Samaritan who is normally quite the bad boy appropriated my hall pass from the gym locker of the head perpetrator, and returned it to me, not asking for anything, just out of the goodness of his heart. I seem to have a way with those kind of kids.

So I had my hall pass back for a little over a week, and kept pretending that the perps still had it. They stopped asking about it. Stopped telling me that they would bring me a picture so I knew they really had it, and could go buy their asked-for 'reward'. Silly boys! They could have taken a picture early on. But no. And when they first offered to bring me a picture, weeks after the disappearance of Passie, I already had Passie back in my hot little hands. Or at least in my bottom drawer under some boring forms. So I told them to make sure they posed Passie on a recent newspaper, something to show a current date.

Once they stopped bringing up Passie, I started asking about him. "Where is my hall pass? I thought we had a deal." They would duck their heads and mumble. Something about they would get it...they just kept forgetting to bring a camera. Hmpf! I suppose they are the only two students in North America who don't possess cell phones with picture-taking capabilities. Then I ratcheted up the tension. I started writing my own ransom notes, and blaming them on the perpetrators. For a bit, they thought one of their own had re-stolen Passie, and was trying to get the reward for himself. There is no honor among thieves, I hear.

So I worked out this scenario with the principal, where he would call the boys into the office during my class period, and pretend they were in big trouble for holding Passie hostage, and for the original theft. Even though I KNEW the original theft was just an accident and oversight from a completely different student, the one they turned on at the last minute, when they saw that Passie had disappeared from the unlocked gym locker where they stashed him. All plans were in place. The principal had the fake ransom notes. He had the full story. We were amped.

P-Day rolled around, and we were rarin' to go. The announcements were late that day. My second hour class walked in, and only one perpetrator was present! I could not stop the machinations. The principal was in a meeting in the library, planning to carry out the sentence in 15 minutes. There was no going back. I asked, "Where is Snake Boy? He's always here. He hasn't missed a day yet." His unofficial girlfriend said, "He's really sick. He stayed home today." WHAT? How could he do this to me? I had gone to such great lengths. My plan would be ruined with only one perp. There could be no blaming each other. No sidelong glances to see what story they were going to tell. I was OH SO DISAPPOINTED.

The intercom in the ceiling crackled. "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom? Could you please send Snake Boy and Politician to the office?" What could I do? I had to follow through. "I'm sending Politician, but Snake Boy is absent today." Politician went on his merry way. He was the main perp, anyway. Snake Boy was just his negotiator. The kids looked at each other. "I wonder what this is all about." I told them we'd find out when he got back.

Ten minutes later, Politician came in the door. "Good one. That's a good one," he said, with only the slightest hint of a very tiny smile. He was kind of quiet. He sat by the computer, where Snake Boy's unofficial girlfriend was looking up info on for a bonus project I had given them. They asked why he got called to the office. "You can tell them," he said. So I went to the cabinet and got out my baby blue (Mabel says 'Olympic' blue) cloth tote bag with Catholic Something Something of Michigan printed in white on one side, even though I am neither Catholic, nor from Michigan, and only have that bag because there was a pile of about 20 of them in the Basementia teacher's workroom last year, and dug around through some work that I cart home and don't do every night, until I pulled out Passie, who had been put into the blue bag for security reasons when the plot thickened with the ransom notes. Their mouths dropped open, and the girl we usually play the practical jokes on, like putting her purse in the freezer of my mini-fridge, said, "You had it all along?" I nodded. Then I sat down at my desk to tell them the whole story. Of course, I did not reveal how I got my hands on Passie. I'll leave that to their imaginations. They can visualize me in a Mission Impossible rig, wearing latex gloves, searching lockers in the boys' locker room.

Politician took over the storytelling before long. "Mr. Principal called me in. He leaned back in his chair and said...

How've you been?
Pretty good.
That's good. We need to have a talk.
You know, there's this thing called 'thievery'. Do you know what that means?
It means taking things that don't belong to you.
Uh huh.
Have you taken anything that doesn't belong to you, Politician?
Um. Not that I remember.
Maybe you should try harder.
I really can't think of anything.
Well, Mrs. Hillbilly Mom says you have been asking for a reward.
She found these ransom notes under her door.
Uh huh.
Do you know anything about them?
No. She showed them to us.
Did you write them?
Have you been asking for a 20-oz. soda to return the hall pass?
Well, that was just a joke.
Did you take Mrs. Hillbilly Mom's hall pass?
Because I could give you ISS for stealing.
It is just a misunderstanding.
Oh, it is, is it?"

By then, the class was begging me to pull the same thing on Snake Boy when he came back to school on Monday. I told them no. They would tell him. Especially his unofficial girlfriend. She said she wouldn't She wanted him to sweat it out. Still, I told them I didn't think he could take it by himself. He might flip out. He's more volatile than Politician. U.G. agreed that he would flip out. "That's why I want you to do it," she said. I had no plans to go through it a second time. He had ruined my prank. I didn't have it in me to prank again. Later that day, the original accidental thief said, "I heard what you tried to pin on Politician." He didn't seem amused. He seemed to think I had seriously written up Politician for theft. Perhaps that's what Politician told him. Or perhaps he was worried that he would get called in for the disappearance of Passie.

In any case, The Passie Prank was a most scathingly brilliant idea in theory, but it lost a little something in application.