Sunday, April 30, 2006

The Firestarter

I walked over to the barn this morning to tell the guys I was going
to town, and I saw him. My 8-year-old son flitting around a pile
of smoking debris, tossing twigs onto the licks of flame that shot
out every now and then. Totally unattended.

My Hillbilly Husband was working in the barn, trying to fit an
O-ring on a line for the air compressor. Yeah, I don't know what
that is, either. #1 son was drilling holes in the bottom of an old
oil barrel. HH had said the boys could stay with him while I
went to town. Silly me! I actually thought that meant he would
watch them.

My #2 son has a recent fascination with fire. Every evening, he
can't wait until his dad gets home. "Maybe we can start a fire!"
He starts in the minute HH comes through the door, before
supper or homework or sitting in the old-people-smelling, hair-
wad-secreting free hot tub. "Can we go burn something, Dad?"
They burn our cardboard trash, or limbs that fall off the trees
that #1 and #2 drive around and throw in the back of the Scout.

I asked HH why #2 son was prancing around the fire with no
supervision. "Well, I've been checking on him." HH was IN THE
BARN. The homemade door won't stay open. #1 son was drilling
through metal. HH was running the compressor. He could not see
or hear the boy. AND...even if he opened the door, his truck was
in the way. Not the truck bed, in the picture that is in the link for
the barn. His Ford F250 Extended Cab Long Bed 4WD truck that's
too big to fit in the garage was parked right in front of the barn. He
couldn't see the fire or the boy. By now, the boy had run over and
sat in a lawn chair about 10 feet from the fire. HH said, "See, he's
fine. He's just watching it."

EEEEEEE! What was he thinking? I wouldn't even let the boy
go on a class trip to a handicap-accessible cave, and he let him
frolic around a fire, unattended? Did he not watch Survivor:
Australian Outback, when that Michael guy fell into the fire
and burned the skin off his hands, just because he got too close
and inhaled a lungful of smoke? I shamed HH so that he moved
the truck, and made #2 move his chair down by the barn door.

I left them that way, the boy in a lawn chair watching an old stump
smolder, waiting for a flame to shoot out the knothole on the side.
That's entertainment for hillbilly young 'uns. Never mind that HH
has a TV/VCR/DVD upstairs, with a fridge full of food and drink.
My boy wants to watch smoke rise. I, myself, prefer standing on
the front porch watching the rain, inhaling the air, but I guess that's
an adult pleasure.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Big Blogger Task #1 "Let's Go Shopping"'s that time of year again. Time to be manipulated by Big
Blogger. Our first challenge is called "Let's Go Shopping". Our
task is to create a product that we will need in the cyberhouse.
We must invent our own brand, tell why the house needs this
product, and come up with a catchy grab line to promote it.

I have been looking at the other housemates' products. It seems
as if we already have a beverage, and some cereal, and some
cleaner. Methinks we might need some type of product for
recreational purposes, since all work and no play makes Hillbilly
Mom a dull gal...all work and no play makes Hillbilly Mom a
dull gal...all work and no play makes Hillbilly Mom a dull gal--
Excuse me. I just had a flashback to the winter I spent as the
caretaker of the Overlook Hotel.

I will submit a little invention of mine called Mystical 9 Sphere.
It is an alabaster orb that can answer questions for you. Here's
how it works: first, ask the Sphere a question. Shake it up. Flip
it over to the little window thingy where the messages appear.
Sometimes, the Sphere acts like a hoity toity psychoanalyst and
answers a question with a question. That does not mean it is
broken. You can try again, or make up an answer for its question.
For example, I ask the Sphere, "How many more days is
Housemate Cazzie going to wear that T-shirt bikini?". The Sphere
answers, "What is Satan's age?" I can accept the fact that the
bikini ain't comin' off any time soon, or I can provide an anwer
to that question such as, "Old enough to kick your a$."

All questions and answers found in the Mystical 9 Sphere come
from Hillbilly Mom's own keyword searches. I gave the ol'
Sphere a test run, and here were the results:

Where can I find out more about chewing on fentanyl patches?
Lesbian big boob nurses.

What are Hillbilly Mom's hillbilly pencils made from?
Her wooden leg.

Where can I get photos of Oprah's mansion?
Adult bookstore, sissy.

How can I find jokes for kids about hillbillies?
Email Rebecca freely.

What is on tonight's hillbilly menu?
Vomit jellybeans, hillbilly caviar, 1 tablespoon histinex,
and a scab picked off by chicken.

As you can see, this toy can provide us many minutes of bonding
behavior when we are not busy swilling Sump Cola, chowing
down on Scorn Flakes, or scrubbing the cyberhouse with
Cazzie's Cool Cleaner.

The advertising slogan for the Mystical 9 Sphere will be: "Get
In Front Of the 9 Sphere! Control your destiny." It will sell for
$19.97 at Wal*Mart. The Big Blogger 2 house will recieve one
free in exchange for promotional considerations.

Check out Big Blogger 2 challenges from other cyberhousemats.
Oops! I meant cyberhousematEs.

Stewed Hamm

Good luck to all!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Still Messin' With the K-Man, and Big Blogger 2

I had no intention of playing Torment Mr. K today. I was going
to give him a day of rest. I tried to make polite lunchtime small
talk. For instance, I said,

You should ask Freshman Girl about her friend with the Satan-
fearing grandma.

Oh? Has she got a story?

Yes. She tells it much better than I. Seems this friend tripped,
and Grandma started shouting that Satan was in the house.
Then their big fat cat tripped and fell down the basement steps,
and Grandma started yelling that Satan was in the cat.

Hey! He might want her to get a picture of that cat for his wallet!

You rock, Mr. S! That was perfect. Even I didn't make the
cat connection that time.


In other news, I am beginning the slow torture that is Big Blogger 2.
You might remember how I was beaten by a Cheese Sandwich
and a Sheep on a Unicycle for a while last year. OK, so I finished
second overall, with Mr. Huggies being crowned the winner. Since
I can't get enough punishment from Rebecca, I am giving it another
try. Tomorrow, I will post my first entry. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Mr. K and Dolly

Another score for Hillbilly Mom in the continuing lunch table
battle of Torment Mr. K. I did not land a direct hit today, but I
think I winged him.

Talk had turned to substitute teachers, with three of my five lunch
guys in attendance today, and rating the subs by their looks. Only
the female subs, of course. After that little trip to Inappropriateville,
Mr. K said, "Have you ever had My Old Classmate for a sub?"

Mr. G replied, "Yes! And when I came back, the kids said, 'Mr. G,
why did you leave us with a fag?' I told them it wasn't my choice."

"You know," said Mr. K, "he told me he really likes you."

"Is that right?" asked Mr. G. "How do you know that?"

"Mr. K called him last night, like every other night, when they
talk about their cats," I informed Mr. G.

YES! Score for Hillbilly Mom! Mr. G gave me the look, which
is like a visual high-five. Mr. K has not gotten the best of Hillbilly
Mom. Not yet. He has 13 days left to try.


And if that wasn't boring enough...I must now share with you my
TV viewing experience last night. I was held captive, waiting for my
#1 son to fall asleep on the couch, and searching for anything that
could hold my interest. I stumbled across CMT, and WOOHOO!
There was a Crossroads show with Dolly Parton and Melissa
Etheridge. Which seemed to me like a couple of strange bedfellows.
Can you believe it--those traitors at CMT gave my Dolly second
billing! Hey! Last time I checked, CMT was COUNTRY Music
Television! I don't recall Melissa Etheridge ever being country.
So what's with putting her name first? She must have a better
agent, or else Dolly doesn't give a rat's behind, because she is
older, and has more insurance. (Oops! That's a line from Fried
Green Tomatoes.) I guess when you are rolling in cash like my
Dolly, you don't care if your name is first or second. Let that
poor little Etheridge gal have her glory.

They sang each other's songs. It was from 2003, when Dolly had
her tribute CD, "Just Because I'm a Woman" coming out. I'm sure
Melissa had one coming out too, since why do a TV show unless
you have something to promote. The show intercut the singing in
front of a live audience with an interview with the two of them at
Melissa's house.

Anyhoo...I was almost embarrassed for Melissa. Compared to my
Dolly, she was a bland, roadhouse band, karaoke-singin' wannabee.
Now don't get me wrong...Melissa Etheridge is a good singer on
her own studio-polished songs. I have nothing against her. I even
have her "Yes I Am" CD. But as far as naming any other CDs, or
even more than three songs off that CD, I can't do it.

But MY DOLLY ROCKED that house! I think it was on "I Want
To Be In Love" or "Bring Me Some Water". I'm not sure of those
titles, but they were something like that. Dolly belted those out like
nobody's business. She took command of that stage, tapped her
little size 2-or-some-nonsense six-inch heel, and earned herself
two standing ovations. Wow! Poor mealy-mouthed Melissa could
only gape at The Divine Miss D in open-(mealy)-mouthed awe.

Again, I'm not a Melissa-hater. It's just that Dolly had her waaay
outclassed. When they took questions from the audience, I think
three out of four questions were for Melissa. Then a sissified guy
asked Dolly, "If you get married again, can I be your husband?"
And Dolly replied, "You can be my lover right now! Don't you
read about me in the tabloids?" Heh, heh. What a classy broad,
my Dolly.

The only thing that impressed me about Melissa was during the
interview, when Dolly sang the very first song she wrote, at about
age 5, a capella. For all you non-Dolly fans, it was "Little Tiny
Tassletop", about her corncob doll. At the end, she reached over
and strummed her guitar with her long fake fingernails. Melissa
picked up her own guitar and started jamming, as Dolly picked up
hers. How do they know the key and all that crap, just to start in
like they've been doing this for eons? OK, maybe Dolly has. But
I was impressed.

Now I want a banjo and a mandolin so I can not play them, just
like I can not play my guitar. It's a personal goal.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Revenge of Mr. K

OOOH! Mr. K got me today at lunch!

I had no idea what fate was in store for me when I merrily left the
mansion this a.m. It was a cool, clear morning. We saw a quail
running across the road like a student who already has three
tardies and knows the next one means ISS, the 'I'm in a hurry...
busy, busy, busy...out-of-my-way' scurrying that incorporates
the olympic race-walker's hip-swaying gait.

We also saw three red-winged blackbirds, two perched on road
signs, and one on a post. I am assuming they were red-winged
blackbirds, because, well, they were birds, they were black, and
they had an orangy-red swatch of color on their wings. My blog
buddy Colleen might know, cause she is one for the birds, and
I just think of them as flying things.

This was different from our other mornings, when we just see
fat-bellied robins in town, and giant crows in our yard, and
stupid turkeys on the way to civilization. Just yesterday, we saw
six turkeys, standing in a field like those people Michael Myers
let out of the asylum in the original Halloween. Stupid turkeys!
Don't they know they are being hunted?

Anyhoo, Mr. K has been threatening revenge for a while now,
ever since the 'fag' incident. "Oh, pshaw!" I tell him. Well, not
really, because people in real life don't talk like people in books.
I didn't think he could get me. I cut my teeth on peons like him.
What could he possibly do to embarrass me? He is, after all,
a nerdy gentleman. My DoNots said so. He didn't even use the
'F-word' in front of me until after Christmas.

Today at the teachers' lunch table, Mr. K was asked if his new
daughter keeps him up at night. He said only last night, and she
woke up his other daughter, too. Then Mr. G was asked if his
twins wake each other up.

"No," he said. "But this morning I went in to check on them. They
were still asleep, but they'd taken off their diapers in the night, and
pee was everywhere. Their butts were up in the air, just a-shinin'."

"That's how Mrs. Hillbilly Mom found Mum this morning," said
Mr. K.


OK, so a good laugh was had by all. I told Mr. K that I will hold
him responsible for all the nightmares I have the rest of the week.
That did not seem to concern him.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

HH Has Left the Building

A boring little day here at the mansion. Nothing much to do, except
relax, since my Hillbilly Husband has been gone since Monday to
North Carolina. Arden, between Hendersonville and Ashville.
Something about a machine for work, for $250,000, that is
$450,000 new. He used to go there for something called a Normac.
I don't know what it does. It's a grinder, or a wrapper, or some
such thing for steel bands or sawblades. As you can see, HH is
good at keeping trade secrets.

It has been nice to go to bed when I want, with no nagging that I
should have joined him at 9:00 p.m. I'm not trying to start a swap
or anything, but he seems to be on my buddy Mabel's snooze
timetable. Also, no breathing on me, and no FEET on me. I don't
like feet. Stubby, hairy-toed feet on my leg. EEEEEE! It's a thing
I have. thumping and banging in the bathroom at 5:30 a.m.
while I'm trying to finish my morning nap.

It's been a few years since HH went to North Carolina. Last time,
he came back with some moonshine in a Mountain Dew bottle.
How appropriate. I chewed him out for putting it in the refrigerator,
cause that stuff's like crack for hillbilly kids. Not that I have any
crack. Or that I'd waste it on my kids if I did.

I asked HH if he was bringing any moonshine back in his carry-on
this time. He looked at me like I was crazy. "I'm shipping it with
the machine." Oh...excuuuuse meeeee! Guess he didn't want to
be accused of trying to blow up a plane.

HH just called. He says he has severe thunderstorm warnings
until 2:00 a.m. I told him he should stay up awhile. "Nawww,"
he said. "I'm on the second floor of three floors. It'll blow the
top one off first." I also told him maybe he should sleep in some
kind of pants, in case he has to run out. "No. They can see me
in my underwear. That's no problem." For HIM. They might be
traumatized for life.

This evening, I had made sure the boys had supper, and that
#2 son took his bubble bath in the big tub (I think it makes him
feel OH SO PRETTY). I did a load of laundry, and finally made
it down to my office sanctuary. Only to hear #2 shout, "There's
someone at the door!" The boys have been trained not to answer
the door, since the time HH and I were still in bed, and they
opened it to a travelling book salesman who had no business
being in our private little colony, and who was harder to get rid
of than 8th grade boys at a free soda line on Field Day.

I drug myself away from the computer and my supper of leftover
BBQ hamburger and baked beans. It was Buddy, HH's friend,
returning a bottle of BBQ sauce that he'd borrowed Thursday
night. Wow! That's the first thing he's returned since he brought
back our round picnic table that he had for 3 years, driving it
down the gravel road hanging from the boom pole on his tractor.
We chit-chatted a minute, and as he left, I looked down and
saw that I had a baked bean on my boob. A baked bean. On
my boob. I kind of let myself go when HH is gone. I am just
PRETTY. Not OH SO PRETTY. No, I didn't eat it. I flicked
it off my boob onto the recycled brick sidewalk that HH made
in front of the mansion.

I think I'll leave you with that poignant image of Hillbilly Mom,
all alone on the front porch, flicking a baked bean off her boob.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Hillbilly Mom Learns Two Lessons

Let me share. I know my life is fascinating. Perhaps I can be of help
to you, in a Hillbilly Public Service Announcement kind of way.

Last night, around 8:50, as #1 son and I were watching Hogan
Knows Best, we heard a giant POP sound upstairs. We looked at
each other. "What was THAT?" Jinx.

It was in the kitchen.
Are you sure?
Yeah. It was your dad dropping something.
Uh...Mom...Dad is already in bed.
Go see what it was.
No. You go see.
No. I'm going to sleep. Give me a drink.
No. Go get your own water.
Oh, all right!

The boy ran upstairs, in a loud, thumping manner, as only 11-year-
old boys can do. He came thumping back down soon after, with a
bottle of water and a white, sticky blob in his hands.

Look what I found. It's all over the fridge.
On the inside. There's some on the door, and some on the butter.
Get that back upstairs before it gets all over everything! What's
wrong with you?

Oh, and there's a big crack in the door.

I went upstairs. There had been an explosion. A can of Pillsbury
Peel-Apart Biscuits had camped too long in the refrigerator of the
mansion. I think that's the name of them. That's what we call them,
anyway. I took out the can with the sticky remains. The bottom
said, "Use by December, 2005." We need a maid here at the
mansion. The door is indeed cracked in the upper left corner. HH
thinks he may be able to patch it with putty. I'm not looking
forward to that handiwork.

While that little incident made me feel kind of, umm...less than
intelligent, at least I know that if I reply to an email that has been
sent building-wide, the whole building will be reading my message.
Just sayin', people...

And my laugh of the day goes to a 9th grade DoNot, who was
becoming flustered at trying to stump me on the US Constitution
study guide. I haven't seen it since last year, but I knew the gist of
all the amendments he had asked me so far.

1st-freedom of speech, religion, assembly, petition, etc.
2nd-right to bear arms
3rd-no quartering of troops in private homes
5th-right not to testify against yourself in a court
8th-no cruel and unusual punishment
14th-freed the slaves
15th-gave right to vote to all males over 21
18th-prohibited manufacture and sale of alcohol
19th-women's suffrage (gave women right to vote)
20th-lame duck amendment (outgoing president stuff)
21st-repealed prohibition
22nd-limits terms of presidency

He was reading them all out of order. I was on quite a roll. He was
becoming perturbed. Then, he stumped me. The 4th Amendment.
EEEEEE! I couldn't remember. He took pity on me. He tried to
give me a clue. "You know," he said. "Like this." He laid his head
down on his desk and started shaking all over. I didn't get it. He
shook more. I still didn't get it. "What am I having?"

"OH! No unreasonable search and SEIZURE by the government!"

"Very good. Now you will have a way to remember number 4."

Man! I hate it when the kids teach me stuff.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hillbilly Mom Has a Dilemma

Hillbilly Mom has a dilemma, my friends. A dilemma that involves
money. Now don't ya'll volunteer to help me spend it. That is not
the dilemma.

My Hillbilly Husband and I own a lake lot with two other couples.
It is at the lake where that kid disappeared after an underage
drinking party a couple weeks ago, and was found dead in his
car at the bottom of the lake. Hey! We had nothing to do with it!
We haven't even been out there this year.

We bought the lot as tax sale property, which means all we had
to pay was something like 3 years' back taxes. I think it cost less
than $100. It's not on the lake, but a couple roads back. We
didn't want it to build something on the lot. We wanted it so we
could have access to the lake for our little pontoon boat (that HH
bought on a used car lot), and to fish in the ponds, and to have
access to the swimming pool. All was well, we three couples
split the yearly assessment fees and taxes, and we all had a good
time. Then the lake association raised the fees, so that each part
of an ownership had to pay the full fee, instead of just splitting it.
We still had a good time.

Then one of the couples got divorced, another couple moved
away, and HH and I had the two boy young 'uns. We still all
paid our parts of the assessments and taxes, but we just didn't
see each other anymore.

The bills come to us, because HH is the one who went and got
the whole thing bought and titled. It comes to Mr. HH et al.
Which I believe means: 'and others.' Or else that's just what
I think it means. I send a check for payment in full, make a
copy of the bills for each couple, and send it to them. When
they are good and ready, they pay us. It's no big deal, except
last year when HH kept dragging his feet about taking the bill
up the road to his buddy, and then bartered with him for a
load of gravel instead of the money, giving Buddy a $50
discount because HH told him what he thought it cost, instead
of actually looking at the copies I gave him. But that was not
Buddy's fault.

This year, Buddy hasn't paid yet. He probably hasn't even
thought about paying yet. The other couple called at the end
of January, as they were getting their taxes together, and I told
them the amount. It was something like $126 and change.

Here's my dilemma. Yesterday, we got a check from the couple
for $126 and change. I thought they had already sent us that
money. HH also thought they had already sent us that money.
I looked back throught the checkbook, and could find no record
of a deposit in that amount. Even if I cash a check like that, I
make a note of it in the checkbook, because that's how I keep
records. Like if my Hillbilly Mama takes the kids to the doctor,
and pays cash for the co-pay, I write it in the checkbook thingy
showing 'cash'. But I have no record that they ever paid us
anything. I do remember sending them the copies, even though
I'd told them the amount, because I thought they'd need it for
their tax records. I don't even want to think about Bartering
Buddy's tax records.

Should I call them, and ask them to check their checkbook, to
see if they already paid us the money? Or should I put the check
in the bank, since I have no record that they paid? I don't want
to cause hard feelings if they did already pay, and make them
pay twice. But I don't want to cheat HH and I out of $126
(and change) if they really didn't pay. And I don't want to start
them thinking, "Hey, we paid that already, didn't we?" and be
resentful of us if they can't find it in their records.

I guess I will put the money in the bank, and if they ever call
to let us know they paid us twice, we'll give them a refund.
I can't be bookkeeper for the entire human race.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Eureka! I've Discovered Fool's Gold!

My #2 son LOVED panning for gold at Meramec Caverns on
Saturday. He wanted to go back on Sunday. I think not. We
will have to discover gold to afford it. They have a good set-up
outside the cave. You buy a bag of dirt, and swish it around to
discover gems. My kids loved it. So much that they agreed to
spend their own money so they could get a $9.99 bag of dirt
instead of a $4.50 bag of dirt. They wanted the 'emerald' bag.
Actually, #2 son wanted two bags. He had his eye on the
'arrowhead' bag, but decided on emeralds. We can find the
arrowheads down by our creek after a good bridge-washing-
out rain.

We had to wait 20 minutes to start panning, because the poor
pitiful girl inside the shop who took the money could not balance
her cash drawer. She was $4.00 short. She called another worker
to help her. Who wasn't much help, because it took another 10
minutes to straighten out the mess. And I might add, they were
kind of rude. "We'll HELP you when we get the money figured
out." Like they couldn't count it while we were panning. Or keep
track of our 2 cents change.

It was just as well we had to wait. There was a band of devil-
children running amok at the sluice while that poor girl counted
her money over and over. We could have grabbed bags of
precious dirt and loaded them into the car, for all the attention
she paid. Sweet Gummi Mary! When did $4.00 become a life
and death matter? Anyhoo, those 3 devil kids climbed on the
little chairs and plunged their devil hands into the water, and
every 3 seconds screamed, "I have a RUBY!" "I have some
GOLD!" I have an EMERALD!" Their keepers sat and talked,
oblivious to their spawn. I thought they would never leave.
FINALLY, after we were given the privilege of paying, the
snotty women gathered their future Fitties and left.

The cave tour was an hour and 20 minutes. My #2 son held
my hand the whole way. He was afraid he would be left in
the dark. Which would have been pretty scary, but there were
handrails throughout the cave, and another tour would have
been along in 20 minutes. I am glad we took him instead of
letting him go on that field trip. Nobody would have held my
baby's hand on the field trip.

Here is a cool picture my Hillbilly Husband took. These formations
are called 'soda straws'. They are hollow inside. The whole tour is
handicap accessible, with concrete ramps and handrails. The light
was pretty dim through most of it, and as we left an area, the guide
turned off the lights behind us.

I really didn't want to go. I don't like to feel like I can't get out of
someplace. It's not exactly claustrophobia. The size of the room
didn't matter. It was the fact that if I decided to leave, I couldn't.
I'm funny that way. I like an aisle seat. I like the back row. Just
in case I decide I want out. But my boy wanted me to go with
him. How could I turn him down? As we started into the cave,
I got that ol' panicky feeling. This is it! After this, I can't turn
Other people must have felt that way too, because there
was a big sign as you entered the giant room to start the tour that
said: "No refunds once tickets are torn." I looked at all the little
kids in our tour, and thought, "If these kids can do it, I can do it."
Then I had to put that escaping thought out of my mind, and try
to concentrate on the guide's speech.

The high point for #2 son was the panning for gold. He is still
playing with his gems. He has a chart (that HH snuck behind
the counter and got, because the girl left us unattended). We
even had to beg for the baggie to put the gems in. I'm pretty sure
that should have been included for the $9.99, and the chart,
too. It is a good exercise in classification for the kids.

Here is what my boy did with his gems:

All by himself. You don't think he's got OCD or anything, do you?
He lined up those rows so straight, it was freaky. Just a minute
ago, he came to show me one. I sniffed it, because it had a bit
of an aroma to it. "Oh. I just washed it with soap," he told me.

He wants to take them to school to show his classmates, so I
will send a note Monday to ask his teacher. She probably won't
care, since it will be good advertising for Friday's field trip. And
my boy will be in hog heaven that day, spending the whole day
with his grandma.

Maybe they can wash some rocks together.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bug Brain Field Day Distinction

The Bug Brain is here! This morning, I checked the UPS website
again. They said they couldn't find the Hillbilly Mansion. Yeah,
right. We've lived here 9 years now. We get at least 12 packages
a year from the Unqualified People Shipping. How could they
forget where we live? Because they are UNQUALIFIED, that's

We had to stop by Wal*Mart on the way home from school,
much to the dismay of #1 son, who just KNEW his Bug Brain
was on the porch waiting for him. After threatening him, and
giving him $2.00 to shut up and go drive the racing car video
game, the shopping was completed. We arrived home about
5:00 and carried in the Wal*Mart bounty. No Bug Brain.

Five minutes later, #2 son came running in shouting, "The UPS
truck! The UPS truck!" #1 came running up the basement stairs,
tripped on the top one, and dived for the door. #2 announced
from the front porch, "She's around by the kitchen door!" #1
ran around and claimed his package. It was our old UPS driver,
the one who throws dog biscuits to the animals. They love her.
She's great. She knocks twice, and sets the box on the back
porch. Guess what? The package was in pristine condition. Not
a wrinkle, not a scratch, unopened. Yeah. Must be the other
driver they've been using. HooRah! The Bug Brain is here!

In other news, Hillbilly Mom sat outside for three hours today.
The sun is not kind to her leathery reptilian skin. It burned the
top of her her head, the part in her hair that is a tender pink
now, to accentuate the gray stripes that will trigger her 7th grade
students to ask her if she knows how to touch up her color.
It was our MAP Test reward field day. My team should have
won 2nd or 3rd place, but they didn't announce that this year,
only 1st. I am bitter. As are my students, and the other class
we combined with. But far be it from ME to criticize some
aspect of my job, so I won't go there. My buddy Mabel will
get an earful later.

Also today, at the teachers' lunch table, we heard tales of a
school two or three counties away. A team of our staff went
there to do some type of review as part of a new program
we are implementing this year. Kind of to observe, and write
an evaluation, as far as I can understand. One of the team
told us how great our faculty is, that sometimes we forget how
good our school really is.

I don't disagree with that statement. We gripe and carry on if
things don't go our way, but we really do have a good school.
We were recognized as a school with "Distinction in Performance"
after our last MSIP review. I'm not putting on airs. About one-
third of all schools in Missouri earn that recognition, I believe. But
hey, we could have not earned it, you know. We are not a big
school. We are not a rich school. We live in an economically
depressed area. We have more than our fair share of meth lab
busts. But we are doing something right with these kids. Our
drop-out rate last year was under two percent. That beats the
state and national average.

Anyhoo, let's get back to the horror story our staff member was
telling us about that other school. It seems that in one class he
observed, for the first 20 minutes, the students did what they
wanted while the teacher finished a game on her computer. In
another, the teacher said, "Do questions blah blah blah on pages
blah blah blah." Then he went to his computer. A few of the kids
opened their books to work. Others turned their desks to face
each other so they could talk. Others wandered around the room.
In another class, a student got up to spit a snotwad in the trash
can, missed, and hit the blackboard. In another class, he had to
leave before he was done with his report, because the chaos of
the room was too stressful to remain. He said the teachers did
not even try to control the students. Mr. K asked if maybe it
was because they had tried before, and knew the principal would
not do anything to the kids they referred to him. To which our
team member pointed out that he would have asked the principal
about that--if he could have found him.

Our team member wondered why, with someone from another
school there to observe, there weren't more learning activities
going on. He said, "If that was here, I know you all would at
least look like you were teaching something." Seriously though,
we do teach, even though it seems like the kids aren't learning.
Even the substitute teachers tell us how well-behaved our kids
are. For example, the worst problem one of them had was that
a boy put on his hat and would not remove it. Not exactly like
throwing desks, now is it?

And on that feel-good note, I should stop. But I won't. Because
I have to tell a Mr. K story. Remember last week, when that
kid said Mr. K was a fag because he carried a picture of a cat
in his wallet instead of a picture of his wife? Well, if you don't,
I just told you. Anyhoo, Mr. K's wife just had a baby, and we
have been asking to see a picture. Mr. K keeps forgetting. So
I asked him, "What did you do, put a picture of a kitten in your
wallet instead of your baby?"

I thought it was funny, anyway.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Unqualifed People Shipping Should Be Punished

Hillbilly Mom is angry tonight, my friends. Angry like a young nerd
who paid Second Day Air charges to ship his Bug Brain Robotics
Kit and did not receive it within three days.

Yeah. That's exactly why I'm angry. My #1 son has been saving for
two years for a laptop. Except he decided he'll hold off on that
laptop and get a robot. He paid $234.95 for the Bug Brain Kit,
with Tool Kit and Next Day Air shipping. And IT'S NOT HERE!
It was shipped Tuesday at 9:15 a.m. It was scheduled for delivery
today. Guess who screwed it up? That's right. You're all so very

UPS. Unqualified People Shipping. If you're a long-time reader,
you know I have issues with these people. The unqualified people.
Shipping. We have had neighbor's boxes delivered to us. Not our
next door or across the road neighbors. Half-mile away neighbors
who we don't even know. We have had all our boxes crushed.
We have had all our boxes opened. I must put my foot down.
I might have to miss work to go HAVE A ROYAL FIT with the
Unqualified People Shipping if my son's Bug Brain has been
crushed or opened.

It's his hard-earned money, people. Well, some of it he earned.
Some of it he got for birthdays and Christmas and Valentine's Day
and good grades. For two years, people. The earned money is
from doing extra chores like moving the free hairwad hot tub,
and mowing the yard with a push-mower, and loading and burning
junk with his dad. Which, I might add, took away time he could
have been fiddling with his computer. It is not fair.

UPS is cruisin' for a bruisin'. They are achin' for a breakin'. Oh,
they got away with peeping in and crushing my Amazon boxes.
They got away with opening and smashing my scale. They made
us go to the house where the wild-eyed, no-haired man came
out of the half-open garage door wiping blood off his hands, to
give him the package they left at our house. SOMEBODY MUST
way, people. We can not put up with shoddy service.

I called the service number for YOST Engineering, where my son
ordered his Bug Brain. And they answered the phone! At 8:15 p.m.
Central Standard Time, people! They did not give us a recording
with office hours when we can't call. After a brief hold to get the
right department, a polite young woman, Francesca, checked into
the matter for us. She looked on the UPS website the same as I
did, because they had emailed us a tracking number when the
Bug Brain shipped. Francesca said it looked like the UPS had
too many packages today, and didn't get it delivered, because
their site showed that it was still out for delivery. Yeah. I don't
think they are going to deliver after 8:00 p.m. Francesca said
that YOST will contact UPS and then give us a credit that would
only charge for ground shipping. Which is only fair. But which
doesn't seem fair if you are 11 years old and have been counting
the minutes until your Bug Brain arrives.

You rock, Francesca and YOST Engineering! That is the way
to do business. Francesca even stood up for UPS. I was having
none of it. I told her we'd had problems with them before, and
she said, "In this area, they're usually pretty good." I'm happy
for the state of Ohio, Francesca. But around here, they're extra
unqualified. I wish them a plague of millipedes in their basements.
Or a bugeye for each and every one of them.

Do not anger Hillbilly Mom. Do not disappoint her boy young 'un.
Because she takes it personally. And she will find a way to get

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Eye Can't Believe It

Today I had an occular injury. It is more commonly referred to as...
how you say...BUGEYE.

I had just walked #2 son into school, and on my way out, a drop of
water hit me in the eye. It was overcast, so I thought perhaps it was
starting to rain. I got into the large SUV, and my eye was itching. I
reached up to rub it briefly. Then, as I pulled out of the parking lot,
my eye really began to burn. I couldn't keep it open. It teared. My
whole left nostril got runny. I felt like my sinus cavity was revolting.
I figured I had gotten hand lotion in my eye when I rubbed it.

The half-mile drive to my building was torture. I had to press my left
hand over my left eye. Umm...I might not have mentioned that is my
GOOD eye. I am nearsighted in my right eye. I have glasses that I
really should wear when driving, but when the DMV tests me, my
good eye takes over and I can pass the vision test. It was a blurry
drive. I thought some guy was parked across the driveway to the
back parking lot, but no, he was just some stalker sitting in a truck
on a gravel offshoot of the driveway.

I parked and got out of the large SUV, gathered my stuff, and
hurried inside. No need to tempt the stalker by appearing weak,
when I couldn't identify him in a police line-up anyway. I quickly
forgot about the stalker once I entered the building, because hey,
it's all about ME.

In my room, I grabbed a tissue to wipe my eye. My shirtsleeve
in the car had been less than satisfactory. I did not think about the
tissues having lotion in them. It didn't really matter. When I looked
at the tissue, there was a black particle on it. I ran (well, as much as
ol' Hillbilly Mom can run) to the mirror in my cabinet. There was a
black chunk of something at the inner corner of my eye. Another
tissue dug it out with two more tries.

IT WAS A BUG! I had been driving with a BUG in my eye! He
was about the size of 3 pinheads put together. Which is kind of
big to be in your eye. I guess he was trying to crawl down my tear
duct, which caused the sinus issue. I'm sure not one of those freaks
who can cry diamonds. A squishy bug was too much for me.

Yep. I had a critter that could fly in my eye. A creeper in my peeper.
A flying little troll in the window to my soul. A faux drop of water I
couldn't absorb had invaded my hazel-colored orb. A horrid little
stinker in my incapacitated winker. OK, enough of that.

Being the kind, empathetic beings that they are, my first class of
DoNots shouted out, "What's the matter with your EYE?"
Before I even took roll and lunch count. It was a bit red. By
lunchtime, I had recovered enough to call Mr. K a fag without
him calling me a cyclops.

All this has reminded me of a little hillbilly joke. Enjoy.

There was a hillbilly man who had only one eye. His grandpa
whittled him an eye, since the family was too poor to buy him
a glass eye. He was very self-conscious, and didn't get out
much. His mother wanted him to meet a nice hillbilly gal, and
settle down and have a passel of young 'uns. She urged him
to go down to the town square for the weekly social, where
he might be able to find a wife.

Unbeknownst to the man with the wooden eye, there was
a nice girl who lived over in the next holler. She had the
misfortune of tangling with a rattlesnake at a young age,
and she lost a leg. She also had a grandpa who could
whittle, and he carved her a wooden leg. She was afraid
she would never find a mate, but it was not for lack of
trying. Unfortunately, men did not pay her much attention
when they noticed her wooden leg.

Fate led the two of them to the town social, where they
both sat on the sidelines of the dance, checking out suitable
partners. The one-eyed man saw the peg-legged girl, and
worked up courage to ask her to dance. He thought, She's
not perfect, but I can deal with a wooden leg. She is just
the kind who might find me acceptable.

The man with the wooden eye walked across the dance
floor to the girl with the wooden leg.

"Would you like to dance with me?" he asked quietly.

The girl was overjoyed, as no man had ever asked her to
dance. Her face glowed. In her fit of enthusiasm, she blurted,

"Stick-leg! Stick-leg!" shouted the man with the wooden eye,
and he ran back home, never to see her again.

Hey! I didn't say it had a happy ending.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Trip. H*ll. Handbag. Eiffel Tower.

I am the bad guy. I will not let my son go on the class field trip.
Simmer down, now! I have my reasons. Here is the story.

The second grade is going to Meramec Caverns. It's a big cave,
for any of you who don't know. You can check it out here. I have
nothing against caves. I used to go through them all the time on
family vacations. Get the point? FAMILY vacations. I don't think
there will be enough supervision for my child. Not that he's a
raving lunatic or anything. So he kicked his churchy shoes at the
music teacher during the Christmas program. That was the year
before last.

Anyhoo...#2 son's teacher sent home a very informative note
about the field trip. They are going on an hour-and-twenty-
minute tour through the cave. I believe the note said the tour
covers one mile, or may a mile and a half. I have been through
this cave. It is well-lit (for a cave), has paved walkways, and
handrails. But I am afraid it will be too much for my 8-year-
old son.

Years ago, we took my Hillbilly Husband's boys through Marvel
Cave at Silver Dollar City. The younger one was around 6 years
old, and he did not want to go into that cave. We drug him through
it, but he was scared the whole way. What if my baby got scared
and didn't want to go? You can bet there would be nobody to
take him out and sit with him for an hour and twenty minutes. I
do not feel comfortable sending him on this trip. There are too
many little kids to supervise.

Several years ago, another school district, I believe from the
St. Louis area, took a field trip to Meramec Caverns. They had
a picnic lunch, and went to look at the river. A little boy stepped
in to wade, and was swept away. The teachers were right there,
but couldn't stop him. He drowned. Nobody's fault. It just
happened too quickly. I know, I am looking at worst-case
scenarios, but that's how I am. If it doesn't feel right to me, I'm
going to follow my instincts, and not let him go.

Don't be hatin' on ol' Hillbilly Mom. We plan to go this weekend
as a family, and let him see the cave. There is a shorter, 45-minute
tour that he might want to go on. With a parent. He also wants to
pan for gold, which is a big deal to the kids. They can buy a bag
of dirt and swish it around in a trough of water, and keep what
gold or gems they may find. It will cost more than sending him on
the field trip, but hey, we're made of money. And I will feel safer.
If it was #1 son, I wouldn't be so worried. He has more common
sense. Eleven-year-olds are more reasonable than eight-year-olds.

In other news, we had no air conditioning today at my second
building. It was 87 degrees outside, people. My room is on the
third floor, west side, of a brick building. It was 81 inside. That
is a hardship for Hillbilly Mom. I spent the morning at a comfortable
72 degrees, then climbed to the third level of H*ll. Without a hand-
basket, I might add. I'm sure there was a good reason. I know
they would never put finances above the comfort of the students
and teachers. I felt like that limp, freaky, flat girl pouring off the
couch in that public service announcement about 'Don't Smoke
Pot.' Only without the pot. The change in temps and humidity gave
me a pounding headache by afternoon. Rumor has it that the air
conditioning will be on tomorrow.

I also forgot my black bag this morning. It is full of my necessities.
Like aspirin, acetominophin, and ibuprofen. Only the generics for
me, baby! And a comb so I don't have to fork my hair. And my
requisitions for next year that are due Wednesday. And some
reading material for when I have nothing to do. I truly missed my
black bag today. It felt like I left an important appendage at home.
I mentioned it to one of my classes, and a girl said, "Way to go."
I don't get no respect. I'm sure she was just irritated by the heat.
I did get some sympathy from the kid who lost his wallet at lunch.

This post should be long enough now to satisfy Mabel. I don't
know why I let her hold such power over me. I won't even see
her this week, what with her transporting the Eiffel Tower to
another venue. The Eiffel Tower she has been building for weeks
now. It is prom season in the Heartland, people. Mabel came in
this morning to break the news to me. And browbeat me with:
"It's a good thing you made yesterday's blog longer!" I think those
were her words. I was shaking and couldn't comprehend so well.
I suspect she has a voodoo doll of me stashed away somewhere,
and that's why I do her bidding.

I have to be nice to her. I am teaching Math next year. Mabel is
the Mr. Wizard of Math. She is like Bill Nye, the Science Guy.
I think I'll call her My Pal, the Math Gal. When she isn't around,
of course.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Bunny Tale

As I promised yesterday, here's the tale of our Saturday lunch date
and how my children always find a way to embarrass me.

My Hillbilly Husband wanted to go out for dinner Friday night, but
the kids wanted to wait until Saturday. They like the local wings
restaurant, because it has a lot of games. We sat at a table out in
the middle of the room, not too close to the giant TV screen. A
couple of guys came in and sat at the booth behind #2 son and I,
about 2 feet away. They sat sideways and propped their legs out
on the booth seats, watching the Cardinals game on TV. By the
time we were almost done, they'd had 3 beers apiece, and not
any food yet. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

#2 son had been trying to win a stuffed yellow dog in one of those
grabber machines. He spent about $3.00, at $.50 a play. Finally,
he snagged it. He was thrilled. He shot both fists into the air, and
yelled, "YES!" An older couple on the other side of the room got
quite a laugh from it. He brought the dog over and sat it between
us on his chair. #1 son swaggered over to the machine, popped
in two quarters, and promptly won a blue Easter bunny. #2 son
jumped up and down. One night, #1 won two stuffed animals,
and gave them to #2. Young #2 knew better than to ask for it.

#1 son put the bunny in his chair and went to play a deer-hunting
game. #2 son stood expectantly by the table, eyebrows raised,
hoping to be given the bunny. #1 said, "If I give it to anyone, I'll
give it to YOU, Mom." #2's hopes were dashed. He stuck out
his bottom lip. I said, "You know what I'll do with it, don't you?"
#1 looked disgusted. "Yeah. Give it to HIM." That's when he did
it. #2 son, standing 2 feet from those 3-beer guys, said loudly,

"I know why. Because YOU SLEEP WITH DAD ALMOST
EVERY NIGHT, MOM! And you don't want any of his spit to
get on it."

I was afraid to turn around and see those guys laughing at me.
I guess they were wondering who I slept with on the other nights.


Because my teaching buddy, Mabel, is disappointed by a short
post, I must continue.

My Hillbilly Mama brought us some leftovers for lunch today. I had
planned to go to her house and consume them, but HH scheduled a
heating & cooling man to come take a look at the air conditioner.
He does these things all the time. When I have a day off, I have to
sit and wait on various servicemen who may or may not be needed.
The air conditioner works fine. HH said it hasn't been checked out
for a few years, so now was as good a time as any. 95 degrees
yesterday, and the thing worked like a charm.

HH has always been bitter about my time off. Forget that he never
went to college, certainly does not have a master's degree, gets to
traipse about the globe on the company's dime (even to New
Jersey and Mississippi, people!), earns a large year-end bonus,
and makes twice what I do. Oh, and he never has to take care of
these whining children 24/7, day in and day out, while taking care
of the house and working a full-time job. No, he begrudges me any
time off. The h & c guy was scheduled to be here at 10:00. He
didn't show up until 12:40, and left after 1:00. He put in three
pounds of coolant, whatever that means, for $150. Whether we
needed it or not, I suppose. HH does a lot of business with their
company. You'd think he'd get a kickback, huh? But he gets
compensated in Christmas hams and baseball and hockey tickets.
That doesn't do much for me. Or the bank account. Thank the
Gummi Mary that we're made of money. (Stop laughing, Mabel).

The boys have been fighting, gorging on Easter candy, fighting,
eating fried eggs for breakfast, fighting, nibbling on Easter candy,
fighting, consuming noodles and butter for lunch, chasing it with
Easter candy, fighting, throwing plastic Easter eggs at each other,
fighting over the same chair (cause we must have only one in
the entire mansion, don'tcha know), and snacking on Easter candy.
Kids. They're all about the carbs. The fried eggs were an anomaly.

I am saving the leftovers for supper, so I had a big salad. Mmm...
a big salad so good that George Costanza would have been proud
to pay for it and let his girlfriend take credit by handing it to Elaine.
I'm not saying it was healthy. But it was good. Hearts of romaine,
fiesta cheese blend, mushrooms, green olives, banana pepper rings,
tomatoes, ranch dressing, sunflower seeds, and butter-and-garlic
croutons. Mmm...

A deadly calm has descended upon the mansion. I must go see if
the boys are in a sugar-induced coma, or if one has been knocked
unconscious by the other.

School tomorrow. I think we have 21 school days left. HooRah!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Here Comes Peter Cottontail

OK, so it's not really Peter Cottontail. It's my Hillbilly Husband
with a paper towel stuck in his pocket. Made you look! I almost
captioned it: Lefty, Righty, and Dopey Color Eggs. You can
guess who is whom. I really must work on my photography. I
keep cutting off heads and faces. Go figure!

Coloring eggs is not a simple feat at the Hillbilly Mansion. We
must have two of everything, or WWIII will ensue. HH has to
boss the kids so it looks like he is doing something useful. Then
it is over, and guess who cleans up the egg drippings and puts
them back in the cartons...Yep, the same person who set up the
egg cups and added the vinegar and made sure each child got
the same colors.

The kids were pleased with the results. Me too, until I went to bake
a cake and discovered that I needed 3 eggs. I had boiled 4 dozen
Saturday morning; 2 dozen for dyeing, and two dozen for deviling.
HH had to run to town to buy a dozen eggs. Of course, he was
mystified by the packaging and sale of eggs. On the shopping list,
I had just written 'eggs'. I had told him I needed some for the cake.
HH read the list, and asked,

How many eggs do you need?
Umm...they only sell them by the dozen. So buy a dozen.
Well how am I supposed to know how many eggs you need?
You can't pick out 3 and take them to the check-out.
I didn't know what you wanted.

Thank goodness they don't sell the 18-packs there. That would
really have confused him.

After the coloring of the eggs, there was a near 'embarrassing
Easter egg faux pas' on my part. I had set the eggs aside to feed
#2 son some leftovers of corn dog and fries for supper. As I
tipped up the ketchup bottle for his vegetable food group, a
small squirt of ketchup shot out onto #1 son's egg rack. Luckily
most of it went on the paper plate under the metal bunny holder.
Only a small spot got on one egg. Whew!

Today we had Easter dinner at my Hillbilly Mama's house with
my sister and her husband-the-ex-mayor and their son and
daughter. The kids had a great time playing badminton, with the
exception of #1 son, who got whacked in the mouth with a
badminton racket (or 'racquet' for my overseas friends) by
#2 son. What a big crybaby! That tooth was ready to come
out anyway. Yeah. It's all fun and games until somebody loses
a tooth. And then it's still pretty much fun, except for the guy
with a bloody hole in his mouth, who is kind of bitter about the
whole incident, and wants to exact revenge on the whacker.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the corn-dog-eater's embarrassing
foot-in-mouth faux pas when we went out to lunch Saturday
afternoon. We may not go back there for a while.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Saturday Search Party, April 15 Edition

Saturday again, and time for another Hillbilly Dinner Party. Oh, we
can only have what my guests were searching for when they visited
me, so the menu changes every week. Some were disappointed,
and turned away immediately. They were only here for 5 seconds
or less. Go figure!

On the menu this week, we have hillbilly caviar black eyed peas dip,
hillbilly bread, and jesus on a pancake. HEY! It's Easter, people.
That explains the fancy spread. Don't expect it every week, now.

I made up a nice gift bag for the guests this week. (I just typed
'gift gag'. Do you think that's a Freudian slip?) The swag includes
a grandpa hillbilly wind up toy on ebay, an ear wax strong lamp,
a when hillbillies go mad stick figure, some kitten eyeballs, and a
toothless hillbilly photo. Who could turn down a party with those
fine gifts?

After dinner, we had a little hillbilly toilet funny when one of the
guests tried to smoke the pvc y joint. Silly hippy! Not all joints
are for smoking!

I had to admonish another guest to control his girlfriend with a
beard. That girl was hittin' on me all night. Not that there's anything
wrong with that. Hillbilly Mom IS irresistible, you know. The guy
apologized. He said he HAD to bring her to my party, because
the last thing she said she wanted to do that evening was to let her
mom watch dad & boyfriend having sex. He wanted no part of
that scenario.

To pass the time after dinner, we sat around listening to each other
coughing up hard chunks, old mansion sounds, and that silly hippy
saying red at night, shepherd's delight about eleventy-million times.
All I can say is I'm glad we sent the sheep over to Dolly Parton's
mansion for the night.

We had an interesting discussion of some of the mysteries of the
universe, such as:

fentanyl patch bad taste in mouth (Duh! It's a patch, you idiots.
You're not supposed to chew it, for the love of Gummi Mary!)

e. coli scenarios and 5th grade (Ahh...good times.)

can I put a hot tub in the garage? (Not at MY mansion!)

puppy chow tender vittles pedophilia ( I had to put in my two cents
worth that I think if a puppy is involved, it is not called pedophelia,
but rather, bestiality.)

how to use catfood for bait (Make sure you open the can first.)

babysitter poisons missouri (Man, that's a lot of poison!)

The party broke up abruptly when the bearded girlfriend whacked
the hippy over the head with her grandpa hillbilly wind-up toy, and
he retaliated by throwing his kitten eyeballs at her. I hope I can find
some more docile guests next week.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Six Pencils Over DoNotLand

Welcome! This is the midwest's newest amusement park. Come on
in! Check out our attractions. Cost is $58 per person. Oh, and if
you fill out the forms, you might qualify for the reduced price of $25.
Some of you can ever get free admission.

The SPAZ Rollercoaster
Our newest high-tech coaster, SPAZ stands for Stop, Please,
Attempting ZZZZZs. It is a coaster with a flat shelf for the rider
to lean over and lay his head down, as if taking a nap. It is quite
economical. The coaster itself does not move more that 50 feet.
Just enough to get into the dark hangar, where fans blow on the
riders like wind rushing through their empty heads. A little shaking
side-to-side, and they believe they are actually riding a coaster.
At the end of the ride, a bell rings and the lights come on. Those
who refuse to get off the ride are pelted with chalkboard erasers
until they get up.

A Touch of Gas

This entire building smells like a fart. Exhibits display the foods
most often blamed for flatulence. There is a push-button section
where guests can push a button and guess which food led to
that fart. It is recommended that you purchase a pair of goggles
at the gift shop ($49.95) before heading into this noxious exhibit.

The LOOK OUT! Arcade
From the minute you step into this realistic classroom setting, you
must beware of flying objects. Those just entering sit at replicas
of student desks, arranged in a grid pattern. At the bell signal, all
participants move one row back. Those on the back row are
given a plethora of projectiles to fling at the others. The shooters
may use hollowed out inkpen tubes for shooting wet objects, or
rubber bands for the dry. They may shoot chewed up paper,
bits of eraser, gum, and candy. Dry objects to be flung include
pennies, bits of broken pencil, candy wrappers, and used tissues.

Thirsty for More
This entire feature consists of one long, single-file line that snakes
around the park. When the guest reaches the head of the line,
he receives a sip of tepid water from a too-low drinking fountain.
After bending his head below his waist to get at the spout, the
drinker must slurp around a wad of gum stuck over the spigot.
After approximately 3.3 swallows, the water stops, and the
guest must move on. While waiting in line, guests must defend
themselves from other guests who try to goose, poke, de-pants,
kneebend, bra-strap-snap, tickle, hug, choke, funny-bone, frog,
or headbutt them. NO cuts allowed in the line, or the guest and
cutter must go to the end of the line.

Teachers' Workroom
This house of horrors is filled with smoke so thick that nothing is
as it seems. The object is to run into the room, put exact change
into a junk food machine or soda machine, and return alive with
the booty. Loud, cackling laughter is piped at max volume out
of the sound system. Guests must have a good excuse ready in
case one of the staff questions his presence in the workroom.
Guests must also dodge bullets being fired from an AK47. Live
ammunition is used. Bulletproof vests in yellow and robin's egg
blue are available at the Gift Shop for $1000 each.

Can-I-Borrow Treehouse
Guests walk through the out-of-kilter treehouse and try to smuggle
out as many items as possible. To receive an item, the guest must
present the staff with a good reason, beginning with the words "Can
I borrow a ...." Items for "loan" include pencils, pens, paper, tissues,
lead, erasers, books, quarters, dollars, markers, crayons, paper
clips, highlighters, hole-punchers, staplers, rubber bands, folders,
report holders, cups, plates, napkins, paper towels, flamingo hats,
rolling chairs, rulers, calculators, tape, scrap paper, index cards,
door stops, and teachers' souls.

Space Mountain/Omnilacks Theater

No. Not that Space Mountain. Guests are seated in rows of chairs
that are highly uncomfortable. They face forward, staring into space.
There is a giant screen with nothing on it. This does not matter, as
the guests are not paying attention anyway. Each guest sits to his
own inner drummer, daydreaming his life away.



There are no doors on the stalls. Toilet paper is one-ply. IF there
is any left on the roll. Toilets can not be flushed. There is a time
limit of 4 minutes per guest in the restroom. Nobody is admitted
without a written pass from the staff, showing the time entering the
restroom. Only cold water is provided, no soap. There are no paper
towels. One blower is mounted on the wall in each restroom, but it
works intermittently.

All restaurants are self-serve, from machines. There are 36 flavors
of soda, plus one diet soda, and one water. Foods include potato
chips, nacho chips, onion chips, corn chips, and Little Debbie cakes.
Clearing your own table is recommended, but rarely enforced. Be
careful if you leave items unattended to go get something else, since
many unsavory items can be inserted in your soda and food while
you are away from the table. Flinging food and soda about the
restaurant is discouraged, but sometimes can not be prevented.
See-through ponchos are on sale at the Gift Shop for $99.95.

We look forward to seeing you this season at Six Pencils Over
DoNotLand. Hours of operation are 8:15 a.m. to 2:56 p.m.,
Monday thru Friday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Traveling Prescription Poo

Hillbilly Mom has issues, folks. People do not seem to realize that
life is all about ME. Can they not do things for the sole purpose of
pleasing ME? Why must they thwart my happiness? Cases in point:

When my Hillbilly Husband and #1 son returned from the state
youth bowling tournament last weekend, a conflict arose concerning
the suitcase responsibility. I packed for the boy. Had I let him pack
for himself, he would have had to wear computer magazines, books,
CDs, a video camera, and a Nintendo DS.

How presumptuous of me to except the boy or his father to unpack.
Let's involves unzipping the bag, gathering the clothing, and
dumping it into the laundry basket. Not exactly rocket science.
HH told #1 to unpack. #1 said "No." Here is where Hillbilly Mom
would have done things differently. But no. HH took the whole
suitcase to the laundry room, where he laid it in front of the washer
and unzipped it, exposing its soiled-clothing guts to the world.

HM was not pleased, folks. I had to move that suitcase to get
to the washer to finish a load I'd already started. I grudgingly put
the dirty clothes in the laundry basket. But I refused to move the
suitcase. I told HH and #1 daily to put it away. I moved it out of
my way and in front of the door to the porch, which HH must use
every morning to feed the dogs. Did he put the suitcase away? NO!
Every morning, he moved it back in front of the washer. Last night
I told him: "You can play this game for the next six months, but I
a tantrum and some swearing, HH stalked into the laundry room
and removed the suitcase. Score: Hillbilly Mom, 1. HH, 578,935.

I called my automated pharmacy number to order a refill around
4:40 this morning. I had 4 pills left. Oh, it was nothing good, like
fake Vicodin. It was a blood pressure med. Whoop-ti-doo. No
street value on those puppies. That smart-a$$ed recording told
me: "It is too early for a refill. Please call back in 37 days." The
h*ll you say! I will be dead then, phoney-baloney!

I called the pharmacy on my lunch 20-minutes. Not a lunch hour,
mind you...a lunch 20-minutes. I explained that I had 4 pills left,
and that my prescription bottle said I had 2 refills left. Why, then,
was I told to call back in 37 days. I get 30 pills per month. The
pharmacy worker said, "Well, you just got 90 pills on March 14.
The insurance company will not authorize any more until after
37 days." Like that even made sense. I told her, no, that I only
got 30 on March 14. "Let me check on that," she said.

I was on hold for 5 minutes, listening to the worst Muzak on the
face of the earth. My lunch 20-minutes was ticking away. She
came back. "Somebody put the order in wrong. They said you
received 90 pills. But the pharmacy log shows we only gave you
30." Duh! Didn't I just say that? So again, I told her I needed
that refill. She said, "Well...we could call the insurance and
explain what happened, and see if they will authorize more."
Yes. You do that. Since it was YOUR freakin' mistake that
caused this snafu, and I can not quit this medicine cold turkey.
So I told her, "Yes. You need to do that. I will be there at
5:00 to pick them up." Don't get your hopes up. I am not
dying yet. They had my prescription ready. And in the 'refills'
section, it said: 3.3. Yes. That is 3.3 refills. Like THAT isn't
going to cause trouble when I go back next month!

Oh, and I pay $8.00 for this medication, because it is generic.
The insurance company (of which I have TWO, mind you) does
not pay a red cent. So why do the insurance companies have a
say in whether I can get it. I'M the one paying!!!

This was disturbing. #2 son and I waited in line at Wal*Mart
because I ain't about to scan and bag my own groceries. We
were behind a man/wife/toddler girl with a cart of water and
soda and not too much else. The cart in front of them had
some issue, because the cashier turned on her flashing red-light
special kind of check-out lane number thingy. I was not about
to move to another line.

We crept forward. I had to argue with #2 son for 5 minutes
because he wanted a Push-Pop. No. I hate the slimy things.
Then he wanted a Baby Bottle Pop. No. They are slimy things
with the added bonus of powdery powder. Finally, he settled
on a mini can of Pringles. As I pushed the cart aside to get the mini
Pringley goodness off the shelf, my foot slipped in something.
Something dark brown. Something that had been tracked though
by feet and cart wheels. Something I did not want on the bottom
of my shoe. #2 wanted out of the cart to sit on a bench and cross
his legs like an old man and play his GameBoy. I told him no, he'd
step in that mess.

"Maybe it's icing, Mom." It did look a bit like fudge icing. I lifted the
boy out, after he swore he would not step in it. Then I got a whiff. It
was no icing I wanted on any cake of mine! It was POO!!! Right in
the Wal*Mart aisle! How freakin' nasty can people be? Did someone
change a diaper? Did a kid pull aside the underwear and drop a turd?
HOW did this nasty mess get here?

The cashier asked me to put a Lane Closed sign up for her. Another
blue-vested Wal*Mart clone called across the self-serve check-outs,
"What's that smell?" And my cashier said, "That's why I'm closed."
Eeewww! One more reason to hate Wal*Mart.

Come on people. It's not hard to please Hillbilly Mom. Unpack your
own suitcase. Refill my legal prescription medication so I don't die.
Allow me to shop for groceries without stepping in sh*t.

Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

DamagedDorsal Hill and Wreck

Movie review time at the Mansion! Grab some popcorn, a Sonic
Cherry Diet Coke, some SnoCaps, and start kicking the seat in
front of you. Oh, and that will be $18. Lucky for you you're in the
midwest, and this is a rush hour show.

My first movie is Brokeback Mountain. I watched the Oscars.
(No trademark thingy for me! Everything is up for grabs at the
Mansion!) I read Entertainment Weekly. People have been
moaning that BBM was robbed of the Oscar by Crash. That
will be my other review. Having not seen either movie at the
time of the Academy Awards, I did not know what to make of
this Oscar-stealing talk. Except that I made pretty darn sure I
had an alibi.

This past weekend, I watched BBM on DVD. The scenery
was breathtaking. By that, I mean real purty, not like the
"breathtaking" remark of that Seinfeld doctor in the Hamptons
when he referred to the ugly baby and Elaine. Let me just say
that I was not terribly impressed with the movie.

I kept waiting for something to happen. After all the talk of it
being cutting-edge in its subject matter, I guess I was expecting
some kind of pr0n. I was sorely disappointed. I was not buyin'
it. Oh, I could believe that cowboys yada yada yada-ed the
summer away on the range. But there were some things I didn't
understand. If you haven't seen it, this won't make much sense
to you. If you don't want it spoiled for your viewing, LOOK

Things that confused me: at the beginning, I couldn't figure out why
Heath kept clutching his sack lunch, and why he wouldn't look at
Jake while they were waiting to ask for a job. I suppose that sack
was meant to be his extra shirt, what with the end and all. I don't
get the not looking at each other. Still.

Why did Heath start a fight with Jake when they packed up to
go back down the mountain. Sure, he wanted to stay another
month to get his fill of the man-lovin', but why take it out on
his butt-buddy? Was he ashamed, and this is how he resolved
the issue? Like, 'I ain't no queer, he made me do this, and by
golly I'm gonna slug him one.' Or was it his only way of showing
his emotions? Or did he want to let Jake know not to tell anybody
about the love that dare not speak its name? I didn't understand
what that little fight was all about.

Next issue: if Heath was so paranoid about somebody finding out,
why did he run out and grab Jake's face and kiss him right out in
front of his apartment? Sure, they went back on the steps...but
anybody could have walked out. Even his butt-ugly wife saw him.
I don't think he would have done that out in the open. Even after
5 years of not seeing his secret lovahhhh.

Another issue: all you guys who have a wrestling/shirt-slapping
psuedo-fight without your shirts on while you are in sheep-herding
camp...that is a sign that you're gay, so make sure nobody is
watching you through binoculars, cause he won't hire you again
next year.

And another: don't you think somebody who goes so far as to
plan a fishing get-a-way every year would at least think to bring
home some fish? Not our Heath. He kind of reminded me of
Jude Law in Cold Mountain, in that he carried that quiet guy
thing a bit too far, and seemed to me a bit mentally retarded.

Yet another: I am so sure he would have gone to that creepy
house to ask Jake's creepy dad for the ashes, like he had some
right to them.

So in conclusion, I am not thinking this movie got robbed of the
Best Picture Oscar. Nothing much happened. I don't see how
it was groundbreaking. Other movies have had two men kissing.
Like Harry Hamlin and Michael Ontkean way back in the early
1980s in Making Love. And that was kind of false advertising,
too, because there was not any actual making of love in that movie.

I was not impressed by BBM, because nothing much happened.
WooHoo! The climax was two shirts on the same hanger. Stop my
racing heart! Isn't that groundbreaking! Not buying it, folks.
Highly overrated.

Next up, Crash. OK, so I only saw about the first hour of it for
free on Showtime. It had much more going for it than BBM. First
of all, it had all the stereotypes I hear from my students every day.
And, I really, really, like Matt Dillon. It must be a teenage thing.
Ever since Little Foxes and The Outsiders, I've enjoyed me some
Mr. Dillon. Not his brother, Kevin. He has a pig-nose. Nope,
Matt's my man. And let's not forget his First Degree of Kevin
Bacon movie, Wild Things. Even though Mr. Bacon himself was
swingin' home the bacon at the end of that show.

Enough with the digression lesson. Crash was much more intriguing
that BBM. So much so that I might try to find it again on Showtime
and watch the second half. Even though the one thing I am not
really likin' about it is Thandie Newton. I can not forgive her for
breaking up Carter and Abby on ER. Fie on you, Ms. Newton.
No matter what movie you're in, or how great you are, I will not
put up with your Carter-stealin' ways. Even though I don't really
like Carter, and he had ZERO chemistry with Abby...but still, YOU
broke them up, and for that you must pay the price. The petty wrath
of Hillbilly Mom.

And while I'm getting worked up over things that upset me, let me
pick a bone with my teaching buddy, Mabel. Mabel sold me some
Walnut Chocolate Chip cookie dough for $7. I don't bake cookies
with it, mind you, but eat it raw. My #1 son likes it too. We are
keeping it from my Hillbilly Husband because, well, what he doesn't
know won't hurt him, and from #2 son because it's probably not
good for a child of his tender age to be consuming raw cookie
dough, even though it's pasteurized. The problem is that Mabel
said she had two boxes of it left, and I said I'd probably take
another one. AND SHE SOLD IT! Right out from under me, she
sold it to another teacher! For shame, Mabel! Don't you know
that now I am hooked. I must have my daily allotment of dough.
Without it, I will wither away and die. Granted, it will take 2.4
billion years, but still...I NEED IT!

I have to go now. The cookie dough is calling to me from the freezer
"It's cold in here, Hillbilly Mom! Take a couple of us out and warm
us in your mouth!" OK. The dough has spoken.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

I have come to expect certain behaviors from my DoNots, but
sometimes even they surprise me.

Today, for instance, I was helping Mum with math. By 'helping',
I really do mean helping. He is not one to ask for help and then
stare around the room while I work it out. He actually works
through it with me, but takes a few tries to get it independently.
Out of the blue, he said, "I think Mr. K is a fag."

Stop that! That's how rumors get started. You have no right to
say that, and you can't say 'fag'. It's a hate word.
What did he say?
He said Mr. K is a fag.
That's stupid.
No way.
You're all right. Why would you even say such a thing, Mum?
Because in his wallet, he has a picture of a cat instead of his wife.

Now this is quite odd, because I doubt Mr. K ever opened his
wallet in front of Mum. And weeks ago, the DoNots were all
talking about how Mr. K had such a 'hot wife'. They couldn't
believe a 'nerd' could get such a woman. I advised them all to
become nerds, so they would have some hope. Because none
of them have girlfriends.

At lunch, when Mr. K asked me if I'd cured Mum of his Mumness
yet, I informed him of his new sexual orientation.

I know. It's all because of the cat.
I don't have a picture of a cat in my wallet! He's never even seen
my wallet! What's he talking about?
Do we EVER know?
I've already had his class today. I wish I'd known that then. I'm
going to throw my wallet on his desk and say, "There. Look
through every picture. Do you see any cats?
He'll just say you took it out because I told you.
I'm going to call him on it. He can't be saying things like that. The
little c*cks*cker!
No. That would be you.

Ahhh...good times.
And while we're on this subject, the very next class had the
opposite reaction to the 'fag' issue. A 10th grade guy was going
to the prom with this girl. He'd already paid about $150 for his
tux and stuff. Then the girl told him she was taking somebody
else. And to hear him tell it, she was sneaky about it. She had
already turned in the new date on the list to be checked out to
see if he could attend. Then after that deadline had passed, she
told 10thGradeGuy she was no longer going with him. So he
was out quite a bit of money.

Then he devised a plan where a senior girl, who was taking a
senior boy, could still buy a ticket for a date, since her date
qualified to buy his own, being a senior and all. 10thGradeGuy
had it all worked out. He said, "The only thing is, they will write
me on the list as going with SrGirly, and I'm sure not going with
her. Then SeniorGuy, one of my DoNots in the same class as
10thGradeGuy, said:

Hey. I have an extra ticket, because I'm not taking anyone.
You can pay me for my ticket, and Girly won't have to buy
one. That way I can get rid of mine, too.
Yeah. That'll work. Can I go talk to Prom Sponsor?
Sure. She should be able to approve that.
I'm not going to the prom with SrGirly...I'm going with SeniorGuy!

Then he thought of how that sounded. The whole class cracked
up. When the two guys went to get the plan OKed, another
guy, 10thAlso, said:

When SeniorGuy gets back, I'm going to ask him if he'll come
back next year and go to prom with ME!
Haha! Do it!
I don't know if I can keep a straight face.
If you can't, I'll ask him for you.

About 5 minutes after they returned, 10thAlso leaned over
and said earnestly,
SeniorGuy, will you go to my prom with ME next year?
I'll be glad to.

This was funny, because these guys were not poking fun or
sashaying about the room. They were just joking about the
situation, no malice intended. They were not insecure in their
identities, did not have to ridicule, did not say 'fag'. Which is
a sign of progress, maybe, in our homophobic redneck culture.

Maybe I should warn them not to put a picture of a cat in their

Monday, April 10, 2006

Hacking Headless Chickens and Their Livers

OK, so maybe I should have used punctuation. It is more striking
without it, don't you think? It's all about the sensational headlines,
people. Would you really want to read about Hacking, Headless
Chickens, and Their Livers? Well...there's no accounting for some
people's tastes.

I was minding my own business this morning, and by that I mean
I was digging frantically around in my teacher tote bag for some
requisition forms that I had carefully put where I could find them,
and one of my trusty DoNots alerted me to some funny business
concerning my computer.

"Mrs. Hillbilly Mom! Your computer is going wild." I quickly
looked up to see if my computer was lifting her wallpaper, flashing
us a little sumpin' sumpin'. Nope. But I'd lost the generic Windows
XP wallpaper that looks like a green green Teletubbies field, and
had gone to basic blue. And there were fewer icons, too. Dum
de de dum! As we watched, the start menu opened. Then it went
to My Computer. You hear that people? My computer went to
My Computer with nobody touching it. I watched (from a safe
distance) to see what this unruly machine would do next. It was
dropping down menus all over the place.

Then I figured out that somebody was installing the gradebooks
program I had requested after my other computer crashed. One
little DoNot, who fancies himself a computing guru, said:

Don't you know what's happening?
Yeah. Somebody is remote-accessing my computer and installing
gradebooks. My son used to remote access people's computers
all the time to try and fix their problems. Way back when he was
9, and that kind of thing interested him.
Umm...Don't you know what that is?
Yeah. I saw him do it.
Uhh...that is hacking.
I don't think so. He called them and told them to turn on their
computers and do something that allowed him remote access.
It's still hacking.
Well, they asked him to do it. And I asked for gradebooks.
OK. If that's what you think.
It's what I know.

During bus duty, another DoNot tried to impress me with his
vast store of scientific knowledge.

Do you how long a chicken stays alive after you cut its head off?
I don't know. A couple hours?
No. The longest one was 4 years.
I don't think so. How did it eat?
Ensure. The guy poured Ensure down the chicken's neck.
No way.
Yeah. It's true.

My boys got off the bus. I told #1 the story on the way to the car.

He's wrong, Mom.
The record for a chicken to survive without a head was 2 years
4 months. It's in the Guiness Book of World Records.

Apparently, I stand corrected.

At the teachers' lunch table today, my four male dining companions
discussed the best bait for various types of fish.

I like Catalpa worms. They are the best for catching bass. It's all
I use. They used to get all over my grandpa's trees. You could
climb up and shake the tree and get about a thousand. We caught
them on a tarp, and froze them. I still have some in my freezer.
Wheaties and grape jelly are good.
I like to use corn for carp.
Chicken livers are good for catfish.
I'd rather use chicken hearts. They stay on the hook better.
I know it sounds stupid, but did you ever use Special Kitty
catfood for catfish?
Oh yeah! The kind that's like a little ring? You put one on each
point of the treble.
I've always had good luck with regular stinkbait. One time, just
after I got married, I didn't know it, but some of it had gotten up
under the car seat. That car stunk SO BAD! I didn't know what
it was for a long time. It got worse and worse.
We did that at Wal*Mart. Another guy and I put some down in
the paint mixer machine. People would walk back through the
Hardware department with their shirts up over their noses, gagging.
We knew what it was, though. Man, did that stink!

Yes, people. That was my lunchtime conversation. And to think
these are the guys who did not appreciate a good Free-Hot-Tub-
and-Hairwad story!