Redneck Review

Friday, September 30, 2005

Part 2-Politics in the Unemployment Office

All the people that worked with me at the Unemployment Office
had to take a state merit test to get the job. They call the people
with the highest scores. So nobody there was dumb. I did not
especially want people to know that I had been teaching for several
years before I took this job.

Apparently good ol' Bob, my supervisor had told everyone about
me before I reported for work. Because I would overhear Alice
and her crony Eileen the temp saying things like "well, she has a
degree" while they were looking at me over the tops of their half-
glasses. Now I wasn't puttin' on airs. I would have preferred they
didn't know. Alice would dump a day's worth of PI folders on me,
and say, "I don't have time, could you file these for me?" I didn't
mind. I figured she had been there longer, and I could stand to pay
some dues. These things were filed by SS#, so you had to put them
all in order, then find the file drawer where they went. That little
plan backfired when Bob started paying me overtime to do the
filing when I waited after work for my Hillbilly Husband to pick
me up. So then Alice would answer the phones after the receptionist
of the day came off the desk, and transfer all the calls to me. Or to
Shirley, because she started the same day I did. Or to Paul, because
she flat-out didn't like him. We played along with this little game. The
trick was to be really friendly with the caller, and offer to look up
his claim on the CRT. The longer you were on the line, the fewer
calls you had to take.

We got a new guy named Judd who told everyone he had 3 degrees.
We were not impressed. In fact, Alice said, "Then why are you
working here?" Judd lived at home with his mother, even though
he was in his mid-30s. He looked kind of like that TV guy
Christopher Lowell. He once accused me of telling him to "get off
his f***ing a$$ and call some G**d*** PIs." That went all the way
to the office manager, on a day I was on vacation. Filthy coward!
That is not my style, as anybody who knows me personally would
attest. I prefer to snipe about people behind their backs, and avoid
confrontation. So they put a note in my file because of the complaint,
while the little liar got away with it. The claims supervisor, Al, said
he believed me completely, but that they had to do something due
to Judd's complaint. I think they were afraid Judd would pull the
gay card and make a big stink. His motive was to get out of doing
PIs, because he was a claims technician, but everyone started training
by doing PIs. This did not go over well with my carpool driver, Paul
who was the type who would have said such a thing to Judd if he had
been working with him that day. Alice put aside her dislike for Paul
and agreed, and vowed to "fix that little prick."

Claims technicians made a little more money, and their main duty
was to adjudicate claims. That means they called the employer and
the claimant, and decided which one was telling the truth, and whether
the claimant got unemployment with no DQ, or if there were a certain
number of weeks penalty before he could get it. Within 6 months, they
had an opening in that department, and Bob promoted me.

My new boss was Larry, who looked like a flesh & blood Ned Flanders.
He was very calm, and had a good idea of what was really going on.
We had a couple of prima donnas in that department. Larry kept them
in line. Our desks were at the back of the office, behind the claims
deputies. We wore headsets because we were on the phone all day.
Each morning we got a list of calls to make during certain time periods.
We had to pull the file, call, and write determinations. Our name went
on the decisions, so some claimants would call and ask to talk to
specific people. They were usually irate because they had been DQed.
You had to explain how that decision was reached, and tell them they
could file an appeal. Much of the day was spent waiting for employers
to call back. We left the headsets on, because you never knew when
you would get a call, and you could just plug in to any phone that was
close. The receptionists knew not to give general calls to people wearing
the headsets, because they were on calls that day.

Judd sat right in front of me. He always wore his headset, even on days
when his duty was mail, or purging files, or filing appeals. Alice had
waited for her revenge, and as soon as he finished his training with the
deputies, she gave all calls to him after the receptionist left. He answered
them the first couple of days. Then he complained to Larry. Larry told
him that was part of his job. Then the rest of us started getting calls, while
Judd didn't. I went up front to consult Alice, who by this time was nice to
me because I did my job well. Alice said, "I am sending them to him.
Why doesn't he pick up?" The call would go back to the front desk, and
some of the Job Service people would intercept them, and look back
at who wasn't talking, and send the call to us. When several of us got
calls specifically asking for "Judd," we knew he was not answering.
Alice called Larry, who walked over to Judd's cubicle and turned up
the volume on his phone. "You've got to keep this where you can
hear it. You're missing calls." Judd acted like how did that happen?
Then the next day he did the same thing. This time, Alice hollered
across the office: "I think Judd needs to turn his phone up!" Larry
went in again, and he was not happy. He sternly told Judd that the
phone volume was not to be turned down, consider that a warning.
Judd was really pissy after that. He would try to go file or make
copies, but he would have to run back to his phone, because Alice
still sent them. She would even tell callers, "Let me transfer you to
our technician, Judd. He will be happy to help you." Then if a call
went back, they would say they were on hold for Judd. Alice was
a freakin' genius. If she was on your side.

Tomorrow, I might explain what a United Nations of Misfits this
office was. Or I might do something completely different. Depends
on the buzz I get from my Sonic Cherry Diet Coke.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

The Unemployment Office

No, don't worry about me. I haven't been fired. Redneck Diva left
a comment yesterday to leave my work at work. Bossy little vixen,
isn't she? Anyone who has ever been a teacher knows that is impossible.
It is kind of a stressful job. In fact, I got fed up with it one time, paid
off my car and my house (hey, it was a $17, 900 house) and quit.
That's right. I couldn't take the heat, so I jumped out of the kitchen
and into the fire. That's the kind of thing my Hillbilly Mama would say.
She kind of mixes things up. Like that movie, Death Becomes Her,
was referred to as She Looks Good Dead. But I digress.

I quit. We didn't have the two boy young 'uns yet, just my Hillbilly
Husband's boys on the weekends. I figured I could find any old kind
of job that was better than driving 60 miles one-way to work, and
bringing home stuff that kept me up until 11:30-12:00. I landed a
job at Casey's General Store for 6 weeks, but that's another story.

I took some state merit tests, and was called for an interview with
the Missouri Division of Employment Security. It is really the
unemployment office, but we weren't allowed to call it that. They
hired me, and guess what! It was in St. Louis. A 60 mile drive one-
way. I started thinking this was not such a good idea, since I was
making about $2000 a year less.

Once I got to working, I loved it. THE WORK DID NOT COME
HOME WITH ME! When work was over, I didn't think about it
until 8:00 the next morning. Not even 7:59. I didn't mind the drive.
HH and I rode together and he would drop me off. He worked a
few miles away. When he took a job closer to home, I found a work
buddy to ride with.

I should not have liked this job. It was back in the day when Old
Bush ruled the land. Since so many people were out of work, with
not many good jobs to be had, Old Bush gave the masses extended
unemployment. That meant they got another 13 weeks of benefits
after their original 26. Those union guys were in deadbeat heaven.
They had to make ONE contact per week looking for work--their
union hall. The others knew how to play the game, which was plain
to see when their job search was in alphabetical order. They just
looked in the yellow pages and wrote down employers and phone
numbers. Remember George Costanza and Vandelay Industries?
It was like that, without the private office for that woman worker.
Out attitudes were pretty much like hers, though.

My job was to take PIs or to take new claims. We alternated by
how the supervisor assigned us. Usually 3 deputies (my title, not
law enforcement) and 2 temps would take the PIs, or personal
interviews. To do this, we'd take a work search log out of the
basket at the reception desk, call the person's name, and take
them to our cubicle. There we would punch in the SS# on a CRT,
review the work search log, update the file, and send them on
their way for another 4 weeks. The key was to listen and see if
they'd disqualify themselves by admitting to working for cash one
day, or being home sick. The sure way to start a riot was to pull
the PIs from the top of the rack, not the bottom. People had to
wait over an hour, sometimes two, thanks to Old Bush. We could
do a PI in about 5 minutes.

Taking new claims required calling a number, like waiting in a
bakery. Some people came in for a number, went to the bar
across the street, and called in every so often to see what number
we were on. New claims could suck the life right out of you,
especially an interstate claim. They were not on computer. You
had to use at least 4 forms, sometimes more, depending on the
state. Each one was different. We had a file of all 49 other states.
The Illinois claims were breaking our backs. We were on South
Broadway, a hop skip and a jump from Illinois. People had the
right to file in any office, though the claim was based on the state
where wages were paid. They liked ours, because they said we
were nicer than the downtown office on Washington Ave. We
had a worker, Alice, who would tell the Illinois people: "If you
were smart, you would go file this in Illinois. They can do it on
their computer and it will be faster." She was right. It could be
2-3 weeks faster. Of course they did not want to say: "I'm not
smart, so I want you to do it." Alice held the record for getting
rid of Illinois claims.

We had a temp, Cliff, who was ex-Army. He was very professional
and very thorough. One day Cliff called a number, and the guy
jumped up and begged to trade with anyone. A guy 20 numbers
behind traded, and the original guy still got out ahead of Cliff's
claimant. Cliff liked to take a nap on his 15 minute break. Under
the table in the break room. He would lie down, set his watch
alarm, and cross his hands over his chest like a corpse. It was
quite unnerving if you didn't know Cliff had gone into the break
room ahead of you. Our supervisor, Bob, was the closest thing
to a friend that Cliff had. Bob was ex-Air Force, and admired
Cliff's work. Paul, my ride, was also ex-Air Force and told Bob:
"I'd do great work too, if I only talked to 7 claimants a day."

The penalty for being good at your job was that you got stuck
doing PIs on Mondays and Tuesdays. The people who had
worked there longer took to dragging their feet, so they got
to do new claims. Our best team was Paul, Shirley, me, and
our temp Lynnette. We usually got stuck with Cliff, but we
worked around him. Throw anyone else into our mix, and
it was ON! Oh, you want to be slow? I'll be slower. You've
only called 3 people? I'll wait until you catch up. Pity the poor
unemployed fool who came in on a day someone wasn't
pulling their weight. Good ol' Bob came to help us sometimes.
He was that kind of guy. He was also kind of albino, but that
was beside the point. He was from Minnesota, for crying out
loud. He didn't need melanin.

We lived for break time, when the smokers would light up
outside on the picnic table in the parking lot, and the non-
smokers would walk a block to the 7-11, being careful to
avoid the guy who pushed a lamp up and down the sidewalk
in a grocery cart. 7-11 had coffee, and Big Gulps, and banana
Slurpees. Not to mention Little Debbie cakes sold individually
for $.25. Our drawers were full of snacks. We were pretty
good about it, though Shirley swore that when she worked
downtown, a woman opened her drawer one day and took
out a slice of watermelon and started eating it.

We did not have any security guards at our office, but they did
downtown. We had a guy who worked for Probation and Parole,
and you could tell some of his clients. He had to get stern with
them. "Look, Buddy, it's 98 degrees outside and you have on
a jacket. Unless you just dislocated your shoulder, I'd say you
have a gun in there. You ever bring that back in my office, I will
report you." Because he was that kind of guy. He gave them a
chance. We never had any claimants go ballistic.

Tomorrow: office politics at the unemployment office. Please
come back and read it. I'm like Sominex. Read Hillbilly Mom

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Hillbilly Mutant Turtle Mom

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This is what my students think of me. I'm stylin' in my American
flag contacts and my imitation Dracula choker. Observe the rosy
glow in my cheeks that comes from wiggling my way into my
designer faux pineapple turtle shell. I know how to accessorize
too, what with my jet-black cape and my green-apple toenail
polish on my hooves. Cause I ain't got turtle feet no more--I had
the cosmetic surgery to remove those ugly claws. When I save
up more of my hard-earned moolah, I'm going to have that
unsightly green stump removed from my rump.

This is a picture that a student gave me. It had "To Mrs. Hillbilly
Mom, From So-and-So, Happy Halloween." So maybe it isn't
really an artist's rendering of moi. But you know, it's all about
ME ME ME, so I just assumed...And you know that when you
assume, you make an a$$ out of you and me.

What else do you know? Let's have a little test, shall we?
Let me answer for you: "Yes! Please! Give us a little test!"
Oh, all right, since you insist. Did you know that....

A rabbit with a hole in its head will sit in the road until a policeman
picks it up and puts it to the side?
Parking spaces marked "visitor" are for the teacher who gets to
school latest?
When disagreeing with allowing religious activities to be held at
school, it is proper to start the statement with: I am not a devil-
worshipper, but...?
Just because you have a secretary does not mean you are more
important than the rest of the help?
Pickles are made from cucumbers!
Black electrical tape holding the lens in your glasses is not a good
look on picture day?
If people stop talking when you enter the teachers' workroom, it
does not necessarily mean they are planning a surprise party for you?
Telling the teacher he is going to Hell because he is Catholic is not
considered polite?
Every now and then, a discussion of someone setting oneself
ablaze is hilariously funny, though a bit politically incorrect?
Slowing down to the speed limit because a kid in a 1970s model
Datsun is tailgating you will make him swerve wildly back and forth?
A Burger King soda left in the car overnight will leak out of its cup
and leave a stain on the floor mat, but the kid who left it will not
believe you and say: "Let's fill it with water and leave it in the sink,
and if the water has gone down in the morning, that means it did
leak out in the car" ?
The kid will never know if you pour the water out after he has gone
to sleep?

Put your names on your papers and bring them to my desk. Find
something to do quietly until everyone is finished.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Witness Protection Program

This is how my Hillbilly Husband takes a picture. No worries about
my kid being identified by "Fitty," the 55-gallon barrel killer. I barely
recognize him myself, except for the unstylish black shoes with white

This is #1 son. He belongs in the Kleptomaniac Protection Program.
I don't know where this kid stashes things. We have searched the
house numerous times. Somewhere there is a treasure trove of our
missing items.

What does the kid take? Would it be, oh, I don't, or
candy, or porn (not that we have any)? NO! Here is what has
disappeared, one by one, over the past couple of years:

12 pencil sharpeners
40 pencils
8 pairs of scissors
17 rolls of tape
5 fingernail/toenail clippers

Pencil Sharpeners-We started with the little plastic kind that you hold
over a wastebasket and turn your pencil to peel off shavings. Then
when those disappeared, we got the kind with a clear plastic flip thingy
to dump when it was full. Next was a kind like schools have, with a
handle, and a suction cup to hold it on a counter. Then came the battery
kind where you stick the pencil in and it grinds itself. The latest version
are the small kind that are see-through plastic, and you push the pencil
in the hole and it grinds. My Hillbilly Mama even bought each boy one.
Now they are both gone, plus the one I bought to keep on the homework

Pencils-He must eat them. Or he thinks they are disposable. We finally
get one sharpened, and then it's gone. Then HH has to whittle one with
his pocket knife.

Scissors-Every year I buy each boy one for school. They bring them
home at the end of the year, and they're gone. Also, my orange-handled
Fiskars (2 pair) are gone. Even the one I've had since before I married
HH. And my heavy steel black-handled scissors, and my imitation black-
handled Wal-mart counterfeit Fiskars. The ones in the kitchen drawer
are AWOL. What's the kid doing, performing surgery?

Tape-Heaven help you if you need to tape something around the
Hillbilly Mansion. I buy a 4-pack of Scotch tape, and all that is left
is the cardboard holder. I had to glue wrapping on a birthday party
gift. Santa gets discouraged when he's got a lot of wrapping to do
at 3:00 am. Is #1 son making a mummy on the sly?

Fingernail/Toenail Clippers-Eeewww! This is not normal. Not to gross
you out, but nobody else could have taken them. HH and I do our
clipping in the master bathroom, with our feet propped on the big
triangle bathtub. We clip #2 son's nails. This is done by commanding:
"Go get the clippers! Now take them back!" #1 clips as the mood
strikes him. Or when I say, "That is nasty. Look at your big ol'
woman-fingernails." He leaves the clippers lying around until we
command him to put them away. So now he must be hiding them.
In the last 2 months, we have lost 2 giant toenail clippers, 2 regular
fingernail clippers, and a pair of baby fingernail clippers with little
balloons painted on them. All we have left is a plain pair of tiny baby
fingernail clippers.

This kid is 10 years old. He is headed for a life of crime. Oh, not the
good stuff, like embezzling a fortune. The petty stuff. White collar
crime. Pilfering staples and paperclips and post-its and pens from
work. Hardly worth the effort, boy. If you do the crime, make sure
crime pays.

DISCLAIMER: Do not steal. It is wrong. It is very wrong. Even if you
get A LOT of money. Do not do it. You will get caught. You will have
to go to trial and have a bunch of freaking idiots on the jury.

Monday, September 26, 2005


We had quite a shock this evening as I was preparing supper. By that
I mean I was eating the pepperoni off #2 son's Little Caesar's $5.00
pizza while he ran down to the basement fridge to fetch a mini Sierra
Mist. The boy returned empty-handed.

Where is your soda? (Gotta get all the food groups, you know.)
I couldn't get one loose from the ring thing. Oh, and there is a giant
worm down there.
A big worm. It is by the TV.
#1! Go get your brother a soda. You were supposed to take them
loose from the plastic, so now you have to get it for him.

This got no argument from #1 son. Verrrrry unusual. No doubt, he
wanted to see the worm. He ran down and got the soda.

Hey! There's no giant worm down here!
Yes there is. Look on the rug by the TV.
Is it like a fishing worm?
No. It is shiny.
Does it have legs?
I don't know.
Is it slimy?
No, just shiny. It is crawling.

He came running up the steps, squealing like a little girl. Then he
grabbed his camera and took off back to the basement. Nerd.
He snapped a pic and brought it to me, because I refused to go
down there or even look.

I called my Hillbilly Husband, who had just left work for the 40
minute drive home. He would know what to do.

Is it a snake?
Is it moving? You better watch it or it'll get away.

No way was I watching that thing for 40 minutes. I got a glass
sun-tea jug. #1 said, "That won't fit."
I got a glass soup bowl.

Can't you get a plastic one?
Yeah. If you want it to get away!
Get the glass one!
It's a good thing you didn't step on it. Then you would get the heart
and the colon and the organs all over your foot.

#1 took the bowl and trapped the worm. Then he said it was moving.
Nobody would go back downstairs. We could see the bowl through
the stairwell. HH got home and his buddy, Buddy, called. "Get off the
freakin' phone! You can call him back!"

HH picked up the worm with his bare hands. That's what he is good
for. Buggy things and cleaning up vomit. He held it in his palm. "It's
just a rolie-polie bug." MY A$$! It was a rolie-polie bug four inches
long, curled up like one of those big colorful lollipops on a wooden
stick. Only he was battleship gray. And probably not so tasty.

HH waltzed him around the kitchen, near my food, and then took
him out to the porch to set him free. What's this world coming to?
Climb into the handbaskets, people, for the long slow ride to HELL.
Can we not even kill a BUG anymore?

Here he is in all his glory, crawling across our 2 x 6 porch
boards. So he can come back in, I guess.

I know it is a millipede. This is as good as any textbook photo.
Props to my 10-year-old photographer. So I know it's not a
bug, it's an arthropod. I used to teach science for cryin'
out loud! These things are creepy. I do not want them in
my house. There is a mysterious case of the open basement
door that I have yet to investigate. I will keep you posted.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hillbilly Momfeld's Breezeway

Time for a picture. I have been boring myself to sleep lately. I don't
have anything to talk about, so I will go on and on about nothing. I
fancy myself to be the Seinfeld of the blog world. A blog about
nothing. Alas, I am not talented enough to claim that title. So I shall
call myself Hillbilly Momfeld.

This is a picture of our breezeway, between the side porch and the
garage. I took this photo because it was raining, but you can't really
see it. What you can see is all the junk my Hillbilly Husband has
accumulated on that potter's bench or whatever he calls it. I call it
a junk collector. Let's see what's on it, shall we?

The first thing I notice is the cat. She is not a permanent fixture. She
only appears when she hears people. Because to her, that means
FOOD. Notice that she is right next to 3 jugs of Meow Mix. We
buy the giant bags and pour it in those jugs so we can demand that
#1 son feed them. Normally, these jugs are in the garage. I guess
we are running a self-serve food bar now.

On top of the extra shelves to collect more junk are two cannisters
of fish food. These are for the overgrown goldfish in our hillbilly
fishpond. The cats like to eat the fish food, so they knock them
off all the time. That allows the neighbor's dog to run off with them.

Next we have an empty goldfish bowl with blue rocks. There are
3 stacks of empty flower pots. The big white thingy is a rotisserie
that my grandma gave us for Christmas 3 years ago that didn't
work. I think Grandma was a re-gifter. HH fixed it, and we use
it on occasion to roast Save-A-Lot cornish hens, which HH calls
"little chickens." Our yellow and white bad cooler is at the end.
A redneck can never have too many coolers. That's why we keep
them even if the lid is broken and the inside is cracked.

The bottom level has 2 Power Wheels batteries that do not work.
Duh. Our kids are 7 and 10, their Power Wheels Jeep days are long
gone. I think maybe we could get rid of the nonworking batteries.

Down there by the black tuxedo-looking cat, there is a cannister of
some type of cleaner. HH brought it home from work. I guess he is
waiting for one of the kids or animals to eat it. He is not very safety-
conscious. That blue flower pot was in the fishpond holding the
pump. Which must mean that the pump is not working now.

The long troughs are for feeding the cats. Four eat out of one, and
the anti-social long-haired white calico inappropriately named "Snuggles"
dines alone from the other one. That box with a hole in it is our cathouse.
I know. HH said he wanted to build a cathouse. Imagine my relief when
this is what he came up with.

Hanging from the porch ceiling is a twisty-thingy my grandma gave
us that is made from a 2-liter soda bottle. It is one of 3. Hmm...
Anybody into numerology? I am afraid to find out what all these
2s and 3s are about.

That tiger cat in the foreground was the runt of the litter. Then one
day he started eating. He wouldn't leave until he ate the last crumb.
He grew and grew, and now he is the bully. His name is Simba,
and he has a face full of scars from trying to bully Snuggles, who
is not from his litter, and is having none of it.

The brick sidewalk is made of bricks from the road behind our
old house. The city put in a blacktop road, and HH and our backyard
neighbor told them to pile up the bricks in our yards. We hauled
them out here, and HH built this brick sidewalk at the side and front
of the house. Problem is, they grow moss and are quite slippery.
These have moss. They are on the north side of the house. I never
believed that thing about moss growing on the north side of a tree,
either. The front sidewalk does not grow moss. Go figure.

Lastly, we have part of HH's rock garden. He had to buy a couple
truckloads of lava rock for the base. Then he scavenged some rocks
from my grandma, who belongs to a rock club. He has some petrified
wood and some fossils, and, well, just a bunch of rocks.

The big puddles on the porch and sidewalk are from the rain. Not
because the 5 cats and 1 dog got together for one big circle-pee.

Oh, and lest I forget--the Christmas lights stay up all year long. (Ha!
My mind was wandering and I typed 'all year wrong.') Yep. It's
not a redneck house without the permanent Christmas lights.

There now. Aren't you nice and snoozy and ready for bed? Oh, I hope
no one was reading this at work. Yeah. Hillbilly Momfeld. You could
bottle me and sell me as a sleep aid.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

When To Give Up

Here's another post that could be controversial. Depends which
side of the educational fence you are on. And I don't mind one bit
to end a sentence with a preposition, or start a sentence with and.
Or use sentence fragments. But that's not what this post is about.

At our Inservice yesterday, we got into a discussion of how much
we should try to help the kids who don't respond or make any effort.
We talked about a plan to hold middle school kids accountable for
their grades. They don't have the joy of learning found in elementary
kids, and we can't hold credits over their heads like we do with the
high school kids.

The sample plan is an afterschool program for kids failing two or
more core classes. They would have to go twice a week, from 3:00
to 5:00. One teacher would supervise. Core teachers would come
in for 30 minutes each day. Transportation home would be provided.
Those who don't show up as scheduled would receive in-school
suspension. Sounds good, right? But we were asked to play the
Devil's Advocates. To think of arguments why this program might
not fly.

Devil One pointed out that teachers should not have to stay after
school to raise other people's children. It has become a never-ending
task. We feed them breakfast, lunch, and supper. When are we
supposed to raise our families? Our kids go to bed at 8:00 pm. If
we work until 5:00, then we have to drive home, make supper,
check homework, give baths, etc. Why should we have to take
time away from our own kids? Many people entered teaching not
only to help kids, but to have time to raise their own families.

Devil Two said that the program would entail a lot of teacher hours
for the same few kids who are always going to refuse to do work.
As an example, suppose this was a military operation. Why should
we risk 25 men to save two? Especially when the two may not even
want to be saved, and if saving them was virtually impossible. What
if the odds that the two coming back to the world and leading lives
productive to society were almost zero? Why risk all that manpower?

Devil Three asked how many kids we have who would rather be
at school than at home. At school they would get attention. At home,
there may not even be anyone else there. Would some kids continue
to fail just so they could get attention after school?

Devil Four said that the teacher would be nuts by 5:00, what with
having 3 grade levels and 4 subject areas, which means possibly
12 different lessons to help with. (Hey, I do that every day. And
we all know I'm looney. But you get used to it.)

Devil Five questioned that since no late work is accepted, how
can students progress without a foundation in the subject (such as
math or language) when the teacher will be too busy to give remedial

Devil Six pointed out that this task should not be wished on your
worst enemy. It will be like a detention camp, because the kids will
be the ones who refuse to work in the normal classroom setting. Why
would they be good after school with one teacher, and all of their
trouble-making cronies to entertain?

Devil Seven said that it is unfair to expect teachers to do this for no
compensation. A few are on Career Ladder, and can use the hours.
Others have not taught long enough to be on Career Ladder. Why
should they have to do it for free?

Devil Eight pointed out that we already have programs to help the
kids who are behind. It is not our fault they do not respond. We
had tutoring 4 days a week after school last year, but the kids didn't
come. Teachers offer bonus work regularly, but the kids won't do
it. Why should we give them another chance that they won't take
advantage of?

Devil Nine asked if the school board would support the decision
if the student who had to attend on a game night was a star athlete.

Devil Ten asked if the teachers who gave a higher percentage of
failing grades would be questioned about their teaching methods.
What if the teachers lowered their standards, just so they wouldn't
have so many kids failing, so they wouldn't have to stay after to help?

Devil Eleven said, "I will do it if everyone else agrees that we should.
I would never refuse to do my part of the job, because it means that
another one of my colleagues would have to take up my slack."

So where should we draw the line? We can not save every student.
Society can not rehabilitate every criminal. A certain percentage are
just not going to fit into the mold. At what point should we cut our
losses and concentrate on the borderline kids who will make an
effort? How much more grease should we put on these squeaky
wheels? How many chances should they get? How many man-
hours should we devote to them?

As you can see, some good points were made. We are very good
at being Devils.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Who Is Special?

Here is one where I will step on some educational toes. Put on your
steel-toed boots, baby. I've worked myself into a rant.

We had a Teachers' Inservice Day today, with a guest speaker on
Special Education. She was very good. She believed in what she
was saying. She was a great advocate for the kids. She knew the
law. She raised some questions with me.

I have been a regular classroom teacher. I have taught elementary
PE through high school physics. And that was just in one school.
I have had my share of Special Education students. I have taught
PE to autistic students. One had no idea what she was doing, but
she was game. As long as she could sing her little song, she would
let us help her bat in softball, and fit in pretty well. This was 6th
grade, and the other students were very protective of her.

In the same school, I had an autistic 2nd grade boy. He functioned
a little better, but had great trouble with transitions. And he always
wore brown pointy-toed cowboy boots. Many a day my shins were
kicked by those boots, because he wouldn't want to come in from
PE. He would cry or scream like someone was murdering him while
kicking away at me. He had no aide (excuse me, paraprofessional,
with him). I had no choice but to pull him down the hall like a water-
skier. Hey, he had ahold of my arm, trying to pull me back outside. I
couldn't leave him or the other kids alone, so when we went in, he got
a ride down the hall powered by the SS Hillbilly Mom. I'm sure there
was a better way to handle it, but I did not know of one.

I also taught middle school science at another school, and had
seven BD students mainstreamed into my 7th hour class. Yeah,
7th hour. Most of them had never even had science before. That
is what gets left out, what with the reading and math and special
classes and all. But I had to have them all together so the self-
contained BD teacher could get her prep time. Sucked to be me.
Or the other students in that 7th hour science class.

So here is my gripe. At what point do we worry about the other
kids? The average kid who needs a fair shot at the teacher's
attention. Our speaker pointed out that some of her kids function
on the level of a 1- or 2-year-old. Someone asked why they are
allowed to go to school. Shouldn't they be functioning at the level
of a 5-year-old to attend? Nope. They have the legal right to attend
if they are chronologically 5 years old. She said she has kindergarten
and first grade. Only 4 of her 12 students are potty-trained. That
is one of her main goals for them, to be able to use the bathroom
by themselves by the time they get to high school.

I know parents want what is best for their kid. Our speaker said
she had an IEP meeting with 27 people present. About 7 of them
were lawyers. People know their rights, she told us. But at what
point do their rights infringe on others rights?

Here is my gripe. I have a kid who is gifted. Oh, but our school
had to cut out the gifted teacher due to budget problems. So for
four years now, no one has been tested for the gifted class. They
offered an after-school program for gifted, and my boy went two
days a week. But now they have only 2 students who were tested
and identified as gifted. So they are letting students into the after-
school program who have been recommended by their teachers.
My boy wants none of that. He says if they are letting anyone in,
it will not mean anything.

More of my gripe...How much do we spend on the other end of
the spectrum? We have Title I Reading and Title I Math. We have
MR and LD and BD and At-Risk and IEPs and 504s for others
who don't fit neatly into those categories. We have an after-school
remedial program that even serves supper. But where is the money
to help MY kid? Why should he be kept working at the level of the
"average" students? I have never told him his IQ, but it is definitely
above average. I will mention it a little later. I don't want him to see
it if he walks in while I'm typing this. When he was 9, he was reading
at 11th grade ninth month level. But they didn't have any books at the
elementary library for him. So he read 4th grade books for his
STAR Reader or Accelerated Reader or whatever it was that
they take computerized tests on. Sorry I don't know that elementary
reading program lingo. But he was consistently in the 99th percentile
and was not challenged at all.

Lucky for me he's a self-motivated kid. He was constantly on his
computer at home (when he wasn't taking it apart) looking up
stuff like the space-time continuum or reading technical computer
stuff. I got him subscriptions to computer magazines. But don't
you think that when a kid tests at one forty-eight, he should get
some type of special help to reach his potential? Maybe you don't.
But I do.

So don't go boohooing how these other kids need inclusion and
mainstreaming and least restrictive environment, or remediation to
get their test scores up, while leaving MY child to his own devices
to educate himself when he must be dying a slow death of
boredom on the inside while the school days slip away without
anybody shedding one little tear about helping him achieve his
potential. Is it fair to help one end of the spectrum but not the
other? Oh, but life isn't fair, is it?

He doesn't want me to make a big deal about this. He says, "Mom,
that will just make them take it out on me. Don't say anything."

Yeah, we have No Child Left Behind. Why can't we have
No Child Kept Behind.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

These People Are Nuts

I have had some odd encounters in the last few days. Let the games
begin, shall we?

Exhibit A: My Hillbilly Mama.
She does everything for me. She changed her plans so she could
pick up my kids and take them to the doctor on Monday and Tuesday.
She is keeping them all day tomorrow because school is out for an
inservice day. Today, she had to do my sister's dirty work...pick up
medicine for her 16-year-old daughter. The doctor told her it is over-
the-counter medicine, but that they might question her.

So why am I saying she's nuts? She called me at my lunchtime (have
I mentioned that it's at 10 freakin' 40 am?) and said she has never
been so embarrassed. She had to pick up some Drixoral at Walmart.
They demanded her driver's license. They may or may not have taken
a picture. She was kind of flustered. "I don't look very good today.
I haven't fixed my hair and it's all frizzy. I must look like one of those
people who makes the meth."

Exhibit B: Student
If I don't do any work at all and move, will the school send my missing
work to the new school?
No. But they will send your grades of 0% with your transcripts.
Oh. Why would they need that?
Because they average them with the work you won't do there.
Well, my brother did it, and that's the only way he graduated. They
never asked for his records.
That sounds odd. I have never heard of a school that doesn't want the
records and credits from the previous school.
If I move to another country, will they ask for my transcripts?
I don't know. Depends on the country, I guess.
(Note: never, ever, ask the country, because the answer will always,
always be "Amsterdam.")

Exhibit C: Student
Do you know those speed bumps over at the elementary school?
Yes, I am familiar with them. I drop my kids off there every day.
Well, my bus driver goes over them too fast, and it bounces us
around. I think it broke my rib.
I don't think the bus could have bounced enough to break your rib.
One time, I was riding a 4-wheeler too fast, and I knocked some
ribs out of place.
I don't think ribs can come out of place. They are attached.
Well, the doctor said they were out of place, and he stood behind
me and reached his arms around my arms, and popped them back
in place.
Maybe that was a chiropractor adjusting a spinal disc.
No, it was my ribs that popped out of place.

Exhibit D: Student
My grandpa had something wrong with his eyes one time. They
kept getting red and swelling shut. His doctor said he might have
Cat's Eye.
What is Cat's Eye?
It's when you have a lot of cats, and a piece of cat hair gets stuck
up under your eyelid, and you don't even know it's there.

Exhibit E: Student
Hey, do you know so-and-so?
Yes, I know who she is.
She's quitting school in two weeks.
Thanks for sharing.
On the last day, she's going to start a food fight during lunch.
Good to know.
Don't tell Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, stupid!
Too late. I've already got the secret information.

Bwahaha! Give them enough rope....

Sorry, Hillbilly Mama, for calling you "nuts." It is not referred to as
the meth, Mom. It is methamphetamine, or just meth. Not the meth.
Maybe tomorrow we will have a lesson about the pot. And if Sis
tells you she needs you to buy some cigarette papers for her son,
just say no.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My New Enemy

I have now let SBC off the hook for telling me nothing was wrong
with my phone and dragging out repairs for 2 weeks. They came
back a couple Saturdays ago and buried my new phone line in
its shallow grave. There were two guys who did it. They were
not wearing shirts. It was a good look for them.

My new enemy is UPS. The Unqualified People Shipping company.
With the little brown truck. Every time I get a package through them,
it is crushed and has been opened. WTF? At first, I thought maybe
Amazon recycled their used boxes. But that does not explain why
every package has been opened and taped back together. And not
very well, I might add. I could do a better job if I was snooping in
people's stuff. What gives? Only two things have ever been missing
in the last 5 years. One DVD never arrived at all, and the other had
a book missing from the box.

Here is the latest pain in my a$$. It has been crushed and it has
been opened. I took several pictures in case I get into a dispute
with You're dying to know what's in it, aren't you?
Should I make you wait until Christmas? Oh, OK. It's a scale.
Not an everyday spring scale. A $60 electronic scale. I do not
claim to be an expert on scales, but I do not think an electronic
scale should be subjected to such rough treatment. I haven't
opened it yet. There may not even be scales inside. It may be
that "Fitty" has given up on the 55-gallon barrels and is now
shipping body parts through UPS.

See, the whole reason for this scale is that we have a regular
spring scale, but it is not quite accurate. That is because my
hillbilly children see a spring scale, and think: Hey, a trampoline!
Watch me! Listen to it rattle! This is like that hammer thing at
the Labor Day Picnic! You know, the one where you hit it as

hard as you can, and see how high that thing goes! Look! I can
make myself weigh over 100! comes Mom! Get
off! Act like we weren't doing anything! And that is why this
scale is accurate within 12-15 pounds. It depends on where you
set it, and which way you lean.

These Unqualified People Shipping need to perfect their thieving
techniques. At least take off the whole piece of tape and replace
it. Don't try to sneak a peek and then drape the tape back almost
where it goes. Helloooo! I can see where you've ripped off the
cardboard with the tape. Try slitting the tape with a box cutter,
and then taping over it. That won't be as obvious.

I think I will order some honey bees. Do you think they would
escape if the box was opened?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Jeepers, Creepers, Shut Up About Them Peepers!

Yesterday was quite a day. At 10:30 the elementary school nurse
called to tell me that #1 son had been sitting outside her office for
30 minutes complaining that his eye hurt. Fine. I can't just jump up
and go get him. I had to wait until lunch, which I might or might not
have mentioned before, comes at 10 freakin' 40 am.

My Hillbilly Mama, our emergency plan, our personal shopper,
our surrogate caregiver, our indispensable go-to gal, had driven
to another county with her old lady friend to get a load of wood.
Because apparently the wood in our county isn't good enough for
them. And it is worth spending more on gas than on the price of
the wood.

So I had to pick up my own child from school, and bring him with
me for an hour, and then HM could get him and take him to the
doctor. After much squirting of the orange drops and rolling back
of the upper eyelid, the doctor discovered that there wasn't really
anything wrong. No scratched cornea. No conjunctivitis. But just
in case, she would give him two prescriptions: an antibiotic, and
an antihistamine. One is 3 drops four times a day. That means I
get to drive to the elementary during my lunch and torture the boy.

Oh, I might not have mentioned that I saw #1's eye was swelled
halfway shut when I took him to school. But hey, it wasn't red,
and it wasn't crusty. I thought maybe he whacked it on my fist, or
had something in it. And he did say that it felt like something was
in it. I figured the nurse could take a look at it. And when I accosted
her getting out of her car that morning, I said that if she needed to
send him home, I'd take him now, or need to know by 9:30.

Well, this morning, #2 son got up with a very small corner of his
eye looking kind of bloodshot. Since he hadn't been on a bender
the night before, I thought he must have rubbed it. I took him to
school, and it looked OK. What did stupid Hillbilly Mom tell the
boy? Let's say it together now: "Don't rub your eye." Of course,
the minute he climbed out of the car, he was rubbing a knuckle
into the eye socket.

That's right. The nurse called at 10:15 today about #2. Seems
that both eyes are red. Did I notice it this morning? You bet I
did. But I have duty selling tickets at the Middle School volleyball
game after school, and I can't be taking off to run him to the doctor.
Hillbilly Mama pulled through for me. She got him an appointment
after school, and picked him up. HooRah! Hillbilly Mama! I don't
know what I'd do without you. Probably raise my own family.

The doctor said #2 has an allergic reaction. The cure? Eyedrops.
So now I have whiny watery-eyed kids. I preferred them swollen
and red, without the whining.

Two doctor's visits: $40. Three prescriptions: $58. The assistance
of my Hillbilly Mama: a value far above rubies or pearls. In fact, I
could almost forgive her for only filling half of my pain prescription
when I had knee surgery. Almost.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Emmy and Some Stuff

I am a sucker for an awards show, so I camped out in front of the
Emmys for 4 hours last night. What's with the E! pre-show? That
Giuliana chick was cramping Kathy Griffin's style. Is that heifer
Star Jones so pissed off at Kathy that she can't even say, "Back
to you, Kathy?" I only saw an hour of this, so maybe I'm wrong.
I used to like Star Jones, but now she's messin' with my Kathy
Griffin, who is much funnier, and doesn't take herself so seriously.

I don't watch a lot of TV shows that were nominated, so I didn't
really care who won. But here are some opinions and comments.

How much did Doris Roberts pay someone to make this the
"Everybody Loves Doris" show? From the beginning, they had
her on camera dancing with an Earth, Wind, or Fire. They kept
cutting to her reactions.When she took her grandsons on stage
to accept her award, I thought she was drunk on her a$. She
slurred her words. Then I thought, well, maybe she just happened
to have some dental work done on the evening of the Emmys,
because hey, I have liked Doris Roberts since back in the day
when she was Mildred on Remington Steele. I called my Hillbilly
Mama on commercials to snark. I told her Doris looked drunk
to me, and she said, "Oh, my." Well, lo and behold, later when
the whole Raymond crew was up on stage, Ray made some
comment and ol' Doris replied, "That's because I've been drunk
since the wrap party." Told ya so, told ya so, told ya told ya
told ya so! (Doing Grace's dance.) Art immitates life. Ray knew
for 10 years she was a lush, and worked it into his routine.

I was very disturbed that not only did the guest appearance
Emmy winners not get to accept and give their thanks on the
program--they were expected to present awards to others.
That is just so wrong. My poor Ray Liotta deserved better.
Ray Liotta. The man who never ages. Who walks like something
is stuck to his leg.

Also disturbing was that Jeffersons "Movin' on Up" song sung
by Macy Gray. What's up with that? She didn't just look drunk.
She looked stoned out of her mind. Now, I am not a Macy Gray
fan, and don't know much about her. Does she always look like
that? That is one song that I would think the two people singing
it would look at each other. Nope. She looked down, or off to
the side. That Gary CSI guy grabbed her by the wrist near the
end. Then as soon as it was over, Macy yanked free and stalked
off. What's the deal? Am I the only one who noticed this?

And my final gripe...Why did they have to annouce "Felicity
Huffman is married to Emmy winner William H. Macy" when
she won? So what are they insinuating, that she couldn't have
won if she wasn't married to him? Have they announced something
like this for anybody else? I thought it was demeaning. It took
away her glory for winning.

Good job, Ellen. Let her host the Oscars. At least she is funny.
But what do I know, I liked David Letterman when he hosted.
The most unfunny guy who has ever hosted has to be Billy Crystal.
I do not think he is one little bit funny. I couldn't stand him on
Saturday Night Live (the pitiful years) and I can't stand him now.

And now, here is my favorite bit of Emmy-related trivia. Years
ago, Susan Lucci hosted Saturday Night Live. It was like her
13th Emmy nomination, and she had lost. The whole cast and
crew tried not to talk to her about it. Yet everywhere she turned
were the Emmy statues. David Spade was using them as cob-
holders to eat corn-on-the-cob. Kevin Nealon had one on a
gold chain around his neck. A crew member was using one to
hammer something with. Jan Hooks used one to prop up a short
leg on her make-up table. Susan Lucci was a good sport about
it. It was hilarious. Maybe you can see it on one of the E! reruns
of SNL. I think it was in the early 1990s.

And there you have it, my review of the Emmys. Because I am
so very qualified to comment on the entertainment industry.
All hail Hillbilly Mom, Redneck Connoisseurr of all things TV!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sunday Shopping

Today's shopping trip was not too eventful. #1 son and I took off
for Wal-mart, leaving #2 under the not-so-watchful eye of Hillbilly
Husband. The kid was wearing jeans, flip-flops, and no shirt when
I left. It was 62 degrees. (Fahrenheit, Rebecca. We are not on the
surface of the sun, just in the northern hemisphere.) That kid has a
fashion style all his own.

We found some carpet remnants for $6.99. They will be good for
the boys to sit on playing GameCube this winter, on the cold tile
floor of the basement. Then we browsed the CDs for some old
country music, because I watched CMT last night, the 100 Greatest
Duets or some such thing. That always puts me in the mood for some
old country music. We got a little Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty,
and George Jones.

The grocery shopping part wasn't so much fun. It becomes tedious
after doing it every week for my whole freakin' life. I really hate

We made a detour to Hillbilly Mama's house so #1 could fix her
computer. The connection had come loose between the monitor
and whatever it hooks to. HM wasn't there. She's a good church-
goin' woman. We hung around until she got home so #1 could show
her his new haircut. He had to buy some spray gel at Wal-mart so
he can stand it up in front.

#1 son went to a little girl's birthday party yesterday. She was 11.
He was the only boy invited. She's had a crush on him since
first grade. At Thanksgiving that year, the teacher had them
stand up and say something they were thankful for. She stood up
and said, "I'm thankful that I'm in love with #1." He denies it now.
I told him I hoped there really was a party, because his invitation
was written in pencil on a folded piece of notebook paper. He
said he had a good time, except when the girls put ice down his
shirt. I said it was a button-down shirt, didn't the ice just fall out
the bottom? Oh, no, he said. He was wearing his GameBoy belt
(fanny-pack) and the ice got stuck. Sucks to be a nerd sometimes,
I guess.

Next we were off to Sonic. I could tell by the voice at the drive-thru
that my boy-man was working. I ordered a Large Cherry Diet Coke
and a large cup of ice. He repeated the order back, and said "That'll
be $1.50." What? It's supposed to be $1.83. I thought maybe he
misunderstood, and was giving me a medium soda. But then again,
I remembered how he always gives me special treatment, what with
wanting to get some and all. We pulled up to the window, and he
reached out his hand for the money. I gave him a dollar and five dimes.
He shook his head and said, "You always want to give me too much
money! It was $1.07." He gave me back the change. Then he gave
me a Large Cherry Diet Coke, and a Route 44 cup of ice. Yep. He's
still burning with the "gotta-get-me-some-Hillbilly-Mom-itis" fever.
It probably didn't help matters that we had put in the Conway Twitty
CD, and were playing "I'd Just Love to Lay You Down." Anyhoo,
this little interaction just made my day. And I saved about a dollar.

Can't beat that with a stick--a little flirtin' and a little savin' go a long
way with an old hillbilly hag.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

What's For Lunch?

Back in the day, on this old TV show, HeeHaw, the audience would
shout: "Hey, Grandpa! What's for supper?" Grandpa would shout
the menu back to them. Come on. Fess up. Some of you have heard
of HeeHaw, haven't you?

Lunch with Hillbilly Mom was a veritable smorgasbord today. My
Hillbilly Husband took #1 son to a birthday party, and #2 son to
his bowling league. I was left to scrounge some leftovers for lunch,
as they would be eating elsewhere. What'd I have? A piece of
roast beast that my Hillbilly Mama prepared for us on Wednesday.
It's still good, isn't it? This is only Saturday. I keep thinking of Homer
Simpson digging his beloved sub sandwich out of the garbage, even
though its toxicity made him hallucinate. He couldn't bear to part with
it--he stroked it like a long-lost puppy.

Also on the menu was a slice of leftover Casey's cheese pizza. Casey's
makes the best pizza--for a convenience store, that is. Then there was
a green bean bacon roll-up thingy on a toothpick. My HM made this,
too. You take some green beans and roll 4 or 5 of them in a piece of
bacon and then I believe you roll it in brown sugar and then soak it
overnight in melted butter. Then you bake it and serve it hot. That can't
be the real recipe, because the melted butter would become unmelted
and then it would be one big beany bacony blob. But it is pretty tasty.
In keeping with the cuisine of my redneck motherland, nothing can be
too greasy or too fatty. Sure, we eat vegetables--if you soak them in
sugar and butter and wrap them in bacon. Oh, and let's not forget my
dessert: a fun-size Baby Ruth. So I am kind of full right now.

I didn't have to eat leftovers for lunch. I did run to town for a quick
stop at Save-A-Lot for some baby wipes, the miracle cleaner of
shoe soles (lots of that red rock on the playground) and white boards
(blackboards are so 10-minutes-ago) and believe it or not, even babies'
butts. No, I don't have a baby's butt to clean, but one of my students
pointed that out as I was cleaning the board and extolling the value
of a good baby wipe. While I was at the store, I also picked up some
bread and cheese and Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies (the breakfast
of champions) and bananas and ham-for-lunches and bread and
salsa and lettuce and Juicy Fruit and Winterfresh gum. So I could
have picked up something for lunch.

I went to Sonic to feed my Large Cherry Diet Coke addiction. I could
have picked up something there. After 10 minutes in line, I was starting
to wish I had. Because I was really hungry. Why? Because it was 1:08
pm, and my school lunchtime is 10:53 am. Oh, and it is actually 10
freakin' 40 am, because our clocks are set 13 minutes ahead of time
in the real world, due to bus issues. But don't y'all worry about me.
I'm not going to waste away. I could live for a couple years on my
fat stores.

The Sonic Large Cherry Diet Coke started some issues. It was not
my regular Sonic guy making the soda today. On Wednesday, he
rubbed his finger across my palm when he gave me my 17 cents
change. I am not making this up. That kid has a bad case of "gotta-
get-me-some-Hillbilly-Mom-itis." Today it was the kind of homely
girl who is really nice, but doesn't make such good soda. She
tried to make up for it the other day by putting in 6 cherries, but it
wasn't the same. Today the cups had some kind of funk on the outside.
I didn't notice it until I was home. It was not the usual condensation,
but something more sinister and slimy. I'm hoping that maybe she
just sneezed or something before picking up the cups. I don't want
to think it was anything worse. I noticed it right after preparing my
lunch. Maybe it was some fat on my hands from slicing the roast
beast or picking up the green bean roll-up. Maybe.

Oh, and did I tell you? When I took my green bean roll-up out of
the microwave, there was a long black hair on the plate. My HM
has red hair, so she was off the hook. And she hasn't mentioned
clubbing with Fabio anymore, so I don't think it came from her
house. That would leave only me as the hair donor. I didn't freak
out. Hey, I had just washed my hair this morning. It is clean.

Are you gagging yet? I really wasn't planning to make you sick.
But sometimes things just don't turn out the way we planned, now
do they? Bon appetite!

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Orange Coat Girl Soliloquy

Hello? Yoohoo? Anybody? Or hellleeeewwwww! If you are a Seinfeld
fan, you will recognize Jerry's belly-button-man hello. If not, this will
just confirm your belief that I am off my rocker.

I seem to be setting the world on fire lately. Looks like I have the same
effect on y'all as I have on my students. SNORE! OK, so I know my
regular commenters have been busy this week. Rebecca has gone on
a trip, and is not rubbing butter on her stomach and soaking it up with
waffles. Redneck Diva appears to have her hands full of young'uns, and
extricating her mom's hand from a knothole in her sister's closet shelf.
Deadpanann has learned why teachers need the summer off (and if
you're not a teacher, let me tell you--it's because we put in more hours
during the school year than someone working a 40-hour-week all year
long). Rachy must be maxing out on coffee and cigarettes, or busy
snorting red wine out of her nose. That's OK, guys. I know I have not
been the best comment buddy since school started up again.

You can't get rid of me that easily. I know people are still reading,
because a little stat-counter told me so. And they're not all those 5-
seconds-or-less people, either. So I will keep spreading my hillbilly
redneckiness for your blogging pleasure.

My students have been giving me good stuff this week. Don't get me
wrong. I really like my students, as much as they are going to cause
me to require a last-nerve transplant. I do not want to appear to be
making fun of them. I am just trying to point out the absurdities in
their outlooks on life.

Today Orange Coat Girl (it's an endearing little name we gave her
at the teachers' lunch table a couple of years ago) told me she had
a dilemma. No, not really, because she wouldn't know a dilemma
if it bit her on the butt. But she would say "Owww! Something bit
me on the butt!" Anyhoo, OCG said, "Mrs. Hillbilly Mom, my
friend says that at Pizza Hut, they cheat you out of hours and don't
pay you because they don't have a time clock. They just write it
down on a card."

OK, so I had to extract a few teeth to find out what this had to
do with OCG. She went on. "I am thinking about applying there,
because they are going to build a new store, and you have to be
18 to work there, because they are going to serve beer." Time out.
I couldn't squeeze it into her soliloquy, but Pizza Hut serves beer
now, and you have to be 21 to carry it to the table. I don't drink
it, mind you, but I know all about it. I have a friend who drinks it,
you see.

So then OCG goes on to say that by the time that new Pizza Hut
is built, she will be 18, and what if they cheat her on her paycheck?
Who should she complain to? So I know the kid wants an answer,
and I tell her to call down to Job Service, which is technically the
Missouri Division of Employment Security, more commonly called
the Unemployment Office, where I worked for 5 years, and they
should have a phone number she can call. Someone like maybe the
Department of Labor. I can't remember for sure, because I was
too busy with my job of denying people's unemployment benefits.

What I don't have time to point out, because the bell rang, is that
she has some more pressing priorities first, before these what ifs:

1. Get your credits so you can graduate
2. See if that new Pizza Hut gets built
3. Apply for a job
4. Get hired
5. Work the hours you are scheduled
6. See IF they cheat you on your paycheck
7. Ask to discuss it with the supervisor or manager
8. Complain to the Department of Labor

Kids! Can't live with 'em...but you can get some good blog material
from 'em.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Lunchtime Stories

I have the same lunch shift I've had for 7 years now. The freshman
lunch. My dinner companions change, depending on scheduling.
This year I have been removed from all my friends (oops! I just
typed "fiends") and I have lunch with 4 men. Oh, there's another
woman, but she only comes out for duty week, and eats during
another lunch shift with her "fiends." So it's me and the boys.

Today the topic turned to how we had a storm last night, and
Mr. X didn't want to oversleep, even though his alarm has a
battery back-up. Then Mr. W said, "Hey, I've been late a couple
of times because of car accidents. One time I had to call and say
Hey, I'm gonna be a little late, there's a woman in a bush at
end of my road."

Mr. W looked both ways before pulling out onto the main road,
and saw that woman. He jumped out and ran over, and said,
"Hey, Ma''re lying in a bush." He said at first he was
afraid she might pull a gun and ask for his money and his keys.
He figured since he only had two dollars, it wouldn't matter that
much. She just laid there. Then the ambulance people came, and
started going through her purse and her clothes. He left then. He
wanted no part of that. They said she had some kind of drug
overdose. He didn't know how she got into the bush.

That reminded Mr. Y of a time when the weather was really hot,
and an 80-something neighbor had been out mowing the yard
with a riding mower. Mr. Y drove by later that afternoon and
noticed that Neighbor was not riding the mower. He was lying
on his side on the ground. "Oh, no!" thought Mr. Y. "He's had a
stroke or something!" Mr. Y jumped out and ran over to see if he
could help. Like if he could save the guy's life. Just as he got to
Neighbor, the guy rolled over and said, "What the **** are you
doing?" Seems that Neighbor was checking the belt on his mower.

Good Samaritans. I didn't have a story to share.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Unintentional Joke of the Day

You may have noticed: I do not suffer fools gladly. Five minutes into
class today, these kids were already dissecting my last nerve. I'd told
them to bring the Language I vocabulary words to show me, even if
they were done. The reason being, last time they told me they were
done, yet nobody turned them in to the teacher.

Out of 5 kids, one said, "No, I haven't done them. But I have the word
list." This kid was at that moment doing algebra, so he was off the hook.
The other 4 Language I kids sat idle, declaring that they were caught up
with their work. They had all "left it in their lockers." So I took the word
list from honest lazy kid, and gave it to one of the lying lazy kids, and said,
"Write down the first few, and get to work on them. Give the list to one
of the others."

This kid fiddled about, and then needed a dictionary. We have been in
school for 4 weeks now. He's seen where I keep the dictionaries. He
was absolutely sucking the energy right out of me. I needed that energy
to help someone with American History, my least favorite subject next
to World History. Or maybe Economics. Pilgrims/Puritans/Separatists/
Quakers/Massachusetts/Rhode Island/Pennsylvania/Connecticut. I hate
history. Been there, done that. Why dwell in the past?

"Go get one out of the cabinet," I told him. He meandered over to the
wrong cabinet, where I had leaned my umbrella against the door. He
yanked it open, and guess what...let me answer for you: the umbrella
crashed to the floor. I guess he thought that the law of gravity was
temporarily suspended, what with him about to do some actual work.
"No. Not that cabinet." I looked at some of the older kids in the class.
"Why do I feel like I am babysitting actual babies?" I asked them. One
of the actual babies said, "Because you are."

About this time, the kid opened the correct cabinet, and peered onto
every shelf except the one right in front of him that harbored the
dictionaries. "Wheeerrrrre?" he whined.

"Right there behind the baby wipes!" I barked. Yeah. I really do have
a box of baby wipes in that closet. For cleaning my white board. We
had a good laugh at the timing of the baby statements.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Will I Pass?

Be afraid. Be very afraid for your future. The future that is the youth
of America. When you are old and feeble and demented in a nursing
home, these are the people who will be wiping your butt. Here are
some some of today's conversations...

If I don't do anything all year, will I pass?
Will they hold me back?
This is high school. They don't hold you back.
You mean I will go on and be a sophomore?
You can call yourself anything you want. You can spend four years
doing nothing, and call yourself a senior. But you will still have zero
credits, and must have 24 to graduate.

Will they send me back to 8th grade?
Nooooo...They already sent you over here. They don't want you back.
Good. I did nothing all last year, too.
That's nothing to brag about.
I think when I get to16, I'll quit.
It's good to have a goal in life.
Your mom ain't gonna let you quit.
No. But if I move with my other mom and dad, I can.

Sorry, I know it is my job to keep these kids in school, but I just
can't play that game where they want you to beg them not to drop
out. I would rather spend my time helping those who respond and
make an effort.


Are your sinuses in your nose?
No. They're around your cheeks and forehead.
I didn't think so, but there's this know-it-all girl in my class, and
she said I shouldn't pierce my friend's nose because it would mess

up her sinuses.
Didn't you do your own root canal with a paperclip?
Yeah, I got tired of that temporary filling breaking off. It didn't hurt.
I guess the root was dead already. I picked it out.
So now you're branching off into piercings?
Well, my friend went to this guy to get some not really common
piercings, if you know what I mean, and he kept making comments,
and he also pierced her lip and blood poured out all over and he
said it was normal, and it isn't. And then, she found out he was, like,
her boyfriend's stepdad. And he
wasn't even licensed!
As opposed to you.
Well, I know what I'm doing.


And then he said I have 30% less brain than everyone else.
Who said that?
The doctor. I went to get tested for ADHD yesterday.
I have ADHD.
You do? I've had it for years. What medicine do you take?
I don't take medicine for it. I just have it.

OK, what is going on around here? Can people still get money for
having kids with some kind of medical problem or learning disability?
Because if I remember right, they used to get a Social Security
disability check for that. So way too many people wanted their kids
tested, and wanted them to have something wrong, so they coached
them on how to act. I thought this had stopped.

Sorry, now I don't have time for the crook and the broken window
and the hit list story. Maybe another day.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Have any of you been to Rebecca's site and seen how she stole
my soul for profit?

It has been said that revenge is a dish best served cold. I prefer
to serve up my revenge piping hot, on a cheap paper plate so
that the grease leaks through, with side orders of boiled possum,
creamed-corn casserole, peas, and deep-fried MUSHROOMS.
Eat up, Bec. This one's for you.

A little bird told me that Rebecca has certain wishes. A little bird
that was kind of pissed off because he was used as a crash dummy
in an experiment designed by the wicked, twisted mind of Rebecca,
and penned by her own evil hand.

That's him on the left. With his pitiful shattered beak, he whispered
the true desires of Rebecca to me, in his last dying breath:

Rebecca wants...her bike back. And she's not getting it. I dismantled
it and buried the evidence in a 55-gallon barrel.

Rebecca be seen as a normal person, despite her...
life of crime cheating hardware stores out of lumber for her
giant bed.

Rebecca do 30 things. 28 of them are to embarrass
Hillbilly Mom. Another is to become a MUSHROOM taster
on the "Mushroom or Toadstool: You Be the Judge" reality show.
Lastly, she would like to be hired as an aloe vera tester, because
she just can't get enough of that stuff.

Rebecca have you over for dinner. That's the good news.
The bad news is that she would like you to bring a nice Chianti and
some fava beans.

Rebecca be a hacker, but English is a big stumbling block
for her.
She might be trying to say she wants to be a hooker. Or
someone who chops up bodies to put in 55-gallon barrels. In any
case, she does not need a block to stumble over, her feet will do.

Rebecca know what foreigners think about chopsticks.
OK, it will speak for the foreigners: Stop calling us foreigners or
we will jam those chopsticks where the sun don't shine.

Rebecca make something of herself, but all she knows
how to do is dress well and throw a great party.
If by dressing
well you mean wearing size 13 shoes and by throwing a party
you mean eating a whole pizza while rebuilding a giant bed with
lumber that you ripped off from Idiots R Us by distracting the
salesman by dressing so well.

Rebecca wants...the money for a cell phone and a pool. Because
with a cell phone she will look cool, and we all know that cell phones
go with pools like mushrooms go with aloe vera.

Rebecca buy some cushions, so they go shopping providing
she walks at least 10 yards behind.
In case she hits that stumbling block.

Rebecca run across the minefield successfully, then she would
know where the mines are so she can avoid them.
But if she has run
across successfully, why would she need to avoid them? That is why
Rebecca is not allowed to teach Logic courses at university.

Shh...don't tell anyone Bec's secrets. Look what happened to Mr. Birdie.
And that was before he told. I think Mr. Google should join the Witness
Protection Program immediately.

And don't tell her that it is STILL OOOONNNNNNN!!!!! My revenge
has not yet reached its zenith. Oh, you may think you'll be reading about
my boy young 'uns, or my Hillbilly Husband...but then WHAM! It's all
about Rebecca! Bwah ha ha.....

Sunday, September 11, 2005

"I'm not so sure you really had pneumonia."

This is what Hillbilly Husband's doctor quacked at him this morning.
Not his real doctor--he was off for the weekend. The doctor who is
in the same practice as HH's doctor, who was covering rounds
for him.

So now, according to all the different doctors, HH must have just
spent 4 days in the hospital for a case of gout. He has had gout
before, and never went to the hospital.

So...he had pneumonia according to a blood test 3 weeks ago. The
doctor forgot to call him and tell him. HH had knee pain and called
the doctor, who told him about the pneumonia, and treated him for
a week with two different antibiotics. AND sent him for an MRI of
the knee. HH's knee quit hurting, but his foot swelled up. He couldn't
walk 10 feet without getting nauseous and short of breath and wheezing.

HH was admitted to the hospital, told he had cellulitis in the foot, and
pneumonia that was not responding to treatment. He was pumped
full of antibiotics, given breathing treatments every 4 hours, told he
had a bone infection in the foot. Or gout.

Now he has nothing but gout, but hasn't been put on a gout diet.

HH is supposed to come home tomorrow. He finally started feeling
better today. I told him that doctor must not want to be a part of
the untreated pneumonia malpractice suit, so he is denying that HH
ever had it to begin with.

Oh, and for the knee that doesn't hurt anymore? HH has an appointment
with an orthopedic surgeon for Tuesday. He might as well go to a
fortune teller. The diagnosis might be more accurate.

Bad Samaritan

I am a Bad Samaritan. I should be locked up with Jerry and George
and Elaine and Kramer. I saw an accident and I did not stop to help.
Let me try to justify myself. It is a case of mememeitsallaboutme,
but I will try to explain. Travel back in time with me to yesterday...

We headed to town for the boys' bowling league, and then to visit
Invalid Hillbilly Husband at the hospital. As we were on the blacktop
county road, about a quarter-mile from the state road, two 4-wheelers
came whipping out of a new gravel road and onto my side. I had
time to slow down, and the kids yanked the 4-wheelers back onto
their lane. They revved them and sped past us up the hill, side by
side. I told my kids: "No good can come of that. They're going to
get killed driving around like that on this road." It has hills and curves,
and all the cars (except me, of course) drive right in the middle, hills
be darned, because that is what country people do. I am constantly
harping at HH to "get on your own side" because I have had a bad
car wreck (like there's such thing as a good car wreck) and I am a
paranoid driver.

Today the boys and I were headed to town to visit HH in the hospital.
He was expecting us between 1:00 and 2:00. I came to the part of
the road that is kind of an "S" shape, a 90 degree turn left, then about
100 yards, and a 90 degree turn right. You can see people coming,
because there are fields on each side. We turned left, and saw the
two 4-wheelers come up over the hill headed down toward our next
curve. They were racing, two kids on one, a single kid on the other.
They were about 14-15 years old. I slowed down, because they
were going to round the curve before we got to it. The single kid
took the lead. He rounded the turn, but he was going too fast. His
yellow 4-wheeler started to tip up on two wheels. Next thing I know,
he ran off the road alongside a barbed-wire fence. Ouch! The top
two wires twisted. He had his arm between them. That is about all
I could see, because by then I was past him into the curve. The last
I saw, he was twisting at the wire with his other hand. His buddies
had pulled off beside him. #1 son said "Here comes two other kids."
They were coming through the field, one 4-wheeler and one motorcycle.

Now here's the bad part. I didn't stop to pull that kid out of the
fence. I figured his buddies could go right back home and get the
parents. They were about a quarter-mile from where they sped
out in front of us yesterday. At that rate of speed, they would have
been home in less than a minute. I figured one could stay with the
kid, and the other could ride home. Or their two friends could go.

I know this is bad. I feel guilty. If that kid had been gushing neck
blood, or if he had been alone, or if he had been out in the sticks,
or if my kids weren't with me, or if we hadn't been going to the
hospital to see HH, I probably would have stopped. But I didn't.
And now I feel guilty.

But it IS all about ME. I didn't want to get tied up with someone
else's problem. If I called 911, and they sent an ambulance, and
the people had no insurance, they would have to pay out of pocket.
If I moved something on that kid, I could have done more damage.
I am not trained in first aid.

A van passed us going that way before we were even to the kids'
driveway. Maybe they stopped. Maybe not. There is an emergency
room 3 miles from where that happened. I imagine the kid's family
would have just loaded him up and taken him there, rather than
calling an ambulance, which could have been at the other end of
the county, down by HH's hospital.

And have you heard? 4-wheelers are not street legal. Why would
parents let their kids race them on blacktop county roads? I do
hate to see any kid get hurt. I work with kids like this every day.
They are risk-takers. But they are not invincible. I believe everything
happens for a reason. Maybe this was a wake-up call to these kids
or their parents not to let them race around on the roads. Maybe
it will keep them from being hid head-on by a car. Who knows?
Maybe it will teach me to stop at an accident where I'm really

Don't think I never help people. Last year I stopped near where
these kids now have their driveway, because a couple of old
geezers had tried to turn around in their Cadillac with a T-turn
and got it stuck across the road with the tail-end in a ditch. I let
them use my cell phone to call a tow truck. We sat there with
them until the tow truck came. I have picked up a co-worker
and his then-family twice and driven them home and to a car
repair shop when they broke down between the high school
and elementary. But I just couldn't stop today. It was not on
my agenda.

OK, tell me what a heartless ***** I am. #1 son said on the way
home from the hospital: "I bet he's still there in the fence. Maybe
now you will stop." Low blow, kid. He wasn't there. About 10
feet of fence was torn up. HH said he was going to tell the cow-
getting-out-guy what happened to his fence. He has enough
trouble keeping those beasts in with good fence. About 4 times
a year, his cows are out wandering on the road. He had just
replaced that section 2 years ago. It sucks to be the cow-getting-
out-guy. It really sucks to be the barbed-wire-surfing-4-wheeler-

And today it sucks to be Hillbilly Mom. Because I should have

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Homegirl and Uncle Joe

Well, it seems as if Rebecca is up to her old tricks of making me
look foolish. Oh, all right. I can do that pretty well myself without
any help from the land of Beclakia. Since Beclakia has no taxes,
Rebecca is raising revenue by selling my soul on a T-shirt.

This is not such a big deal, I suppose, for what she could have
done. But there comes a time when I have to make my stand.

I forgave her for this:

I forgave her for allowing a cheese sandwich and a sheep-on-
a-unicycle to get more votes than me in the Big Blogger Final.

And I forgave her for declaring herself the winner of every redneck
contest I cooked up. But now, Rebecky, IT IS OOOONNNN!!!!

Speaking of scary mail-order images, here is one I found while
browsing for some mail-order hillbilly Christmas gift ideas:

This is not my Uncle Joe. I found him in the Miles Kimball
catalog. My apologies in advance to the family of the real
Uncle Joe.
That said, let the snarking begin.

Is this creepy, or what? Didn't Uncle Joe have a better
picture to remember him by? He reminds me of Montgomery
Burns, Homer Simpson's boss, with hair. And what's with
that suit? Is the hanger still in it? Cause it doesn't hang very
flatteringly on Uncle Joe's shoulders.

And how about that expression on his face? The real Uncle
Joe may have been a moral, churchgoing saint. But this photo
makes him look like some butt-pinching perv who just won
a backstage pass to the Hicksville Blue-Ribbon Hiney Contest.
Say it ain't so, Joe.

Don't even think about it, Rebecca. Step away from Photoshop.
NOW! Do not compound your crime and attract the redneck
wrath of Hillbilly Mom. Just Say No! I am warning you. No more.
Vengeance will be mine.