Funny about Money

Simple Living = Frugality = Peace of Mind: Personal Finance and Stress Control

August 29, 2016
by funny
0 comments

One of THOSE Days…

Why does that happen? Have you ever noticed that some days dissolve, from the moment you roll out on the wrong side of the bed, into effing CHAOS?

You have done nothing to bring on the chaos. You’re just standing there, innocent as the new-blown snow, and the entire universe deconstructs itself around you.

Welp, I will say this: neither dog has barfed. Yet. That’s something. I guess.

5:15 a.m.: Ensconce self in front of computer, there to wake up by reading emails and Google News.

Exchange emails with honored friend, the Dean of American Scholarly Publishing, over papers left by Honored Client, who deceased a couple weeks ago. Discussion at his wake last night turned to what we might do with whatever notes we can find for the two books he was working on, and what to do with the two he’d already completed.

Dean has friend, a Pre-eminent Asian Historian and director of GDU’s Asian studies center, visiting at her house in Massachusetts right this minute; last night I talked with his wife, who put in dibs on any projects that might occur.

Dean, whose IQ is approximately 250 points higher than mine, suggests that the Right Thing to Do is collect his papers, organize them intelligibly, and donate them to an archive. This indeed is the Right Thing to Do, though there would be precious little profit in it for moi. But that’s OK: I don’t want to make a profit on Honored Client’s literary estate. But neither do I want to spend hundreds of hours on an unpaid project.

Speaking of Asia, current Honored Chinese Mathematician is having a dickens of a time paying me through PayPal. That’s because he has the wrong email address for me. However, that appears not to be the only problem. I hassle around about this for awhile.

Message from most recent Honored Chinese Ph.D. Candidate arrives, explaining that his real issue may be that there’s a Paypal.com and a Paypal.cn, the latter for the Chinese mainland. She says he needs to use the .com incarnation, not the .cn version, and sends attachments explaining the matter in Chinese. She also emits instructions in (somewhat rocky) English.

6:00 a.m.: Stumbling into the kitchen, I realize it is, god help me, Monday. Feed dogs.

There’s enough dog food left to carry the pooches to Thursday morning, when a new month starts and with any luck I can start a new budget cycle that will not fucking bankrupt me.

But I have to give a presentation on Thursday morning, which I have not even begun to think about, and that meeting will let me out an hour before Costco opens. So either I come home and sit around until after 10 a.m. and then break up the morning driving down to Costco to buy dog meat, or I drive up to Paradise Valley Mall, which is obliquely on my way home from the meeting, and cool my heels for half an hour waiting for the damn place to open. Neither of these choices will be productive. But if the dogs are to eat, I will have no way around it.

Well. No. That’s wrong. I could buy another $13 roll of dog food at the Fry’s that is also obliquely on my way home. That will put off having to spend an hour making dog food to another day. That probably is what I’ll do.

Now I stagger into the kitchen to fix breakfast. Pull a fistful of silverplate out of the jar of soapy water where I’ve left the pieces to soak clean (because, as you’ll recall, thanks to the fine ecologically friendly detergent we have and the superb useless dishwasher, I can no longer wash my silver in the Bosch) and find that one of the forks has some sort of deposit on it.

I can’t get it off.

Traipse into the garage and dig out the silver polish. I can’t get it off.

I can chip a little of it off with a fingernail, indicating it’s a deposit, not a stain. I polish it with a little Barkeepers Helper. Naturally, this scratches up the surface.

Polish madly with silver polish. This hides the scouring powder scratches, but neither cleaner removes the deposit. I give up.

Pour hot water into the French Press to make coffee.

Continuing to pick up the mess, I carry the breadmaker out to the trash barrel to brush the dried-off dough into the garbage. Something goes “clunk” and I realize…ohhh shit!!!!!!! I didn’t remove the little stir-paddle thing that kneads the damn dough in the damn breadmaker.

Trudge back in the house. Get flashlight. Trudge back out.  Peer down into giant trash barrel. Try to spot the paddle. Can’t see it.

Carry the flashlight back into the house. Trudge back out. Haul the trash barrel out to the driveway, where I can see its contents in the sunlight. Tip it over. Climb inside and start digging through trash. The paddle is not readily in evidence.

Sit on the concrete next to the barrel and drag every. single. fucking. piece. of. trash out of the barrel, inspect it, shake it out, set it aside.

No paddle. Anywhere. Inspect every. single. fucking. piece. of. trash, one piece at a time, while tossing each piece back in the barrel.

Right the barrel, drag it back into the garage. Swear up a storm.

Stalk into the kitchen and spot the paddle where I left it, on the edge of the kitchen sink.

The coffee is getting cold.

6:58 a.m. I go outside to turn the on the water valves that feed the irrigation system — this will be the New Normal, now that the system’s pipes are rotting away underground. The only way to stop any leaks is to shut off the water at the standpipe.

By now the timer has come on. The system clicks in, but I’m not sure it’s starting on Zone 1. WTF. I decide to forget that and just water anything that gets missed manually.

Slice open a peach. It’s spoiled. It’s the last peach in the house. Fortunately, though, a few bananas remain. Slice up a banana, dump a handful of walnuts over it, and top with heavy cream.

The walnuts are stale. Should know better than to buy lifetime supplies of walnuts from Costco.

In the middle of all this, SDXB calls on the phone, requiring me to walk back and forth between the kitchen and the back of the house to change notations on the wall calendar in my office. My temper is extremely short but I manage not to go off on him when I learn that he’s interrupting the morning’s hassles to cancel next Saturday’s planned junket because it’s the first day of dove season. I fail to invite myself along, though if I’d had any sense, I would’ve, because a little violence would go a long way to let off the impacted steam.

7:15 or so. Take breakfast, such as it is, out to the side deck and notice the new hose timer is leaking as merrily as the old, corroded one was. No wonder I get $240 water bills.

Chew on a stale piece of bread. It makes my teeth hurt. Reminded that I will need not one but two crowns on the left side. This will run upwards of $3,000, since one of the painful teeth has had three unsuccessful root canals and now will need actual surgery, not just some dentist’s office visit. God only knows what that will cost. They say if you can get an M.D. to do the work, you can get Medicare to cover it. But I’ll believe that when I see it!

If I have to pony up three to five grand (or more) on my teeth and another grand to cover this August’s unplanned extravaganzas, I am not going to have $6,000 to replaster the pool this winter. So…that project will have to wait for some other year.

9:25 a.m. MacBook’s battery has run out of juice, the second time this morning. It’s probably wearing out. The whole machine is wearing out. Its cable for the backup hard drive keeps emitting “disconnected” messages when it has not disconnected, indicating that before long one of these phantom disconnects will cause the external hard drive to corrupt and lose ALL the back-up data.

Speaking of multi-thousand-dollar expenditures…I hope to god the computer will last until the new MacBooks come out and I can get the current version on sale.

9:45 a.m. I’ve had it. I’m going back to bed.

 

 

August 28, 2016
by funny
9 Comments

Melatonin: Does the Stuff Actually WORK???

YoungDucksminimized

quack! quack! quack! quack! quack! quack! quack! quack! quack! quack!

A few months ago, I bought a bottle of melatonin — a supposed sleep aid — at a local Walgreen’s. But after hearing the pharmacist, who seemed to be a certifiable moron, natter on and absurdly on about how it’s…oooooo!!!! homeoPATHic!!!, I figured it was a quack nostrum and didn’t bother to try it.

But lately I’ve become pretty desperate for sleep. So decided to try it, on the theory that it couldn’t do any more harm than a steady routine of four-hour nights.

The main ingredient in it is vitamin B-6, not in enough quantity to do you any harm unless maybe if you swallowed a whole bottle of the stuff…or rather, not unless you take it every day for a significant period. B-6 is neurotoxic, and the effects of overdose are irreversible. Neuropathy develops at around 200 milligrams; the smallest reported toxic doses have been 24 to 40 mg. These things contain 10 mg, so obviously you wouldn’t want to be dropping it if you were taking a regular vitamin supplement. But I don’t. There’s no evidence that vitamin B-6 treats insomnia, or much else of whatever ails you. It isn’t well regulated, because it’s not a prescription drug — what you see on the bottle’s label may not be what you get. But probably it’s not harmful in short doses over a short period.

Nor is there any evidence that melatonin effectively treats sleep disorders. But apparently it can help reset your system to synchronize with a normal circadian rhythm — i.e., cause you to sleep between dusk and dawn, instead of waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. It also apparently helps your blood pressure.

Well. I can tell you: there’s nothing like the endless frustration of insomnia to jack up your blood pressure. So if it actually keeps you asleep until 5:00 a.m. or so, that alone would help bring the old-fart blood pressure numbers into the reasonable range.

Anyway, there’s some evidence that the stuff helps the elderly to stay asleep until dawn. So, in desperation, last night about 10 p.m. I dropped a pill containing 5 mg — two to five times the recommended dose.

And lo! This morning I slept till 5:30 or 5:45…was rolled out of the sack by the dogs right at 6:00 a.m.

Holy sh!t.

Normally by 6 o’clock, I’ve fed and walked the dogs, fixed coffee, had breakfast, read the news, answered the email, cleaned the pool, taken a swim, watered the outdoor plants, and at least started a blog post or a client’s project.

Not only that, but contrary to published warnings, I’m not at all sleepy this morning. Benadryl, the only other thing that has ever helped me to stay asleep more than four or five hours, leaves me in a haze until noon the following day. It’s really unsafe to drive in that state, and I feel awful until the damn stuff wears off.

There are different types of insomnia. Some people can’t get to sleep at bed-time. Some wake up  in the middle of the night for a short period and fall back to sleep. Some wake up two or three hours before dawn and can’t get back to sleep.

Mine falls into the last category, which would be OK if it were practical to go to bed at 8 p.m. However, a 14-hour work day tends to militate against that… Last night I sent a finished project back to a Chinese mathematician and forthwith he sent me three more papers! AUGGH!

At any rate, summer is beginning to slip away — it’s 8:30 in the morning and still livable out here on the back porch, for the first time in weeks. When winter comes in, it’ll stay dark longer, and then the dogs and I will sleep longer naturally.

But wouldn’t it be marvelous if this nostrum actually did reset your internal clock so you’d stay asleep until dawn? Have you had any experience with the stuff?

 

August 26, 2016
by funny
4 Comments

Another Friday, Another Dollar

Friday…again! How does that happen? I’d swear yesterday was last Saturday.

LOL! It really is true that the older you get, the faster time goes by. Presumably that’s because you have less and less of it available. All told.

Finished another half-dozen chapters of a client’s novel this a.m. Bid on another Chinese scholarly work but, not having heard back, assume my price was too high. Oh well…that frees up some time to…oh…breathe.

Or run down to the gas station. Used up the few dollars’ worth of QT gas I bought when I dodged the poor crazy guy at the Costco gas pumps ten days ago, so decided to make another run down there. No pests or freaks in evidence this time.

Price was five cents a gallon under QT’s. I pumped about 12 gallons, for a gigantic saving of 60 cents… This again raises the question, Why am I paying to shop at Costco?

With fuel prices this low, there’s not a lot of difference between retailers. And five cents a gallon doesn’t pay for the time involved in  driving down there, since there’s a QT right around the corner from the ’hood. I begin to wonder if it would be practical to drop my membership and pay half my son’s, so as to sponge on his to buy the few things I really do need or want to get there. This would cut both our membership bills in half, in exchange for a minor once-a-month inconvenience.

Really, I’m amazed at how little interest I feel in shopping at Costco, given that before the Citigroup disruption it was my mainstay. Meh!

Gerardo repaired the irrigation leak, to the tune of $180. When his men dug up the pipe, they found that Richard’s guys apparently had not applied adhesive to the threading on the PVC pipe’s connection to the equipment in the front-yard box. Gerardo thinks it had been leaking for a long time.

Ducky. Since that spot is right next to the house’s foundation, I do hope he’s wrong. But find, alas, that Gerardo is rarely wrong.

The weather is beginning to cool. We had a beautiful morning, after a brief sprinkle and distant thunder. The clouds cleared off. With the dogs sleeping through the heat of the day, I snuck into the backyard and left them trapped inside the house, so I could take a plunge in the pool without being barked into submission.

Herding dogs do not like it when their sheep humans jump in the drink.

They assume, of course, that you’re not too bright and so no doubt fell in, and they’re convinced you’re going to drown yourself. Cassie, who has enough sense not to jump in the pool, used to race back and forth trying to bark me out of the pool. When the devil-may-care Ruby came along, I had to build a little fence to keep her from tumbling into the drink. She, having taking over barking duties from the old lady, stands by the gate and yells at me from the minute I get in to the minute I climb out.

This does nothing to enhance one’s enjoyment of one’s swimming pool. So…it was pleasant to have tricked them this afternoon.

And now, speaking of tricked, the would-be next client has replied to my email without answering any of my questions. I think we have a language issue here.

😀

And so, away…

August 25, 2016
by funny
6 Comments

Angie’s List Class Action: Of Interest!

Here’s a little gem about Angie’s List that I just (quite literally!) stumbled upon: Angie’s List has agreed upon a settlement in a class action suit about their deceptive rankings practice. By now you surely know that when you search for, say, a plumber in your neighborhood, the order in which the listings appear does not reflect the exuberance with which customers rhapsodize about their plumbers but rather the amount the vendors are willing to pay Angie’s List.

Yes. You pay to get your business to appear at the top of the search results.

Don’t believe me? Less than ten days ago, a business owner filed this report at Consumer Affairs:

As a business, we get multiple calls per month to advertise with Angie’s in order to put our business in the spotlight. We do not advertise our business on Angie’s List. 3 top complaints: We received a negative review. I researched all the information provided in the review, I could not find the customer or address in our database. I’m not sure if someone accidentally posted to the wrong company or if someone was deliberately posting a false review. When I called A.L. to discuss, they said if they cannot reach the reviewer, they cannot remove the review. Eventually it was removed;

I saw a review that did not make sense. I spoke to our customer who wrote the review and she said A.L. contacted her and said to stay at a lower subscription price, she was required to make a certain number of reviews. So she quickly posted reviews to meet her requirements; Most recently, we received a call saying effective August 1, 2016, that our company will have minimal visibility. This is because we do not advertise with Angie’s List.

The beginning purpose of the company was homeowner based, driven by homeowners that paid a fee to write a review for the sake of other homeowners. Then it was about which businesses paid for more exposure. Now, to make things even worse, non subscriber “homeowner” users can comment which opens A.L. to abuse of the ratings system by an unlimited number of false reviews.

—b. of Pittsburgh, PA, on August 16, 2016

These points dovetail neatly with what my painter told me, a couple years ago, about what he has to pay to get himself listed in the first few pages of an A.L. search.

This, of course, renders Angie’s List pretty much useless for the consumer’s purposes. You can go to Yelp for questionable rankings and reviews — without having to pay for the privilege.

So I had already decided, earlier this year, not to re-up for Angie’s list when the subscription comes up for renewal in December.

Then, along comes an e-mail from Angie’s List informing me that they’re changing their terms of service to accommodate a new system whereby you have to choose from several “plans” to get a specific level of access to reviews and data. Of course, the more you want to know about a vendor, the more you have to pay… And the new ToS included some onerous privacy invasions, too.

First off, I see that they have automatically enrolled me in the priciest plan!

Then, come to find out, in order to finish out the year I’ve already paid for, I have to click “I accept” the obnoxious new ToS!!!

I don’t think so.

So I contact their chat staff and tell them I wish to discontinue my service and want a refund.

Saying I’m done with Angie’s List launches an aggressive campaign to keep me from leaving. They now demand that I explain myself: why exactly do I want to leave? Daring to say you don’t trust them and you resent being co-opted into an expensive new “plan” launches still more resistance. Finally I think I get rid of them.

But no. Yesterday I find them still pestering me.

During yesterday’s exchange, I said I wanted a prorated refund of the amount I paid last December. It’s only August, so they have four months worth of “dues” that I will not be able to use — even if I wanted to. Another lengthy argument ensues. I have to contact chat personoids twice.  The second one tells me they have refunded the money to my credit card.

Now A.L.’s machinery sends me a form email reporting that they’ve refunded $9.17, all right: to my defunct Costco’s AMEX card. And since I resisted being switched to Citigroup, that means they threw $9.17 into a black hole.

I contact another chatbot. She informs me that they have to refund to the “channel” through which it was paid. I say there is no channel. She says oh, don’t worry: it’ll just show up on your Citigroup Visa. I say I don’t have a CG Visa. She is now stymied and basically says, not in so many words, so go fuck yourself.

THEN to add insult to injury, along comes a machine generated “survey” again demanding that I explain myself and asking how I liked their customer service!!!!!

So I tell them how I liked their customer service, none too graciously, and go about my business.

Within an hour, along comes an e-mail containing THIS communiqué:

Current or former members of Angie’s List, Inc. may benefit from a proposed Class Action Settlement.

To login and file your Claim on the Settlement Website, please use the Member ID Number and PIN Number, shown below.

Member ID Number: NNN9258
PIN Number: 888P68KAJ7

A proposed settlement has been reached with Angie’s List, Inc. (“Angie’s List”) in connection with three putative class action lawsuits focusing on Angie’s List’s acceptance of advertising payments from service providers, and whether those payments affect service providers’ letter-grade ratings, reviews, and place in search-result rankings. Angie’s List denies Plaintiffs’ claims, including denying that advertising revenue can affect ratings or the content of reviews in any way and asserting that it discloses that it receives revenue from certain service providers who are rated highly by members and further discloses that such revenue can affect the order of search-result rankings under certain settings. The Court has not decided who is right. In order to avoid the expense and risks of continuing the lawsuit, the Parties agreed to a proposed class settlement.

Who’s Included? You received this email because Angie’s List’s records show that you may be a member of the Settlement Class. You are a member of the Settlement Class if you were a paying member of Angie’s List at any time between March 11, 2009, and July 12, 2016.

What Are the Settlement Terms? Settlement Class Members who submit a timely and valid Claim Form may choose: (1) an estimated cash payment of $5 and/or $10 (subject to a possible pro rata adjustment upwards or downwards) depending on the timing of their membership and the number of valid Claims submitted; or (2) one free month of membership to Angie’s List for each full year he or she paid for membership during the relevant periods (up to a maximum limit). Angie’s List also has agreed to expand upon the disclosures about service provider advertising made in its Frequently Asked Questions on its website and in its Membership Agreement.

How Can I Get a Payment or Membership Benefit? You can quickly file a Claim online at www.MoorevALsettlement.com or by clicking here. You can also download and print the Claim Form from the website.  You must file your Claim Form so that it is received (if submitted electronically) or postmarked (if submitted by mail) by November 15, 2016.

Your Other Options. If you do not want to be legally bound by the settlement, you must exclude yourself by October 24, 2016. If you do not exclude yourself, you will release any claims you may have against Angie’s List, as more fully described in the Settlement Agreement, available at the Settlement Website. You may also object to the settlement by October 24, 2016. The Long Form Notice available on the website listed below explains how to exclude yourself or to object. The Court will hold a Hearing on December 5, 2016 to consider whether to approve the settlement and a request for payment of attorneys’ fees and expenses of no more than $937,500 and for service awards of $12,500 to be shared by the three class representatives. You may appear at the hearing, either yourself or through an attorney hired by you, but you don’t have to. For more information, call 1-888-293-9919, or visit the website listed below.

For more information about the settlement, please visit www.MoorevALsettlement.com, which includes a full copy of the Settlement Agreement and a more detailed description of the settlement and other important information. Please check the Settlement Website for updates and further information.

www.MoorevALsettlement.com            1-888-293-9919

SOURCE: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Well. I think it’s spam, of course: some sort of phishing. So I look it up on the Internet, and by golly! It is the real thing. Shoofing around, I discover that about what you’ll get back is $10.

But that’s fine. It covers the amount Angie’s List owes me.

If you’re an Angie’s List member, you may be entitled to a little something for the deception they worked on you, too: here’s the place to file a claim: https://www.moorevalsettlement.com/Home/SubmitClaim

And here are the details: https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/lawsuit-news/342703-angies-list-search-manipulation-class-action-settlement/

Deadline is November 15.

 

August 24, 2016
by funny
10 Comments

One Di$as$ter after Another…

Defies belief: but no, it doesn’t. It’s a law of nature, isn’t it: whatever can go wrong will go wrong, at the worst possible moment.

The pool pump crapped out. As you’ll recall, two years ago when Leslie’s tried to soak me for a new pool pump, to the tune of $1500, we learned that Arizona’s endlessly purchasable regulators have decreed that you cannot replace a pump with anything other than one of the ineffably expensive new “energy-efficient” multicycle pumps, to the tune of more than twice what a normal pump costs. Fortunately, the kid they sent to install the thing was young and naive, and he let it slip that despite what his manager said, mine could be repaired with a new capacitor.

Now, though, the thing is flipping off the breaker switch.

The dispatcher at Swimming Pool Service & Repair said sometimes when a filter is clogged it will flip the breaker. And it’s true the filter was running at 18 psi, about 8 psi higher than normal. But really: that isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Typically I’d backwash at 18 psi; it’s gone as high as 20 psi without noticeable harm, though. So my guess is, it’s the end of the beloved old pump, which runs efficiently, runs quietly, and does not have to be left on 24 hours a day.

I’m told these new pumps have to be left on all the time. They cycle back and forth between a faster speed and a lower speed, or some such. You have to learn how to program them, a task said to be pretty difficult. It’s unclear how well  or even whether they run a robot pool cleaner like Harvey. And like all “efficient” machinery — toilets that don’t flush, dishwashers that don’t get the dishes clean, clothes washers that deliver a load of laundry to you in one long, tight braid, car engines that go from 0 to 60 in ten minutes — you can be sure these things are going to be a PITA that doesn’t do the job the way you’re used to getting the job done.

So. I’m  NOT a happy camperette.

Probably I can’t complain, though: the pump is at least 12 years old, and likely much older than that. I moved into this house in 2004, and the pump wasn’t new then. It’s just that I really do resent having the choice of a reasonably priced option taken away from me by legislative fiat.

At any rate, if I do have to replace the pump now, it means I won’t be having the pool replastered this winter, as planned. I suppose, though, that if the pump was going to give out, it’s probably better before I’ve spent four grand on a resurfacing job.

Ah, but that’s not all.

This morning the hounds and I go out for a much-needed Doggy-Walk, the ambient temperature being a miraculous 78 degrees(!!!). And what should I spot, over by the corner of the house, but a big glittering PUDDLE!

It ain’t rainwater.

Lo! The irrigation system has sprung another leak. This time, it’s in the control boxes in the front of the house.

And that, my friends, explains the $250 water bill…

It also means I’ll have another $250 bill this month (or more). I hadn’t seen it because it’s been too damn hot at five in the morning to go out the front door with the dogs. Who knows how long it’s been leaking? Long enough, I can assure you, to soak the area around the foundation for several feet on either side of the corner. Presumably something over a month, given last month’s water bill.

People around here have gotten bills from the city for undetected leaks that range into the thousands of dollars. So I’m pretty scared about what’s going to come in the mail in another ten days or so.

Gerardo will come around tomorrow to fix that. Meanwhile, I managed to figure out how to turn the water off to the outside valves only. The plumber taught my son how to do that when the backyard box sprang a leak, but of course M’hijito couldn’t come trotting over here to turn a handle until he gets of work. This little discovery having been made around 6 a.m., I really didn’t want to let the water soak the foundation (and run up the bill) for another 12 hours or so. So experimented with valves until the right combination was found.

It’s 11 a.m. now, and the water has soaked into the ground. So evidently that stopped the flow.

But not, we might add, the flow from my bank account…

 

August 23, 2016
by funny
2 Comments

Rats! More Rain!!

🙂 The irrigation system has been off for three days, lhudly sing huzzah. So much rain has been pouring in there’s been no need to run the water, despite the usual three-digit temps during the daytime. It’s five in the morning now, and yet another freshet is rolling in.

Yesterday so much rain blasted in, it laid down a three-inch lake in the patio…

BackPorch

The trees won’t have to be watered for days! Y’know…that’s a three-foot-deep water control trench where those rocks are…

Backtree

More bills are incoming, though.

I need to get that patio roof repaired. Don’t even know who could do that, since it’s a little exotic: plastic paneling designed to let filtered light in there but keep the rain out. And my son emailed last night to report that he definitely has rats. They’re inside the walls, and Charley has tried to go after a couple of them. He’s wondering if he can train the dog to catch them.

So I suppose I’ll have to pay an exterminator to get rid of those damn things. I hope he can chip in on the cost, because that is NOT how I want to spend next month’s budget.

But where to FIND an exterminator? Angie’s List is now utterly un-credible, so I’m not using that to track guys down. I refuse to click “agree” to their onerous new ToS, so even if I were dumb enough to buy their recommends, I can’t access their site.

Yelp also doesn’t seem very credible to me — I know too many people who put their friends up to posting positive reviews there. So I’m asking the handyman, who doesn’t do much work for me but who seems to be a font of recommendations.

Also asking him about an electrician. My beloved old electrician (“old” is the operative word: he’s even older than me!) seems to have gone out of business. Last time I called his number was out of service. I hope he’s OK, but would be surprised if he is: he’d been losing weight the last time we met, and not in what looked like a good way. What a great guy that one was (and, I hope, still is). I met him when the ex- and I moved into our house in North Central. That was over 30 years ago!

Hard to believe. {sigh}

AND I heard the AC making some strange noises during the night. It’s still on the Goodman warranty, so with any luck most of that cost will be covered. But it’s another unwelcome hassle.

But all hassles are unwelcome, eh? Especially when they cost you out of house & home…