Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

August 13, 2017
by funny

Here’s an idea…

Let’s shut off the power while the Fatlady is painting walls!

Rain makes Salt River Project shut down. Doesn’t take much rain, either. It’s just sprinkling here, although there may have been a little blow during the night: the BBQ cover was on the ground this morning, allowing the Merry Goddess to soak the Q’s inner workings.

What a sense of humor that Goddess has…

Power went off  about 5:30 a.m., following a noticeable surge. This created a nice opportunity for me to observe that the kitchen flashlight needed new batteries, and now I have to buy a raft more D-cells. The camp lantern I bought a couple years ago comes in mighty handy during these events: it really does light up a whole room.

I love it when the power is out: the neighborhood is SO quiet! You’re not aware of how much background noise hums and bumps and clanks along, all the time, until it stops.

Fortunately the rain has brought the exterior temp down to 80 degrees. So even with the lights back on, we’re giving the air-conditioner a rest.

And of course, these little power outages remind me, as usual, that I haven’t followed much of the advice I’ve emitted about preparing for an emergency. I’m not even very well prepared for an extended electric outage, to say nothing of {gulp} what could happen.

Chortle! It’s easy enough to laugh off the possibilities:

  • Yes, the fault along the Mexican border has, in the relatively recent past, unleashed an earthquake powerful enough to level block construction even as far north as lovely Uptown Phoenix.
  • Yes, dangerous nut cases have been emboldened by the take-over of our government by extremist elements and yup, yesterday they showed exactly what they’d like to do to those of us they don’t like.
  • Yes, we have an incompetent and almost certainly corrupt fool in the White House, one whose stupidity puts not just the US but the entire effing world in real danger.
  • Yes, we have an aging infrastructure that breaks down in a light sprinkle and is capable of shutting down an entire metropolitan area.
  • Yes, an asteroid could hit us tomorrow.

But none of those things feels real enough to push one to bestir oneself out of one’s inertia.

I still haven’t bought a decent camp stove. The ones I’ve seen at the outdoor megamarts are made in China and are clear & present junk. I’m thinking that what may be needed is a couple of the little hiker’s stoves that SDXB favors for his back-country (and motel…) excursions. There are quite a few of them on Amazon, though I’m going to ask him to take me out to the BX, where I can get one without having to pay tax on it.

Interestingly, they also make little camp stoves that run on wood or charcoal. It would be a nuisance to light, but I’m not sure you can get these small stoves to connect to a regular propane tank. Having to track down those dinky little fuel canisters would be as much of a pain in the neck as getting wood or charcoal to light. And in a real crisis that extends for any length of time, those little butane canisters might be impossible to find.

The wood-burning things are cheap, and there’s a stack of firewood in the backyard that goes halfway to the top of the block wall. On the other hand…I don’t have a hatchet and don’t feel like learning to use one. Hm. Better get over that quirk, I guess.

So, consider: if a Korean bomb hit Los Angeles and you lived west of the Rockies (but not in the immediate area of L.A., what would happen?

Here’s an amusing online calculator that can give you a clue. If you’re not at ground zero, you probably will survive…but not without considerable, uhm, hassle, shall we say… In the Phoenix area, if a bomb the size that Kim’s guys are capable of building struck dead center in the downtown, the serious devastation wouldn’t even reach up to the northern area of North Central. If you were indoors and your structure didn’t collapse, you’d have a shot at sheltering in place. You’d need some plywood or something to seal up the windows that undoubtedly would blow out…but…well, WTF.

If, as is more likely, the worse Kim could do is hit L.A., the fallout plume would largely miss the Phoenix area. Los Angeles is north of here, and the prevailing wind flows northeast. The radioactive fallout would head straight across the Mohave and up to Las Vegas.

In that case, such a strike would be largely survivable for Phoenicians…if you were adequately prepared.

Much of our food is trucked in from Los Angeles. Thus food stocks in grocery stores would quickly be depleted — probably within a day, as panicky residents made runs on markets. For that reason it would be important to have nonperishable items such as rice, beans, and canned goods stocked in…enough to last a couple of weeks, at the least, but better, enough to last at a month. Preferably two.

Water comes in from the Colorado River and to a lesser extent from ground water. Central Arizona Project has stockpiled enough water to serve the Phoenix area for about a year; it’s stored underground. This was to stave off a drought, but if Colorado River water were contaminated, it could be used for a short time.

Electricity is generated by a nuclear power plant here in the Valley, by a coal-fired plant on the Navajo and by dams on the Colorado. While there could be some interruption or rationing of power, I think that would be the least of one’s worries.

Gasoline is piped in from California and Texas. Prices would soar and gas would be in short supply if Texas were the only source. So it would be wise to have a few spare cans of gas on hand.

And now, my friends, let’s consider a real threat that few of us notice or even know about: the extremist, fascist right wing. It reared its ghastly head in Charlottesville yesterday. It’s always been here, this little Grendel, but it’s been quiescent in the swamp for the past few decades. Now that the political climate looks favorable, this ugly creature climbs out of the murky water and makes itself visible.

It would be a mistake to underestimate the number of armed extremist nut cases who are loose on the land…and an even bigger mistake to underestimate the number of armed criminals who would join them in the event of a seriously catastrophic emergency. If your home were stocked with food, fuel, and functioning tools, your home would instantly become a target for these two elements.

You need to be armed and you need to have enough ammunition on hand to last until order can be restored. That could be anywhere from a few days to a few months, depending on where you are and what community resources exist in your area. If you don’t know how to use them, you need to go to the nearest range, take some safety lessons, and practice.

So it goes.

Meanwhile, back to the paint job…

Banner image of the day, 8/13/2017

Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.

August 12, 2017
by funny

Paint Job…

…in progress…

The longest wall, the one that goes up the hallway and continues to form the north wall of the dining room, is about 45 feet long. The other one, about 30 feet. The hallway has SEVEN doorways with white trim, not counting the archway into the living room, which also has paint that contrasts with the new gray paint.

For some hours I played with the possibility of junking the gray and instead using the old Alexander Julian “Sawgrass” green — we call that “Swamp Green” — which is actually a soothing and pretty color, much admired by guests who see it in the living room. But then I realized the gray test swatch painted on the dining room wall looked kinda muddy because the underlying orange was showing through.

Yes. Orange.

When I moved in, we painted the entire place with a coordinated set of Alexander Julian colors — Alexander Julian seems to have gone out of the paint color business, which tells you something about how long the paint has been on the walls. One of the colors in the set my friend and I selected was a saccharine tangerine orange. I painted a couple of accent walls that color — one in my office, and I think maybe the bathroom…can’t recall anymore. Hated it, though I loved all the other colors. Finally got rid of the tangerine by painting  one office  wall Julian’s “Silver” gray and the other three the very ingratiating ivory white that was part of the collection, and then painting the bathroom a kind of soft violet shade.

But then La Maya put a sort of red/orange on an accent wall in her house. I thought that was too, too kewl and had to have an orange wall, but red she chose was a little harsh against the smokey Alexander Julian colors. After much experimentation I did find an orange color that I liked a lot and continued to like right up to today.

However. If I have to move, I can’t put the house on the market with orange walls running up the hallway and into the dining room. It’s just too, too idiosyncratic. And if I do decide to move, it’ll probably be on fairly short notice. It’ll depend on how much crime follows on the dumping of homeless drug addicts into our neighborhood and on the construction of the several low-income developments that the city is shoehorning into the area. I don’t want to move, but must face the fact that  I’m getting too old to handle another large, high-drive protection dog…and other facts, such as that I really don’t feel safe taking the garbage out into the alley anymore and that almost no one here feels safe walking a dog at night. At least, not a dog that doesn’t come even halfway up to your knee…

Weirdly, all the other colors in that line of Alexander Julian colors are still the height of fashion: you see all of them, in exactly the kind of combination I’ve used, in all sorts of fancy and not-so-fancy home fashion magazines.

The young people favor shades of gray. Everything is gray, gray, and more permutations of gray. And I do like the gray in the bedroom: it’s very soothing.

And boring.

Speaking of gettin’ too old, I am gettin’ too old for house painting!

Cut in all the 87 gerjillion corners, door frames, endless baseboards this morning — last night I touched up said baseboards and door frames with the white semigloss trim paint. The cutting-in chore was a PITA but didn’t take as long as I expected…though I was mightily annoyed that I couldn’t find the cool new paintbrush I bought the other day at HD.

Have you ever noticed that the tireder you get, the more likely you are to glop paint around you? Ugh!

Anyway, pushing onward, I managed to fill in the walls with primer by about 3:30.

Yesterday all the cutting-in caused me to lose a pound and a half overnight.

By tomorrow morning I should be down another five pounds…

Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.

August 10, 2017
by funny

Minor Annoyances of the Day


…park selves at back door and arf. Human gets up (having just barely brushed the seat of its easy chair with its fanny) and lets the dogs out. Dogs go out onto the patio and stand there, staring expectantly at human.

Human: It’s 105 and overcast out here, and you want to go outside and stand?

Dogs: Well, yes. Yes. Of course.


Phone Solicitors…

…apparently are having a phone-solicitor jamboree.

Despite the wonderful call blocking device, quite a few still get through. They do this by spoofing phone numbers that are not in service (reinforcing one’s suspicion that Cox is in cahoots with them: how else would they get such extensive lists of out-of-service numbers?), or simply by calling from numbers that the device has yet to block.

Even the calls that get blocked still jangle my phone: they ring once and then are cut off. This has to do with the way the gadget has to be connected, because of the number of computers and phones and crap that are attached to the incoming cable. In one way, this is annoying: whatever you’re doing still gets interrupted, albeit very briefly. In another, it’s kinda gratifying, because you know the bastards are getting hung up on. The ones that do get through, though, set off your answering machine, so you have to listen to that thing yap. Sometimes they stay on the line long enough to cause the answering machine to pick up the “busy” signal that ensues, so you have to get up, walk to the machine in the back of the house, and delete the voice message that’s going beep-beep-beep-beep-beep….

Today I’ve had at least eight calls, about half of which have gotten through. That’s just while I’ve been here: left the house at 6:30 a.m. and didn’t get back until sometime after 11.

Whoops! There’s another one: the third from “Bountiful, Utah” today!


…definitely are having a mosquito jamboree.

Don’t know when I’ve seen so many skeeters around. I think it’s probably because I left a dish of water out for the dawgs while it was excessively hot, because I was afraid Ruby would slip out unnoticed, as she’s inclined to do.

Cassie prefers to lurk indoors, but Ruby will go out and lurk in the yard even when it’s hotter than the proverbial hubs of Hades. I do try to check to be sure she’s inside, but given my growing level of incompetence, the chance remains that she’ll get herself stuck out there in the heat.

Even with water, she wouldn’t last long at 115 degrees. It’s cooled down to 105, so I brought the mosquito habitat inside. But that left, of course, a generation of little biters flying around.

There’s a chemical-free way to keep them from chewing on you, though: turn a reasonably powerful fan to “blast” and point it at yourself. Interestingly, mosquitoes are not very strong fliers, and they can’t navigate well in a breeze. Right now we have a large box fan roaring away. Whenever I work up enough energy to get up, I’ll turn on the other three table fans in this room. The box fan is sitting here next to the sliding door, because I take it out onto the deck at breakfast time by way of discouraging the little biters in the morning.


…Really? Is it really possible that I could get the date of a Mayo Clinic appointment wrong not once, not twice, but three times?

Entre nous, I begin to doubt it.

The journey from my house to the Mayo is halfway across the galaxy. I just simply HATE driving out there. So when I needed to traipse across town by way of finding out why whatever ails me has been hanging on for the past five and a half months, I was not pleased.

I had a meeting in Scottsdale this morning, which would put me about halfway there. So I arranged an appointment at 9:10. This meant that the errands I needed to do while I was in the area where the group meets had to be deferred until next week, and some of them are things I would like to get done this week, not sometime in the far future.

So I leave the meeting early and fly across Scottsdale headed toward Payson — for reasons I can’t imagine, the Mayo built its office complex damn near out to Fountain Hills, which borders the freaking Beeline Highway. Naturally, Shea Blvd, the only way to get out there, is all dug up with “lane closed” signs all over the place. But I hit the campus just in time: run up the parking garage stairs and race into the reception area, only to be told…

“Oh, that’s not today: that’s next week! :-)”

Son. Of. A. Bitch!

This is the third time I’ve trudged way to hell and gone almost to freaking Fountain Hills and been told the appointment I had on my calendar was not for that day but for a week hence.

The first time, I put it down to my usual old-lady incompetence.

The second time, I was really pissed.

But this time? Now I’m beginning to wonder.

Does it really make sense that I would get the date wrong for a trip I truly hate loathe and despise three times?

I go to a whole lot of doctors, dentists, veterinarians, car mechanics, and whatnot. Why would this keep happening only at the Mayo? It never happens with Young Dr. Kildare or CardioDoc or the glasses guy or the dentist or the hair stylist or the vet or the business meetings or choir…so why would it happen with the Mayo and only with the Mayo? Why would these errors consistently be exactly one week off, when they’re usually made pretty far out in the future? (This one wasn’t: I made it a few days ago, but mostly you’re scheduling three or four weeks down the line.)

(Wow! Here’s the fourth call from Bountiful! This guy just does not give up! Now we’re at about 9 nuisance calls today.)

So, yeah: does it really make sense that this kind of scheduling error would happen only with the Mayo?

If they’re deliberately mis-scheduling, why? Could that make sense in even the wildest scenario?

The only possible reason I can imagine is that the Mayo doesn’t like to deal with Medicare patients. Medicare doesn’t pay enough, and collecting is a hassle for them. The Mayo prioritizes private patients over Medicare patients. They may be quietly trying to discourage me from making appointments at all. If a person makes enough wasted trips — especially if the person is elderly or disabled and it’s hard to get out there at all — maybe she’ll just give up and go someplace else.

And I certainly would, if they weren’t about the only game in town.

Overall hospitals and medical care in Arizona are pretty piss poor. In the Phoenix area, only two hospitals are rated excellent; one is the Mayo and one is a facility way to hell and gone out in Sun City. I don’t know anybody who practices in Sun City, and I sure as hell don’t want to drive as far to the westside as I have to drive to the eastside to go to a doctor.

It’s late. I’ve got to get up and start preparing the walls for the upcoming paint job. And so, away…

Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.

August 9, 2017
by funny

Dog/House/Docs/Like Mother, Like Son…

1. Dog

Car-riding in balmier days…

So yesterday afternoon we schlepped the ailing dog out to his Regular Veterinarian, way to he!! and gone on the northerly reaches of Paradise Valley.

Charley is much improved, and yesterday made a Great Leap in terms of recovery. He’s certainly not cured by any means, but yesterday was walking around a little more normally, despite having to struggle to get up and down. He’s even getting up enough zing to take up one of his favorite activities, counter-surfing.

Day before yesterday, M’hijito discovered a large, strange wound that seemed suddenly to have appeared on his back. Son was beside himself: we did not know where this came from or what it could possibly be.

Actually, I had a theory: First day back from the vet hospital (a.k.a. hole in the ground into which to pour money), Charley levered himself to the floor in the kitchen while we were fixing food. When he got himself down, he was laying with his back jammed up against the sharp corner of the cheap Home Depot cabinetry we had installed in that house. I thought at the time he must be getting jabbed, but elected not to try to drag him away from it for fear of injuring him more. So he could have scraped himself while in that position.

We cut away as  much hair as we could and washed it, but since we already had a vet appointment there wasn’t much else to do.

The vet did a much better job of removing fur all the way around the thing, cleaning, and applying a med. He opined that it’s a hot spot.

I said “how can he have a hot spot, since he can’t reach the middle of his back to lick it?” My dogs love to create hot spots, but these always appear on their legs, which are convenient venues for lick-fests. These create fine festering wounds.

He said a hot spot can start as a bacterial infection. He says they’re very common in goldens.

So now poor Charley is bald on the belly (where they shaved him to do an ultrasound of his abdominal cavity), on his front legs (where innumerable IVs were inserted), and on his back.

However, the vet said he appears to be significantly better and held out some hope for a complete or near-complete recovery.

He also discovered that in X-raying the dog’s chest, the 24-hour veterinary had found a couple of ruptured vertebral disks.

Well, holy sh!t, would that ever explain a lot. As you may know from your own experience, disk pain is pretty damned excruciating. It certainly can cripple you up. And it can cause you to feel extremely stressed.

So if he was already in pain when he was placed in the Hated Car, the combination could have stressed him enough to give him a neurotic fit, as it were.

And you simply would not believe how this dog behaves inside a vehicle. He truly is totally panic-stricken.

Yesterday I rode in back with the dog while my son drove the car. All the way across town, Charley huffed and puffed and gasped for air and tried to burrow in behind my back to hide. There’s no question at all that he was terrorized.

The vet thinks the Thunder Shirt idea is a good one. He says a lot of people swear by them. If you read the reviews, about 75% of users feel they work well or at least adequately to calm their dogs’ anxiety. So my kid is going to order one up. But we’ll have to wait until the hot-spot wound on his back heals up before wrapping him in Velcro and nylon. Also the maker’s site says not to put one on a dog when the weather is over 90 degrees — it’ll be a month or two before temps get back down into the 90s hereabouts.

Anyway, this guy is really a great vet: like Young Dr. Kildare, he combines a great deal of expertise with that rarest of all commodities, common sense.

2. House

So I bought a gallon of gray paint to re-do the orange hallway. I’d very much like to get started on that, but it ain’t gonna happen today. Or tomorrow.

This morning I’ll run up to the Depot, where I figure I can get the rollers and a couple new paintbrushes cheaper than they sell them at Dunn Edwards.

However, it must be said that when I rolled into Dunn Edwards the other day with no paint on my face and engaging my usual long, space-covering hiking stride (had to park on the far end of the lot to get the car in the shade), I looked pretty lezzie. The lone clerk personing the counter was a distinctly mannish-looking woman, and she instantly took a liking to me. Amazingly, that led to her establishing a tradesman’s account for me! So I got the paint at a deep discount.

Ordered just a quart of the white trim paint, since I figured all that would be needed would be some touch-up. But when I arrived to pick up the paint, I learned they couldn’t get the color (which is long out-of-date in the style department) unless they whipped up a gallon. Incredibly, the guy dispensing the paint gave me the whole gallon for the cost of a quart!!!!!

Hot dayum!

The trim in my son’s house is the same color white. Our honored painter screwed up quite a few things in that house. Among these: he painted the hall cabinet without sanding the high-gloss lead paint already on it, and then — get this — after he finished painting he pushed the drawers shut! Not surprisingly, the paint just peeled right off the first time my son opened the drawers.

Painter dude also applied some of the wall paint carelessly and slopped it on the trim around the kitchen doors.

So with this excess of white paint, I’ll be able to repair the paint at M’hijito’s house, whenever I get around to it.

3. Docs

But that will not be soon: I can’t even work on my own house today.

Have to prepare a presentation for tomorrow’s 7:30 a.m. meeting, and from there go straight out to the Mayo, there to begin the (undoubtedly freaking endless) process of figuring out why my body is still afflicted with whatever struck on March 1. Still coughing and gagging, though it’s slowly getting better. But…this is August: whatever the ailment is has hung on for five and a half months.

Young Dr. Kildare referred me to a lung doctor.

I called this guy’s office during office hours and was instantly shunted into an aggravating punch-a-button phone tree. Okay…so get used to it, right?

Don’t think so. This was an aggravation on steroids. By the time I got to the sixth level of “listen carefully for our menu has changed,” I thought oh fuck it! and hung up.

Now this outfit keeps calling me on the phone and leaving messages for me to call and make an appointment. This after they sent me a letter to that effect; I wrote them a note in reply explaining that I gave up after reaching the sixth punch-a-button put-off and that I feel a business that treats its customers this way reveals its lack of consideration.

And I believe that is exactly so. In any setting, when you put off someone who wants to do business with you by sending them through a long, annoying run-around, you’re really saying you care so little for your customer that you won’t even be bothered to hire a minimum-wage clerk to listen to messages left on a voicemail that answers at the first or second level. When your callers are sick people, for chrissake, that is true in spades. How hard is it to plug in a voicemail system that says “Please leave your name, your number, and a brief description of your concern and we will get back to you soon”?

So this is not a medical practice with which I wish to do business.

Called the Mayo and reached a human on the second hoop-jump. Made an appointment. Unfortunately, it’s for 9:10 in the morning tomorrow. So that is going to make tomorrow a bitch of a day: starting out with a 40-minute drive into the rising sun and a presentation whose subject I have yet to dream up; then racing to the Mayo (another 30- or 40-minute drive from the meeting). And presumably, knowing the way my life goes, downhill from there.

4. Like Mother, Like Son

{chortle} I was tickled to learn that a certain retrograde cast of mind runs in the genes. After we returned from the veterinary expedition, M’hijito went off to a favorite Thai restaurant and retrieved a bunch of take-out.

So we’re sitting around after dinner finishing our beers and reading. M’hijito has turned on the lights…and he apologizes for their dimness because, says he, “I hate those new lights! I hate that blue cast they put out…they hurt your eyes!”


So I was moved to make a confession: when the last administration decreed that incandescent bulbs would be taken out of our sticky little hands, I hoarded boxes of real light bulbs.

Heh heh…if he’d heard about that when it happened, I’d have had to listen to any number of lectures about how foolish that was.

But like his muther, he tried the fluorescent bulbs and tried the LCD bulbs and found them…amazingly wanting.

So when I croak over, he’ll inherit a lifetime supply of lightbulbs that don’t hurt your eyes or make you grit your teeth.


Why? Because endlessly annoying Facebook will not pick up the image you want to illustrate your post. It wants to pick up the banner image, which, if it’s generically the same day after day, quickly bores readers or makes them think today’s post is a repeat of yesterday’s. So the only way to force FB to use an image that has anything to do with your post is to change the banner image to fit the subject of the day. That means today’s banner image (a historic photo of four Nazis, for example) bears no relation whatsoever to the topic of yesterday’s post (ruminations on power outages, for example). So annoying.



August 8, 2017
by funny

Cleaning and Dogging and Racing Around

Taking a few minutes to de-frazzle before flying out the door.

I have to drive down to my son’s house to check on the dog — really, like right now — but I’ve been racing around since 5:30 this morning and must decompress before getting on the road.

Decided I’d better shovel out the house today, so after cleaning the pool and walking the dogs and running three loads of laundry we moved on to picking up the mountains of litter that collect like snowdrifts in the Funny Farm. In addition to developing the bad habit of sitting in front of the Internet all day long, I’ve also been cultivating my natural tendency to drop stuff wherever I happen to be at any given time.

Result: every table top, every countertop, every desk, every floor, every appliance is festooned with trash, junk, and piles of paper. It’s taken two hours to pick this place up, and now I have a four-inch-high stack of paperwork that has to be entered into Excel spreadsheets (apparently all the bills got paid, though, mirabilis!).

Meanwhile, in the course of babysitting the dog I see my son has inherited these genetic tendencies, in spades. Though he does pick up (most of the time…), the floors are ankle-deep in dog hair.

So I’m taking an old vacuum cleaner that resides in the garage down to his place, the better to gag it with wads of white dog hair. I’m sure not using my good one, and his weighs about eight tons. What is it about men that they think the best way to clean a house (repair a gadget, get from Point A to Point B, run a country) is the hardest way???

It’s been so long since I used the old Shark, I could NOT for the life of me remember how to get it apart to dump out the dust and dog hair that had accrued in its collector thingie. After much wrestling around, I finally spotted the right button. Annoying.

Even more annoying is that damn car. It’s a good-sized vehicle, in theory…but the back end behind the annoying stupidly designed seats isn’t large enough to hold a lightweight Shark vacuum cleaner. Holy sh!t. So I had to take everything out of the vehicle and perform a feat of origami to load the damn vacuum cleaner.

The seats have to remain up and the pillows I stuffed in there to keep my own dogs from breaking their necks or their legs or both have to be removed and stashed in the garage because my son has to ride in the back with his neurotic dog to keep the animal from having another panic-induced stroke. This, every time we have to schlep the dog to the vet. Which, as you can imagine, is frequently.

Well, it’s almost 10 a.m. If I’m gonna do this chore, I’d better get going. If he catches me cleaning his house, he won’t like it.

August 7, 2017
by funny

How much would you spend on your pet?

Notice I don’t say how much will you spend on your pet; only how much you imagine you’d be comfortable spending. Chances are what you will spend, one day, is a far cry from what you think you ought to spend.

In 2017, Americans will spend — hang onto your hat — some sixty-nine BILLION dollars on their pets! This counts expenses all across the “pet industry,” from kibble to collars to that pricey stay in the doggy ER.

The average cost of a visit to one of those high-powered 24-hour veterinary hospitals is not easy to find: apparently this is a closely kept secret. If you look at Yelp reviews of the many such facilities in Phoenix, you see, more than once, people stating they were asked to front $1,300 just to get the animal in the door.

Diagnostic costs alone can run a couple thousand dollars, AARP observes. Prices accrue from there. Treating your cat’s bladder stones will set you back a mere $1,850, as nothing compared to the $3,290 for a dog’s ruptured knee ligament or the $7,000 to fix a busted-up leg.

Americans will start out, this year, ponying up $2.01 billion just to purchase their 2017 pets. Food will cost us $26.7 billion, followed by a distant $16.6 billion for veterinary care.

And that doesn’t count the lawyers. Did you realize some law schools now offer courses in animal law, wherein budding attorneys can learn how to handle pet custody in divorce cases? This doesn’t even touch the dog bite cases, the dog excavation of the neighbor’s property cases, the dog assassination of rabbits, chickens and sheep, the HOA squabbles over the hordes of loose cats…

And lest you think Americans are the only pet-happy nut cases out there, some 41 percent of Australians say they always take their dogs on vacation with them.

So the question is, when your dog or cat or bird or goldfish is dangerously ill or injured and may very well not recover, are you willing to bet on the come that maybe if you throw enough money at the problem the animal will recover?

When is it better — or is it ever better — to throw in the chips and put the critter to sleep than to persist in the search for a cure?

Got no idea, I’ll tellya, how much my son spent on the present episode with Charley. He refused to tell me, but knowing regular vets, I’m guessing $500 to $800 for the vet in Show Low, about $200 for the ordinary vet down here, and something upwards of $4,000 for the four days in the 24-hour doggy hospital. A great deal of drastic effort was spent on treating Charley the Golden Retriever. But IMHO the vet who saved his life was the guy in Show Low. All the rest of it has been additional acts in the opera. I suspect that if Charley had simply been brought home from the Show Low encounter and allowed to rest, the outcome would have been similar or identical.

On the other hand… Probably unnoticed by my ultra-stressed son, it’s pretty clear the Show Low vet did not believe Charley would survive, and in repeatedly expressing that concern to M’hijito, he was signaling (in coded language) that he thought they should put the dog down. When the outcome in fact was survival, he admitted that he was very surprised. And when you look this stuff up, you have to allow: the guy was right.

Except that he was NOT right about the etiology of what ailed the dog. He thought the cause was exposure to high heat and suspected my son had left the dog locked in a hot car.

This was not true. In fact, what he was dealing with was fear- or stress-induced hyperthermia. While the potential outcome is similar, possibly the same, what was really going on was different. The animal was never exposed to unduly high heat: in fact, the interior of the vehicle was rather cold. So you could look at it this way: rather than an assault from the exterior by heat and sunlight, the animal was generating heat from the interior, which must have been dissipating into the highly air-conditioned chill of the vehicle. So, while obviously hyperthermia was stressing the animal’s system, it probably was taking longer than the vet calculated to inflict damage.

That is why, without a doubt, the dog survived. He survived something different from what the vet thought was afflicting him. Whatever the etiology, though, the only known treatment was the same, and in applying it, the Show Low vet saved the animal’s life.

Will Charley fully recover?

That remains to be seen. Each day he is a tiny bit better: he gets up a little more easily, he lays back down a little more easily, he walks a tiny bit more normally. He’s eating well, drinking generous amounts of water, and excreting normally.

If this continues, my guess is that over time he will recover most of his functioning. I doubt if he’ll ever be normal again — though yeah, miracles do happen. More likely after six, eight, ten weeks he’ll come back more or less to normal, and then he’ll spend the rest of his life as the equivalent of an elderly dog. But that’s better than being dead.

I guess.

A dog that will live to sponge food off the table again…

The drama from the outset:

Day One
Homeward Bound
Back in Town
Charley Crisis, Continued