Funny about Money

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

August 6, 2017
by funny

Charley Crisis, Continued…

So my son called in a sweat late this afternoon, having discovered a mysterious wound on the crippled Charley’s back.

I drove down to his place and helped inspect. It looked like a scrape that had started to suppurate. We cut the hair out of the area, washed it, called the vets at the emergency hospital. They advised taking the dog to our regular vet.

On reflection, it appears this injury probably happened when Charley laid down on the kitchen floor, pressing himself tight against the corner of a kitchen cabinet. I observed his doing that last night but figured if he were uncomfortable, he would move.

That, obviously, was wrong: it appears large areas of his back and probably his shoulders are so numb he can’t feel much.

He can walk a few steps at a time; haul himself to his feet; with great difficulty lever himself down to the floor. But he’s badly crippled. The Show Low vet opined that he had suffered neurological damage, which may never clear up.

To make everything perfect, the emergency vet hospital did not understand that M’hijito does not live in Show Low, so faxed all their records up to that guy! This despite having been told who the local vet is and that the local vet referred him to them!


So tomorrow we’re probably taking the dog to the local regular vet. Assuming we can get an appointment. I’m going down to M’hijito’s house to babysit the dog, since he really has to go back to work, having taken several days off on the pretext of “working at home.” He’s found that working at home isn’t working for him and says he needs to go back to the office so he can do his job.

Charley can’t be left alone, and he can’t be driven around in a car — so he can’t be delivered to and picked up from my house, meaning the dog will have to be babysat at M’hijito’s house.

He seems a little better to me today, but my son doesn’t seem to think so.

My feeling is that if he’s going to get better, it will take five or six weeks (at least). I hope that will happen. But I think we have to bear in mind that he may never recover.


August 6, 2017
by funny

Day 1: De-Computerizing Regime

So today I took it upon myself to try to break the not-so-benign computer habit. This is easier said than done: apparently I’m constitutionally incapable of not checking the email first thing in the morning.

My son is almost out of minutes on his phone, so that’s my excuse: if he has something to say about the dog crisis, he’ll say it by email. And he did: more about which under separate cover.

I regard this de-computerizing scheme as akin to decluttering: when too much junk accrues, you need to shovel out your life. Get rid of STUFF.

LOL! Just think in terms of “digital stuff” throughout this spiel…

At any rate, by not turning on the computer but instead getting off my duff, I got a lot of STUFF done…and done by noon, believe it or not:

Clean pool
Deposit check
Send receipt
Update spreadsheet
Drive to pool store

Explain to DIFFERENT pool store clerk that an orange reading on the pH test means the water is too HIGH on acid, not too low on acid. Today’s pool guy manages to grasp that concept. Why the regular guy did not escapes me, since it’s the most basic of all possible basic concepts. He agrees the water needs a base added to it; peddles some soda ash to me. I also buy a case of shock-treat packets.

Onward to the paint store: buy a gallon of primer, a gallon of gray paint, and a quart of white semigloss for the trim I inevitably will butch up when I repaint the hall
Onward to Total Wine: buy a small bottle of bourbon, which should last another two or three months
Dump half the package of soda ash into the pool; reflect on how much I dislike working with soda ash
Finish writing the present scene of the noveloid; reflect on how to get the only fully likeable character out of the predicament he’s about to fall into
Eat myself stupid with broiled open-face sandwiches chased by a bowl of ice cream

All of this, accomplished by noon. Of late, what I’ve gotten done by noon has been…

Browse several news sites
Write a blog post, maybe (maybe not)
Play several online games, over and over obsessively
Fart around with the email
Write a post on Quora
Write post or comments on NextDoor
Fart around on FaceBook…

So at least something got done today. For a change.

Whenever I can get to it, my plan is to paint the hallway and touch up the interior trim. Some years ago, I got the bright idea of painting the hall this kind of rusted-pumpkin orange color. It’s not as hideous as it sounds: matter of fact, I’ve liked it quite a lot. The north hallway wall runs up into the dining room, so that wall serves as an accent wall in there, and then the wall on the south side matches it. And you can see the color through the archway from the living room, where it serves as a kind of accent in there.

But whereas the other colors in the house have stood the test of time handsomely, this orange business hasn’t held up as well. I’m really pretty tired of it. And it’s dark.

There’s a (very expensive!) red-orange light in there: orange light just gets soaked up by orange paint, so really that light just barely makes the hallway navigable. My son wants the light, and so he can have that; we’ll replace mine with one that emits a nice white glow..

Gray is the new orange… Permutations of gray are the height of style these days. Amazingly, my taste was way ahead of its time when I painted this house: the bedroom and the accent wall in the office are matte gray; the fireplace brickwork and hearth are semigloss gray, a very pretty soft color called “silver” by the now-defunct designer Alexander Julian — who apparently also was well ahead of his time.

When you look at the various designer magazines, you see a whole bunch of colors that are not even faintly gray dubbed “gray”: hues that I call “cream” and “taupe” and even “beige.” And lo! There’s the subtle, smokey green of the living room: “gray.” Hilarious!

One thing is clear: replace the orange hall with Alexander Julian’s “silver,” and presto-changeo: the house will be at the forefront of interior fashion. 😀

Besides the fact that I’ve grown weary of the orange hallway and the orange wall up the north end of the dining/family room, I want to update the place a bit because I’m beginning to think about selling. The influx of bums, drugs, and crime is causing a lot of unrest among the residents. Latest news is a large apartment complex for “homeless families” is going in about a mile down Conduit of Blight. That’s in addition to the three- or four-story homeless apartment complex Catholic Social Services is installing right next door to a soon-to-be-formerly upscale infill development.

Supposedly these will get people off the streets. One surely does hope so. They’re better than the shelters we used to have around the Encanto District, which would put up transients at night and then throw them out at dawn, leaving them to wander around our neighborhood, ride the buses, and doze in the library until such time as the flop opened again that night.

The National Law Center for Homelessness and Poverty says the main causes of homelessness in America are insufficient income and lack of affordable housing.

According to the most recent annual survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, major cities across the country report that top causes of homelessness among families were: (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, and (4) low wages, in that order. The same report found that the top four causes of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals were (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) unemployment, (3) poverty, (4) mental illness and the lack of needed services, and (5) substance abuse and the lack of needed services.

Presumably, then, these housing developments will address one (1) of the four or five leading causes of US homelessness. But…we still have the remaining issues. What is to be done about the corrosive state of poverty, about the right-to-work-for-nothing laws in Arizona, about the lack of mental health care, and about the drug abuse?

My expectation? Nothing.

What will be done about the fundamental issues is nothing. The practical consequences of those terrible societal problems will be dropped in our laps, where they can remain invisible to our city fathers who live on the side of Camelback Mountain, in the balmy reaches of Paradise Valley, in the high-rent environs of Arcadia, or even out in Scottsdale.

{sigh} I love my home and its spacious yard and the friendly neighbors. And I can’t afford to buy anything comparable in a safer part of the city. But…I’m afraid it’s time to think about moving to a smaller, lesser house, or else moving out to Sun City — which, because no one wants to live there, is a lot cheaper than central city areas and newer, fancier outlying developments. At a certain age, you’re really too old to cope with drug addicts and bums in the alleys, thieves watching your home for an opportunity to break in, and the inevitable German shepherd.

Still…how d’you like Chloe?

Think I should adopt her?

Or maybe Chance? As a male, he’d probably get along with the bossy corgis a little better than Chloe…

Heh heh…just what I need: three dogs to have to take care of! 😀

August 5, 2017
by funny

Breaking the Computer Addiction

Thus stuff has got to stop! I’ve developed what really can, without exaggeration, be called a computer addiction. I can park myself in front of this thing at 5:30 in the morning and not get up until two or three in the afternoon. Or later.

And that’s when there’s no work in house!

This morning when 10 a.m. rolled around I realized I had to be out of the house in an hour and a half and I hadn’t paid the bills or showered or painted the face or put up the hair or cleaned the pool or walked the dogs or…much of anything other than to play computer games.

Typically I check the email while the dogs are doing their early- morning thing in the backyard. Then I check the news of the day…which is a lot like staring deep into a cobra’s eyes.

This wastes incalculable amounts of time. Usually I’ll find some news item I want to post on Facebook.

If Google News is a cobra, Facebook is the King Cobra of the Internet. What a time suck! It truly is hypnotic. I can piddle around on that thing for what feels like 20 minutes, then look up and realize two hours have gone by unnoticed.

By then it’s too hot to walk the dogs or exercise or even clean the pool. And usually by then I have appointments outside the house, so there really isn’t time to do those things. By the time I get home, I’m tired…and so they just don’t get done.

Gotta stop. But how?

Came up with a plan: make a list of things to do (such as “get a life”…) before the computer can be turned on at all. After this, when the dogs roust me out in the morning, I start doing things. I do not park myself in front of a computer and lapse into a trance.

  • Walk dogs
  • Feed dogs
  • Swim
  • Clean pool
  • Tend garden plants
  • Feed dogs
  • Wash
  • Paint Face
  • Eat breakfast
  • Pick up house
  • Pay bills
  • Write noveloid
  • Shop for groceries, household items
  • Do yoga, exercises
  • Get dinner
  • Go to bed

All of these get priority before the computer hallucination.

When there’s paying work to do, of course, then the routine looks more like this

  • Walk dogs
  • Feed dogs
  • Clean pool
  • Eat breakfast
  • Work
  • Work
  • Work
  • Work
  • Bolt down snack
  • Go to bed

This scheme is going to make me even more of a recluse than I already am, no doubt. Most of my social interaction now takes place by email and over Facebook.

I have no idea which is unhealthier: no social interaction, or ersatz computerized social interaction. Dollars to donuts they’re about the same.

Speaking of the which, gotta go meet some friends for lunch and a concert. Bye!

Image: DepositPhotos, © galdzer5



August 3, 2017
by funny

Charley Back Home

Charley & Ruby in better days

Charley seemed a little better last night, but he was drugged to the teeth with steroids and tranquilizers and more stuff than the human mind can conceive. M’hijito had to build a spreadsheet to keep track of the dosing!

I wouldn’t have believed it…that a dog could silently work itself into such a nervous state that it can give itself a freaking heatstroke…except that before we even got to the freeway on-ramp he was doing the same thing my son described: pressed himself tight against the door, panting frantically, huffing & puffing like a steam engine. This was in spite of being doped up on sedatives! And in spite of M’hijito sitting in the back seat holding him and trying to calm him.

The freeway is within easy walking distance of the fancy emergency veterinary — less than a quarter mile, I’d say — and we were in my car, not my son’s. So presumably the cause is not some strange ultrasonic noise inaudible to humans…unless all newer cars with backup imaging technology do that. I did call Chuck the Wonder-Mechanic last week and asked if there was any way the back end of the vehicle could have heated up despite the AC blasting away…he doubted it. Pete, his business partner and future Heir to the Empire, said he hadn’t heard of any such high- or low-pitched noise issues in late-model Fords, though it was the first thing that jumped to IT Dude’s mind when I told him the story. Pete suggested I get in touch with Ford…good luck with that! 😀

At any rate, if that were the case, I’m sure the word would be out by now. There’s not a credible sign of it on the Web, at least not that I can see.

It was about a 15- or 20-minute drive to my son’s house. By the time we got there, he was already heating up, even though we cranked the AC as cold as it would go. They’d shaved his belly, so you could feel the skin on there: HOT. Schnozz: HOT.

But he now can walk about 20 or 30 feet, so that’s better than it was. We got him in the house. He gulped down about a gallon of water…you have to hold the water bowl up to his head, because he can’t bend his head down and drink.

Got him flopped down on the cool tiles and put an ice pack between his rear legs, as we’d seen the veterinary staff do. I saturated the fur around his head and neck with water, as I’ve been taught to do in the past to cool off an overheated dog. He soon stopped panting, and eventually he fell asleep.

My son’s employer kindly agreed to let him work from home, and provided a company computer and remote connection to the corporate system. In theory, that’s not part of his job description, but it looks like they’re willing to let him do it for a few days.

The Fancy Vet said to take him to the regular vet in four or five days to have him re-assessed. So if they’ll let him work from home today and tomorrow and a couple days next week, that should simplify life some.

Meanwhile, it looks like the hypothesis that the dog hurt his back or neck when he fell out of the car in Show Low may hold a little water. The veterinary assistant said when they would rub him along one side of his spine, he would act like it was sensitive, and when they lifted his right front leg to bandage the macerated spot where IV after IV has been stuck in, he yelped like it hurt. They did X-ray his spine and couldn’t find any broken vertebrae, so if this theory is right, he must have twisted or fallen cattywampus when he fell on the ground, thereby spavining his back. In that case, in a week or three, he may recover his ability to walk.

Whatever becomes of him, obviously he never can ride in a car again. Which is a bit of a problem. Presumably the only way my son will be able to get him to the vet will be to dope him with Benadryl or a sedative.

So in an idle moment, I googled “dog fear of riding in car,” and the search conveniently suggested an alternative search term: “dog is suddenly afraid to ride in the car.” Following that, I discovered that this is not a rare problem: all sorts of sites and discussion boards describe mature dogs that previously had no problem riding in a car suddenly evincing utter terror.

What would bring this on is a mystery. My son has never been in a car accident; the dog has never been hurt or tossed around by a sudden stop. Apparently out of the blue Charley just decided that cars are bad for Charleys.

It is beyond weird.

To say nothing of beyond expensive. My son refuses to say what he’s spent so far, but I’d guess it’s probably $5,000 to $8,000…possibly as much as $10,000. He said he’d just paid off the car (a 0 percent loan!) because he so much hates being in debt. And now he’s in hock to the credit card companies

Our Story So Far…

Day One
Homeward Bound
Back in Town

August 1, 2017
by funny

A-n-n-d… The Dog Situation

So we schlepped the dog to the vet at 40th St. and Thunderbird. The dog is crippled: he can barely stand up; he can walk a few steps and then collapses.

Vet did some tests and thinks the dog is probably not bleeding on the inside, but he can’t explain the crippled state. Show Low vet has diagnosed this as neurological damage from the 107.4-degree temperature. He speculated that the dog will never get over it.

Our vet now suggests we schlep the dog to a high-powered 24-hour veterinary center staffed with specialists up on Cave Creek Road. He arranges for us to arrive, and we start driving.

They do an ultrasound of Charley’s abdominal cavity and conclude that, contrary to fears, there’s no internal bleeding. At various veterinarians’ behest, we leave the dog overnight at the Cave Creek doggy hospital.

I am skeptical.

The dog is eating and defecating normally. The dog is drinking plenty of water and peeing normally.

What has happened here is that when Ian opened the car door to let Charley stretch his legs in Show Low, Charley fell out of the car. At that point he could not walk. Ian thought that Charley couldn’t get up because something was terribly wrong.

And something was: a 107.4-degree temperature is terribly wrong, indeed. As in potentially lethal.

However… What if…

What if the dog’s temp was elevated, as we have speculated, because he worked himself up into a doggy tizzy because he hates, hates, HATES M’hijito’s new(ish) Ford Escape? The specialist vet at the fancy emergency hospital stated that this was quite possible: dogs have been known to die from elevated temperatures caused by the whim-whams and the terrors.

What if the dog simply tumbled out of the car because he was huddled up against the door in dismay (as he is said to have been) and when M’hijito opened the door he slipped and fell? In that case, he surely could have sprained (or broken) something in his back. Severe back pain plus several hours in a phobic state from riding in the car would absolutely explain the elevated temperature.

It also would explain why he gets incrementally better with each passing day. Hm.

The expensive vet did not see any damage to his spine, but I do not know if sonograms can detect fractures. What I do know is that people on Yelp comment on the breathtaking cost of this place — one person said they charged her twenty thousand dollars!!!

My son doesn’t have that kind of money: he’s already spent all of his emergency savings on this adventure.

Maybe I’m heartless…but I do hate to see him go into hock over a dog. Especially one that has about four years, maybe five, left in its life expectancy. Especially when in the back of my mind I suspect Charley would get better if simply left alone in familiar surroundings to rest and convalesce.

Granted, I’m not a nice lady. But I just don’t like the looks of this.

August 1, 2017
by funny

Why Do Old People Take So Long to Get Out of the House?

This sounds like one of those stupid Quora questions, most of them posed by bored 14-year-olds in Bangladesh: Why, damn it, why does it take so goddamn LONG to get out of the house when you’re old? The older you get, the more time it takes to get into the car.

This morning I needed to leave at 8:30 to meet my son and schlep the sick dog to the vet, way to hell and gone over in the downscale section of Paradise Valley, which is a hefty long way from here through post-rush-hour traffic.

Up at 5:30, the usual hour. You’d think three hours would be plenty of time to get ready and out the door, eh? Not so…

  • Check e-mail.
  • Scan headlines.
  • Laugh at news, in the mode of anyone who lives in a freaking Monty Python Show.
  • Discover Charley’s symptoms could occur if he had been munching on compost, as dogs will do.
  • E-mail son; realize he won’t see e-mail.
  • E-mail two friends, only one of whom is likely to be up at that hour; ask them to text him w/ message to keep dog away from compost.
  • Try to print out one page on compost toxicity for vet; find printer isn’t working.
  • Fart with printer; get it working with one unit but not the other. E-mail page to self, open it on other computer, print it out, fold up printout, jam it in purse which is too small to hold another scrap of junk.
  • Clean the pool.
  • Realize I forgot to shock-treat last night; realize I can’t do that until tonight.
  • Clean out pool equipment preparatory to this evening’s shock treat.
  • Jump in the pool.
  • Realize I can’t shower and wash hair in the hose because guys blacktopping the streets are running around in big contraptions tall enough to let the driver peer over the wall.
  • Draw bath.
  • Feed dogs.
  • Start coffee.
  • Jump in bath, wash hair.
  • Race to kitchen, grab boiling pot, pour water over coffee in French press.
  • Back to bathroom. Grab comb, yank tangles out of hair.
  • Cut up an apple, cheese; grab nuts, grab blueberries; put on serving dish.
  • Assemble snacks for begging dogs, by way of keeping them out of my hair while I’m eating.
  • Pour coffee, grab plates of food, retreat to deck for breakfast.
  • Consume food while holding off dogs with cheese, carrots, blueberries and pieces of kibble and reading an Economist article.
  • Back to bathroom: paint face.
  • Finish getting dressed.
  • Back to bathroom: braid hair.
  • Throw ice in a mug, pour in iced tea, put in car.
  • Leave outgoing mail in mailbox, raise flag.
  • Lock doors.
  • Lock doors.
  • Lock doors.
  • Check on dogs.
  • Lock yet another door.
  • Fly out of the garage, running only 5 minutes late.

Huh. Come to think of it, I suppose it’s surprising, in a good way (sort of) that it “only” takes three hours to get out of here.