The strangeness that is humanity… In the “weird people” department, we have our honored US Senator from the Great State of Arizona, the aptly named Jeff Flake. This idiot is actively crowing on and on and ON at his Facebook site about how proud he is of throwing millions of people off health insurance and guaranteeing that people who are sick or who have been injured will not be able to get health insurance. What a guy! In response to his latest cock-a-doodle-doo, about how great he is because he voted in favor of killing the few limits on your network privacy and mine, 95 people slammed him. Two supported the jerk. Given the outrage these guys whip up, you have to wonder HOW they keep getting elected. Gerrymandering and money, for sure; probably a bit of fraud, too.
What a bunch!
Yesterday was consumed by boring and mostly fruitless tasks: paying bills, updating Excel spreadsheets, farting around on Facebook, not doing one thing with socially redeeming value.
In the weird department, given how evil and destructive the Republican party has become over the past couple of decades, it never ceases to astonish me that the corporate world in general still thinks having it in power is a good thing. It is not, of course. What’s bad for Americans ultimately will be bad for business. But for the nonce, they’re all excited.
The amount by which my investments are growing simply beggars description. If this growth were to continue for another six months or a year, you probably would be able to describe me as a wealthy woman. Despite all the money I was forced to take out of the stock market by the mandated Required Minimum Distribution from my IRA, I’m still worth more than I was at this time last year. That’s despite buying a car with $3,600 worth of payments a year, despite several pricey house and yard fixes, despite one damnfool expensive thing after another.
But of course, we know all that is easy come, easy go. That truth makes me want to cash out all those funds, convert them to gold, and bury them in the backyard. Sooner or later the bubble will burst, and we’ll all be broke again.
I’m getting too old to weather another spate of “broke again.”
Speaking of “weather,” that has been insane in these parts! A couple days ago, we hit 108 degrees. This morning when I let the dogs out at 6 a.m, it was 60 degrees out here on the back porch. Just now — three hours later — it’s barely 70. Last night it rained a little — apparently not much — and this morning the sky is adorned with fluffy, low-grazing clouds. It’s quite lovely right this minute…conditions swing madly from “pushing intolerable” to “exquisite,” as it was last night when the dogs and I went out to defile the neighborhood lawns.
Because of this unpredictability, I’ve held off repainting the outdoor furniture. The two wicker chairs and the old mid-century metal things in front need new coats of paint, which awaits them in a large collection of spray cans arrayed across the dining-room table. The wind has been so fierce and given to coming up so unpredictably, I’ve been afraid to wave a can of spray paint in the air…afraid, day after day after day.
Oh well. Neither the chairs nor the paint is going anywhere.
Instead, then, yesterday I fertilized all four citrus trees, each of which is getting pretty big and pretty hungry. Used up the better part of a big sack of fertilizer, and then ran the water all afternoon trying to get the stuff started soaking its way down to the plants’ roots.
In doing so, I also fertilized a length of cat-claw vine that’s been suffering for lack of water. Apparently the watering system has crapped out along the vine’s base. Gerardo is going to be deployed to dig up the ground and fix whatever’s broken…won’t he be thrilled?
Speaking of Gerardo and Luis, one of those guys hacked an entire branch off the lime tree. Admittedly, the tree was a bit overgrown and was in the way — to some degree — as you were walking back and forth. Of all things, you had to walk around it. What could be more outrageous, hm?
The result is, the remaining limbs are now fully exposed, west-facing, to the afternoon sun.
Citrus trees are vulnerable to sunburn. This is why — unknown to most yard guys, and evidently unknown to the city’s public information nitwits — you do not prune citrus to look like a tree. It’s a shrub, not a tree. When you cut its lower limbs up off the ground, you expose the trunk to sunburn, which will weaken or kill the damn plant.
That’s why you see white paint on citrus tree trunks: in the absence of leaves to shade the trunk, humans have to smear reflective paint on their mutilated flora.
So I am not pleased. I could paint the tree higher up, but brushing paint on the thing halfway to the roof is going to look damn funny. An alternative is to wrap it with this stuff they make to wrap citrus with, but getting that around three or four large branches that are growing almost together is going to be…damn near impossible.
WhatEVER. Something will have to be done within the next few days, because summer is here, officially or no, and the minute this cold snap passes, that tree is gonna fry.
And speaking of weird, doesn’t it strike you as strange that, in the Phoenix area, nary a yard man, be he black, white, purple, or (preferably) Mexicano, has a freaking clue about how to care for citrus? To a man, every one of them wants to hack them up and trick them out as trees. Then the city, pandering to the residents’ terror of (ohhhh eeeek!) roof rats, urges people to hack off their citrus trees’ branches, on the theory that this will keep the ratties from climbing into the trees and hopping from their canopies to your roof, thence to climb down your chimney and chase your children around the living room.
If a roof rat, a creature the size of a middling cat, can hoist itself up onto the low-hanging branches of a grapefruit tree and can climb up a block wall, does it not follow that the little guy could scamper right up a tree trunk?
The correct response is not to destroy your (freaking valuable) ornamental and food-crop trees. The correct response is to secure your attic so that Ratty can’t get in. This is not very hard. It’s something you ought to do anyway, since Ratty is not the only critter who would like to take up residence in a nice roomy attic. We have swarms of flying termites here, which happily enter an unscreened attic. Those things will cause havoc that even the most rambunctious rat could never hope to match.
Okay, so here’s what I’m thinking:
Take one of the old sheets of shade fabric, presently stashed in the shed. Tear or cut it into strips. Carefully wrap it around the most exposed part of the lime tree and…hang onto your hat…pin it into place with safety pins.
Et voilà! Doesn’t cost anything and probably will last for a year or so, until the tree’s foliage fills back in.
Moving on in the weird department, yesterday I tried to download Apple’s Pages and its iBook Author program. Couldn’t. Apparently you’re not allowed to download those marvels into a MacBook as old as mine, no matter what OS you’ve installed.
So…I am going to be mightily pissed if I discover I spent something over $800 for updates that were promised, among other things, to accommodate those programs, and those programs still can’t be used. Today, among other time wasters, I’m going to have to call up Apple’s customer service again and spend another hour trying to accomplish this.
Today I’m forced to get up off my duff and carry the busted external hard drive back to Costco, there to beg for an exchange or a refund. I’m a little wary about doing this, because the thing does have backups on it. Discussed this with my son, who agreed there’s some risk in returning it. I’m almost inclined to take (yet another) bath on it, bash the bejayzus out of it with a hammer, and then just go buy a new one.
But…the damn things cost sixty bucks!
And of late I’ve taken so many financial baths my financial skin is peeling off.
I think I’m going to buy one of these, speaking of things that cost sixty or seventy bucks…
It’s a Hunter fan tricked out to look like a real fan, as real fans were back in the day when we made real fans. In America.
Back when Fry’s Electronics carried nice black “retro” (snark!) fans, I bought four of them. These adorn the kitchen and front rooms of the house, making it possible to keep the thermostat around 80 degrees (or so…) in the summertime. But I don’t have one for the bedroom, so instead use a plastic thing that makes a racket and is uglier than pussley. I’d like to have one of these for my bedroom. But I don’t know. With expense after expense after endless expense whapping me upside the head, I’m running out of spending money. It looks like I’ll just break even at the end of my personal fiscal year, come September, when another RMD will replenish the checking account for another 12 months.
It’s getting late. I’ve consumed two pots of coffee. Costco is opening. I must fly.