Coffee heat rising

Surprise!!! NOT a Disaster!


For a change, something went more or less right today. And when I say “a change,” I ain’t kidding: whatever I’ve touched and whatever has touched me has gone SPROOOOINNNNNGGGGGG!!!

Mostly this has had to do with money. AMEX claims it wasn’t paid; AMEX claims a payment bounced (bullsh!t to that!); WonderAccountant’s mind is boggled; Financial Dude has retired and gawd only knows WHAT is becoming of my investments…and on and on and brain-banging on.

This afternoon, after I’ve enjoyed a good two hours of wrestling with everything that could go wrong and did go wrong, the doorbell goes off: BING BONG!!!!

This causes the dog to go off:


Leap up. Run to the living-room. Nobody there. Truck is pulling out from the curb. Oh hell, now what?


Now what is the lampshade I ordered from Amazon!

My favorite living-room lamp is a big old brass number my mother bought in San Francisco, when we came back from Arabia. A handsome number indeed, it still retains its original silk lampshade (I think…unless she bought a new one after we moved to Arizona, while I was off at the university).

That shade started to fall apart, and I realized — alas — I would have to buy another one.

You understand…she bought the thing about in 1957 or ’58… And that lamp has stood on a table in her house or mine all those years since then. That would make the lamp and that lampshade 65 or 66 years old!

Can you imagine a retail product sold today lasting that long?

Hah! Fat chance, as we used to say back in the 1950s.


So I break the shade out of the box, with considerable trepidation.

It does measure 14″ x 14″, just as the old one did…but somehow it looks slightly different. Looks a little smaller. But it’s not smaller. It does fit the lamp. And, mirabilis…

It looks OK.

Not quite the same as the original. But there’s a limit to how much you can ask, eh?

For inscrutable reasons, it looks rather smaller than the old shade. But…it’ll do. If you didn’t know about the old shade, you’d think this one looks just fine.

Amazon has jimmied the image so there’s no way in hell I can copy it for you. So you’ll just have to guess at how it looks. God forfend we should help them sell their products, eh? 😀

Here it is on Etsy, though…for 20 bucks less than I paid for it at Amazon. Memo to self: after this…check other websites before buying from Amazon!!!

Cry, the Beloved Weather…

Picture these at 105 degrees…

Holee mackerel, the weather is yucky. Not very hot: about 95° in the shade of the back porch. But humid: stuffy humid. Feels like it wants to rain, but there’s not enough cloud cover to make that happen.

Very glad I don’t have to work outdoors here in lovely Arizona. Though many days are balmy, my guess is that more days than not fail to lend themselves to laboring comfortably.

This morning I had a couple of termite exterminators puttering around. And you do hafta say: that looks like a nasty job, under the best of circumstances.

These guys quoted a reasonable price — unlike some of their competitors, who wanted amounts in the four figures. For $400, they not only sprayed the obvious spots, but also got into the attic and puttered around up there. One of those outfits wanted ten times that much.

Now o’course that doesn’t mean they did a great job. But with any luck, they squirted enough of the stuff around to slow our little buggy friends’ progress.

I hope.

Some of this stuff is very toxic. I had a friend who was working in her home office, her dog loafing under the desk when an exterminator visited. They sprayed all around the foundation. The stuff seeped under the slab and outgassed into the house. (Concrete foundations here typically develop cracks over time.)

It killed the dog and made her very, very sick. As in damaged her health long-term.

Downtown, our beautiful old 1929 house was built over a wooden crawl space. The folks before us had arranged regular termite treatments, which we continued after we moved into the place. You pretty much had to, if you were going to live mid-town: that area was infested with termites.

The cats would barf for three days after the place was sprayed. I shudder to think of what that stuff must have done to the guys who crawled under the house(!!) to spray that stuff around.

So…I really don’t like to spray for termites. But there’s a point at which you have to. Otherwise, you’re gonna enjoy some serious damage.

In other pricey realms: The irrigation system that I installed at the time I moved in here — 12 or 15 years ago — has about given up the plastic ghost.

Plastic is what the pipes are made of, and the stuff is about shot. Major leaks…plants that don’t get watered at all, puddles out in the middle of the yard…on and on.

So earlier today I called Gerardo, who claims to be an irrigation dude. (R-i-i-g-h-t!) He’s going to come over and inspect by way of making a Plan. And…I think most of the plumbing will have to be redone. That won’t be cheap.

Tho’ he should be able to avoid having to actually dig up most of the existing array of water lines, he’ll have to disconnect those, dig new trenches, and install new pipes, bubblers, drippers, and sprinklers. Front and back, I’m afraid: the whole system is quietly going kerplooie.

So that’ll be an expensive venture.

Our honored Republican leaders, if we believe the news, are merrily shutting down the government. And that is going to create quite the little catastrophe. The logical outcome will be a stock market crash.

When that happens, I’ll lose my shirt: most of my savings are in the market.

So on a personal level, this little antic of theirs is gonna come at the worst of all possible times.

LOL! Can you believe I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican?

Yeah. Active in the party. Even a bit of a John Bircher.

It was chip-off-the-old-blockerie: my parents were extremely conservative. I fell astray after I married a wild-eyed liberal who was active in the ACLU — he was on the national board. And alas, I’ve never returned to the fold. 😀

To this day, one of the funniest things I can remember my mother saying — it must have been in the early or mid-1960s — was that (her words!) “if gasoline gets to a dollar a gallon, we’ll have sooooshalism!”

LOL! Well, by now you’d think we’d have officially linked up with the Soviet Union, eh?

Watching Money Flow Out the Door…

Good grief! It’s Bankruptcy Day at the Funny Farm!


Actually, I can’t complain. Or at least, shouldn’t complain. Much.

The other day, the garage door opener — cry the beloved garage door opener! — gave up the ghost.

Died on the vine. Kaput.

Though the door can easily be opened and closed manually, given the Garden Spot we live in here, a functioning garage door opener is not an optional luxury. Whatever is inside that place — from clothespins to car — will eventually be stolen or vandalized if a sturdy door isn’t closed and locked. And heaving it open and closed and then securing it closed with a couple of concrete blocks is less than desirable, as daily habits go. An electric door opener gadget shuts the door behind you and securely locks it.

So today I had my preferred garage door mechanics come and install a new opener. Admittedly, it was a Job. Took them half the morning.

And admittedly, the thing works wonderfully now: smoother than it did, quieter than it did, snazzy all around. They did an excellent job (far’s I can see), and the new unit has THE best lights on it: they light up the whole interior of the (formerly dim) garage, bright as day.



But then we have the bill…


Holeee shee-ut.

Well…okay… I hafta say, it took two guys who clearly knew what they were doing a good two hours to install the thing. And it looked like a bitch of a job. So…despite some grousing…I think that’s probably not an unfair price. Much.

I’ve been in this house a good 12 or 14 years, and that unit was far from new when I moved in. So if we’re looking at a brand-new gadget that’s likely to last 15 to 20 years, is a PITA to install, and protects your car and your home from theft…it’s prob’ly a bargain.

I guess.

But wouldn’t it be nice to live someplace where you didn’t have to count on the locals roaming into your garage, stealing you blind, and maybe even strolling into the house thru the kitchen door?

Yeah. Just imagine!

Ultimately (speaking of home updating/improving/whatnot) I did order the linen lampshade from Amazon. Let us hope — sincerely — that it’s as described.

Drove all over the damn city yesterday  and NOBODY had a lampshade even vaguely resembling the one my mother bought back in the Dark Ages. Local retailers had junk, pricey junk, and spectacularly overpriced junk. But not one simple linen lampshade for a living-room-sized table lamp.

So I ordered one up. Jayzus! Delivery included: EIGHTY-TWO DOLLAH AND FIFTY CENTS!!

Ohhhhh well. If it lasts long enough for my son to inherit it and then survives (as this one did) another 15 years after that, I guess it’ll be worth it.


Stop the effin world! I wanna get off!

Get-Off-Your-Duff Day

boyoboy, am i lazy!!!

Seriously. What kind of loafer bellyaches because she has to get off her duff to pick up her messy house so the Cleaning Lady from Heaven can come in and work herself half to death scrubbing the place down?

That would be moi.

But truth to tell, I just do not feel like getting up and putting all the junk away.

Today is gonna be a whole day of don’t-wannas.

  • Don’t wanna pick up the mess.
  • Don’t wanna traipse to Best Buy and get them to explain why I can’t back up the laptop, and maybe with any luck get them to fix it.
  • Don’t wanna drive so much as down to the end of the block, to say nothing of over to the most crowded, hectic stretch of hateful Camelback Road.
  • Don’t wanna try to find out what happened to Pool Dude, who seems not have surfaced this week. So far.
  • Don’t wanna go over to the Toyota shop and argue about whatever the latest recall is about.
  • Don’t wanna traipse to AJ’s and stock up on dog and human food…again.
  • Especially don’t wanna have to order this damn thing, to the tune of $84 plus shipping.
    • Wait, i take that back. Because i have Amazon prime, i don’t have to pay for shipping…assuming i play my cards right.

Yeah. Somehow the large, expensive lampshade on the brass lamp that stands near the front door got ripped. I think because I gently touched it…

The shades are so old that their linen has kinda turned to tissue paper.

Seriously: my mother bought these lamps in San Francisco, when she and I came home from Arabia to stay — and several months before my father arrived. That would have been about in 19 and aught-57…

Since he wasn’t here to stop her, she went all out with the home decorating frenzy. Bought stuff in very nice stores in the City…read “very expensive.” Macy’s. The Emporium. City of Paris. I. Magnin. The White House….

Gosh, those were the good ole’ days! 😀

He would never have allowed her to buy these things. His idea of “pricey” was Price Club, a predecessor to Costco. The concept of spending a little (or a lot…) more to buy a quality product, one that wouldn’t fall apart every time you turn around, was lost on him. He was so cheap, he wouldn’t even shop in Costco, once it established itself. After she died, he bought a junk lounge chair at a low-end furniture dealer called John F. Lawhon. “Junk” was an understatement…

She never told him how much she’d paid for the stuff. He’d have divorced her if he found out.

No kidding: periodically he would threaten to divorce her if she didn’t quit spending “his” money.

My son still has her dining room table. I glommed the matching chairs, which reside in my dining room. And the handsome bureau drawers and nightstands. And I still have five of the pricey lamps she bought. Wish I still had everything

One of the lamps, which resides in my office now, is made of Venetian glass. It’s a gorgeous thing. Others were solid brass. And it’s one of those brass lamps that needs a new shade.

The old shade just fell apart, so ancient is it. I’m thinking I’ll order this overpriced thing from Amazon…having spent several hours yesterday traipsing around the city looking for a credible replacement.

Welp…better get up and start shifting around…

…WILL go wrong

Indeed. WhatEVER can go wrong will go wrong.

This is turning into one of those days.

It rained all night and was still heavily overcast when I rolled out of the sack. Decided I was NOT gunna drive way to Hell and Gone to the Mayo Clinic — halfway to freakin’ Payson! — in the rain, in the rush-hour traffic.

No way. No How.

Got on the phone to cancel the appointment.

Or rather, tried to get on the phone. WHAT a runaround!!!

Wouldn’t you think a huge, famous operation like the Mayo would somehow manage to afford a minimum-wage telephone operator? OHhhhhh no… It’s

for Blah blah blah, punch 1
for Blah blah blah, punch 2
for Blah blah blah, punch 3
for Blah blah blah, punch 4
for Blah blah blah, punch 5….

On and on and endlessly ON.

I finally gave up. Left a message on the Endlessly Annoying Portal that I wouldn’t be there. If they bitch about it, I’ll give ’em an earful.

Feed the dogs. It’s raining. But they slip outside to sorta do their thing.

Gather stuff to fix coffee, and… and… AAAAGHHH!



Where’s the coffee?




Search some more…

Cannot find the coffee beans!

We know this is a WTF moment, because we can’t find the glass jar that holds the coffee beans. If I’d run out of coffee, I would’ve put that thing in the dishwasher. And when it was clean, I would’ve taken it out and set it in its appointed place in the cupboard.

I give up. Fix some tea.


Now I know I have to traipse down to AJ’s to pick up a new bag of coffee beans. While there, I need to get some more cans of the wet dog food we use to dope Charley’s dry dog kibble, by way of luring him into eating.

Sit my butt on a chair, and BING BONGGGG!!! It’s Gerardo at the door.

Dayum. He’s hot to do some phenomenal amount of work. Not just clean-up, but tree pruning and irrigation fixing and on and on. By the time he finishes, he presents a bill for two hundred bucks.

And…I still haven’t made it to the store.

Trapped for two hours while the guys bang around. My GOD they work like horses. How do they do that in this unholy heat and humidity?

They’ve finally driven off down the street. And now I’ve GOTTA get dressed and head down to the store. Bleagh!

Wow! The Rip-off of the Day

Tell me I’m doing the math wrong….please!  This simply can’t be right!

So M’jihito has taken off for a road trip across the country with his lifelong pal, who lives in Pennsylvania and has come down with a very probably terminal cancer. This is Dear Pal’s “bucket trip,” they say: a road trip from his home in PA, across the country, through the Midwest, over the Rockies, into California, and back.

M’jihito left his ancient golden retriever, Charley, with me, to be babysat until he gets back.

Charley has some painful health problems. One of them is bad joints — hips, shoulder, probably back. He’s pretty well crippled up.

I can empathize, because now that I’m old, I’m enjoying the same phenomena. And I’ll tellya: the hips hurt so much I can hardly stand upright.

But the most bothersome of his ailments, where the human is concerned, is vomiting. He barfs several times a day.

So Charley takes a turn for the worse. After consulting with M’jito, I call his veterinarian.

Over the phone, they urge me to buy a drug called “Cerenia,” which they assure me will ease his barfing. It’s available at a site called Chewy.

Yea,verily, here ’tis.

Can I possibly be understanding this correctly? $21 for four tablets. Plus another $20 for shipping.

Studying the ad…apparently that is correct.

What. An. Incredible. Rip-off!!!

Who the hell can afford something like that?

The veterinary in question is located in an upscale area — basically in Scottsdale. Certainly close enough to north Scottsdale to serve those tony regions.

Guess rich people don’t care if they’re ripped off.

Over to Amazon to see what a search for “Cerenia” brings up over there.

First though, we stop at The stuff is marketed for dogs only, not for use in humans. This would mean, I expect, that it hasn’t been fully tested. Apparently it’s intended for use as a motion-sickness drug.

Charley is not suffering from motion sickness. Now, an anti-nausea drug might help him…but if his human goes bankrupt, the upshot will not be desirable.

Amazon doesn’t carry it at all, unless there’s a generic name for the drug I’m not finding.  Search for Cerenia brings up this stuff. It’s a homeopathic nostrum. Fifteen bucks. Does not contain Maropitant Citrate…which probably means it doesn’t contain much of anything.

I forget that my son wants me to feed this dog EIGHT TIMES A DAY. It’s after 3:00 and he’s only been fed twice. Dish up a quarter-cup of kibble. Offer it up.


He refuses to eat it.

Ruby tries to grab it — she eats half the dishful before I trot back into the room and catch her in the act.

He may be hunger-barfing, then. Because I’m not feeding him enough. Because my memory is shot and I just plain don’t remember to drop everything and wrestle with yet another feeding. (Eight dog-food wrestling matches a day!)

Ruby is sneaking back up on the dish as we scribble…figures if she loops around the back, she can close in from behind and grab the chow. 😀

F*ck this!

I’m gonna try some canned food. Otherwise the dog is gonna starve. No wonder he barfs all the time!




Topped the dog-repelling kibble with a spoonful of canned mushy dog food, and voilà! He scarfed it right down!

Let’s see what happens next. Give it an hour, and then if he hasn’t woofed it up by then, I’ll heave out into the rush-hour traffic (wheee!!), drive on down to AJ’s, and buy some more of that stuff.

uh HUH!

Gut instinct, borne of heaven knows how many dawgs that have ordered me around over the decades, tells me that he’s hunger-barfing.

He’s not barfing because something is wrong with his digestive system. Or with any other system.

No, indeed.

He’s hunger-barfing: woofing-up because there’s not enough food in his gut. Dogs do that. It’s part of being a dog.

It’s not gonna hurt anything for my larder to stock a few cans of dog food. Ruby can eat it, if we find that it’s truly not good for Charley.

But…he’s flopped down on his mat and gone to sleep. The frantic panting has stopped.

Well…no…it just started up again. That’s a sign of pain, or of overheating. In this unholy summer weather, then, it could be either one. It’s overcast, humid, and hotter than Hell outside. Not that hot in the house, though, so probably the panting indicates the former variety of discomfort.

Matter of fact, I think I’m gonna go right now, before the rush-hour traffic seriously ramps up. He’s not barfing. And…well, I hope that if he does barf he’ll leave enough sign that I’ll spot it. He tends to lap it back up, which is why I want to sit here and see what happens.

Hmmmm, no. We have plenty of canned food for tonight and tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I have to drive to the Mayo, a gawdawful long haul. There’s a HUGE Fry’s right on the way home. Dollars to donuts they’ll have this stuff. And if they don’t, I can swing down to the AJ’s — out of the way, but the 10:00 a.m. appointment will keep me out of the rush hour.

Minutes and minutes have gone by.

He’s dozed off.



What that is telling me is that what’s been making him barf is that expensive kibble.

Back awake: huffing and puffing again.

My theory (such as it is!) is that he hyperventilates because he’s in pain. We know his hips are bad. So they probably hurt — mine sure has hell do.

So…what if the frantic panting is not from gut pain or upset, but from something else: hip pain?  What if he’s barfing because of the stuff we’ve been feeding him — largely expensive kibble — and not from some pathological condition?

Great theory, ain’t it?

But I kinda doubt it.