Coffee heat rising


Not to say “LOL”!

After a day of bopping around town, bouncing from here to the Mayo (halfway to freakin’ Payson) through the tract-house neighborhood where my son’s pals used to live to a thissa and a thatta…really, I don’t even remember!…Finally got home. So, so melodramatically tired.

One of the stops was a grocery store. Another was a Sprouts…which I s’ppose is a grocery store. Into the house with a fistful of eatin’ cheese and a bunch of food for lunch/dinner. Don’t recall what all that was, ’cause I’m too tired to remember it. Schlep and schlep and schlep…finally get home. So, soooo tired: just want to lay down.

Thinking about my mother, middle age coming on her as I reached my early teens.

In California, she took it into her head to become a real estate saleswoman. Quite possibly not one of the wiser choices she could have made.

But I suppose it was no worse than her career in door-to-door Avon Cosmetics sales.

Yah. No kidding. She did love make-up, and so in a weird pre-liberation era way, it made a kinda sense.

Another disaster for my father to laugh at and to mock. 😮

So now she goes out and she gets herself a real estate license. She goes to work for some woman who has befriended her, presumably so she (“friend”) can leave the amateur saleslady sitting on open houses while she — the REAL real estate salesperson — bops about town at will.

Before long, the erstwhile business partner decided…YES!!! THE FUTURE WAS AT THE SALTON SEA!

This boondoggle — a scam that promised to transform a wide spot in the road next to a stinky, stagnant pond in the middle of California’s hottest, most barren desert — led my mother to destroy my father’s new Mercury. When she drove that swell brand-new car through a sandstorm outside of Palm Springs, the wind literally scoured the paint off the hood and front end — all the way down to the bare metal.

You can imagine how impressed my father was. He was going to sea at the time, so by & large wasn’t home to put the eefus on her entrepreneurial efforts.




Bing bong? WTF? Who’s out front at three in the afternoon?

Aaaaahhh jeeez! It’s Wonder-Cleaning Lady. Just as I was about to lay my head down on a pillow…

Ugh! I can barely hold my eyes open. Much less figure out where the money I need to pay her is stashed. Or whether I need to go out and cash a check.

So much for that reverie.

BUT…on the subject of little old ladies and Realtor’s licenses…

I’ve taken the reeel estate course that’s supposed to prepare you to pass that exam. I’d need to review it…but it could be done. And…and…

Well: Here’s th’thing:

If I passed the state Realtor’s exam, then in theory I could get a job selling real estate in some local office. Or…FAR more to the point: it would be easy to persuade a local editor that he oughta hire me to cover the real estate beat. And that could be fun.

Truth to tell, I enjoy real estate: find the whole proposition highly entertaining. So I would enjoy interviewing people and tracking down story ideas and writing copy for local and regional rags. In fact, I used to write for a (now defunct) national real-estate magazine, inspiringly titled Real Estate Salesperson, as well as filling up pages of local newspapers with similar maunderings.


And now a day has passed. Apparently in the commotion that accompanies house-cleaning, I forgot to post this squib.

Ohhh well!

The house is clean. I’ve developed a new and highly uncomfortable li’l ailment that’s had me trotting back and forth to the ER. Nothing much is helping it. Already had an appointment with MayoDoc set up for Friday, so that will be an issue to inflict on her. Goodie…life is grand, eh?

Ups and Downs…or…Downs and Ups?

April 13 (I think)

Cox is down. Therefore the fake landline is down. And therefore (I guess…) for reasons unknown my computer can’t connect to the Internet.

Actually, if my vague understanding of these techno-issues is sorta correct, the “land line” is no longer a real land line, but just another ethereal connection to the wispy Internet. Meaning, therefore, that when the Web goes down, I can’t make a call out of the house for love nor money.

911? Ay señora! Not a faawwckeeng chance!

I could in theory use the iPhone my son gave me to do that…if I could figure out how. Unfortunately, when he gave me the phone, he refused to teach me how to use it. The plague came up right at that time, and so the iPhone classes up at the local senior citizens’ center were closed. And no, they’ve never reinstated those classes.

Yes, I did try taking a class at the Apple store. They plopped a half-dozen little old ladies – myself included – in the middle of the sales floor and set some poor woman in front of us to lecture us on how to work the damn things. You couldn’t hear her talking for love nor money…and no, I do NOT have a hearing problem.

Hmmmm…. Looks like we may be up again. Let’s try copying and pasting this over to a FaM post…


Nope. It was up for a few minutes – seconds? – and is now nonfunctional again.

Hmmmmmm…. This thing is 95% charged. Let’s try hauling it down to the AJ’s… order up an iced coffee, park in the outdoor café….and try to see if it’ll work down there.


Nope. Decided I didn’t wanna drive through the afternoon rush-hour traffic. Ugh!

The back porch, despite its crying need for a clean-up job, is a lot more pleasant than AJ’s front patio. By far.

Ohhhh how I miss The Little Guy. 😀 That’s what SDXB used to call the proprietor of the coffeeshop we used to habituate, across the parking lot from the Walmart up on Gangbanger’s Way.

The backyard is no longer as pleasant for just hangin’ out as it used to be.

The kids — new(ish) inhabitants of my (former) neighbor Sally’s house — either haven’t the money or haven’t the sense to fix their roof-top air conditioner NOW, before it craps out. From the racket it’s making, it sounds like that eventuality will occur sooner than later. Rattle rattle rattle groan GASP.


And speaking of rackets (real and metaphorical), there’s the Cop Copter, flying around in circles directly to the south of us. C’mon, guys…kindly don’t chase the boys up in our direction…

Nope: looks like they’re going away.

M’Jiito and I get into an argument every time we try to have a conversation. That’s not helping things.


In other sylvan realms, HOLY GOD am I glad I no longer live in Saudi Arabia!

We knew that sooner or later the hatred between the Arabs and the Jews would come to this (and worse: just you watch!). Outside of camp, on the way to Dhahran you’d pass a big billboard that read AMERICANS GO HOME! In Arabic, so much of the dependents didn’t really register it.

What a horrible place for a foreigner to reside. We should, all of us, exit stage right and let the Arabs figure out for themselves how to extract their berjillions of gallons of oil, how to build refineries and turn it into salable stuff, how to build and operate ocean-going tankers to send it off to buyers.

More to the point: We need to free ourselves of dependence on people who hate us.

Solar power, folks. That’s what’s needed.

Far, far more than the average American realizes.

Most people seem to register that a functioning solar power grid would free America from a lot of problems, present and future. What they don’t seem to recognize is how soon we need to get that functioning and how urgently we need it.

Like…right now!

Whither the Hereafter?

So. I need to decide where I want to be interred, with what amount and kind of rigamarole (if any), and how much it’s gonna cost.

So? To start with, Decision #1 = whether I’ll be displayed in the same mausoleum where my parents are, or whether I’ll ask to be buried in the Close down at the beloved church.


I’m afraid there’s a BIG reason I don’t want to be deposited next to my parents. It’s called “Helen,” the dear soul my father married after my mother died.

My mother had not wanted to move into Orangewood, the life-care community that he had decided was a grand (and, more to the point: safe) place for them to spend the last few years of their lives. To her, it looked like a nursing home. And it was, largely, in that most of the inmates declined into decrepitude over time and ended up in the depressing long-term care wing. She viewed that with horror and refused to go.

So he managed to put it off until she came down with the cancer that killed her, thanks to the ministrations of the tobacco industry.

This meant he had to care for her in their home during her horrible last days, until she finally got so sick their insurance would cover her care in a medical facility. At that point, he transferred her to a nursing home in central Phoenix, not far from where DXH and I were living.

After she died, he couldn’t bring himself to stay in the little house in Sun City. For understandable reasons: the memories associated with it would have been hideous. Plus by then he was simply exhausted, and caring for a house and a yard must have been more than he could contemplate.

So: a few months later, off he went to Orangewood, It was, in fact, within walking distance of my home — whether I was still living with DXH or even whether I was living here in the ‘Hood, whence I’d moved when DXH and I divorced.

Even as he passed through his 70s, he was still a good-looking man: tall, dark, and yep: very handsome.

The minute he walked into Orangewood’s dining room, the Dragon Lady spotted him…and closed in.

Within weeks they were an Item. Within a few months, they were sitting in our living room telling me and my then-husband they wanted to get married.


If I’d had any sense (most assuredly I did not!) I would’ve said, “Daddy! Slow down! Wait for six months, ideally a year, and then decide if you want to get married.”

If he’d done that, he would have escaped a gigantic sh!tload of grief and misery.

But ohhhh no! I was way, way too stupid to come up with that.

Didn’t take long after the ceremony and the conjoining of living spaces for him to understand this was a fully miserable arrangement.

Damn it! If he’d just waited six months, he would’ve realized don’t do that! But he didn’t know any better. I didn’t know any better. And so the mean and nasty Helen snabbed him.

The result: month on month of dead-end misery.

He would do things like telling her he was taking the car to the Ford dealership to be serviced; then go sit in the parking lot and smoke in silence and peace all afternoon. (She wouldn’t allow him to smoke in the apartment.) If that was better than loafing in his recliner in front of his television…well, it gives you some idea of what married life must have been with that harridan.

Seriously: she was one of the meanest people I’ve ever met. Quite possibly the single meanest person.

Before long, I simply refused to be in the same place where she was. So he got to fend her off all by himself.

Why didn’t he divorce her?

Because, said he, she’ll get all my money!

Why was I too stupid to say to him, Daddy, you have access to the most powerful lawyers in the state, maybe even in the Southwest, through my husband? I dunno. It WAS stupid. It would have helped if the then-Dear Husband had suggested some such thing.

So life went on. So life finally ended.

He was interred, according to his agreement with the Sun City mausoleum where my mother’s cremains were parked, next to my mother’s urn of ashes.


Time passes. The Wicked Bitch of the West passes on to her own furry fathers. I don’t know much about this, because I haven’t stayed current with those people, because I don’t like them, I don’t like their extreme right-wing politics, and they don’t like me. Or my husband, the chair of the state board of the (horrors!) American Civil Liberties Union and a member of national board of that fine, seditious organization.

More time passes.

And now we’re drawing nigh unto time for me to go. I’m thinking I’d like to be put to rest with my parents, much as I detested Sun City (the Home of the White and the Bigoted). So I start to explore around, and…


…and I discover the relatives have deposited the ashes of the Horrible Helen next to my father’s and my mother’s!

Holeee sheee-ut!

So. Now I’m thinking, a bit frantically, sorry, Daddy, but I am NOT going to be interred next to that hideous woman!


What to do, what to do???

Some checking around reveals that apparently it’s going to cost some enormous amount of money to get myself deposited in the church’s close. And…hang onto your hat: that transferring my parents’ cremains over there — just piles of ashes in ceramic urns — will cost FIFTEEN HUNDRED BUCKS APIECE!

Holeeeee shee-ut.

So I don’t know what to do.

I can’t afford to spend three thousand dollars — before I even arrange for my own disposal! — to move my mother and father’s remains over to the church.

But forgodsake!!!!!!!!  How CAN I say how much it irks me that my poor father and my beloved mother are deposited next to that horrid, horrid woman, the woman who made the last few years of my father’s life utterly miserable?


I’m thinking that, whenever I catch my breath and compose myself, I may betake myself to the Sun City mausoleum and ask if my parents and I could please be deposited together in one place.

Is that stupid, is that pointless? Or is that stupid and pointless?

I know it doesn’t matter. I know once we’re dead, none of us is gonna know from nothing. So, for pity’s sake, why do I care?

But for reasons I cannot grasp, I do care.

It’s the principle of the thing, I guess.

Coulda Shoulda Woulda

Victoria Hay, Ph.D.
Retired academic; owner of The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.

Profile photo for Victoria HayThe Ph.D. may (or may not) be worth pursuing…if you have an independent source of income.

You need a working spouse or an inheritance to keep a roof over your head and food on your table while you’re “pursuing” the Ph.D. Otherwise, you’re certainly not going to be “productive” or generate “output” from your research, because you’ll be too busy working two full-time jobs: one to support yourself and one to generate credit toward the doctorate.

Would I do it again?

Huh…let’s think about that…

  • I got a great job at Arizona Highways Magazine after I’d finished the degree. But that was only because the boss was impressed with academics. For him, it was a grand ego trip to have a someone with a doctorate on his staff. The job I landed was in journalism; it had nothing to do with academia.

Most employers are not that easily flamboozled.

  • I got a nice ego trip of my own when my dissertation was picked up by a prestigious publishing house. Does it matter that I’ve never seen a penny from sales on that book? Meh! Probably not: again, because the flamboozled boss thought that publisher was so awesome that he wanted to hire me.
  • Eventually, I got three books published through respectable presses.

All very nice…except I’ve never seen a penny in royalties from two of those books.

  • Later in life, I got an academic job.


One of my academic colleagues and I did a little pragmatic research and discovered we would be earning more cleaning house for a living than the university was paying us at the associate professor level. In fact, we seriously considered going in together to start a house-cleaning business.

  • Would I do it again?

Hmmmm…. Probably not.

If I had gone whole hog into magazine publishing starting the minute I finished the bachelor’s degree, I would have had more fun in life; I would have had a lot more people reading my published words; I would have been paid a helluva lot more than I earned in academia; and I would never have been tempted to think about starting an enterprise as a cleaning lady.

Stuff Happens…and Doesn’t Happen…

LOL! Especially doesn’t happen. Mostly because when you’re old as the hills you forget how long ago it was that you watered the hills. 😀

Seriously. I cannot remember ANYTHING, and when I do remember something, I can’t remember where I put it.

I thought I’d bought coffee the last time I trekked down to AJ’s.

Nice thought. Wrong, tho — so it appears. I can NOT find a bag of coffee beans anywhere in the Funny Farm, not to save my life. Usually it goes in the freezer….but nope. Not there. Not in the big storage freezer in the back room. Not in the refrigerator. Not in the kitchen storage cabinet.


So whenever I finish this cup of tea, I’ve gotta get off my duff and traipse down to AJ’s again, to stock up on coffee.

The thing is…I’m pretty damn sure I bought coffee the last time I was there. It was on the shopping list, which remains on its whiteboard attached to the garage door. If I’d utterly blown it off, I think I would’ve noticed. Only thing I can imagine is maybe I left it in the shopping cart when I went to unload the groceries into the car.

Senility…what a trip!

The Fate of Prognostication….

LOL! Today I zipped out to the credit union to check on some small detail…and then ended up driving…and driving…and driving…and driv… Ugh! Driving around this city is a species of Hell, and today was no better than usual.

But roaming up and down the homicidal streets of Phoenix generated some time to think about…this, that, and the other. Among the thisses and the thats:

Back in the Dark Ages, my mother made a sober-sided prognostication:

When the price of gasoline reaches a dollar a gallon, we’ll have

LOL! Hilariously, she was dead serious about this.

Today I went into a gas station and paid over $4.00 a gallon.

Life in the Republic of Marx, eh?

That was pretty much today’s going rate, by the way. For ordinary regular gasoline, nothin’ fancy to run your hotrod.

Well. Of course she was right: We do have s-o-o-o-cialism now.

Medicare works as socialized medicine for elders and for certain other classes of American citizens. And people on welfare — at least in these parts — do get some access to cut-rate medical care. And food stamps. And rent assistance. And…whatnot.

Be scared. Be very scared…