Funny about Money

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

June 26, 2019
by funny

Stay? Or Move While You Can? The Old Lady’s Dilemma

Had a 1 p.m. appointment with the skin doc yesterday, to get another sun-induced precancerous lesion removed. Normally I drive 9 miles north on the I-17 to the Loop 101, which will carry me 21.3 miles west and south to Indian School Road. From there it’s only a couple miles to the doctor’s office. (Think of that: 30 miles to find a decent doctor’s office! In the fifth-largest city in the nation!)

Well, stupidly when I go to turn off the surface street onto the 17, I go south instead of north (focusing what remains of my mind on getting to Indian School, eh?) Rather than get off the freeway a mile or two down the road, turn around, and drive back up to the 101, I decide to just drive down to Indian School and then proceed west the 10 miles across the surface street to 103rd Avenue. Said route is shorter, but more hectic.

Garden spot, west…

Surprisingly, this works exceptionally well! Everyone else is on the freeways wrestling with gawdawful traffic, and Indian School, now an eight-lane thoroughfare, is basically empty. I fly low through the westside blight and, to my astonishment, arrive at the doctor’s office a half-hour early. It’s only taken about 30 minutes, in spite of driving almost half the way on a surface street. This is a drive that can easily absorb almost an hour. On the effing freeways.

Huh. That was innaresting. So when I get out, I decide that instead of taking on the nasty freeway, I’ll drive all the way across the city on Indian School to Conduit of Blight Boulevard, and thence northward to the ’hood. Unless I get in a wreck, it’s unlikely the Venza will crap out in the (dangerous!) slums this route traverses. And anyway, being stuck in among lovely Maryvale’s title loan companies, marijuana dispensaries, warehouses, and corroding trailer parks surely would be no worse than being stuck by the side of the Interstate.

So I start driving driving driving, and once again I literally fly across the city. Hit every light green, and only one or two morons get in front of me or threaten to side-swipe me.

Now I arrive at Conduit of Blight.

You, too, can live in a fine shack like this…

SDXB and I used to live right down the road from this intersection. He, I, his mother, and his daughter & grand-daughter occupied four dwellings in a pretty, retro (read “agèd”) garden apartment complex that had been condominiumized. It actually was a very pleasant place to live, with irrigated lawns and huge, mature shade trees. Right behind it, to the east, stood a 1950s middle-class neighborhood that was in the process of gentrifying — it was sandwiched between our complex and the Phoenix College campus, and being just north of the VERY hot Encanto district was a target of the young and the upwardly mobile.

When I started to think about buying a house, I looked at a place in that neighborhood. It was very charming, and I almost bought it. SDXB talked me out of it, because it had an enclosed addition, and they’d kind of jury-rigged the air-conditioning ductwork into it. He thought the system would not cool or heat it efficiently, the power bills would be astronomical, and the room would never be especially usable.

Well. HOLY mackerel, did that man save my petootie!

I get to Conduit of Blight and start to drive north…and that whole area is a freakin’ slum! My god, what a wreck. The bank branch where Tootsie (his mom) used to do business: gone. The Greek/Italian restaurant where the local cops would hang out when they were off-duty: closed, and replaced by some bizarre…shady-looking…something. Stores where we used to shop: replaced with schlock, or empty and boarded up. Formerly solid middle-class to lower-middle-class housing: rotting away.

When I call this road “Conduit of Blight” on Funny about Money, I ain’t kiddin’.

Move to Phoenix and live next to this lovely train!

Drivin’ drivin’ drivin’… Arrive at the intersection where you turn east to get into the Costco parking lot. That area, which houses low-rise office buildings (three or four stories): blighted. No wonder Costco plans to close that store when the lease runs out! The office building where my son’s pediatrician used to practice: taken over by some kind of low-end social service thing, billing itself as a “school” but clearly…ghetto.

Not until you get almost to the southern border of the ’Hood do you start to pass beyond clear and present blight, and even then the apartments on the west side of Conduit of Blight are…well…shall we say, “low-end.” They’re Section 8 housing, a vast tract of alarming seediness.

SDXB may have been right to have moved to Sun City when he did. Amazingly enough, that was 16 years ago(!!!). I moved further into the ’hood at the same time he moved out to Sun City, getting myself as far from the obnoxious light-rail project (which runs up CofB Blvd, carrying the blight with it along with the drug addicts) as it was possible to move and still be in the marginally affordable part of the neighborhood. If you call $350,000 houses affordable…

I guess they do, nowadays.

What. A. Mess!!!

Which brings us back to the now-perennial question: Much as I love my house and love my neighbors and like living in a centrally located district, how wise is it to stay here into my dotage? In just another five years or so, moving house will be so difficult for me (given my age) that it may be impossible. And if this area goes to blight…one would not want to have to live in anything like the sh!t I drove through to get up here from mid-town.

The ’Hood has much in common with the historic Encanto District, which gentrified in our generation and which has remained gentrified — our house, for which we paid $33,000, recently sold for a million bucks. It’s a VERY hot area, because it’s centrally located (how do I hate driving on the homicidal streets of Phoenix? Imagine having to make a 30-mile commute to work through that stuff every goddamn day of your life! And back home: 60 miles a day!!) and because local people think older construction is better built than the new stick-and-styrofoam ticky-tacky. Lots are larger — my lot is about a quarter of an acre — and structures are built of block. Not necessarily a good thing, but people imagine it is. Which is what matters, I guess. And they think these 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s houses are — ohhhh! — “mid-century modern!”

Home, sweet (former) home

Well, we thought those old 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s houses were quaint as could be, too…so it seems to me that what we have here in the ’Hood is exactly the same thing. Encanto was surrounded by blight. The fanciest section — Palmcroft — was bordered by slum on the West, and the rest of the district had tired, run-down tracts to the south and east, with commercial stuff to the north. Not bad commercial stuff, but still…

You couldn’t put your child in the public schools there, because middle-class kids by and large don’t know how to use a knife or a club. One of our neighbors tried it and found their son, at the end of first grade, unable to read at all — the teacher had been reading their little kiddie books aloud in class and sending the kids to “read” them to their parents as homework…and this kid had simply memorized the teacher’s performance! One day they realized he couldn’t read street signs and billboards, and so asked him to read some other kiddie book. That’s when they discovered he couldn’t parse out a word! 😀

Ah, Arizona.

Same is true here: you’d be batsh!t crazy to put your kid in the public school that serves this area. Now, however, the city has capitulated and allows people to send their kids to any public school they choose, and so that gives young parents the option to live in a centrally located area without having to earn a king’s ransom to put the kids in private school.

If the ’Hood stays Encantoized — that is, if the present wave of gentrification sticks — it should be safe enough to stay in my home up to the end. But if it doesn’t? Holy sh!t. Moving out of here 10, 15, or 20 years from now — even if it’s possible for me to do so at all — would be quite a challenge.

So I agonize: whether to stay here, where I like it, or whether to get out now while I still can. We’re pushing the point where “still can” will no longer be operative.

Well, speaking of agonizing, gotta get up and work on the yard. And so, away!

June 24, 2019
by funny

At Five in the Morning…

…there are hardly any other dog owners out walking around with their pooches. The weather is gorgeous at that hour, the desert air cool as swimming pool water flowing over your skin. And the morning sun is rising like a red rubber ball.

Yeah: Literally like a red rubber ball, because of the smoke from the wildfire up around Roosevelt Lake. At 100,000 acres, it’s the sixth-largest fire in the state’s history, so we’re told. It’s been burning for many days and so far is nowhere near under control. This morning you could see the smoke hanging in the air over the city. Some moron got it started outside the old mining town of Superior. And the sun? Yes, it looked exactly like this red ball.

At any rate, the dog and I survived preparing our respective breakfasts in the garage. Probably the one really wise thing Satan and Proserpine did in this house was to install a fiberglass (? i think) work sink in the garage, to accommodate Proserpine’s pottery-making hobby.

A little further exploration revealed that the defunct faucet is apparently not really a Price-Pfister fixture but a little masterpiece made by Danze. And lo! Amazon carries the thing. Rather than looking sorta like the set that’s in my kitchen, this thing here looks EXACTLY like it:

Frank the Plumber did a little checking around and found that one of his favored plumbing supply stores wants about $315 for the thing. Plus taxes. And it’ll take ten days or so to get it. Well, that’s about what I paid for it 16 years ago at the Great Indoors. Meanwhile I had the ad up on Amazon while he was on the phone: “Sez here $217 and free shipping. And no wait: it supposedly will arrive on Wednesday.”

Grab it!” quoth he. “Call me when it gets here.”

So I felt pretty smug about that little coup. Frank remarked that 16 years is a good long time for a kitchen faucet to persist. Especially so, I would add, in a house where the proprietor cooks all her own (and her dogs’) meals: the thing gets plenty of daily use.

That definitely is THE set, not some knock-off missing the spray attachment. And the customer reviews are far, far more positive than the grutches about the Price-Pfister version.

Really, I should have replaced this thing a year or two ago…it’s been limping along, groaning and moaning when it’s turned on. But I’ve been too lazy to track it down…haven’t been impressed with the near-misses I’ve seen at Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Costco. VERY tickled to have found the real thing at Amazon…and to get it for about a hundred bucks less than local retail, with no schlepping around the city or endless stands in line.

Shee-ut! I put some water on to make tea and then went off and forgot it. Fortunately am sitting in the family room and so was alerted by the strange popping noises the teakettle started making. Speaking of expensive devices from Amazon, I sure hope the damn thing isn’t ruined. I carelessly left the lid open so it didn’t whistle when it boiled dry.

You understand…I buy those pricey whistling teakettles because of my propensity to put a pot of water on the fire and then to wander off and forget it. Oddly, they don’t seem, to do the job unless you manage to remember to close the whistling cap….

Senility…an adventure a day!


June 23, 2019
by funny

Thisses, Thats, and the Others

Feels like I’ve been incommunicada here, though on reflection it’s only been three days since my last post. Time shoots past as you fill it with…not very much.

Had some friends over for dinner today…first time I’ve done that in quite a while. One of them invited me to his place a couple weeks ago, and it dawned on me that if I had any manners I would reciprocate.

Well, I may not have any of those, but did manage to come up with a small group to socialize over steaks and wine this afternoon.

As we were cleaning up, the lever handle on the ancient, radically expensive Price-Pfister kitchen faucet broke off. Can’t say I was surprised — the thing is 16 years old and has been making a weird moaning sound for quite some time. Knew it would need to be replaced soon…but of course there’s never a convenient time to have your pocketbook raped or your kitchen sink put out of commission.

I bought that faucet when I had a job and could afford to buy nice things. At the time, too, I was hanging out with a woman who had gone through not one gut two extravagantly wealthy husbands, and she had the taste to match. She loved to decorate. When I moved into this house, she came up with the paint scheme, which interestingly enough is just coming into the height of style right about now. We liked to shop at The Great Indoors, a now-defunct enterprise of Sears, itself now all but defunct. There we found these fancy faucets. It looks very much like this, only mine has got a squirt thing for detergent (which I don’t use…never had any use for those things).

One of the guests is extremely handy and can fix almost anything — he thought he might be able to patch it together until the plumber could get here. But all we accomplished was to discover that a part on the inside is hopelessly busted.

Fortunately, this house has a sink in the garage, so the inconvenience is relatively minor.

It’s hard to believe I’ve been in this house for 16 years! Time — like life — flashes past.

Hmmmm… It appears that Price-Pfister has some kind of lifetime guarantee on its products. Wonder if I could find the receipt for that thing? I did save receipts for capital improvements to the house, and this comes under that heading. Tomorrow I’ll have to look for one. Wouldn’t it be amazing if I could get them to replace it? 😀

And in the likely to be radically expensive department, I bought some lettuce and some chard for dinner. Couple hours before people were due to show up, I went to make the salad, and discovered…both the lettuce AND the chard were effin’ spoiled! Jumped in the car and started to charge down to AJ’s., there to give ’em a piece of my mind and get some more produce, when I realized that was exceptionally dumb: there’s a Sprouts less than a mile from the Funny Farm. Shot by there and just bought more greens, thereby saving a substantial amount of time.

Stuck the refrigerator thermometer into the fridge: in the mid 40s. FDA says to keep the temperature “at or below 40.” The steaks, which were in the back on the top shelf, had ice crystals on them, so I assume the temperature madly varies according to where the food is stored. But…shee-ut.

The water dispenser is broken on that refrigerator. If now the thing is not keeping foods cold consistently, presumably I’ll have to buy a new goddamn refrigerator, presumably to the tune of a couple thousand bucks. I have no idea where to buy such a thing anymore, now that Sears is closed. Tomorrow, if there’s any time after I deal with the plumber, I’ll go by the appliance store to see if they can get me a new unit and install it. Though they deal largely in second-hand appliances for the convenience of landlords, they do also sell the occasional new model.

Dayum! Just what I need to keep me amused.

Ruby is lobbying for yet another chew treat. To my astonishment, not once did she try to sponge some food from anyone at the table. I expected to have to lock her in the back room, because I’ve fallen into the shameful habit of giving bits of kibble while I’m eating, and now she expects to be fed at table.

But nay! Nary a single beg! I thought I’d ruined this dog. But apparently corgis are not so easily ruint.

Beyond tired just now, having fallen into the habit of awaking at 3 in the morning. Four: that’s OK. Dawn is beginning to crack at that hour. But 3:00 a.m.? Not so much…


June 20, 2019
by funny

Hookin’ Up at the…uhm…HOME DEPOT?????

This is too, too comic. Really. It defies belief… So this morning I decide I need some soda ash to adjust the pool’s pH; don’t want to pay Leslie’s elevated prices and don’t want to wait for Amazon to deliver it. Solution: off to the Home Depot.

Arrive at the Depot, thinking I can get the soda ash and also a couple bags of bird seed in one swell foop. This obviates having to stop at Walmart on the way to or from the place.

Proceed direct to Aisle 2, where they now store all the pool gear. Just as I arrive, they roll in their forklift and close the damn aisle off. I say to the guy standing there, “all I need is a package of soda ash.”

He says, all silk and brandy, “Well, I have some at my house you can have. Why don’t you come by and get it?”

Thinking he’s trying to be funny, I say, “How much? Will you take 47 cents?”

At this point it becomes evident that he’s not kidding. “Just come on over,” he says in an oily tone. “You can have it.”

So I think (but, for a change, refrain from saying), f**k you!

Roll the birdseed out through to the garden department cashier (where you don’t have to hike halfway to Timbuktu to make your purchases from a human being) and head on down to Leslie’s, where the manager, ever a polite gentleman, forks over five pounds of soda ash.


I will NEVER go back to Home Depot again. Not that Home Depot, not any Home Depot.

Interestingly, this is not the first time such an antic has occurred there. The last time, it happened to Connie the Long-Haul Trucker, who is a) significantly younger than me and b) much, much more attractive. She’s blonde, with startling blue eyes, a friendly expression, and a very fit figure. A salesman came on to her while we were looking at tile grout.

Tile grout. Doesn’t that make you think sexy thoughts?

At the time, we thought it was just hilarious, stupidest thing either of us had seen exude from the male species in years. Her guy, at least, was younger and kinda cute. Mine was a wizened old buzzard who probably was working at the Depot because, as we know, no one else will hire guys over 60 in the trades.

Today: not so funny.

That is absolutely, positively the last time I buy anything from Home Depot, ever again. There is NOTHING that you can get at Home Depot that you can’t get at a local nursery or hardware store (which despite that august megacorporation’s best efforts, have managed to persist), or at Amazon. Alternatively, there’s a Lowe’s right down the road. Their staff doesn’t make lewd passes at you because…well, they don’t have any staff to speak of.

Oh, the birdseed? Don’t buy that there. Elegantly low-grade stuff. Walmart’s quality is better by several orders of magnitude.

Home Depot dudes…these boots are made for walkin’…

June 19, 2019
by funny

Toward Freedom in Old Age

So the dog and I are trotting along our appointed rounds early this morning. The route is now up to about two miles, and I’m figuring (smugly) that if we can keep up this brisk stroll every single day from now into the foreseeable future, I should be able to stay healthy enough to remain in my home until I croak over. That is: to dodge having to move into one of those old-folks’ warehouses.

It’s not that those places are SO bad. They’re not. I guess. It’s just not a lifestyle I would choose.

To start with, they’re apartments.

I hate apartment living. Very few things do I dislike more than living right on top (often literally!) of my neighbors. And I’ve lived in a whole lot of apartments over the years. Some were nice places. But they all were…apartments: crowded, noisy, and faceless.

To end with, they’re custodial. I do not want someone taking me by the hand and guiding me through what remains of my life, thankyouverymuch — any day I’d rather reside in the next world.

And in between? It’s institutional living, fraught with rules that you must obey and unspoken customs that you flout at your peril.

Where my father lived — a life-care community run by the Baptist church — residents were required to show up at one of the two daily meals, breakfast or the mid-day “big meal,” so that staff could keep tabs on them. What did the chow line serve up? Right: restaurant food, and not very good restaurant food at that. Processed steam-table gunk that came out of cans and packages.

And what did I have for lunch today? Four big sea scallops sautéed in garlic and olive oil, zinged with a squirt of fresh Meyer lemon from the backyard tree and served up with Italian pasta (grain grown in Italy), fresh chard, and Italian tomatoes, topped with Parmesan. With a side of red wine. I can guarantee you: no one got that today at the place where my friends have moved in. And the food there is a whole lot better than what they served up at the palace my father lived in.

I really dislike restaurant food. The more I cook for myself, the less I like assembly-line chow. And I certainly don’t want to be trapped in a place where I have little or no choice but to eat that stuff. Newer retirement homes in this vein have better kitchens than the one where my father and his wife lived — there, they had a counter with a sink and an under-the-counter beverage fridge, the sort of thing you see in motels. My friends at the Beatitudes have a full kitchen — small, with no room for a freestanding freezer, but still it has a real refrigerator, a microwave, a stove with an oven, and a dishwasher. So in theory (if you didn’t mind running to the grocery store every time you turn around), you could fix most or all of your meals in your apartment.

But I believe you’re required to purchase a certain number of meals, even though you’re not required to show up at any of the three eateries. If you don’t eat them, you still get charged. And they’re pretty expensive, certainly compared to what it costs to make a (much better) meal yourself.

Hm. I love my home and my yard and my pool (my being a highly operative term) and I surely don’t want to find myself in a rabbit warren for old folks. So the question is…how long can you hold off having to move into one of those places? Indeed, can you hold out until the very end?

Unclear. It would depend on what happens to you…what health problems do you encounter, and to what degree are they disabling? Even if you manage to hang onto your marbles, taking care of a house, buying food, getting to stores and church and doctors can be quite a challenge in advanced old age.

My friends are in their 90s and both have some uncomfortable health issues. Mrs. Friend worries about falls — Mr. F had fallen three times before she talked him into moving into the Beatitudes, and once she needed the help of a neighbor to get him back on his feet. In that case, the move begins to look reasonable. Especially if you’re in your 90s: you don’t have that many years to have to put up with living in an environment that…shall we say, you don’t love.

My father, however, was much younger — about 67 — and he explicitly stated that he didn’t want to have to take care of a house and yard. And also, of course, he was concerned about how he would care for himself, alone, as he advanced into old age. I suspect that was a major concern, aloneness: having gone to sea all his life, he had never lived alone. He always lived in a kind of institution: onboard ships. Or in a marriage. I, however, have lived alone most of my adult life. And the truth is, I much prefer to live alone.

Why couldn’t he simply have sold the house and rented an apartment? Voilà: maintenance problems erased.

As for taking care of yourself as you get older and feebler…jayzus! Surely there must be ways to handle these issues.

In the first place, my house is very easy to take care of. With no lawn, all that’s needed to maintain the exterior is a guy to come once a month, spray the weeds, blower up stray leaves, and rake the gravel. A good cleaning lady can keep the interior under control by coming in once every two weeks. The pool can be maintained adequately by a pool service.

Those services represent a tiny fraction of what one of those life-care communities costs. The amount my friends paid to move in there…holy mackerel! She told me they had to use the entire proceeds of the sale of their house right off North Central(!) to cover the move-in charges. And the cost of keeping the two of them in a two-bedroom apartment (the second bedroom is more like an alcove, IMHO) is something like 7 grand. A month.

I budget about $3,500 a month to cover all costs: food, medical, insurance, taxes, transportation, housing, utilities, and on and endlessly on. But in fact, I usually don’t spend that much.

For $7,000 a month, you could buy a hell of a lot of services. Not only people to maintain the shack, but ride-hailing to drive you around, grocery delivery, mountains of prepared foods that need only be heated in the microwave.

What, really, would you need to stay in a house like this until you croaked over?

  • An iPhone or similar smartphone that you could carry around in a pocket to call for help if need be.
  • Possibly a smart speaker that would dial 911 if you hollered at it.
  • Household cleaning help
  • Yard care help
  • Pool maintenance help
  • Transportation
  • Someone to help with errands and tasks that are beyond your physical ability, and to keep an eye on you to be sure you’re all right on a day-to-day basis
  • Someone to run interference for you when the inevitable little crises come up

Okay. Think about that. And about how that would compare, cost-wise…

  • You need the phone anyway. If you canceled the land line, the cost would be nothing out of the ordinary. A smart speaker is a one-time hit, assuming you keep your wireless service for your computer.
  • The Beatitudes requires the inmates to wear one of those call buttons around their necks, everywhere they go. You can hire a service that provides those things, if you want to wear a leash around your neck all the time. At some point, that might be a wise thing to do.
  • A housecleaner: Even to have her come in once a week would be as nothing compared to what my friends are paying at the Beatitudes.
  • Yard care: Ditto
  • Pool care: very nominal
  • Transportation: that’s a problem. You could use taxis and ride-hailing services, which would be expensive. But again: compared to $7,000 a month plus the entire net sale price of your home? You could hire a lot of taxis for that.
  • Food: Been in a grocery store lately? They now have pre-assembled meals (not frozen TV dinners, but real food) that you can microwave or bake. And lots of restaurants in these parts deliver. Expensive? Yeah. But not compared to what it costs to live in one of those places.
  • Human interaction and someone to keep an eye on you: another problem on the order of transportation. But there’s a group of volunteers in town who do exactly that: check in on old folks, be sure they’re OK, drive them around if need be. Plus the county has the largest community college system in the country, and healthcare training is among their many offerings. You could hire a student to help you with these issues. It would look good on the kid’s resumé and give the kid a chance to earn some spending or tuition money. And once again: this would be vastly cheaper than moving into a rabbit warren for old folks.
  • Run interference with crises? Can you spell l-a-w-y-e-r?

I think I can afford all of those things. In fact, I think I can afford them a helluva lot better than I can afford to pony up all my assets to move into a place where I would be essentially trapped, like it or not.

June 18, 2019
by funny

Woo HOO! Cleaning Lady Jamboree!

So Luz the Wonder Cleaning Lady, who has begged off coming ’round once a month, saying she wasn’t feeling well, her husband wasn’t well, and whatnot, called out of the blue and invited herself to come do battle with the Funny Farm.

This was good — very, very good — because even though I’ve tried to keep up with the chore-a-day strategy, truth to tell I’ve let it go somewhat and the place needed a serious deep cleaning.

And no one can deliver that better than Wonder Cleaning-Lady. The house is so clean it sings. The tiles feel like glass under one’s bare feet. And speaking of glass…you can see through the windows again. Isn’t that unique?

I think Luz does so much better with the windows than I do because she uses a commercial product. It looks like her theory that my DIY Windex knockoff doesn’t work as desired is…well…correct.

She brings a number of her own products. The window cleaner is something called “Sprayway.” I’ve never seen it…my guess is, it probably comes from a dollar store or maybe a Walmart. Here it is on Amazon…it seems to be pretty well liked by that august emporium’s buyers. Hmmm… one commenter says you can get it for a fraction of the price at Target. So…next time I’m there, I may look for it.

As for the floors? There’s no explanation other than that she can cast some sort of magical spell.

It looks like what’s happening Chez Wonder-Cleaning Lady is that she’s taken on more clients than she can handle without killing herself. She said that several of her customers have kids who graduated from high school last month and so threw big parties to celebrate. Apparently she was over at their respective houses helping to prepare for the shindigs and then back again cleaning up the mess.

In addition, she was trying to deal with a lot of other customers, her own kid who’s now out of school for the summer, and an ailing husband.

You also get the sense, in talking with her, that when she arrived in this country she probably didn’t realize how much demand there is for contract cleaning help from someone who actually can and will do the job right. Those cleaning services are terrible, to say nothing of ridiculously overpriced. So people who know how a house is supposed to be cleaned and what it’s supposed to look like after the job is done will try (often with much frustration…) to seek out single entrepreneurs who will contract to come to your house once every week or two or once a month. A woman who learned how to clean from her mother, who knew how to clean, will invariably do a better job and usually will cost less. Even though she’s worth far more than a slap-dash cleaning service… 😉

Luz’s English is much improved over what she had when she started here at the Farm. And, since she’s a very bright woman, I expect she’s wised up to what her services are worth. I’m surprised she hasn’t started a cleaning service of her own, hiring out some of these jobs to underlings. It would be tricky — many cleaning ladies are here illegally, and so it would be risky to employ them and difficult to pay them. Luz will take checks, which indicates that she’s legal enough to have a bank account. But many, like my would-be “intern,” need to be paid in cash. These days I usually pay her in cash, too, since she doesn’t come very often and since I suspect it’s easier for her not to have to dork around with depositing a check.  With those kinds of complications, she probably doesn’t want the hassle of having to hire and supervise underlings.

At any rate, I hope she stays in business for a long time. That lady is just the ticket!