Coffee heat rising

Real Estate Window-Shopping

Tony the Romanian Landlord, my bosom enemy, has bought the house catty-corner across the street that recently went on the market when the long-time owners decided to retire to the high country.

Tony, after a hostile encounter some years ago, hates me with all his flinty heart. And he’s a nasty fellow. Some of the neighbors around him think he is Romanian Mafia. I don’t…I think he’s just a guy who’s trying to get ahead and is doing so by the rough customs of his native land. But that notwithstanding, during our last encounter he threatened a judge and scared my lawyers so badly they urged me not even to go home, but to rent someplace far, far away, spend the night there, and sell my house right now.

I declined.

He himself has never tried anything, but his mentally ill ex-son-in-law did, presumably to get in good with Dear Old Dad. After my German shepherd took out after him, he ended up sitting in the middle of his driveway weeping. Poor li’l guy.

That the old man has got his hands on a house this close to the Funny Farm is a concern. When my neighbor right behind me sold so she could move into an old-folkerie, she told her realtor (who happened to be her cousin) NOT to sell to Tony. Well….the instant the For Sale sign went up, he showed up at the door. And he was, she reported, absolutely enraged when the realtor refused to do business with him.

But he did get his hands on this latest sale, across the street. I don’t know what he intends to put in there — he cranks his money with a chain of nursing homes, all installed in formerly private homes in residential neighborhoods. But you can be sure it ain’t good.

The previous owners took excellent care of the house, and when they put it on the market, it was gorgeous. Freshly painted. Beautiful flooring. Nice yard. Nice pool.

Tony’s boys have been in there for weeks pulling the house apart. They’ve deconstructed the interior and have been inside building stuff: presumably dormitory-style cells to accommodate whatever fine folk Tony intends to put in there.

So the question arises: Should I sell now and get out of here while I can? If he does what I think he will — install some highly undesirable institution in there — because Arizona law requires sellers to disclose any potentially negative issues, I won’t be able to sell this place for what it’s worth: about five and a half hundred thousand. Much less than that, and I won’t be able to buy a comparable house in a reasonably safe neighborhood…real estate values have run amok here. And of course, the way to frost his cookies would be to move just as he’s finishing up his repurposing construction and before he can move in a crew of clients.

This question has been nagging at the back of my mind for some time. Lately I’ve explored several neighborhoods in what is called the “North Central” district, searching for a place comparable to mine. By and large, these are scarce: North Central is a tony area occupied largely by affluent business executives, lawyers, and doctors. I live on the fringe of North Central, just below a violent and alarming slum called Sunnyslope. A canal and a main drag known to FaM readers as “Gangbanger’s Way” delineates my middle-class neighborhood from that more wild and woolly part of town. But…the wildness and the wooliness depress the property values in our tract. Get deeper into North Central, and I can’t begin to afford to buy.

While I was over on the far northwest side of town yesterday, arranging to ship the ailing MacBook off to the Apple factory, I had to drive through a part of the Valley called Arrowhead Ranch. This is a large Southern-California style tract development, most of it on the high end. I would call it upper-middle class, by and large; however, a few years ago the Republic reported that the Arrowhead area has the largest number of millionaires per-capita in the Valley.

Apparently most of these are owners of service businesses — carpet-cleaning, air-conditioning, pool building and repair, & the like — who live over there because it’s relatively close to their establishments. It’s the only upper-middle-class area between the I-17 and Waddell…which is a LONG way west.

When Arrowhead was first built out, I wasn’t impressed. But as I drove home over surface streets that took me through the increasingly dire slum just to the north of the ’Hood, I thought that place looks better by the day….

The houses are stick & styrofoam, which to my mind is the hallmark of cheap construction (literally: a strong man can put his fist through an exterior wall…that’s how the burglars got into a friend’s home out there). But if you can get past that…some of these places are pretty nice. This one, for example, is comparable in size to my house, only in the late 20th-century plaster-&-styrofoam style. Personally, I hate those glass-top stoves…and they’re apparently in most of the houses out there. I saw ONE gas stove during 45 minutes or an hour of browsing this morning. I’d about concluded that they just don’t have gas service in Arrowhead….but there one was. Presumably a younger crowd of homeowners means a preponderance of people who don’t cook at home, or who think cooking has to do with microwaving.

It is a LONG way from the church — a good 40 minutes or more, depending on traffic. So that activity would go away. More to the point, it’s just as far from my son’s house…meaning I would see him even more rarely than I do now.

This place is a thousand square feet larger than mine, almost.  Kinda cute. But it’s north of the Loop 101 freeway, which is…kinda weird. The dust-catching “plant shelves” (trans.: we are too cheap to build the walls all the way up to the ridiculously elevated ceiling) are a turn-off, as are the factory-made kitchen cabinets that don’t go up to the ceiling, either.

And this one:  Hmmm…. Same bland, cheap architecture…right on an artificial lake (read: mosquito-breeding pond). And no wall between you and the scenic view. Meaning no privacy in your backyard. No skinny-dipping: you’d have to lash yourself up in an elastic strait-jacket every time you wanted to go swimming.

This is not a bad little shack, in the price range. Once again, only a hot plate for a stove. Backyard scenically opens onto the golf course.

Know what happens when your house sits next to a golf course? I looked at one of these fabulous golf-course abodes at Arrowhead some years ago, before I bought my present house. People whack golf balls off-target and they fly into your house’s walls. That plaster can’t withstand the pounding, so it’s soon pitted with golf-ball sized divots. Notice the screens on the windows in back…no doubt there as much to keep the glass intact as to provide “shade.” Backyard is dreary…looks like it’s never been landscaped — notice the neighbor’s yard is pretty lush. Suggests the place was used as a rental for a goodly period, or that the outgoing owner let everything die. Hmmm…

In.
Aus.
Pi.
Cious…..

Then there’s this. Another fine golf ball target. What on earth do you suppose IS the appeal of all those plant shelves? Just imagine having to keep it clean! And that bathroom, where they ran amok with the Mexican tile: eeeeeek!

The demented high ceilings: you, too, can pay APS to air-condition the stratosphere!

These places make our early 1970s houses look good by comparison. Our design is more intelligent. No stupid plant shelves. No stratosphere-high ceilings. Gas service, so you can have a real stove if you want one. Only drawback is the proximity to the slums on the west side of Conduit of Blight and to the north of Gangbanger’s Way, and consequently the crime level and the ever-present stoned-out transients. But that can be dealt with by a good, loud dog.

Mr. WonderAccountant is about to retire. Their son and his young wife took up residence in the West Valley, and they’ve been urging the WA’s to move out there: just now they live right across the street from the Funny Farm. WonderAccountant herself does NOT want to go. She likes it here. But…if they do one day move, you can be sure Tony will glom that place, too. About the only way I could keep him out of it would be to buy it myself and rent it, or sell it to someone of my choice. I actually could… Even without selling my own house, I could probably buy that place with cash.

But I’d sure druther not….

Don’t know what the jerk is doing to the place across the street, but after weeks of daily banging around, his crew are STILL deconstructing and reconstructing over there. Presumably they will make it a drug rehab half-way house or an institution for raving lunatics. If I’m going to move away from whatever gem he’s installing over there, I do need to get on the stick…get sold and moved before he puts a public nuisance in there that will make it impossible to sell this place for the going rate….which of course I would need to clear in order to get into someplace comparable somewhere else.

Hadn’t considered Arrowhead before…but now it’s definitely on the radar. Encanto — where DXH and I first lived, in an absolutely gorgeous 1929 house — has the same issues as the ’Hood does: crime and bums. But look at this little cutie.  That is right around the corner from where we lived, literally: we were at 326 on the next street south of Encanto. The Encanto area and its adjacent, ritzier Palmcroft district are just flat overrun with derelicts, burglars, and wannabe rapists. Hence the bars on all the doors in this little house. Probably all the windows are alarmed — or not: actually, those old-fashioned crank windows with the steel frames are hard to break into.

Eight and a quarter for THIS????? What ARE they smoking?

Whoa!!! Lookit this! Dayum! Right on the fringe of Darkest North Central! It’s a little too close to Glendale, a large and noisy thoroughfare. But it’s in a pretty tony area….the price is a little alarmingly low for that part of town. Wonder what’s wrong with it? All you can tell from these images is that it needs to have the backyard landscaped. I could easily do without my swimming pool…and look at all the space for one’s German shepherd to run around back there. Hm.

I’m afraid the racket from Glendale would be unacceptable, though.

Another one down in that area. It’s a cute little house. Pretty much in the middle of the neighborhood — relatively quiet, one presumes. Floors need to be redone: that could be an expensive proposition. The bamboo patio is a little weird — presumably the jungle is for privacy, since the thing is in the front. And personally, I really don’t like electrical lines spanning the pool. They may not be legal: today the code says you can’t build a pool beneath electric lines.

Uh oh! Just remembered I need to go to the store….and eeek! It’s almost noon. Thank the heavens for Instacart!

Whaddaya think, dear readers? Hold the fort? Or take the path of least resistance and move, before Tony installs whatever malign disaster he’s working on?

Scored my fix!

Ta DAAA! Just back from the neighborhood Albertson’s, where I scored the third and last Covid-19 fix. Couple days ago, I got the flu shot — also in those down-at-the-heels but relatively peaceful precincts. Wanted to wait until any soreness or crankiness from that wore off before subjecting myself to whatever the covid shot might do…which so far is…nothing.

Normally, I wouldn’t go into that Albertson’s on a bet. Ever since a panhandler chased me around the parking lot at a run, I’ve avoided it (Noooo….the Funny Farm is not located in the loveliest of all possible venues….why d’you ask?).

But a few days ago, I went into the Safeway to get this year’s flu shot — where I normally go for these things and for grocery items that can’t be had at a Costco, at a Sprouts, or at the fancy gourmet grocer down at Central & Camelback. It was the middle of the afternoon and there were six people in line ahead of me. After filling out an endlessly nosy form answering irrelevant questions that are strictly none of anybody’s business, I got in line outside the little room where they take their victims….uhhh, patients.

We stood. And we stood. And we stood. And we stood some more…. Not ONE person moved up in the line. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, I gave up and left.

Over to the Albertson’s. Hardly anyone in the store (not surprisingly). Just one merry Latino family ahead of me, with adorable and funny kids to keep all onlookers entertained. In there and outta there in less than ten minutes — all of us. The pharmacist is the one who gives the shots. He’s a real AFRICAN African — Somali, I’d guess, but possibly Ethiopian. A beautiful person upon which to rest one’s eyes, and a very, very nice man…a guy who can shoot you up with a vaccine without you even noticing it.

This visit evoked a moment of nostalgia: The single most beautiful human being I have ever seen an all of my 75-plus years was a Somali man who came to work for us while we were in Arabia. The Americans would hire local and immigrant workers — mostly Goanese, Pakistani, and Indians — to do housework. This guy was passing through, and somehow my mother hired him for a day or two of housewifely chores. His name was Musa. As he stood by the ironing board pressing clothes, I sat on the floor and played with my toys, watching him work.

He had come out of Africa across the Red Sea, and he had walked across the Rub al Khali to reach Ras Tanura, where he hoped to take ship and move on to some more desirable destination

Got that? Walked across the most gawdawful barren desert on the planet.

He was so handsome that he truly was beautiful: that is the only word for his appearance. He looked like an exquisitely realistic sculpture carved out of ebony, the blackest Black man you’ve ever seen. I was only about eight or ten years old, and so was not at an age to have developed any appreciation of the natural aesthetics of the human body. So you can imagine how striking he must have been.

Well, this pharmacist, while handsome enough (I guess), was not drop-down gorgeous like Musa. But he was every bit as spectacularly ebony. I imagine he or his forebears must have come from the same part of the world, at some point along the line.

Or…who knows? Maybe Musa made it across the Middle East, through Europe, and over the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe he landed on the shores beneath the Statue of Liberty, and maybe he built a family here. Maybe that pharmacist was Musa’s son or grandson!

Another Fine Day in Crime Central

Jayzus, what a day!

We’re awakened at dawn to the tune of the neighborhood watchdog, Will, urging us on Facebook to stay inside! lock the doors and windows! do NOT go outdoors! and don’t answer the doorbell either!

Turns out a murder has taken place just a few blocks to the north of the ‘Hood, in a historic slum neighborhood called Sunnyslope. Cops are swarming. And yes, it’s just another morning in Crime Central.

Shee-ut. This means Ruby and I can’t do today’s doggy-walk. And for that matter, we can’t loaf around the yard with the doors open, either.

WTF?  Well, it was just another day in lovely Sunnyslope. Yet another guy was on the run from the cops, having shot a fellow denizen in his pickup. Shot him dead….nice aim.

The perp fled down the canal….the very canal that runs up behind those cute little antique workers’ houses I was, in passing, coveting.

Couple days ago, a not-very-smart young woman was jogging on the same canal pathway. Nabbed, raped, and thrown in the drink.

Fortunately a passer-by found her and fished her out of the water before she was drawn into one of the weirs, which would’ve been the end of her.

Y’know….this ain’t politically correct, but…i will be dayumed if I can figure out why women figure that “liberated” means “free to wear skimpy outfits over their nubile and sexy bodies as they trot up and down public streets with their boobs and their bums bouncing.” PoliticallyCorrectly, sure: in theory we should be able to do anything the guys can do. But that ignores biological reality: to wit, that some males see any female as fair game and no amount of Liberation will change that fact. The reason you wear clothes that cover your body is to keep your body to yourself, as much as possible.

Dare to say that, though, and…

§ §

Yesterday on the (incredibly long) way home from the dermatologist’s office, I managed to dodge whatever was going on at Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. Place was swarming with cop helicopters and patrol cars. Whipped into the ’Hood and made it into the garage without incident. Which is always nice.

Derm was pleased with the way the schnozz is healing, after the surgery to slice off an alleged carcinoma. She wanted me to buy some scar cream to help with that process — sold, of course, by their office. Fortunately I’m now on to their business plan: so, when presented with an opportunity, asked how much. FIFTY-EIGHT BUCKS. Thanks, said I. Bye!

Drove home, stopping at two drugstores and a supermarket. At least one didn’t have it. The other two didn’t have staff to help find stuff. Dodged the cops into the ’Hood, darted into the Funny Farm, fired up Amazon, and lo!! As suspected, there was the very stuff the doctor ordered: Forty bucks. 

Any question why I so often feel like I live in a Third-World country?

After driving driving driving, I arrive at home, greeted by a corgi. Dust settles. Dog goes out. I pour a glass of wine. Cop copters roar over the Farm.

Call the dog. Shut and lock the doors. Pour another glass of wine.

Another armed robbery….nothin’ to look at here, folks. This, also, in lovely Sunnyslope: right where I’ve been coveting those cute little old houses with the gigantic yards.

Soooo…there’s another real estate transaction that goes on the shelf. Waaayyyy in the back of the shelf….

§ §

Come noontime today, it’s over to the church for the volunteer gig: once a week I staff the reception desk in the church office.

Sitting at the front desk in the church office building, putting in my duly appointed volunteer time. Gasp!!!!!  It is sooooo excruciatingly b-o-o-o-o-r-i-n-g! Even more so because everyone but the ubiquitous Nanette is out, apparently all day. NOTHING is going on, not even the phone jangling.

Stupidly, I grabbed the wrong pair of glasses as I shot out the front door…the distance-only pair, not the bifocals. Soooo….I can barely see the computer I brought to amuse myself through the long, silent, tedious afternoon.

So the time goes by

very…

very…

very…

s-l-o-o-w-l-y……

From the church it’s down to AJ’s to pick up some more fruit and…maybe something for dinner, since I don’t feel much in the mood to fire up the grill.

The smog is so gawdawful the sunlight looks yellow, and the sky is colored a strange shade of yellowish gray. Just like lovely Southern California. This was one of the several reasons I loathed living in Long Beach. Driving here has gotten a lot like driving in SoCal, too.

Just an ugly place. Yech.

If my son decides to retire to Utah and I’m still living, I’m a’following him!

Seriously: he has a daydream of telecommuting from some sylvan spot in the boondocks. He’s especially interested in southeastern Utah or southwestern Colorado. And since, far’s I can tell, he no longer goes into an office at all, really there’s no reason he couldn’t do exactly that: move to the sticks and do his job online.

I personally would not choose to take up residence in Mormon Country. Doubt if he has a clue how hard it is to buy a bottle of wine in those precincts.

But seriously: Arizona has some very pleasant towns and wide-spots-in-the-road in the sticks, where the locals’ morals don’t interfere with your choice of dinner beverages and a decent regional medical center is within a 20-minute helicopter ride. Anyplace between Tucson and Nogales would fill that bill very nicely. Same is true of the Prescott area.

But as for Phoenix? It’s L.A. East.

And lemme tellya: there was a reason I hated living in Long Beach, all the time I was in high school. Now I feel much the same way about the crowded, hectic, smoggy, crime-ridden Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun.

This old bat would give a lot to get outta here.

9/11: Twenty Years On…

This morning one of my walking buddies asked me where I was and what I was doing at the time of the 9/11 attack.

Well: I was on the phone to my son in Oakland, trying to convince him not to go to work in San Francisco via the Bay Bridge. He was having none o’that from his muther, but mercifully his employers called every worker and told them to stay home, stay out of downtown SF, stay put.

Having lived for ten long years in Saudi Arabia, I think I can share a little insight into those terroristic events. Like this:

The Saudis supply a large portion of the gas and oil this country requires to keep on operating as a “First-World” country. You may be sure we wouldn’t want to hurt their dainty feelings. Would we? Even though most of them deeply hate us, as infidels and as Westerners.

Seriously, I’m convinced that the sole reason for continued diplomatic and business relations with the Saudis is to facilitate pumping and export of their oil to Western countries.

Our friends and our enemies, in the world of RealPolitik, are those who are of some use to us at any given time.

Y’know, after all these years I remain puzzled over one question:

Why did the 9/11 plotters do such a damn half-assed job of it?

Think about that.

They swiped three airplanes and flew them toward targets that were, yes, significant. But despite the mayhem they caused, they inflicted nothing even faintly like crippling damage to this country. And they could’ve. It would have been easy.

Like this:

Yes, engage Plan A: hijack a couple of large planes full of jet fuel and ram them into key targets. But…at the same time:

Develop Plan B to include federal sites in at least two or three other major cities, such as Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas/Ft Worth…whatever. In these cities, use trucks or automobiles carrying explosives to bomb key sites. Attack them all at the same moment.

For example…

  • In San Francisco, blow up the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the San Mateo Bridge. This would bring the city to a dead stop; at the time it could have been accomplished easily.
  • Also in the Bay Area, take out Treasure Island, which hosts a key naval base.
  • In Seattle, blow up the metro train/bridge network, or set off a bomb just about anywhere in the airport.
  • In L.A. set off bombs at LAX, John Wayne Airport, and the Ontario Airport. These would not have to be taken into a terminal; any explosion in any location at one of these sites would bring the facility to a halt.
  • In Chicago, take out the Federal Complex — again, reasonably easy to do with a UPS truck bearing a load of dynamite.
  • In any major seaport, blow up the piers for freighter and tanker docking.

None of this would have been hard to accomplish, and all of those actions could have been timed to happen at once. When I say the plotters weren’t very bright, I ain’t kiddin’. Instead of wreaking serious havoc nationwide — doable at minimal expense and modest loss of Heroic Martyrs’ lives — they showboated with a spectacular event that, in view of what they could have done without much more expense and manpower, took out relatively few Americans (almost none of them military or part of the upper leadership) and did relatively little damage. A couple of NYC skyscrapers in comparison to skyscrapers in several cities plus the major thoroughfares into a key West Coast city plus anyone who happened to be at an airport in LA or Seattle at the wrong time plus chaos at a large West-Coast naval base plus destruction of government buildings in a major Midwestern regional city plus destruction of a major seaport (with concommittant loss of lives, freighters, and tankers) would really have done the job.

Our boys had relatives and friends in the higher echelons of the Saudi government. Given enough time, they could have raised all the cash they would have needed to launch a coordinated, multi-pronged attack. And they had a good shot at pulling it off.

They fu*ked it up, I’m afraid…

Luckily for us.

Houses, Houses, Houses….

Checked with another Realtor by way of trying to track down a place that might appeal enough to lure me out of the Funny Farm — and thereby take me and Ruby out of the way of any harm Tony and his tribe plan to inflict on our neighborhood.

As usual whenever I peruse the real estate offerings in Phoenix, I see a couple of places that might be OK and a whole lot of places that are off-the-charts not OK.

The problem is, my current house is so close to perfect for my needs and my tastes that rather little appeals. Uhm…make that “rather little” a “nothing.” Seriously: the house has ruined me for the real estate market!

Willo, a historic district in the central part of the city, is the home of the first house my husband and I lived in. We would still be there if we hadn’t had a kid (couldn’t put him in the public schools there) and the crime rate. And, after they installed a fire station a block away, the spectacular noise level.

Here’s a house in Willo that’s similar in style to ours, though significantly smaller. The place was not a tract in the sense of modern ticky-tacky — every house was different. This sorta Santa Barbara Spanish look was one of several very different styles of architecture that inhabited the place.

Hmmmm…$1,700,000 for an apartment on Central Avenue. Eight hundred seventy-five K for a modernized house that looks about as inviting as a prison block.

Here’s this pleasant-looking place, all decked out in the latest shade of penitentiary gray. It has only one serious drawback, to my taste: it’s right on Seventh Avenue, one of the busiest commuter thoroughfares in the city! That may explain the bargain price of a mere 530 grand.

Seriously. When you look at this stuff — and those brain-banging prices! — you come to suspect I’ve got the best of all possible worlds in this house. It has all the features of the best of the offerings on the market and none of the disadvantages. It’s paid for.

And you may be darned sure I didn’t pay five or six hundred thousand bucks for it! 😀

 

Hyperinflation and the House Shopper…

Welp, in the middle of the great flap over the Nose Cancer (the upshot of which was “they got it all,”  astonishing surgical skill demonstrated in the process), we learned that the dread Tony the Romanian Landlord is back up to his tricks. Turns out he bought the house across the street, recently put up for sale by a neighbor couple who retired to the high country. A-a-a-a-a-n-d…he’s got an army of workmen in there gutting it out (the house was up-to-date and in primo condition) so as to turn it into yet another halfway house or nursing home.

Tony is in the settlement home business. He grabbed a home on a pretty little street where one of my friends lived, let it stand vacant and weedy for a year or more while the recession trudged past, and then turned it into a nursing home, replete with the traffic and the damage to neighboring property values that entails.

Phoenix’s wise City Parents, in a fit of merciful generosity, made it legal to do so. They installed an exception to the city code that forbids running businesses out of homes in residential tracts — for nursing homes and halfway houses. The fact that these places are ill-regulated (if regulated at all) makes our wise leaders no nevermind.

One of said fine establishments here in the ‘Hood is leased out to a nursing home whose employee was regularly raping a vegetative woman. Got her pregnant, not that it mattered to her, because she was perpetually unconscious. Yes, permanently. But it did matter to her family, who quietly installed a camera in her room and filmed the guy diddling his “patient.” (Read “prisoner”…) So as you can imagine, Tony is less than fully appreciated here in the ‘Hood.

When I realized he was up to his tricks again — this time right across the street — I decided it was time to move. Enough, after all, being enough. The property values here in the ‘Hood are so inflated that I could buy something comparable anywhere in the central part of the city…or in Scottsdale, or in Paradise Valley, or in any number of local venues.

So I called my friend Nancy, who happens to be an ambitious Realtor, and asked if she would look for new digs. One possibility is a high-rise apartment on Central Avenue…but ultimately I discarded that idea because I like Ruby the Corgi, I’m not getting rid of her, the hassle involved in coping with a dog in an apartment is more than I can cope with. And besides, I like having a yard. And a pool, for that matter.

Nancy is hot to trot. She wants me to take out a loan right now so’s I can buy a place, and then after we sell this one, if I choose to do so I can then pay it off.

She says my house will sell within a few days — the market is extremely hot. And apparently that is true, despite astonishingly inflated prices. Very few places are for sale, and some of those are…uhm…heh…amazing. Yet none of them stays on the market for long.

Shoofing around…

Here’s this little shack directly to the south of here: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/1619-W-Frier-Dr-Phoenix-AZ-85021/7777319_zpid/  Four thousand square feet for $1.5 million. Right. Moving on.

Okay, so I thought this one looks pretty promising, also in a neighborhood to the south: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7720-N-17th-Ave-Phoenix-AZ-85021/7777063_zpid/  If it weren’t almost 800 grand…

Here’s a bargain at $586,000…  https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/812-W-Orangewood-Ave-Phoenix-AZ-85021/7777565_zpid/  It hasn’t moved in almost two months, which says something’s majorly wrong with it. Like, say, 586 grand?

Here’s one in the price range, slightly smaller than the Funny Farm: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7819-N-17th-Ave-Phoenix-AZ-85021/7777084_zpid/  Not a bad little house, especially if you’re charmed by 1950s windows and can do without a garage for your car.  The area around it looks a little flakey…possibly rentals???

We have this “hidden gem”: https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/7731-N-17th-Dr-Phoenix-AZ-85021/7777054_zpid/  On my yellow pad I noted “too close to 19th Avenue; a little funky. No garage.”

$1.2 million for this: https://myhomegroup.com/homes-for-sale-details/7508-N-13TH-AVENUE-PHOENIX-AZ-85021/6279740/123/   Seriously??????

No? Well, OK, how about this stunner: https://www.redfin.com/AZ/Phoenix/7620-N-17th-Dr-85021/home/27609886 Check out that one-car car-port, and the great turquoise floor! The historic tile! The prison bars on the exquisitely designed add-on’s windows, and the fantastic acres of dead grass…

Otherwise, amazingly few offerings. I found several small sub-neighborhoods that looked pretty desirable, but nothing for sale in them. Here’s a cute little place, supposedly in the price range at $483,169: https://www.redfin.com/AZ/Phoenix/911-W-State-Ave-85021/home/27949284  “Currently off market.”

But here we have new construction!  In my not-very-humble opinion: exceptionally handsome, exceptionally livable and hevvin help us, it even has a garage, albeit one lacking a door. But…well…it’s right on one of the mainest of the city’s main drags. Enjoy traffic racket? Love the parfum de automobile exhaust? This is the place for you! https://www.zillow.com/community/willow/29377516_plid/

Moving on, I stumbled across THE most astonishing enclave (as it were): https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/213-E-El-Camino-Dr-Phoenix-AZ-85020/7794151_zpid/  This is on a street of little shacks built for agricultural workers. They’ve been enormously gentrified, presumably because young people with a little money and a lot of energy can’t afford anything else. They almost back onto the Arizona Canal, which is…well… Let me put it this way: it’s a Bum’s Highway.

This little place is surprisingly cute, all fixed up the way it is. But…yeah. I peeked in a front window and saw a bedroom that wouldn’t hold a twin bed! 

Well, actually, it would: it has a little nook clearly made to hold a twin or maybe a bunk bed. It’s the tiniest little place: smaller than a modern apartment. But it does have a nice big yard. It’s in a district called Sunnyslope, long renowned as an antique slum, home to the Valley’s Hell’s Angels. You would be dodging bums by day and bullets by night. But otherwise it’s kinda kewl… 😮

Got home after a couple hours of driving around to find Nancy (realtor) on the phone, hot to trot. She gave me the name of a lender to call. I was too pooped to deal with that y’day afternoon, but guess out of courtesy I’ll have to call him today. But pretty clearly this is a lost cause.

She said houses are selling within a matter of days, the market is so hot. She thinks my house (which by comparison with this stuff is some sort of a miracle) will sell instantaneously.

Ohhhkayyy… But the problem with that is every other house that comes on the market is the target of a feeding frenzy. And do you seriously believe I would have a snowball’s chance to snab a place comparable to the beloved Funny Farm?

Really. This makes effin’ Sun City look good! Ahhhh yes, Sun City:

Actually, some of those places wouldn’t be bad, if only they weren’t in a ghetto for old people.

All of which makes the Funny Farm look extremely good. Evidently I would be stark raving cahRAZY to move at this time. I do love my house, but given the Tony situation would move if I could find anything even faintly feasible.

Uhm. Maybe.

By the time I got home from eyeballing the market, I needed one of those beers in the fridge. Or maybe the whole frikkin six-pack….

I guess I’m just going to have to deal with Mr. Boca. He does know which side his butter’s breaded on, and so he doesn’t represent a physical threat. Having a social service agency across the street may not be pleasant….but nothing lasts forever. Including Tony. If he predeceases me, there’s a good chance the new settlement house will be returned to residential status and life will return to normal. Especially if enough neighbors complain.