Coffee heat rising

Life in Dystopia…

Memo from the Dermatologist’s Waiting Room…

…way to HELL and gone out on the far west side of the Valley…

HOLY maquerel!  Had to fill up in order to get all the way out to the west side for this morning’s traipse to the dermatologist. Gas at the corner QT is $4.79 a gallon! Three-quarters of a tank set me back SIXTY-TWO BUCKS! And 41 cents.

And that’s cheap! Driving westward, ever westward, I passed gas stations offering the stuff for over five bucks. Yes. That is “per gallon.”

How are people who have to commute or use a vehicle to do business managing this?

I figure we can expect this is gonna be pretty much permanent. Have you ever seen gas prices actually go down? Not likely…leastwise, not significantly.  And you hear the excuse bandied about even now: “After all, these prices are what they have to pay in Europe.”

Sure enough.

But Europe has adequate public transit.

Europe has commerce and services situated in reasonably safe central parts of cities and towns.

In Europe, you’re not likely to get brained and robbed walking down to the nearest grocer’s. Or dragged off from the corner bus stop and raped.

European cities are CITIES, not vast sticky puddles of formless sprawl.

At any rate, these prices make it worth sitting in line (and sitting in line…and sitting in line…and sitting in….) at the Costco to fill up and stay filled up at their tanks. But since that’s what everybody else figures, the lines at the Costco pumps stretch halfway to Yuma. You can figure on a 15-minute wait just to get up to the pump. And if the damn thing refuses to take your card – as it did mine, the last time I went by there – all that thumb-twiddling is just so much wasted time and annoyance.

There’s a Costco on the way back into town from Derma-Doc’s place. It’s actually a business Costco, but thanks to the incorporated editorial bidness, I happen to have a business account. So on the way I’ll stop by there as I’m driving driving driving eastward and ask them WTF was with their rejection of my card. And while I’m at it, renew my membership, which I believe to be due about now.

Godlmighty I’m so, sooooo tired of doctoring.

My mother’s relatives were Christian Scientists. Her grandmother and her aunt lived into their mid-nineties and NEVER saw a doctor. Her uncle, who was not a religious nut, also lived into advanced old age…and died of something that no one was ever able to diagnose – the guy just kinda wasted away.  But honest-ta-gawd, sometimes I think Christian Science is not such a bad idea. You’re gonna die when you’re gonna die – not much sooner and not much later, far’s I can tell. Why make yourself miserable being poked, prodded, sliced, diced, dieted, and lectured?

* *

Arrived out on the west side at the doc’s office  way, wayyyy early, having had to allow some unholy amount of (unneeded!) time to fill up the gas tank. So drove around one of the new look-alike stick-and-styrofoam developments. Gosh…some of those houses can’t be more than 20 feet apart, eave to eave!  My father’s aversion to investing in residential real estate kinda makes sense now, looking at these acres and acres and acres of junk.  And he hadn’t even SEEN junk, back in his day….

* * * *

Back in Town:

{chortle!!!} Successful interlude with derma-tech. I REALLY like those folks.

From there, I proceed back across town over grody Indian School Road. Dodge into the Costco down by the railroad underpass, figuring to renew the annual membership and then pick up a few not-very-necessaries.

Belly up to the customer service bar. Present my membership card and my Visa card (Costco doesn’t take AMEX: costs them too much).

The CSR demands to know some three-digit number for the Visa card.

Huh?  AMEX has a three-digit nuisance number, but I’ve NEVER been asked for one for Visa and didn’t even know such a thing existed. Thrash around my wallet. Can’t find it. Lose my temper (quite frankly) and stalk out. On the way I tell her I’m sorry her employer has lost a customer – permanently.

Driving driving driving driving back across the interminable and interminably ugly west side, it crosses my mind that CC mailed me a renewal form. Drive and drive and drive and drive and dodge importuning Death two or three times and dart in the house and dash to the pile of unattended mail on the dining-room table, and Yea verily! There’s a mail-in form to renew membership. Doesn’t ask for a secret code of any kind, for any vendor.

Fill it out. Stuff it in an envelope. Stick an (expensive!) stamp on it. Jump back in the car. Drive to the PO. Drop it in a USPS mailbox.

Note to Self: do not even THINK of renewing in person next year. Incompetent nuisances!

When William Shakespeare had Miranda say “What a brave new world we live in” and added Prospero’s ironic riposte, did he think that brave new world was as dystopic and as shitty and as nuisancey as the one we live in today is? What on earth would he have made of a life that consists of one techno-hassle after another after another?

Also amongst the unattended mail, I find a notice to renew the Medigap insurance. They want THIRTY-SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS AND FIFTY-TWO CENTS for a year’s worth of Medigap coverage!

Speaking of Brave New Worlds…what IS this effing Brave New World we live in?

Skeeters and Coils and Termites and Stuff…

So Termite Dude showed up a couple days ago. Nice guy: I liked him instantly. He sprayed the new settlement our little ladies had installed in the attic’s wood facing, explored…examined…examined…explored, sprayed everything in sight, collected a wad of dough, and went on his way.

Gerardo had already  inspected the attic. Termite Dude went up there, too, and looked all around. He confirmed Gerardo’s report that as yet our little pets have not made their way up there.

Termites are a chronic problem in Arizona. That notwithstanding, I don’t have the house sprayed every six months, for two reasons:

The stuff we used to have sprayed in our house downtown (which was built atop a delicious wooden crawl space) used to make my stomach upset every time the guy came around. Did the same to the cats, too: they would barf all day until the fumes aired out.

One of my friends...omigod! Her health was permanently ruined (no kidding!) and her dog was killed when fumes from termite gunk an exterminator sprayed into the foundation (most houses here are built atop concrete pads, which have to be drilled to apply the chemical) found its way into a crack, seeped up into the home office where she was working while her dog snoozed on the floor, and poisoned both of them.

So, no. I don’t want that stuff around my house!!!!!

But with the gals having staked out a claim, I felt that if I had to take the dog and rent a motel room for a week while the place airs out, it would probably be worth it.

The new termite gunk, however, has no odor! At least, none that’s discernible to a human.

That alone was amazing. Then came the next surprise: it didn’t make me queasy! I did take Ruby down to M’hijito’s house and left her there all day. So, she wasn’t exposed directly to it. To what extent any odorless fumes may linger, I do not know. But it’s now been a day and a half, and she seems to be fine. No barfing, no listlessness, no other visible sign of harm. Yet.

This morning I realized that I forgot to point out the decayed remains of an old tree trunk out in front…which very likely is where Her Majesty and her minions originated. Dunno whether he sprayed that or not. But I happen to have half a gallon-sized container of bug granules, which probably will do the job on any ladies lurking around that grocery store. Whenever I get off my duff, I’ll go out there and sprinkle the stuff all over the pit.

Meanwhile, speaking of bugs, it’s mosquito season in lovely Arizona!

Can you imagine? We didn’t used to have mosquitoes. Literally: you never saw skeeters around human habitation in this place.  Matter of fact, that used to be one of the draws: Michiganders and Ohians and the like loved the mosquito-free yards as much as they loved the warm winters.

No more! Now every summer we’re overrun.

Dragged out the mosquito coils — there are only a couple left, so I guess I’ll have to order up some more from Amazon.

These damn things are, I’ll say, pretty creepy. First came upon them in Tahiti, where DXH and I stopped for a few days on the way to Australia & New Zealand, where he had always dreamt of junketing. Tahiti, being a jungle island in the middle of the Pacific, is overrun with savage biting mosquitoes. And yes, they do carry disease. The hotel provided mosquito coils for the guests, and yes, the things DO work to repel the little ladies.

Not nuts about using them in the house…but outdoors, they don’t seem to be too unsafe. During skeeter season here, I keep the screen doors and window screens closed, which works effectively to keep the gals out. But why would you live in Arizona if you didn’t want to sit on your garden porch for breakfast and dinner and cocktails, hm? These things make that possible in the springtime, the only pretty bug time…

Termite image: Alabama A & M University
Mosquito coil image: Amazon

 

Drop a Tranquilizer before Visiting a Gas Station…

{gasp!} {hyperventilate!!!!}

Just back from a junket to Costco…and waypoints. Belief HAS officially been defied now….

The plan was to traipse up to Costco in search of the usual bargain on gasoline. CC routinely underprices every gas retailer within several miles of a given store, right? While there, buy a few not-urgently-needed but nice-to-have grocery & household items, and also renew this year’s membership, which I’m told is officially running out.

Thank gawd they sell wine… That’s all i can say….. 8-o

Drive and drive and drive and drive and…every road in the goddamn city is under construction. Wherever you’re goin’ you really CAN’T get there from here. Arrive at the store north of the Great Desert University (WAY north…), which is about the same distance from here as the store in Paradise Valley but which, because of the relative penury of the surrounding populace (middle-middle class, not upper-middle-class and Richerati) will likely have a lower price on gas.

My membership is running out. Ask the lady at the entrance where to get it renewed; she says the easiest way is just to pay at checkout.

Ramble around the store ogling all the amazing eye-popping goods. Toss a bunch of stuff I don’t need into the cart. Make my way through the checkout line. Offer to pay for the membership renewal. She says I don’t have to do that now.

Yeah? Well…then why are they telling me to do that now? I figure she just doesn’t want to be bothered. Okkkayyyy….

Retrieve the Dog Chariot. Head for the gas pumps.

They’re mobbed.

But, being the canny type, I manage to slither into a line that has only three or four vehicles ahead of me.

Wait and wait and wait and wait, then wait and wait and wait and wait, and then wait some more.

FINALLY pull up to a gas pump.

Stick my Costco card in. Clickety hummedy click. Then stick my debit card in (Costco doesn’t accept AMEX credit cards)…and….

PLONK! Am told my cards are no good.

Annoyed, I stalk across the lot and retrieve the attendant.

No problemo! saith he.

He sticks my Costco card in. Clickety hummedy click. Then sticks my debit card in. And PLONK! We’re both told to take a flyer at the moon.

He proposes to hold up the ever-longer line with some sort of hoop jumps. I say f’geddaboutit! Because I happen to know the QT in Sunnyslop is charging the same rate Costco is.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and dodge construction zones and drive and slip through a short-cut i know and drive and drive and finally arrive at the QT.

Whip up to an unoccupied(!!!!!) pump and…and…lo and sumbiche! Find the price is a bargain $5.21 a gallon — yea, verily:  the same bargain price that Costco was charging!

Five. Dollars. And. Twenty-One. Cents. A. Gallon!!!!!!!!!!!

It cost THIRTY DOLLARS to refill that quarter of a tank.

CAN….YOU…IMAGINE?

Well, thought I crabbily.There go any ideas about a weekend in Prescott. Or maybe in Yarnell. Or, oh Helle’s belles, even in freakin’ Sun City!

Hmmmm…

Okay, so between you’n’me and the lamp-post, that is the LAST time I visit a Costco to buy (or attempt to buy) gasoline. We have not one but two QT’s practically within walking distance of the ’Hood. And since about half the time (or more), the main reason I go to a Costco is not to shop in the CC but to buy gasoline, that is gonna mean a WHOLE lot less of the Funny Farm’s budget will be spent at Costco stores. I may not even bother to renew my membership. Enough being enough, after all.

One is left wondering what this state of annoying affairs foreshadows for supplies of day-to-day cost-of-living goods: food, diapers, soda pop, motor oil, coffee, tea, toothpaste, shampoo, hot dogs, steak, broccoli…. If the cost of fuel has gone up THAT much across the board, then suppliers and marketers will have to raise their prices accordingly.

This probably is a good time to stock up on things like paper goods (a far better time than we saw in the last Great Paper Panic). And on nonperishable foods. And canned goods. And stuff that can be stored in a freezer.

Because…clearly grocery prices are headed for the stratosphere.

And if you garden? Well then, garden like crazy, my friend! I’m thinking I may build a raised garden in the backyard right now. A bunch of things — summer squash and peppers and tomatoes and if you have any skill even things like corn will grow now. Then, in Arizona an amazing variety of veggies and fruits grow in the fall and winter.

It’s never too late to learn the fine art of canning….

California Dreamin’…or is that a nightmare?

Amazed to learn from my son that, like me, he also is bothered by driving over the increasingly Southern California-esque roads here in lovely L.A. East. He is a confident, assertive driver who isn’t bothered by lunatics, morons, flashing red lights, gunshots, and assorted other features of driving on the homicidal streets of Phoenix. Nor is he inclined to fly into fits of high rage, as his muther is…

Wouldn’t it be grand if I could leverage that to persuade him to move SOMEPLACE less massively tacky?

To my mind, the Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun gets more and more like the crowded, smoggy, grody L.A. Basin with every day that passes. I detested living in Long Beach, with its air that would make me sick and its blandly ticky-tacky aging suburban style and the streets mobbed all the time and the grodily casual style of its fine inhabitants. And the longer I live here, the more I think I’d like to be living somewhere else.

I don’t think he’ll choose to make an escape, because his dad is firmly stapled to the Valley floor. Current Wife has a daughter who works as a librarian here, and so she’s unlikely to agree to move to Prescott or some such. As long as DXH stays put, my son will stay put.

Hm. Wonder if I could talk him into investing in a second home, off in some remote locale. Then I could stay there most of the time. He could come up and hang out when he wants some peace and quiet. But he’d still have a foothold down here, from which he could keep an eye on his Dad and New Wife.

Wonder if he could be talked into moving to Fountain Hills? That at least is pretty far from Crime Central. But truth to tell, it’s a long way from his Dad’s place, too. If either of those two old folks has a stroke or a heart attack, it would take him 40 or 50 minutes (at best) to get to the hospital. Here, all three major metropolitan hospitals are within five or ten minutes of his house.

DXH, who was happy to escape life in small-town Western Colorado (actually, it was the largest burg on the Western Slope…but still: a backwater), absolutely positively will NOT be persuaded to move out of central Phoenix.

Hm. Maybe. Unless..he thought that Fountain Hills, being adjunct to Scottsdale, would put him closer to the Cultural Venues he favors. But…no: the Chamber Music Society is performing at Central Methodist — they used to haunt the Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts. AZ Theater Co performs downtown, too…so that scheme wouldn’t work.

BUT….really, the kid and I are both very spoiled to a) living in central locations and b) construction that is not ticky-tacky. Most of Fountain Hills IS ticky-tacky. All very nice and new(ish), but strictly from stick-and-Styrofoam. In Wickenburg–formerly a railroad town on the way to Las Vegas and southern California, now effectively a suburb of Phoenix–you can find some very pretty properties, but the same issue holds: newer structures are certifiable junk. I happen to favor houses with WALLS. Remember those?

The more I look at the real estate listing in those suburbs today, the better I like my house. And neighborhood.

Construction is better. Houses here are not QUITE right on top of each other. The place is centrally located. No jet aircraft graze the top of your chimney. A-a-a-a-n-d…as gas skyrockets up, the fact that we’re right on the lightrail line starts to look better and better. Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s way, along which the lightrail is slated to run, begin to look like assets.

Contemporary house construction is cheapied down to the point that if they built the places any flimsier, people would be living in tents.

Interior walls hardly exist anymore. Those that do often don’t go up to the ceiling — they’re more like room dividers. Most late-model houses have no gas service, and builders proudly present you with a glass-top hotplate instead of a real stove. For most people, that’s prob’ly OK, given that Americans don’t cook anymore. But…I still want an actual stove!.

Even expensive tracts are now fields of houses built eave-to-eave — in one Wickenburg development, even with the tricky marketing photography you can see that the neighbors behind you can gaze right straight in your back windows. So ALL of your drapes and blinds would have to be closed ALL of the time! Why have windows at all?

Meanwhile, in quieter venues like Wickenburg and Fountain Hills, those nice desert-y backyards are gonna be full of coyotes and rattlesnakes. Dandy! You wouldn’t dare let your dog out to snuffle around in peace. And in fact, you probably ought not to let a small child play in those yards unsupervised. Every…minute…the…kid…is…outside, Mom or Dad or Babysitter will have to be peering over her shoulder.

Here in the ‘Hood, our houses are made of block. Interior walls are insulated. Gas service allows you to have a real stove in the kitchen. And you don’t have to take out a bank loan to drive to the grocery store, what with gasoline now almost $5 a gallon.

It does make our centrally located districts look highly desirable — notwithstanding Biker Central and the constant cop copter fly-overs and the late-night drag-races and the nuisancey lightrail and the panhandlers in every parking lot.

Ugh. I guess next week…or maybe this afternoon, depending on mood…I’m going to have to think through a set of Instacart lists. With the price of gasoline now, unless Instacart has jacked up its rates accordingly, it will cost no more (maybe less) to order up delivery of grocery and Costco items than to traipse around the city after them. This would relieve me of two hassles in one trip: Californicated roads and astronomical gas prices.

Wow! Life in These New-nited States!

Looney Toons in the Brave New World

Wow! I don’t know whether it’s me –– have I lost my marbles? am I getting too old to keep up with change? am I skateboarding toward senility Hell? — or maybe it’s just Our Changing World…one whose changes are about 40% for the worse. But I sweartagawd, some days I think Life in the Los-Angelized Valley is just not worth keeping up with.

What a day! And not very different from yesterday’s what-a-day.

Yesterday the high point was driving home through the gawdawful unholy traffic, watching a column of black smoke apparently hanging right over the ‘Hood. In fact, one could hypothesize that it was towering directly over my house.

The traffic in this city has become monstrous, whatever the time of day. But by then we were in the early part of the rush hour, so pushing through the mobs and mobs and mobs of vehicles was a b*tch. Took a good half-hour or 40 minutes to make a drive that should have been doable in 10 to 15 minutes.

And no, the fire wasn’t in the’Hood. It was quite a ways to the north.

Yesterday I was down at the T-Mobile store at 20th Street and Camelback, where the service is infinitely better than what is offered at the store down at the corner of Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. This morning I had a question, and since I needed to go to the grocery store vaguely in that direction, decided to swing a bit out of my way to visit them again.

Possibly Saturday was not the best choice of days for this little safari.

The traffic — mid-morning (not lunch hour, not rush hour, not anything special) — was just unholy. Mobs and mobs of cars…and of course, wouldn’tcha know it, road construction. Endless traffic jams as people got stuck, stuck, and re-stuck in stretches of torn-up asphalt behind barriers of red-and-white sawhorses. Even though  I do know my way around this city and I surely do know every short-cut and dodge there is to be had, it took for-f**king-EVER to get to the shopping center in question, much of that EVER occupied by dodging accidents, sliding around traffic jams, sneaking into short-cuts and figuring out how to get back out of them.

Struggled and struggled and struggled. Got to the T-Mobile store. Explained my objection to giving their bot my Social Security number, as demanded by an email their company sent. T-Mobile lady said oh, no no no…you don’t HAVE to give them your SS number.

I don’t? Sure as Hell looks like they’re saying I do, if I want the service.

Dinna worry about it, sez she: just ignore it.

Ohhhhhkayyyyyyyyy…..

I plow my way home through deep, dark thickets of traffic, gawdawful traffic, flocks and flurries of fruitcakes and fanatics. Stumble into the house. Bang around. Throw a second load of laundry in the washer. Then sit down to engage in a little computerized correspondence.

And…

and…

and…

WTF?

CANNOT FIND MY LAPTOP!

I took it with me. Did I leave it at the store?

Surely not. It was right in front of me and in front of the T-Mobile guy — if I’d started to walk off without it(???????) he would have hollered.

I search from pillar to post and back again. Search the car. Search the house again. Search the car again.

By now I’m freaking out. Where the Hell could i have left my computer??? and WHY the Hell would i have left it?????

After what feels like endless banging and thrashing, I finally do find it, right where I left it. In a perfectly reasonable spot to have left it. No, not on the floor of the car. No, not in the back compartment of the car. No, not on the back seat of the car.

In the house. Just not in the usual spot

Criminey.

I must have looked right at it at least three times without seeing it!

At this point I realize this is probably another unholy Senior Moment. I already had one of those this morning, when I lost the keys.

Why did I lose the house and car keys? Because I didn’t put then in my pocket and I didn’t stick them in the office door’s deadbolt (where they usually reside).

Although I do have informal spots where I habitually set down stuff I drag into and out of the house, I’m now thinking I need to designate specific, formally identified places to set things down when I come into the shack. Possibly put boxes or bowls out for stuff to be set into.

But the problem with that theory is that yes, I do have just a couple of places where I put things like that down. And no, when I found the computer and its wad of paperwork, it was not in any exotic or strange or out-of-the-way spot. I must have looked right at it and not seen it.

If that ain’t senility, I’d like to know what it is.

All told, I probably killed a good half-hour or 45 minutes thrashing around the house searching for those things.

Do hafta say: I suspect at least part of the problem has to do with the interminable, brain-banging drives through truly unholy Southern California-style traffic.

This damn place gets more and more like Anaheim and Long Beach every day. And I can assure you: I did NOT enjoy living in those parts and do not want to stay here if what we have now is their clone.

{grump} All Hell Continues to Work Its Way Loose

As the dog and I hiked back to the house along about 6:15 a.m., there across the street we see our neighbor’s lawn crew, the bunch who stole EVERY SPRINKLER IN THE FRONT AND BACK YARDS.

{chortle!} Guess I haven’t mentioned that little fiasco.

Couple weeks ago, these guys showed up. And since Gerardo seems to have quit, I hired them to clean up the yard. Their fees, by comparison with Gerardo’s, were exorbitant: $180 for the first clean-up, then $80 every two weeks, forevermore.

Shee-ut.

Well, I knew Gerardo was undercutting the competition — or else giving me a special deal, more likely. But he seems to have quit: he’s not coming either to my house or my son’s. And I can’t take care of this yard myself. So..ooohkaaaayyyyy….

They did a pretty good job. So I thought…until I went to put a sprinkler on a parched plant.

Sprinkler? What sprinkler? We don’t need to steeenking sprinklers!

Uh huh. Every. Single. Sprinkler was gone. The little metal ones. The regular plastic ones. All of them.

Sumbiche.

So it was off to buy some new ones.

Lowe’s does not have little metal sprinklers.

Home Depot does not have little metal sprinklers.

The grand, old-money nursery on Glendale does not have little metal sprinklers.

Turns out there’s a sprinkler shortage!

That would be why our guys felt called upon to steal mine.

Finally found a few at an Ace Hardware (everybody buys sprinklers in hardware stores, right?). Grabbed three of them. And they’re now locked inside the garage.

If it’s not red-hot or nailed down…

****

In other quotidian gnus, the dentist wants EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS to replace the broken crown. Jayzuz! What do they think it’s made of?

No, it ain’t made of gold.

The peripheral neuropathy continues to drive me nuts. However, in one tiny glimmer of light, I stumbled upon a study suggesting that antihistamines may help with the peripheral neuropathy.

Seriously??

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I sure have plenty of those around the house. Arizona is where you come to find out that you’re allergic to everything…

The researchers were using Claritin, but also mentioned chlortrimeton. Apparently chlortimeton is now available over the counter — it used to be a prescription drug. Claritin is readily available, and in fact I happened to have a bottle of it in the house. Benadryl is also mentioned as effective. Though that stuff has some inconvenient side effects for me, I do have some of it in the house.

So I drop a Claritin. And by golly, it does seem to help some. The tingling/stinging is not gone, but it’s noticeably milder.

We’ll see if this works over a period of days or weeks.

****

Meanwhile, the other day La Maya and I decided to go out to lunch.

Our first choice, a beloved Italian restaurant near Moon Valley (in the middle-class northerly realms of Phoenix), was closed, to our horror. They were hard-hit by the plague — I’d heard the husband died (a man and a wife owned it). La M said that wasn’t so…presumably, then, the gossip mill got it wrong.

From there we drove from Yuppified joint to yuppified joint, until we got alllll the wayyyyyy down North Central to Camelback and decided to go into one of the restaurants in the AJ’s shopping center.

Personally, I’m just not all that fond of eating out. In the first place, I cook much, MUCH better than the short-order operators of most restaurants. So the food, when you come right down to it, isn’t very good. And what you get is spectacularly overpriced. And the noise is annoying. And the cigarette smoke (often) is annoying. And…blech!

At any rate, we shared a kale salad, which she enjoyed.

Driving back up lovely North Central…HOLEEE shee-ut! We saw the single closest call I’ve ever witnessed, and were almost dragged into the middle of it.

Central Avenue in that area is a 40-mph zone. This means the locals drive 45 to 55 mph along that lovely main drag, which bisects an upscale neighborhood to the north of the central commercial districts.

We’re cruising along calmly enough in a pod of 45-mph traffic when, incredibly, a Moron steps out into the crosswalk in front of the oncoming traffic (among which we are numbered).

Yes, you are required to stop for nudniks in crosswalks. But it is assumed that the nudniks will wait until the barreling-along cars have passed before stumbling across the road.

He walks right out in front of La Maya, who slams on her brakes. She misses him, so he proceeds to stroll in front of the car next to her!

He escaped intact — literally by inches. And he seemed unruffled…as though he does this all the time.

And yeah. Yep., He probably does.

Both of us expected to see him go flying through the air. Thank heaven no such acrobatics ensued.

Phoenix: what a place!

****

Out of the blue, the credit union apparently stopped making some — possibly all? — of the autopays I’d set up to my various creditors. Suddenly I got a notice from the gas company threatening to cut off service. A little checking revealed that other utility bills also had not been paid.

WTF?????

So now I’ve got to traipse to the credit union and do battle over that — around the Adventures in Dental Science.

WonderAccountant is coming over this afternoon to try to help untangle whatEVER that mess is. One thing is for sure: as senile as I may be, I know I did not ask the CU to discontinue the autopays. That would be insane!

But it IS a mess, and I am not a happy camperette.

Speaking of the which…I’d better get up, eat some breakfast, and start shoveling through that stack of paper…