Coffee heat rising

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….

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…

Round and Round We Go….

Welp, by this morning it was beginning to look like Funny (and all that which is related to her) was flat outta luck. The blogsite’s “dashboard” would NOT take my password, and it would not let me change the password.

Finally had recourse to Grayson, the Web Guru Extraordinaire. He created a new password…TWENTY-FIVE CHARACTERS LONG, all utter gobbledygook. No chance in Hell of a bad guy or gal  memorizing it.

Ahem…not too likely that the computer’s operator can memorize it, either! 😀 Helle’s Belles, I can barely remember my own name these days.

Meanwhile, yesterday in comes a notice from the gas company…

They’re going to CUT OFF MY GAS because they think they haven’t been paid!

HUH??????

All of the utilities are set up to auto-pay down at the credit union. This has been so for several YEARS! Howcum all of a sudden the gas company isn’t getting paid, and WHAT OTHER REGULARLY RECURRING BILLS AREN’T GETTING PAID???????

God DAYUM it!!!!!

So tomorrow I’ll have to call the gas company and see if I can talk them into charging my AMEX card — thereby, as you once suggested, piling up credits toward this, that, and the other reward scheme.

Then I will have to get into the goddamn car and burn ANOTHER quarter tank of $4.89/gallon gasoline to traipse to the CU and find out WTF they’ve done and why they canceled the goddamn auto-pay. And what other auto-pays they’ve canceled. On further inspection, it looks like quite a few of the auto-pays are no longer autopaying.

WHY??? This is not something I would have willingly shut down.

As you know, trying to unearth a human at each of the utility companies will take HOURS. The phone runarounds, at least in our parts, defy belief. By the time I get a person on the phone, I’m so frustrated and angry that I could bite someone! So THAT is a procedure I do not look forward to. IN fact, I wonder if it’s possible to go in person to some of these outfits.

Despite my concern about the Mac outfit in Scottsdale (and the none-too-great experience I had with the same company’s far, far FAR west-side office), the guy we talked with there turned out to be just stellar. He has the MacBook running — albeit, not in the style I would prefer (I loathe, for example, page changes that slither by like slides in a slide projector!) — thereby giving me at least a little time to get my act (such as it is) together. I really liked the guy, and you may be sure that if I have to buy a new computer, it’s coming from his place.

Man…in addition to the CompuFrolics and charging from pillar to post around the Valley, on the way home yesterday evening…some poor wretch had somehow FLOWN off the main north-south drag to the east of the hood — apparently he literally went airborne — and sailed into a power pole. Upshot was he ELECTRIFIED a good three blocks of North 7th Avenue. Had a woman in the car with him. You never saw so many cops and firemen in your life.

They shut down 7th, which is one of the main, MOST major surface streets leading out of downtown and mid-town Phoenix toward the northern and western suburbs.

****

Mercifully, neither the driver nor his passenger was injured seriously. Before the troops got themselves into position, I managed to slither past and could see the whole shebang. And we do mean “bang”…it”s amazing that they both weren’t killed

Power stayed on over in this section of the ’Hood, but apparently it was down for a large part of the area

Got a little worried when I couldn’t find my fave neighbors, the WonderAccountants…she works at home, but he goes into an office. Hope he didn’t have to drive around Robin Hood’s Barn to get home

Man, that little wrecky-poo was something to see, when you reflect upon it. The perps were in a standard-sized pickup truck, about the size of a Ford 150. Along that stretch of Main Drag East, there’s an access road, which is separated from the main thoroughfare with a narrow planter delineated by concrete curbs.That’s a 40 mph zone there, so if our hero was keeping up with the traffic, he was going around 45 to 50.

He hits the curb, and hevvin help us, he goes airborne. Now he’s behind the wheel of a flying machine that’s about 15 to 20 feet off the ground, all four wheels

He slams into the metal light pole — this is a large, standard city thoroughfare’s lamp post, about three or four feet in diameter  and very tall. And he hits it between a third and half-way up.

No kidding!

Incredibly, the truck hits the pole so the shaft impacts the front end almost exactly halfway between the headlights, where it digs a hole in the truck’s engine compartment

The power lines go down, electrifying a substantial part of the nearby acreage. But incredibly, neither the driver nor his female passenger were seriously injured

Says something for airbags and seatbelts, eh?

*****

Dontcha love it that the New Improved Mac won’t let me format this thing’s font for copy drafted in Word to fit the style used by WordPress?

*****

Oh, wait! Here’s a password for the credit union, taped to the front of the MacBook! there are now so many effing p/w’s taped to the computer, I can’t track of them!   Lemme see if this will get me in!

Nope. Doesn’t work.

Just what I need. Another 40 minutes of traipsing through homicidal traffic, another hassle with the CU’s mystified staff, another raft of incomprehensible password hoopjumps….

STOP THE WORLD I WANNA GET OFF!

Still online…

…for the nonce. Funny has not crashed in flames yet, but it remains to be seen how long we’ll be able to stay aloft.

Over at Best Buy this afternoon, the gurus did their best to fix things. We seem to be online just now, but why, how, and for how long, I do not know. It looks, however, like the problem is with the little MacBook laptop, not with WordPress and not with…much of anything else. This, I’m writing on the big, aged iMac.

The BB dudes recommended that I schlep out to the Apple store, halfway to Yuma, and try to identify the problem with the MacBook.

That was a long, expensive exercise in futility. Consumed a quarter of a tank of gasoline — at almost 5 bucks a gallon hereabouts — and soaked up a good two hours of time. Those people over there had exactly zero clue, nor did they evince the slightest interest in trying to figure it out.

I left, annoyed…as I so often leave the Apple store.

So that’s it with Apple, folks. The plan now is to replace the MacBook with a new PC, hire someone to transfer data from the iMac into the PC, and slowly, gently convert the Blogging Empire and its tools to the PC world.

It’s been awhile since I’ve worked with PC’s — although I did have to use them when I was adjunct at the community college district, so that skill is not completely lost to time.

This subplot, though, was only part of an endless day’s adventures.

Started out at the doctor’s office, hardly my favorite venue. But it was Young Dr. Kildare’s place, so at least the scenery was appealing. As usual, my blood pressure was through the roof — I hate hate HATE being in doctor’s offices and clinical settings, a sentiment that invariably jacks up the BP a good 10 to 15 points. This was not helped by the fact that they’d asked me to show up at 8:00 a.m., at which point the staff informed me that my appointment was actually at 8:30…meaning a half-hour of thumb-twiddling before the show got on the road. So now I have to jump through all those same damn hoops again to prove to him that in real life I don’t exhibit hypertension.

Tomorrow I’ll go back down to Best Buy, buy a new PC-type computer, and try to talk them into sending someone over to the Funny Farm to set up the transfer of data from the iMac and iCloud into the new device.

Also learned that BB has iPhone training sessions. If this is true, there may still be some hope of learning how to use the gadget my son gave me. Apple’s “class” was a joke and another infuriating waste of time. I’d like to be able to use the kewl phone…but must say, I feel just about zero confidence in Apple and Apple devices just now. The present fiasco with the computers has been going on for weeks. And now I can’t remember my password for the damn credit union. I’ll have to pay the bills by snail-mail until I can go downtown — not till Monday — and get someone to help untangle that mess.

I actually WAS out there this morning but didn’t realize the password had passed out of existence in my brain.

LOL! Frankly, these recent experiences — over the past few weeks — suggest that it would be best to stay with Apple than to jump off the bridge into the murky waters of the PC. Over the phone, I’ve talked with several really excellent Apple techs. They haven’t quite saved my bacon…but at least the pork isn’t blackened. And it does have to be said that BB has a new Mac on offer that is to die for.

Probably Kaput this time…

Jeeemneeee, what a day!!!!

Found this little scrap on Funny’s dashboard, so am adding a scribble. Nooooo idea whether it will post, and if so, why. I’m officially locked out of all my sites, because every secret code I’ve been able to unearth just doesn’t work. Same for any passwords, magical mystery phrases, and miscellaneous bullsh!t Firefox and its various websites “remember.”

Took the laptop over to Best Buy to try to get it online. Spectacular mess. It’s now effectively dead.

Meanwhile, the desktop was online while that antic was underway, so SOME of the sites that it remembers are marginally functional. I think it remembers Funny’s dashboard because that was open in Firefox at the time the Macbook was going down, and it has somehow stayed up.

On the MacBook, I’m now locked out of Macmail, of Gmail, of Firefox, of every other goddamn thing I can think of, largely because the the sites themselves remember the 87 gerjillion passwords that I can’t even faintly begin to recall. Some of these sites have locked me out on the big desktop iMac, too.

Forgodsake, I can’t even remember my freakin’ name, much less scores and scores and scores of goddamn passwords.

No joke!

Literally, I can walk into the kitchen and think I need thus-and-such a pan and not be able to remember where it’s stored. It’s stored in the same place where it’s been stored for the past 20 years that i’ve lived here!!!!!!!! But for the life of me, I can NOT conjure up where that might be.

Mind you: this is after I realized what was going on and created lists and maps of where things are stored in the kitchen, and taped those to the inside of the hall closet door!!  I STILL can’t find stuff.

So it’s not surprising that I can’t remember 87 gerjillion different passwords.

Consequently, it appears that my Internet-gallivanting adventures are about at an end.

If you’re innarested in whatever screwball things come this way in the future, maybe we can keep in touch on Facebook. I’m billed as Victoria Hay in that weird garden spot. Not real gifted with the way FB works…but if I’m not distracted with blogsites, maybe I’ll get more skilled at it over time.

🙁 sigh 🙁