Coffee heat rising

Ups and Downs…or…Downs and Ups?

April 13 (I think)

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

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

911? Ay señora! Not a faawwckeeng chance!

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Nope: looks like they’re going away.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Far, far more than the average American realizes.

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

Like…right now!

Smoke Alarm Hell

Just about all the smoke alarms in the house are conkering out at the same time. It’s beep! to the left of you and beep! to the right of you and new beeps every time you turn around.

That’s not surprising. We installed these alarms when I moved in, so they’re…what? Eight or ten years old.

Replaced one. Didn’t do any good. the newer alarms are kinda junky. And getting the damn things up on the ceiling is a MAJOR hassle.l

They’re still beeping. A-A-A-A-L-L-L  N-N-I-I-I-I-G-H-T  L-O-N-G!

What a racket!

And I can’t reach them to pull them off the ceiling. Climbing up on a ladder at this age, as a scarecrow of osteoporotic bones, is NOT a good idea. And my son is too busy to come trotting down here and fart around with a bunch of fire alarms.

So I didn’t get any sleep last night, not to speak of.

Ruby and I are back from the park, but no food has been served up to the Human. Hmmm…

What I’m thinking is that when the shops open — which will be very soon — I’ll go up to the hardware store and buy a whole new bunch of smoke alarms, along with as many new expensive 9-volt batteries.

Instead of sticking them on the ceilings, I’ll put them on top of the bookcases — which in three rooms reach almost to the ceiling. And on top of the refrigerator, and atop the old TV cabinet that now serves as a linen closet in the spare bedroom.

We have one in the hallway, which I believe is relatively new. And the one here in the office is newer. The one in the kitchen…middling newish. The others — (former) TV room, family room, living room — are getting old. They could stand to be replaced, I reckon.

The house was equipped, when I bought it, with a hard-wired fire alarm in the garage. It’s still out there…and I have NO idea whether it works. Nor do I see a way to test it. So…it might be a good idea to put another of these chintzy little battery-run numbers out there. Just in case.

Y’know…the whole Home-Ownership thing is getting kinda old. I’m beginning to see why the idea of moving into Orangewood — a life-care community — appealed to my father. He must have been getting real tired of doing maintenance and repairs on that house in Sun City.

Well, I don’t wanna consign myself to a prison for old folks. BUT…this city has some high-rise apartments that are fairly swell. I’m thinking it might be good to move to one of those.

My son opposes that scheme. I suspect that’s because he wants this house. And I would have to sell it to get myself into a fancy condominium.

On the other hand, when I croak over — which shouldn’t be that much longer — he’ll inherit enough to buy three of these houses.

Hmmmm….  Maybe what I should do is just give this house to him and spend half my savings to move into a high-rise.

Doesn’t sound wise, does it.

Nope. Not wise.

There’s gotta be a way….

So there!!!

LOL! The latest set of exterior decorations is now mounted on the front gates and doors.


Gawdlmighty, i’m sooooo obnxious, even I think it’s funny!

Probably just like your neighborhood, the Funny Farm’s ‘hood is overrun with nuisance door-to-door solicitors. Some of these folks are peddling junk; others are trying to get signatures on petitions. Sooooo…it’s ringy-dingy-bingy-bong at the damn front door, practically every day. Dawn to dusk.

A year or so ago, I got the bright idea of putting up signs saying, in effect, “Please don’t ring the doorbell. No Solicitation.”

As you know, these normally have little effect on the legions of nuisances. Sooo…I decided to make the message a little stronger.

On side gate to the front patio:


We’re not interested in what you’re selling.
We’re not interested in your political campaign.
We have already signed your petition, or decided not to.

Please leave packages inside the patio, next to the front door.
Welcome to Porch Pirate Heaven!

On the front gate to the same patio and on the same side gate to that patio:

Please leave packages inside the patio, next to the front door.
Welcome to Porch Pirate Heaven!


On the security screen at the front door:


Interestingly, this barrage of messages works!

LOL! As you may gather, these people are almost as pesky as phone solicitors. So a sign that says PRIVATE does exactly no good. And about 10% of them ignore “NO SOLICITING” SIGNS. But apparently beating the sleazes about the head and shoulders with your message gets through to most of them.

Now. If you could only do that with the phone….

Heh… Our neighborhood techno-guru, Will, set up a video system at his front door. So…he can and does capture the antics that happen in front of his house, when Amazon and UPS trucks turn up with thieves’ cars in tow. There’s one woman, in particular, who follows the Amazon truck around in her car, waits till the delivery dude drives off, jumps out of her car and grabs the delivered packages, runs back to her car, tosses them into the back seat, and takes off down the road after the Amazon guy.

Is Amazon Guy aware of this? Could they be in cahoots?


As likely as not, I’d say. You’d think after awhile he’d notice he’s being followed. But…it’s gotta be a mind-numbing job. Maybe, just maybe he really doesn’t notice.

Anything’s possible. I guess.

At any rate, for the nonce the “no soliciting, no petitions” message is working. Now…if only I could make that work on the phone!

Struggling Along…

Wow! When they say the Land of Old Age ain’t for kids, they aren’t kidding! What a horror show the past few weeks have been.

And…no end seems to be in sight, except for the obvious one.

It’s not like gettin’ old isn’t bad enough in itself: you’re sick all the time, under siege from doctors who want to inflict treatments that are probably pointless, and the ordinary tasks of daily life come to feel like more than you can cope with.

And, speaking of “under siege,” you literally are under siege from every scam artist on the planet.

Apparently they figure that as your faculties fade, so does your skill at dodging crooks. And…they’re probably right. These lists appear to be pretty readily available to anyone who’s willing to pay a few bucks for them. There’s this, for example: for $325 cash on the barrelhead, any scammer on the planet can get access to phone numbers from some 52 million old folks. Conveniently organized by categories such as “pet owners,” “religion,” “gender,” “auto owners,” “new movers” — on and on and on — these things hand you over to the hustlers. No wonder the phone jangles every day!

I’ve had to block numbers from entire area codes. This is fine (sorta) when the area codes are in Los Angeles and waypoints, where I don’t know anyone and don’t do business. But the ba*tards spoof local area codes, trying to trick you into thinking their noxious advertising and scamming calls are from neighbors or local businesses. The Phoenix area, which prides itself in aping LA’s endless sprawl, has three area codes. Since I no longer work in the East Valley nor do I still have much of a social life, I’ve blocked two of them.

This prevents people in the East Valley and the West Valley from calling me. Only problem: my dermatologist’s office is on the west side and the Mayo is on the east side. Neither of these worthy outfits can reach me on the phone.

Same is true for certain friends who use only cell phones. One of my dearest friends has canceled her land line and uses only a cell phone…which has a banned area code. To get in touch, she has to email me.

I did try the strategy of BLASTING phone solicitors with the loudest, most eardrum-shattering noise you can come up with. Rather than carry an airhorn around the house all the time, I’ve found that SCREAMING into the phone as loud as you can, at the top of your voice, seems to get you on the pests’ do-not-call lists.

You shriek:


It does seem to work, at least to a degree. In the weeks since I’ve started this li’l strategy, the nuisance calls have dropped from eight or ten a day — starting as dawn cracks! — to maybe one or two.

And speaking of BLASTING….

M’jito is dragging me to the Mayo next Monday, pretty much over my dead body, to be subjected to an MRI of my brain.

This entails sticking you inside a metal tube and BLASTING EXTREMELY LOUD NOISE into your ears. It sounds absolutely unholy. Apparently some people completely freak out from this “exam,” a procedure for which the term “torture” sounds a lot more appropriate.

And it also seems to me to be utterly unnecessary. Why subject a person to a test to prove…what? That you can barely remember your name, after you’ve told the dear doctors repeatedly that you can barely remember your name?

Well. You and I have a fair idea of why. It’s spelled $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$….

I do not want to be subjected to this. But he has threatened to have me declared incompetent if I refuse to submit.

Whether he could actually get away with this is unknown to me. But what IS known is that if he tries it, he will end our relationship forever and aye.

Since I don’t relish being permanently alienated from him, I’m going along with the torture scheme. But if I’m right and nothing is wrong with my brain (!!!!!), this will be the LAST time I go along to get along when someone demands that I subject myself to anything I don’t want to be subjected to.

Airplanes are roaring away outside: r-r-r-r-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-m-b-le …hour after hour of it. Apparently it’s coming from Sky Harbor: they must have changed the morning flight patterns. What a racket!

My mother actually used to enjoy the sound of fighter jets practicing take-offs and landings at Luke Air Force Base. The locals in Sun City got blasted with that gawdawful racket every morning. She would sit on the back porch, serenaded as she had her first coffee of the day. “The sound of freedom,” she called it.

Uh huh. And coming from Sky Harbor, what we call it is “the sound of cash.”

It pretty much obviates the scheme to move to Fountain Hills. Planes flying into Sky Harbor at dinner time and out of Sky Harbor at breakfast time BLAST YOU OUT OF YOUR SEAT if you dare to sit on the back porch to enjoy your coffee. And the houses out there are built so flimsily, that they barely block the noise even if you stay inside with all the doors and windows shut.


And…speaking phones ringing at the crack of dawn: RINGY DINGY DINGY!

Pick up the phone, ready to blast the solicitor.

Nope: it’s the plumber. He’s sending his son over to dig up and repair the back yard’s leaking irrigation system.

Goodie. Nothing like a little chaos — preferably expensive chaos — to make your day.

Never an Effing Dull Moment

Lordie! I’m coming to hate this neighborhood.

Ten in the morning, give or take a bit. Cop copter has been circling over the ‘Hood for the better part of 45 minutes. He’s right over my old house: a block to the north and a block to the west of this one.


{Blogger wanders off}

{Blogger comes back}



Cops finally flew away. Shortly after I started this post, they roared down this way and took up a position over Josie’s house — SDXB’s former abode, one block to the north of the Funny Farm. They lurked around and lurked around and LURKED around, evidently searching for some perp. Or something.


A Miracle!!!!

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! WordPress let me into the Funny about Money site!

Who’d’ve thunk it? Especially given that this is a Whatever Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong day. Ugh!

After slamming around and bamming around and hurting like Hell and trying to figure out how to talk my son into driving me to stores (since he insists he doesn’t want me to drive) and realizing that ain’t a-gonna work and crashing the computer and re-crashing the computer and spavining the sore shoulder even more with the damn laundry and…gawdlmighty…here I am with the computer unplugged and for reasons incomprehensible the extension cord not reaching to where it usually goes (did Wonder-Cleaning-Lady move the cords? WHY?????).

Bang around and slam around and bang around some more. Figure out what W-C-L did to suit her taste in extension cords. Undo that tidy mess and reconstitute my own untidy mess.

Think maybe I can slither down to the Sprouts on the corner, where His Lordliness is unlikely to catch me, and get most of the things I need. If they don’t carry toilet paper (for unholy and unknowable reasons, the Funny Farm’s supply of TP is bare!), then I can sneak across the road to the Albertson’s, put my life on the line dodging panhandlers, and pick up the paper goods there. Whee. What fun.

So whenever the dryer buzzes again and the stuff in there is (painfully!) unloaded, it’s off to the store. Ohhhhhh goodie…I can hardly wait.

Y’know, I rather hate grocery shopping under the best of circumstances. But here in this state of Invalidism, the last goddamn thing I wanna do is take on the traffic, dodge the bums, find something (anything) that resembles a decent roll of TP in the Land of Politically Correct groceries, dodge some more bums to slither back to the car, trudge back up to the ‘Hood through annoying traffic and around stoners stumbling into the roadway,… AAAARRRRRGHHHHHHHHHH!


Grrrr grrrr grrrrrrr….. This is just ducky. See that pile of cheap apartments? You can walk there from my son’s house. It’s right around the corner from his place.

Translation: Neither of our neighborhoods is safe. This whole damn city is L.A. Redux, a hole in the desert into which to house trash.

And mayhem has become pretty much SOP: business as usual for lovely North Central Phoenix.

This morning the neighbors here in the ‘Hood awakened at dawn to a serenade of gunshots. Nobody on the neighborhood Facebook page is fessing up, but apparently either a couple of sh!theads had at each other as they cruised the public streets, or one of the householders took off after yet another home invader.

{sigh} What a garden spot!

If my son were not living in the central district — by way of being close to both his father and to me — I would be soooooo GONE from this place. Really, it’s very dangerous. Centrally located and convenient: just dandy. But it’s also centrally located and convenient for every sh!thead in the Valley.

Truth to tell, the only Maricopa County districts I would choose to live in are Cave Creek/Carefree and Fountain Hills. Either is a good hour’s drive from here, through homicidal traffic. And that factoid makes Sedona and waypoints outside of Tucson look good. For that matter, Santa Fe looks mighty good by comparison, too.

But meanwhile…the centrally located districts where we live are OUTTA SIGHT when it comes to prices: as we see when surfing the million-dollar range for rather ordinary, aging upper-middle-class shacks. It really is L.A. redux. How are they getting people to pay these insane prices?

M’jito is now working 100% out of his home. This saves his employer vast quantities of money on office space — meaning the good ole’ days are unlikely to return. Meaning, further, that going forward, most white-collar folk may be working from homes, meaning…they can live anywhere they choose. And so…WHY would anyone choose to live here, when one could live in…

* Sedona
* Prescott
* The suburbs of Tucson
* Fountain Hills
* Flagstaff
*Anywhere but here?????????

Man! If I were a young person and in that fine position, you may be sure I would NOT be camped in mid-town Phoenix. Even if you wanted to hang out in this general area to be close to relatives, there are many better places to set down.

In fact, I would be trying to persuade the honored parents to move out of the central districts, since neither of them has a commute to worry about anymore. Get them to move where you want to live, and follow them there.


Egad! One of the neighbors has posted, on the local Facebook page, that their dog spooked, ran off, got hit by a car, kept running, and is now lost.

Ruby and I are on our way out, to search for the wayward pooch. Hope it has survived and is still in the ‘Hood somewhere.

Outta here!