Coffee heat rising

Cry, the Beloved Weather…

Picture these at 105 degrees…

Holee mackerel, the weather is yucky. Not very hot: about 95° in the shade of the back porch. But humid: stuffy humid. Feels like it wants to rain, but there’s not enough cloud cover to make that happen.

Very glad I don’t have to work outdoors here in lovely Arizona. Though many days are balmy, my guess is that more days than not fail to lend themselves to laboring comfortably.

This morning I had a couple of termite exterminators puttering around. And you do hafta say: that looks like a nasty job, under the best of circumstances.

These guys quoted a reasonable price — unlike some of their competitors, who wanted amounts in the four figures. For $400, they not only sprayed the obvious spots, but also got into the attic and puttered around up there. One of those outfits wanted ten times that much.

Now o’course that doesn’t mean they did a great job. But with any luck, they squirted enough of the stuff around to slow our little buggy friends’ progress.

I hope.

Some of this stuff is very toxic. I had a friend who was working in her home office, her dog loafing under the desk when an exterminator visited. They sprayed all around the foundation. The stuff seeped under the slab and outgassed into the house. (Concrete foundations here typically develop cracks over time.)

It killed the dog and made her very, very sick. As in damaged her health long-term.

Downtown, our beautiful old 1929 house was built over a wooden crawl space. The folks before us had arranged regular termite treatments, which we continued after we moved into the place. You pretty much had to, if you were going to live mid-town: that area was infested with termites.

The cats would barf for three days after the place was sprayed. I shudder to think of what that stuff must have done to the guys who crawled under the house(!!) to spray that stuff around.

So…I really don’t like to spray for termites. But there’s a point at which you have to. Otherwise, you’re gonna enjoy some serious damage.

In other pricey realms: The irrigation system that I installed at the time I moved in here — 12 or 15 years ago — has about given up the plastic ghost.

Plastic is what the pipes are made of, and the stuff is about shot. Major leaks…plants that don’t get watered at all, puddles out in the middle of the yard…on and on.

So earlier today I called Gerardo, who claims to be an irrigation dude. (R-i-i-g-h-t!) He’s going to come over and inspect by way of making a Plan. And…I think most of the plumbing will have to be redone. That won’t be cheap.

Tho’ he should be able to avoid having to actually dig up most of the existing array of water lines, he’ll have to disconnect those, dig new trenches, and install new pipes, bubblers, drippers, and sprinklers. Front and back, I’m afraid: the whole system is quietly going kerplooie.

So that’ll be an expensive venture.

Our honored Republican leaders, if we believe the news, are merrily shutting down the government. And that is going to create quite the little catastrophe. The logical outcome will be a stock market crash.

When that happens, I’ll lose my shirt: most of my savings are in the market.

So on a personal level, this little antic of theirs is gonna come at the worst of all possible times.

LOL! Can you believe I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican?

Yeah. Active in the party. Even a bit of a John Bircher.

It was chip-off-the-old-blockerie: my parents were extremely conservative. I fell astray after I married a wild-eyed liberal who was active in the ACLU — he was on the national board. And alas, I’ve never returned to the fold. 😀

To this day, one of the funniest things I can remember my mother saying — it must have been in the early or mid-1960s — was that (her words!) “if gasoline gets to a dollar a gallon, we’ll have sooooshalism!”

LOL! Well, by now you’d think we’d have officially linked up with the Soviet Union, eh?

Whatever can go wrong…

WILL go wrong!

Somehow, WordPress deleted the post I was writing, when I took time out to clean up another puddle of dog barf. I can’t …remember what I was saying, presumably because the constant interruptions disrupt what little cognition I have left.

Oh, sh!t… Now he’s getting ready to barf again.

Poor old dog!

Yes. Out to lunch with my friend VickyC. She’s very concerned about the memory/cognition issue, and urges me to hire someone to come in to my home and ride herd.

It may come to that. Honestly, sometimes I can’t recall things that happened a few minutes ago.

Have an appointment on the 13th at the Mayo with a new doc whom I think they intend to be my new GP. I hope so…happy to give someone new a try. I never have much cared for the doctor they foisted on me after the beloved Dr. Daley retired — he whom I followed to the Mayo the instant they opened.

Charley the Golden Retriever is very much off his feed…he seems to be getting sicker and sicker. If he still won’t eat tomorrow, I’ll have to try to get him to a vet. Problem is…he weighs 80 pounds! I can’t even begin to lift him into the car.

There are some mobile vets here in town…but by and large they’re executioners. Not feeling very comfortable at the prospect of inviting one of those over here.


Shortly after sunset…

Poor old fella is obviously in pain. He huffs and puffs and huffs and puffs… Finally got him to lay down on a thickly padded doggy bed here in the bedroom. Now he seems more comfortable. He’s quieted a bit, anyway.

Not one chance in Hell that the human is going to get much sleep.

Lordie! Make it stop!!!

4:00 a.m.

Charley, my son’s crippled, superannuated dog who is staying here while his human bucket(-list)s around the country with his terminally ill buddy, is up and stumbling around.

His nest has been in the family room, which is a sunken room (very stylish when this house was built) down two steps. Problem is, he can’t negotiate even two steps.

He woke up barking, rousted me out of bed about 20 minutes ago. Needed to go out, apparently.

This entails my having to haul him up off the floor, because he can no longer stand up by himself.

Understand: he weighs 80 pounds.

Poor old fella!

Now he was stuck on the floor. He couldn’t get himself upright.

I began to think I was going to have to call the fire department by way of getting some strong men over here.

FINALLY he managed to get enough traction to stand up.

Out into the backyard.

… ohhhh gawd, what am i gunna do if he gets stuck out there?
… ohhhh gawd, what if a coyote comes over that wall?
… ohhhh gawd, how’m i gunna get enough water to him and, if he can’t stand up,
into him to keep him alive until I can get someone over here to help?

Back into the house. Back on the slippery tile floors.

Can’t let him go back into the family room…I’ll never get him outta there.

Grab the dining-room chairs, tip them on their sides, and barricade the ledge between the family room and the dining room/kitchen area.

Holeeee shee-ut!

Move his stuff into the dining room.

Now he’s in here (so am I, tapping away on the computer) and laying on his bed but partly off the bed…yeah, the part that presumably hurts is laying on the hard tile floor… I’m so upset I can’t even think about going back to sleep.

All of this drama in about 25 minutes…wheee!

This is what happens when you outlive your life.

Say a prayer, my friends:

God, please let me go
When it’s time for me to go…

My great-grandmother and her daughter, my great-aunt, each lived far beyond their time. Gree — great-grandmother — was well into her 90s when she passed…in the night after she had prepared a Christmas feast for 15 people and then cleaned up after it and mopped the kitchen floor. Her daughter Gertrude, who held onto her job as executive secretary to the president of a large international bank in San Francisco until they had to order her to retire, was similarly superannuated when she died. Around a hundred years old…her son having to take care of her for several years before the end.

Understand: they were Christian Scientists. They never, ever saw a doctor!

My mother smoked herself to death. Murdered by the tobacco companies. No telling how long she would have lived if it hadn’t been for the profit-making cancer sticks. She turned 65 on the day she died.

Ohh my gawd. Now Charley is back up. He wants to get back into the sunken family room, whence he can’t get out…. Now he’s standing there, panting miserably. It’s 4:30 a.m. sharp. And…he’s headed for the back door, meaning ANOTHER wrestling match to get him back in the house.


Back into the house HUFFA HUFFA HUFFA HUFFA steam-engine serenade.

The switch to the light in the side yard is busted. I can’t turn the goddamn light off.

Guess that’s better than not being able to turn it on. But now I’ll have to shell out another $75 or $100 (plus parts) to get the electrician over here to fix it.


Finally ensconced back on his bed.

Human stumbles toward her bed.

Ruby, who has been cowering under the toilet, emerges from her hideaway.

{sigh} Now it’s quarter to five. Wonder if I could get another half-hour of sleep in?

oh HELL!

I hear his claws clicking on the tile out there. He must be up again.

Welp. I guess that’s the end of sleeping tonight. Good thing I crashed in exhaustion around 8 or 9 last night….


Now he’s ensconced on his bed back here next to my bed.

When he breathes, he goes HUFFA PUFFA PUFFA HUFFA, a lovely lullaby.

ohhhhhh shit!!!!

He’s just settled down and now he’s up again HUFFA PUFFA PUFFA HUFFA…. Circle around circle around circle around doggy-dance…now he’s back down on his bed. Will he PUHLEEZE settle down enough for me to get another 20 minutes of z’s in?

Poor beast…

Settle down? Not a chance in Hell!

Up. Traipse up the hall into the kitchen. Guzzle water. Stumble around stumble around stumble around stumble around. Decide to go back to nest in living room.

Human loses patience.

Dog ensconced in living-room nest. Lights out.

ohhhhh-kayyyy…. Trying again…

Wrote a post.

Hit “Publish.”

WordPress disappeared it.

Jeez, thanks, WordPress!


Don’t feel like trying to resurrect it. The afternoon is still light out, but I just wanna go to bed.

Hot. Hotter than the Hubs of Hades. A-a-a-nd…overcast.

Overcast and windy.

Get home from a gallivant around the North Central section of town.

In the human’s absence, Charley has filled most of the day with determined loafing, and has been highly successful at it.  The human comes staggering in around 5 p.m. Secures the busted garage door. Sets out chow for itself and for the dogs. Charley bestirs himself to scarf down the whole dishful and lobby for more.

Good grief. This beast has not budged all day, but still is hungry enough to clean out the fridge.
Meanwhile, outside a fine windstorm is working itself up. A surly overcast is riding in from the north.
Dogs fill themselves up, then lobby to go out. And…here’s the amazing thing:
Charley roams out into the backyard, gazes skyward, and clearly understands that those clouds are bearing down on us. So…he stands there and tries to bark them away!
No kidding. He very obviously is ARFing at them in an attempt to chase them off.
It sounds weird…but not as weird as it looked.
At the human’s behest, we retreat inside the house.
Ohhhhh gawd, it is SOOO hot out there! Wunderground says it’s a mere 105 degrees (ohhh yah? on which mountaintop?), with 10- to 16-mph winds. Patio thermometer says 106…good enuf for gummint work. I guess.
M’hijito is traveling across the country, westward from Pennsylvania, with his old high school buddy.
It’s buddy’s bucket trip.
Yes. Buddy is dying of a cancer commonly brought on by exposure to asbestos. As in the type of asbestos that is used in, say, schools…
They went to the same schools. K-12.
God help them and all the rest of us. At least one of those schools was infested with asbestos and required a major, spectacularly expensive, and alarming clean-up job.
My son has not complained of any symptoms. Yet. But then….he’s not a doctor.
Buddy is an M.D. His wife is a very accomplished and experienced R.N.
And…holeee shee-ut!
Meanwhile, speaking of my son, he reports that they’re in Ogallala, Nebraska. Egad!

Things [Don’t] Work Out

September  5

On the way home from today’s spectacularly unproductive junket to the Mayo, I eschewed the freeway and drove south through a middle-class neighborhood of Scottsdale, where my son’s best friend in K-12 used to live.

{there’s a sentence! does it even make sense??}  Two boys. Affluent. Brilliant fathers. Upper-middle-class incomes. Pals at a tony private Episcopalian school. One lived (in a tract house of the tackiest design!) in Scottsdale. The other lived (in an absurdly expensive house of wannabe richerati design) in tony North Central Phoenix.

The buddy’s father was a brilliant man. Chinese. Escaped the horrors of WW II and the Communist revolution. Graduated from Princeton(!). At the time I knew him, was Dean of the Great Desert University’s reasonably well-regarded College of Architecture. The mother: I knew her better and did not envy her. Very smart. Landed a civil service job with the City of Phoenix. Soldiered on.

Their sons — both of them — were clearly very smart, too.

Buddy and relatives are now living in Aspen, being no fools. 😀 The parents divorced. The father is retired; the mother lives in New Mexico now.

Meanwhile, another buddy from the K-12 era, now (like my son) a middle-aged man, has come down with a very ominous peritoneal cancer. He’s been surged and irradiated, but the assumption is…well, that ain’t the end of it. From what M’hijito says, it’s presumed to be terminal.

Terminal Buddy lives Back East now. So the plan is… This week M’hijito will fly East to meet his pal. They’ll rent a car, and make the Road Trip of Their Lives from New England out to Arizona, sight-seeing along the way.

And, speaking of terminal, I’ll have Charley the Golden Retriever over here for a week or ten days. Or more. He is now VERY advanced in his dotage and requires a lot of care…we’ll see how that goes. I hope he won’t be traumatized by being brought over here and left without his Human.

Written yesterday…and forgotten. Senility: ain’t it grand? Moving on…


Wednesday, September 6

Another nightmarish day yesterday, largely sucked down the drain by having to traipse out to the Mayo to get an answer to a simple question:

Where is this new doc you’ve assigned to me?

They have two huge facilities: one in north Phoenix and one on the far, far, FARTHEST side of north Scottsdale, a true drive from hell to get there.

Literally, I could not get through to a human on the phone! So I decided to drive up to the nearest facility and ask in person.

Thirty minutes through homicidal traffic; thirty more minutes of my time consumed driving home. Yes, I did discover where the new doc is: NATURALLY, way to Hell and gone out at the Scottsdale office building, almost an hour’s drive each way.

My son is bringing his dog over today, and tomorrow I’m supposed to meet a friend for dinner…how to manage feeding and wringing out the dog around that escapes me.

Maybe I can invite her to come over here.


I need to find a decent doctor “in the wild”: i.e., not associated with the Mayo. The adorable Young Doctor Kildare has left the practice he’s been with — this is the second time he seems to have experienced a catastrophe with a medical practice. They refused to tell me where he went, and I can’t find him.

The last time this happened — his former partners went off to form a new practice and left him behind — he ended up as executive director of a nonprofit.

I take this as decidedly not a good sign. To get on the outs with one set of partners…yeah, that’s within reason. But for it to happen twice? Maybe not. I fear he may be practicing mal…and so continuing to see him could be taking quite a risk. That is, assuming he continues to practice medicine at all.

The outfit he’s been with tried to claim I hadn’t paid a bill. They stood down when I showed up with a statement from the credit union proving the bill was paid. So that moment of incompetence tends to make me suspect the problem is with the practice he joined, not with the guy himself. But…who knows?

Since I’ve dropped out of choir and quit the brain-numbing volunteer job at the church, I don’t have any friends to ask for recommendations to a doctor “in the wild,” as the Mayodocs call those who practice in the general population. Posted a query on the neighborhood Facebook page. Talk about a pig in a poke!!

Heh! One of the other joys of senilitude is that every scam artist on the planet thinks they can take advantage of you.

Turns out there are mailing lists and phone soliciting lists organized by age. The phone solicitors and the scam artists think they can take advantage of older people because after about age 65 or 70, some or most of your marbles have rolled out your ears.

I no longer answer the telephone at all. Because…literally I am blitzed with scamming and nuisance soliciting calls.

Complaining to the phone company does no good. Nor does blocking specific phone numbers — because they spoof local numbers. Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs occupy THREE area codes. I’ve blocked calls incoming from two of them, because the only potential caller I know in the outlying areas is a dermatologist’s office on the west side. Also block calls from area code 213 (Los Angeles), among several others.


Ohhhhh gawd. It’s quarter to six. I’d better get going on the morning doggywalk before the traffic and the dog-walking hordes come out.

And so…awayyyyy!!

I hope….

Water! Falling Out of the Sky!

Who’d’ve thunk it? Last night we got fierce thunderstorms rolling through the Valley. And…rain! This wet stuff that fell right out of the sky onto the ground. Weird…

Seriously: it was one of the fiercest little freshets I’ve seen in awhile. Apparently it caused a fair amount of damage and — horrors!! — shut down a football game. Lightning apparently hit a house not far from here…looks like a condo development where I considered buying a place. This story claims it’s a house, but reportage in the local media leaves a lot to be desired. Like…you know…accuracy?

Three in the morning just now: the usual hour for the Little Old Lady Wake-up Call.

Went out to check the pool, figuring to find the Mess from Hell. But no! It was nowhere like a disaster area. This, thanks to the various workmen who inhabit the yard:

  • Gerardo’s crew beat back the palm tree mess just a week or so ago.
  • Pool Dude, who works some kinda miracle with the Hole in the Ground into Which to Pour Money, has kept the pool amazingly clean over the past some weeks. It was still OK as of this wee hour…just some leaves floating on the surface, which I scooped out easily with a net.
  • It’s too dark to see the roof, but no leaks made themselves evident…so I assume (hope!!) it’s OK. Probably was a real good thing that I forked over a few fistfuls of cash to have that thing worked on.

Hmmm…. Can’t see much in the dark, so further inspection of the Funny Farm will have to wait until tomorrow. I think Garage Repair Dude is supposed to show up tomorrow to fix the garage door. Hope so. Checking to see whether that thing is still closed — it could have blown open in the wind, since there’s a side door to the garage that would have invited some mighty gusts in.

…Nope! The side door slammed shut, apparently pretty early on. Don’t see a lot of mess on the floor out there. Can’t bring myself to go out on the west side and inspect that part of the yard…wouldn’t be able to see a lot in the dark, anyway. Plus there would be nothing I could do about it at this hour, anyway.

LOL! And — natcherly — now that I’m ready to crawl back under the covers, the Dawg wants to get up. Never fails!