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?

Wow! The Rip-off of the Day

Tell me I’m doing the math wrong….please!  This simply can’t be right!

So M’jihito has taken off for a road trip across the country with his lifelong pal, who lives in Pennsylvania and has come down with a very probably terminal cancer. This is Dear Pal’s “bucket trip,” they say: a road trip from his home in PA, across the country, through the Midwest, over the Rockies, into California, and back.

M’jihito left his ancient golden retriever, Charley, with me, to be babysat until he gets back.

Charley has some painful health problems. One of them is bad joints — hips, shoulder, probably back. He’s pretty well crippled up.

I can empathize, because now that I’m old, I’m enjoying the same phenomena. And I’ll tellya: the hips hurt so much I can hardly stand upright.

But the most bothersome of his ailments, where the human is concerned, is vomiting. He barfs several times a day.

So Charley takes a turn for the worse. After consulting with M’jito, I call his veterinarian.

Over the phone, they urge me to buy a drug called “Cerenia,” which they assure me will ease his barfing. It’s available at a site called Chewy.

Yea,verily, here ’tis.

Can I possibly be understanding this correctly? $21 for four tablets. Plus another $20 for shipping.

Studying the ad…apparently that is correct.

What. An. Incredible. Rip-off!!!

Who the hell can afford something like that?

The veterinary in question is located in an upscale area — basically in Scottsdale. Certainly close enough to north Scottsdale to serve those tony regions.

Guess rich people don’t care if they’re ripped off.

Over to Amazon to see what a search for “Cerenia” brings up over there.

First though, we stop at The stuff is marketed for dogs only, not for use in humans. This would mean, I expect, that it hasn’t been fully tested. Apparently it’s intended for use as a motion-sickness drug.

Charley is not suffering from motion sickness. Now, an anti-nausea drug might help him…but if his human goes bankrupt, the upshot will not be desirable.

Amazon doesn’t carry it at all, unless there’s a generic name for the drug I’m not finding.  Search for Cerenia brings up this stuff. It’s a homeopathic nostrum. Fifteen bucks. Does not contain Maropitant Citrate…which probably means it doesn’t contain much of anything.

I forget that my son wants me to feed this dog EIGHT TIMES A DAY. It’s after 3:00 and he’s only been fed twice. Dish up a quarter-cup of kibble. Offer it up.


He refuses to eat it.

Ruby tries to grab it — she eats half the dishful before I trot back into the room and catch her in the act.

He may be hunger-barfing, then. Because I’m not feeding him enough. Because my memory is shot and I just plain don’t remember to drop everything and wrestle with yet another feeding. (Eight dog-food wrestling matches a day!)

Ruby is sneaking back up on the dish as we scribble…figures if she loops around the back, she can close in from behind and grab the chow. 😀

F*ck this!

I’m gonna try some canned food. Otherwise the dog is gonna starve. No wonder he barfs all the time!




Topped the dog-repelling kibble with a spoonful of canned mushy dog food, and voilà! He scarfed it right down!

Let’s see what happens next. Give it an hour, and then if he hasn’t woofed it up by then, I’ll heave out into the rush-hour traffic (wheee!!), drive on down to AJ’s, and buy some more of that stuff.

uh HUH!

Gut instinct, borne of heaven knows how many dawgs that have ordered me around over the decades, tells me that he’s hunger-barfing.

He’s not barfing because something is wrong with his digestive system. Or with any other system.

No, indeed.

He’s hunger-barfing: woofing-up because there’s not enough food in his gut. Dogs do that. It’s part of being a dog.

It’s not gonna hurt anything for my larder to stock a few cans of dog food. Ruby can eat it, if we find that it’s truly not good for Charley.

But…he’s flopped down on his mat and gone to sleep. The frantic panting has stopped.

Well…no…it just started up again. That’s a sign of pain, or of overheating. In this unholy summer weather, then, it could be either one. It’s overcast, humid, and hotter than Hell outside. Not that hot in the house, though, so probably the panting indicates the former variety of discomfort.

Matter of fact, I think I’m gonna go right now, before the rush-hour traffic seriously ramps up. He’s not barfing. And…well, I hope that if he does barf he’ll leave enough sign that I’ll spot it. He tends to lap it back up, which is why I want to sit here and see what happens.

Hmmmm, no. We have plenty of canned food for tonight and tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning I have to drive to the Mayo, a gawdawful long haul. There’s a HUGE Fry’s right on the way home. Dollars to donuts they’ll have this stuff. And if they don’t, I can swing down to the AJ’s — out of the way, but the 10:00 a.m. appointment will keep me out of the rush hour.

Minutes and minutes have gone by.

He’s dozed off.



What that is telling me is that what’s been making him barf is that expensive kibble.

Back awake: huffing and puffing again.

My theory (such as it is!) is that he hyperventilates because he’s in pain. We know his hips are bad. So they probably hurt — mine sure has hell do.

So…what if the frantic panting is not from gut pain or upset, but from something else: hip pain?  What if he’s barfing because of the stuff we’ve been feeding him — largely expensive kibble — and not from some pathological condition?

Great theory, ain’t it?

But I kinda doubt it.

Waiting…waiting…waiting…and waiting some more

Grrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!  Gotta tellya: I’ve hated the telephone “hold” function from the moment it was invented. Like…I have nothing to do but sit here and wait until YOU get around to picking up the phone? Right…

Then they added another annoyance: a recording that yaps on and on and effing ON to the effect that you’re on “hold.”

No kidding, guys?

The Mayo Clinic’s “hold” function is Annoyance on Steroids.

I have one, count it (1) question that can be answered in less than 30 seconds. When I called over to the Mayo, I was informed that I could expect to be on “hold” for about 20 minutes!!

Honestly. I could drive up there in less time than that.

They want you to go online, not to talk to a human. They want you to go to your “patient online services” account…and I do NOT. Sorry: I don’t care to navigate a computer labyrinth and screw around with their software to get an answer that a human being could tell me…yes, in less than 30 seconds.

Y’know…a phone receptionist earns minimum wage. That’s just a few bucks an hour.

An army of doctors, nurses, and scientists COULD afford to hire a phone operator. It’s just not that pricey.

But who cares, when you can save a few pennies and annoy the hell out of your customers?

I may have to just drive up there and ask my question. It would take less time, and I could do the shopping I need to accomplish at the Costco and the Fry’s in those parts.

Wish I could find a decent doctor in the wild. Young Dr. Kildare has flown the coop again — called over to his latest office and was told he’s no longer with them, and they won’t tell you where he went.


Not to say A-a-a-a-a-k!


She was lurking in the garage, and when she saw me she was just as startled as I was in spotting her. She shot underneath the dryer, where she presumably is hiding now.

Called Ruby the Corgi, who came trotting out to investigate.

Corgis are ratters. One of the things they’re bred for is chasing rats around ships and barns.

But by the time Her Majesty arrived, Rattie had dodged out of sight. Dayum!

Well, I have rat poison now. Been reluctant to put it out, lest Ruby find it and munch on it. Or…lest she find a deceased gourmet rat and eat that.

Tossed several pellets of the stuff in behind the washer and dryer, and then put some inside a rat trap along with a little slab of dog food, hoping maybe the combined deliciousness will lure Rattie into that.

Rattie, it develops, is very smart. She has exactly zero intention of strolling into a trap.

That would make her several degrees smarter than a dog, we might note.

I’ll have to keep Ruby out of the garage now, to be sure she doesn’t get into the scrumptious rat pills. Or find a rat roast to munch out there.

This is gonna be a PITA of the first water….

Speaking of water, as we scribble the much-vaunted California storm is making its way into the Valley. It’s thundering away out there, the air having chilled down to a crisp 71 degrees. We’re told to expect an 80% chance of rain and light winds.

Hmmmm…well, it may rip and roar a bit in our parts, but I doubt we’ll see any rain here. The thunder is pretty far off in the distance…I think the alleged thunderstorms are well to the north of the ‘Hood.

San Berdoo apparently got something over 13 inches of rain with this storm. Almost 12 inches in Riverside. Looks like the main part of the thing is bearing toward Nevada. Pretty startling images from the low desert of California…egad! Wunderground is predicting a .o5% chance (whoop de dooo!) of rain here, with a low of 71 during the night. Eeek. Be scared. Be very scared.

And lookee here!  I failed to “publish” this adventure. Apparently.

Trying again…


Revisiting the Good Old Days…

{ooookayyyy…. Let’s see if this effort retains the formatting I kindly asked WordPress to emit…}

So…this morning, driving home from an expedition in a southerly precinct, I happened to wander through our old neighborhood, known hereabouts as the Encanto District.

It’s a beautiful area, consisting of tracts that date from the 1920s to present. The Young and the Upwardly Mobile live there, partly because it’s close in — no significant commute — and partly because the beautiful old houses are handsome, unique, and built to last the ages.

Here’s a pretty little shack in our old stomping grounds: just $1,050,000. Dollars. Yeah. It looks a lot like my friend Emily R’s place, the more or less elegant residence for her and her extraordinary husband, who believed he was a girl and in time had himself surgically transformed accordingly…

This thing is right on the park.

But then we have this, two blocks from where we lived on Cypress.  It sold for eight hundred and thirty-five grand….

The reason I wanted to leave that area, BTW, was two-fold:

* I thought our son should be able to go to the public schools. But that wasn’t an option down in the historic slums. If we moved up to North Central, he could go to the Madison schools, which had an excellent reputation, not only locally but nationwide.

* And yes, the place was overrun with bums and burglars.

My mother started to campaign after the evening that the guy tried to pop the deadbolt on the side door to the utility room, which opened into the TV room where I was sitting on the floor typing up a grad-school seminar paper…in my bra and panties. He came very close to succeeding. When I heard the rattling noise as he was trying to jimmy the lock, I got up to see WTF — I’d thought it was the cats shoveling litter out of their catboxes, one of their favorite activities. Finding the lock lever jumping around, I ran out to the front courtyard and started screaming FIRE! FIRE! CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

This, as desired, brought all the neighbors out to watch the house burn down, and that caused the would-be rapist to take off to the boondocks.

On the other occasion, a guy did get inside the house. DH’s resonant snoring had driven me out of the bedroom and onto the living-room sofa. Our German shepherd, Greta, was very elderly by this time. She was sleeping in the hallway right outside our bedroom door.  I woke up in the dark of the night, saw a flashlight in the kitchen, and thought (no kidding!) ooohhhh! the baby must have waked up and John must have gone into the kitchen to get him a bottle! 

 When I went John??…well!  At the sound of my voice, Greta knew that whoever was ambling around in the kitchen was not me and not John.

She JUST EXPLODED! It was one of the most terrifying noises I’ve ever heard…truly: you do NOT want to piss off a GerShep.

She got between the poor li’l perp and the door he came in. As she was about to despatch him to his maker, he found the side door. Managed to dodge outside and slam the door in her face, just as John ambled into the kitchen from the back of the house.

Still clueless, I get up and trundle out to the kitchen.

“WHO WAS THAT MAN?” he demands.

“What man?” say I.


Holy sh!t. 

Well. I’ll tellya…it was the end of the romance for me. That his first thought would be that I was entertaining some chucklehead while he was sleeping off the evening’s drunk said to me this guy doesn’t trust me and he probably doesn’t even like me. I never felt particularly comfortable with him after that.

Life is strange that way…


Pool Dude: MIA

hmmmmm…. It’s 9 o’clock in the morning…

Got the right day?

Yep: it is Monday.

Pool dude is usually here and gone long  before this. If he’s been around, I sure haven’t seen him.

And if he had been around while I was here, Ruby would have alerted me. She is hopelessly in love with the man. Not only does she fly into a frenzy of joy when she sees him, but…she knows what day of the week it is.  And in the Canine Calendar, today is definitely Pool Dude Day.

How on earth that’s possible, I cannot imagine. But on Monday mornings, she’s standing by the glass sliding doors watching. And watching. And watching…waiting for the mysteriously beloved Pool Dude.

Most optimistic hope is that he had car trouble, or that some major hassle arose at an earlier customer’s place. But…I tried to call him earlier this week to ask about a question that arose, and got no answer. Left word on his machine: no call-back.

I take these developments as bad signs. Though he’s been reliable all these many weeks that he’s been working for me, at one point in the course of a conversation he did make some remarks that revealed he has a prison record.

That in itself is not enough to put me off. In fact, it explains why he’s trying to make a living in rather low-skill self-employment, since he seems to be a smart and self-sufficient kinda guy.

But the problem is, if he got busted for something — anything, no matter how minor — that will make big, BIG trouble for him. He may be in jail or under some kind of house arrest.

If that’s the case, pretty clearly it’s the end of his pool maintenance business.

And that makes his problem my problem…  Because he’s been doing an awe-inspiring job on the damn pool! The water is crystal clear and the system is running beautifully. That thing has never looked better or been cleaner, not since I’ve lived here.

The remains of three pool tabs were in the chlorine floater. So…well…in this heat, you wouldn’t THINK they’d last a whole week. But that would mean he must have shown up on some other day. I haven’t seen him…but anything’s possible.

I tried to phone him a few days ago: no answer. Left word on his voicemail: no return call.

Not. A. Good. Sign.

Welp. If Pool Dude has flaked out on us — and since nothing lasts forever, that’s surely a possibility — I’ll have to find a new guy ASAP. In this heat, that water can turn green overnight.

So, drat!  The pool is running fine right now, and should continue so for a week or ten days. But I don’t seem to have the required skill to keep it running clear and shiny.

While I’m traipsing around the city, then, I guess I’ll need to go by the Leslie’s Pool store in Sunnyslop — the best branch of that outfit I’ve found so far — and ask if they can recommend any customers who are in the pool maintenance business.

However…I fear Leslie’s itself does that, which means they’re not going to refer the competition to me. So THAT means I’ll have to put out yet another notice on the neighborhood Facebook page, begging for leads.


O Gawd! the guy at the credit union couldn’t get me into my bank account. He told me to go home and call thus-and-such an annoying number.

It’s 108 in the shade, with thunderheads building up to the north.

How can I COUNT the ways I don’t feel like getting on the phone to the CU’s representative?

Wait…how can I count the ways I ain’t a-gunna do it?

Stopped at the Sprouts next to the campus on the way home. Snabbed a package of lamb chops, a package of beef steak thingies. Fresh asparagus. Box of fresh bright-green spinach w/ which to make a salad. Fresh corn on the cob. Fresh bottle of cheap wine.

SCREW COMMERCE! By damn. I’m a-gunna eat myself stupid and then fall face-first into the sack.

The heat and the humidity defy belief. This feels like the shore of the endlessly effing Persian Gulf…which is another way to say you feel like you’re swimming through the air.

The last time I can remember this kind of heat, they shut down Sky Harbor because the jet airplanes couldn’t get enough lift from the hot air to take off safely. Or at all.