Coffee heat rising

She’s B-a-a-a-a-c-k!…

And in case you wondered where she was, well…it’s been a bit of a Looney Tunes saga.

To start with the most immediate phenomenon: Funny about Money was knocked off the “air,” as it were, along with its sister sites, Plain & Simple Press and The Copyeditor’s Desk. At least, we believed that to be true…and so it may have been, for awhile.  Or maybe not.

This fiasco began when I made up my venerable mind to close my technical editing business, having tired mightily of reading academic papers in mathematics, political science, and economics. First step in this process, I figured, was to close my corporate bank account and transfer its funds into my personal checking account, thereby (I hope) simplifying next year’s tax efforts.

This process disappeared all the credit union’s data for CE Desk — some years’ worth. Fortunately I had already downloaded all the 2021 transactions. This was…wise, lucky, whatever-you-wanna-call-it. Because of course nothing can be simple…and the history of all those transactions was about to be needed.

I had been auto-paying a slew of bills out of that acccount — anything that could even remotely be construed as business- or tax-related, This included utility bills, XXS, YYY, and whatnot. I listed all of these creditors so I could call up their billing departments and arrange to have the autopays made from my now much-bloated personal account.

So I’m tooling around, more or less going on about my business, when LO!

In comes a message saying I haven’t paid the Web hosting bills for Bigscoots and they’re going to take down my three websites.

Huh?

By now, of course, the business bank account is long gone, but as far as I can tell from the year’s worth of entries I downloaded to Excel, I’ve never autopaid Bigscoots from CE Desk’s account. Repeated threats to close the three sites keep coming in.

To make a long and painful story short, eventually my Web guru, Grayson Bell, was informed of this, since it appeared we were about to lose my little Web empire altogether. He did his own thrashing around and eventually elicited a report from Bigscoots that my bills are paid in full, and there is no delinquency.

So…it appears that this was another scam like the one that came in from Amazon a few weeks ago.

The alarming thing is, these people know wayyyy too much about me. The crooks who tried to extract money from me over some supposedly unpaid bill at Amazon knew what was in my Amazon seller’s account. Or…at least they appeared to.

They certainly could have surmised some fairly accurate guesses simply by studying what I was selling (or, more accurately, not selling) at Amazon. But how would they know Funny is hosted by BigScoots?

Welllll….it develops that it’s pretty easy. You can find out where a website is hosted here… and here…and here…and here….and on and on and on. It’s public information.

Once you know a blogger’s Web host, it’s a simple matter to try to scam him or her. And that appears to be what has happened.

I don’t expect these clowns will stop harassing me, now that they’ve got me in their crosshairs. On Monday, I intend to call the FBI just to report this. The website gambit, of course, is a negligible matter. But trying to hack into my bank accounts? Not so much.

Meanwhile, the uncomfortable — sometimes outright painful — peripheral neuropathy persists. About that, the main thing I can say is that it appears our medical system leaves much to be desired. But then, we knew that…

About 18 months ago, in mid-2010, my doctor at the Mayo decided the cause of the crazy-making tingling and stinging in the hands, feet, lips, and gum were the result of a vitamin B-12 deficiency. This, she surmised, was occasioned by what she takes to be alcoholism.

Say what?

A glass of wine with dinner alcoholism does not make…at least not so as I can tell. I do not toss back half a bottle of cabernet with breakfast. I do not drink until I’m drunk. I do not drive after drinking. I do not qualify as a lush by the Mayo clinic’s criteria, or by a prominent alcohol treatment center’s self-test, or by Alcoholics Anonymous’s criteria…  Turns out the woman the Mayo has assigned to me as my primary care doctor was raised by a pair of Christian Scientists.

My mother’s family were Christian Scientists, too. They are quite extreme on the subject of booze: disapprove of letting so much as a drop touch your lips.

At any rate, six months of uninterrupted tee-totaling did nothing to improve the neuropathic symptoms. Clearly if booze was the cause, there’s no cure for the ailment. But clearly, too, booze is not the cause: six months on the wagon did exactly nothing to help the misery. Nor did a year of gulping down megadoses of vitamin B-12.

When, in December of 2020, I developed vertigo — dizziness so severe that at times it was unsafe to drive my car — I started to look around…and discovered that vertigo can be caused by OD-ing on vitamin B-12. Not only that, but the British National Health Service inveighs against taking B-12 supplements at all! Turns out the stuff is not a benign drug. Not only it cause vertigo, it also can cause or aggravate peripheral neuropathy. Yea verily, it turns out the Mayo Clinic itself says the stuff can cause dizziness.

Yeah verily.

Meanwhile, a checkup at the Mayo revealed the supposed B-12 deficiency was gone. Not surprising, since I’d been tossing back 1000 micrograms a day for months and months.

Quit scarfing the B-12, and after a few weeks, the vertigo is beginning to seem better. Telling, isn’t it, that the world started spinning about three months after I started dropping megadoses of B-12…

On the other hand, a month ago I managed to reconnect with Young Dr. Kildare. He thinks the dizziness is caused by inner-ear inflammation brought about by allergies. And it must be said, the air here has been even worse than usual — which ain’t good. We’ve had week on week on week of classic Southern California-style smog. Not surprising, since our wise City Parents have modeled development of Maricopa County directly after Los Angeles County. And during all the three years we lived in unlovely Long Beach with its air so thick you often could barely see across the high-school campus, I enjoyed head and respiratory symptoms just like the ones I’ve been enjoying over the past few weeks.

YDK suggested using one of several over-the-counter antihistamines. None of them seem to do much good except for Benadryl, which has its own untoward side effects. However, taken in extreme moderation, it seems to help some.

Also the fact that a West-Coast storm system has (finally!!!) made its way over the Coastal Range and has blown the smog out of the Valley may have something to do with it.

I can’t live with this kind of smog. If, as I suspect, it’s now a permanent Thing, I’m going to have to move out of the Valley. My son is dead set against my moving at all — even to another neighborhood (to get away from the racket on Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s way and away from the commercial nursing home Tony the Romanian Landlord is installing across the street). He’ll be particularly displeased if I propose to move to Prescott, Oro Valley, or Patagonia…

None of this miasma has been helped by the two years’ worth of covid isolation.

The church pretty much shut down in response to the plague. Choir stopped. And this left nothing for me to do with my time other than walk the dog around the neighborhood.

Seriously.

Choir is now slowly resuming for social-distanced services…but alas, I dare not rejoin them. I can get spectacularly sick from just an ordinary flu bug. When I was a little girl, a doctor slapped me in the ICU and told my mother I would not be alive the following morning.

Guess that was the first time I gave the lie to a doctor, eh? 😀

But the truth is, I do NOT want to get the covid bug. That really is likely to kill me. Choral singing is one of the most dangerous things you can do during time of contagion. And I ain’t ready to go yet!

Lo! A day ago, our interim choir director sent out an email announcing that six of the members have come down with covid. Surprise!

In the absence of choir, I volunteered to help staff the church office’s front desk: receptionist duty.

Appropriate: I started my life in the work world as a receptionist…and now am ending it in the same job.

Except my first gig as a receptionist — in one of the Southwest’s largest firms — was fun. We were busy all the time, and in slow times were assigned various filing and mail-room chores. In this volunteer position…well. Literally, you can sit there all afternoon and not get even one real phone call. A  phone solicitation, maybe, but that’s it. There is otherwise almost NOTHING to do. And…well…if I’m going to do nothing, I’d rather do it at home.

Meanwhile, a dear friend fell and broke her hip…within days after marrying a man she met online. Had to have surgery to fix the femur. It looks like she’s on the mend, but she’s going to have a long haul. Her doc told her the same thing the orthopedist told me: it will take about a year for the bone to heal. Arrrghhh!

Well, speaking of doing nothing, it’s almost 5 a.m. The dog has gone back to sleep, having dragged the human off the bed so as to go outside and then to mooch a doggy-treat. So I’m gonna knock this off and go back to sleep, too. I hope.

For Nothing Happening…

…an awful lot has been going on!

By and large “awful” is the operative term. As in “whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong…”

The past few days the smog here has been SO thick that it rivals the filthy air we had when I was [not] enjoying high school in California’s lovely Long Beach (known by one of my ex-boyfriends as “the armpit of the West Coast”). What a dump that place was! And by God, Phoenix works hard to outpace the place in the Department of Bad Air. By mid-day yesterday, a gaze three blocks down a neighborhood street felt like you were peering through fog. South Mountain was blurry through the haze.  North Mountain and Shaw Butte — I could walk to Shaw Butte from the Funny Farm — were greyed out.

The smog and the crime and the lower-rung cultural life were the reasons I was very glad when my mother wrangled me into the University of Arizona at the end of my high-school junior year, so that my father could retire early and they could move us  to Arizona, where at least the air was clean.

“Was” is the operative term. Nowadays, the air here is, most of the time, Southern California redux. Which is another way of saying “so filthy you can’t see through it and breathing it makes you sick.”

And this new gray-brown incarnation of Arizona’s formerly blue skies has done exactly that: made me good and sick. Again. My ears are so clogged I can barely hear. My nose is so stuffed I have to squirt toxic fluids up there to inhale and exhale. I’m gulping a pile of effin’ pills every goddamn day, just to breathe and to be able to sorta think clearly.

“Sorta” is the operative term. My brain — quite possibly because it’s pickled in toxic chemicals — has about quit functioning. I couldn’t remember my name if it weren’t written down on my driver’s license. Which of course requires me to remember where the driver’s license is, a very iffy proposition.

Yesterday, on Young Dr. Kildare’s advice (he’s b-a-a-c-k! Hooorayyy!), I bought a bottle of Flonase nose squirt, which he claims lacks the kickback effect of nose squirts that work, such as Afrin. (If you haven’t been fortunate enough to have to stick a bottle up your schnozz and squirt decongestant in there, Afrin does indeed clear your head quickly and effectively…but then it irritates the membranes so you get a fierce kickback that clogs you up as bad as or worse than you were clogged to start with. He says Flonase doesn’t do that.

He also wants me to drop a Claritin every few hours.

So I picked up a bottle of Flonase on the way from his office to the credit union (ohhh gawd! more of the tale attaches to that!), and yes! Yes indeedies, it does work. While there, I grabbed a packet of Claritin, too.

This morning I woke up with a pretty clear head, but after I’d been running around the ranch for an hour feeding and wringing out the dog, feeding myself, reading the gnus, and banging around, the sinuses needed attention again. So it was off to the bedroom to snab the Flonase off the nightstand, where…where…noooooo….I had NOT set it down there last night.

Dayum!

  • Not in the drawer.
  • Not knocked on the floor, into the trash, or under the bed.
  • Not in either bathroom.
  • Not in the medicine cabinets.
  • Not in the hall closet where an entire shelf is dedicated to hordes of pill bottles, cough medicines, prescription creams, on and freakin’ on…
  • Not in my office.
  • Not in the kitchen daily-pill cabinet.
  • Not on the kitchen counters.
  • Not on the dining-room table.
  • Not on the table next to my favorite easy chair.
  • Not under the table or the chair or the ottoman.
  • Not in the car.
  • Not in the garage.
  • Not in the storage bedroom.
  • Not in any of the trash cans.
  • Not…fukkk! I give up!!!!!

😡😡😡😡

So now at this point I figure I’ll have to schlep out and buy more Flonase, which ain’t cheap (paid 16 bucks for it at the Walgreen’s.).

😡😡😡😡

So, so happy to reconnect with the beloved Young Dr. Kildare. So, so wish he would hire competent office help.

When I showed up for our first appointment, the receptionist demanded that I pony up my Medicare card.

Huh?: That’s never happened before!

“You must want my Medigap card,” say I, forking that over beneath the plastic barrier.

“No, I need your Medicare card.”

No you don’t, I refrain from saying. “I don’t carry it around with me. In fact, the material that comes with it tells you NOT to carry it in your wallet, because if it’s lost or stolen, you’re going to have to wade through a giant pile of bureaucratic hassle and grief.”

“We have to have your Medicare card.”

Now, in the 10 years since I got this ticket to bureaucratarama, no doctor’s office has EVER asked for my Medicare card. But I can’t get past this chickadee, so I leave without seeing YDK.

When I get home, I look for it and…can’t find it.

Ohhhhhh sheeee-ut!

After tossing my office once, I give up and resign myself to the fact that now I’ll have at least one and probably two or three four-hour waits up at the Social Security office trying to see a representative and get a new card.

Eventually, I do find the Medicare card in an obscure file folder, make a new appointment, and traipse back over to YDK’s.

In more quotidian gnus, we’re told the cops pledge to clean up the crime in the corridor west of the I-17, which makes it dangerous to drive between North Central and points west, and which efficiently feeds burglars, rapists, and purse-snatchers into our neighborhood. With the big, once-amazing but now out-dated shopping mall there closed down, that entire area is shooting downhill on a skateboard.

Well,  notes one of the locals on the neighborhood Facebook page…that new policing project is nice, but…but…what about the strip to the east of the flickkin’ freeway, which feeds the ‘Hood with hordes of criminal types? What about the bums imported up here on the accursed lightrail, which anyone can ride for free because there are no turnstiles to keep freeloaders off the damned trains? The end of the accursed light-rail line is right at the north border of the ‘Hood, so all the lovelies who jump onto it for free are discharged to sight-see through the local attractions. The panhandlers and the oleander-sleepers and the molesters of thee-year-olds in their backyards ride up to the end of the line, where they’re made to get off…and from there end up infesting our neighborhood.

Speaking of the which, on the way home from YDK’s office and waypoints, I turn into the ‘Hood and what do I see but yet another cop helicopter hovering over our little corner of Paradise.

No. Make that right over my house!

Holy sh!t!

Is their perp in my yard? (AGAIN?) Or, better yet, in my house?

Holy sh!t!!!!! My little dog!

Has the jerk broken in and, in an effort to get in or get out, let her escape through the door? If he left a gate open as well, she’s headed for Timbuktu! Assuming the bastard hasn’t stolen her for dog-fighting bait or kicked her senseless or shot her….

Naturally, I don’t have a pistol in the car. WHY do I keep doing that?

Cop glides off as I pull up to the driveway. Park the car in the garage. The door into the house is still locked. Dammit, I don’t even have a functional knife in the garage.

Get into the house.

Kitchen door is closed.

Call the dog.

No dog.

Grab a kitchen knife.

Call the dog.

No dog.

Head down the hallway toward the back of the house.

Front door out to the courtyard is closed. That’s nice: either he has good manners or he neither came in nor went out that way.

Call the dog.

No dog.

Check the hall coat closet please dear God don’t let some dude be hiding in here!

God obliges.

Call the dog some more. Head toward the back bathroom, where Her Majesty’s resting chamber resides. Grip that knife tighter.

One more favor, Your Godship: could you also kindly arrange for him not to be hiding in one of the bedrooms?

“Ruby!” Whistle the elaborate dog-calling tune. “Ruby-Doo!! Come, dog!”

click click click click click…
Little dog toenails on tile

Out she emerges from her nest.

Whew!

Speaking some more of the nostrums Young Dr. Kildare foisted upon me: Claritin is spectacularly expensive. Walgreen’s wants $20 for a package of 30 pills — a package in which each pill is sealed invincibly and annoyingly into a sheet of plastic and tinfoil.

Hm. The active ingredient of Claritin is loratidine. Amazon is selling THREE HUNDRED pills of the stuff for $10, and delivering them practically instantaneously. They’re already here as we scribble, and guess what: one pill of the cheap stuff works just fine. In fact, maybe even better than the overpriced stuff. Most Amazon reviewers say the knock-off works just as well as the brand-name; a few complain that it’s not as good. For ten bucks, I’ll take a chance on it.

On the way home from Costco, which is on the eastern and southern fringe of an upper-middle-class White ghetto called Moon Valley, I happened to cruise through a neighborhood that I’d never visited. It’s right up against the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, only on the eastern side instead of the southern side, where Sunnyslope blights the landscape. I actually thought I would be going through a part of dankest Sunnyslope on this particular excursion — a workaround after I made a wrong turn on my normal route — but apparently…not.

Most of Sunnyslope is beleaguered working-class — tidy, small homes: older, cheaply built, but OK for people who have no choice but to dodge bullets every night; or biker-gang dominated slum; or dire barrio the likes of which you see in northern Sonora along the train tracks, poverty that most Americans can’t imagine. But this area was not like that at all. The houses were very much like the little castles here in the’Hood. In fact, I came across a street or two that looked like they probably were constructed by our builder. The place was well maintained. Pretty free of blight. Nice view of South Mountain way across the smoggy city, from a slightly elevated plateau just beside North Mountain. Interestingly, the neighborhood up there must be regarded as not-quite-Darkest-Sunnyslope. Just one house is for sale in the area: Construction is similar to mine but it’s only about 1,000 square feet: significantly smaller than the Funny Farm.

Housing prices here in Phoenix are hovering in the outer layers of the stratosphere. I paid $100,000 for my first house in the ‘Hood — same model as mine, but a block and a half closer to Conduit of Blight and a block closer to Gangbanger’s Way. Several years later, when SDXB and  I moved to get out of earshot of those colorful features, I paid $235,000 for my present house, a carbon-copy model; he paid much less than that for his (big time!) fixer-upper a block to the north of my place. More than one Realtor has told me that my house is now worth $550,000.

Can you imagine? For a little tract house less than a mile from a dire slum and two blocks from a bunch of crummy apartment buildings bordered by the noisy, (literally) bum-ridden light-rail train tracks!

For living on the “right” side of the tracks, you gain about $130,000: this little palace essentially clones mine — clearly the same model by the same builder, even has the same swimming pool in the same backyard surrounded by the same kind of block wall. For that thing, they want about $410,000. And apparently they haven’t been able to sell it: Zillow has dropped the price three times, to less than what they paid for it!

Interestingly, the little North Mountain neighborhood was crisply delineated from the direr parts of Sunnyslope by the southeastern flange of the mountain park. So, while the local burglars can easily access your home, at least you don’t have to look at them every day. Or drive through a dank slum to get home.

Anyhow, back to the crisis of the moment: no pills.

How can I count the ways that I don’t want to drive down to the relatively safe Walgreen’s — about five miles from here? The Walgreen’s in the Sprouts shopping center across Conduit of Blight from the ‘Hood has…well, recently they’ve done weird stuff to it. Maybe its franchise somehow changed hands? They’ve moved all the merchandise around, rearranged the shelving, and…as usual, the front door is graced with a gauntlet through which you would prefer not to run… This means I’ll have to drive further than I wish to drive after yesterday’s two hours of rubbing fenders with my Fellow Homicidal Drivers.

In comes an email from Bigscoots, the vendor that hosts Funny about Money, Plain & Simple Press, and the Copyeditor’s Desk’s business website. The auto-pay for the hosting bill failed to go through.

Yeah? Well, that would be because I closed the CE Desk’s bank account, because — HALLELUJAH BROTHERS AND SISTERS! — I’ve decided to get out of the technical editing biz.

Of course, by this time it’s too late to schlep across the city (AGAIN) to the credit union and figure out what to do about this new fiasco. It’ll have to wait until Monday. Between now and then, I’ll have to sift through the account’s statements and figure out what other auto-pays are in there. Not many, I think. I hope.

Bang around the house searching for the Flonase. Can’t find it. Drop a Claritin…and yes, it does help a bit. Whenever I finish scribbling here, I’ll…

a) Call up Amazon and order a BOTTLE. not a goddam plastic-and-cardboard packet of Claritin pills, and get its active ingredient in generic form ($9) instead of trademarked form ($36)

b) Study page on page of checking account statements and try to figure out how to move that Bigscoots auto-payment into personal checking

c) Communicate with Bigscoots to see if only one of my three blogs was autopaid or if all of them were. Figure out how to switch all three of them, if indeed all three were paid out of of the CE Desk account.

d) Pull out some more of my hair.

e) Give up and take the dog for a walk.

Blogger Beware!

If you run a blog, here’s a little caper that you might want to be aware of…

Yesterday, in came an  email that looked convincingly like it came from BigScoots, saying that my hosting bill there was overdue and I’d better pay right this minute or they were going to take all my sites down.

Well, that bill is autopaid, and the autopay was set up so long ago I don’t even remember how or when. I think Grayson, the Web Guru from Heaven, set it up, since he effectively runs interference with all vendors for the blogsite. When he saw the email, he also thought it was fake — but an amazingly convincing fake. He said it looked exactly like real correspondence from BigScoots — but he was able to ascertain that the account was paid up to date.

Before long, in came another strange message, this one purportedly from Amazon, saying I must change the password to my Amazon Seller’s account. I alerted Amazon to this, but of course…good luck trying to get through to a human at that outfit.

Today I’ll call or, better, physically go in person up to the credit union to let them know that someone may be trying to hack into my bank accounts.

At any rate, it looks possible that someone has targeted me through one of my blogsites, trying to extract scammable data. Obviously, if I went through their links to make the allegedly required updates, they could  be able to snab my bank account or credit card data. So…just to let you know: if you get any messages along these lines, watch out!

Just in case this site goes dark…

Don’t panic…

The past two or three days, I’ve been getting dunning emails from someone claiming to represent BigScoots. But my understanding was all the bills related to this site are set up to auto-pay…so of course I figured these represented a scam. Now they say they’re taking all my sites off-line (oohhh EEK! Be scared, be very scared!).

So far that hasn’t happened. But it may. I’m trying to get in touch w/ our Web Guru par excellence, but by now it’s well into the evening where he is. Plus of course we’re coming into another holiday.

If Funny goes away, it presumably will be the result of a misunderstanding. And if that’s the case, it will be back. I hope.

Watch this space!

Dear Elected Representative…

The’Hood extends across two Phoenix City Council Districts: District 3 and District 5. So if we have something to grouse about, we have to rattle the cages of not one but two elected representatives. As you can imagine, this tends to discourage the locals from grousing.

But my gawd! There IS a limit.

Of late, a merrie band of drag-racers has taken up the habit of nightly hot-rod races, down Conduit of Blight and across Gangbanger’s way. They start at sundown and roar back and forth well into the night. Apparently the cops do nothing to discourage this party.

The reason, one surmises, is that the wonderful drag-race track that once stood out in a cornfield over on the west side was torn down to make way for tracts of stick-and-styrofoam houses. The voices of developers, in these parts, speak far louder than the voice of an unmuffled hot rod engine.

Hence, the latest missal to our elected representatives, Betty Guardado and Debra Stark:

Dear Ms. (Fill in the Blank):

Why exactly is nothing being done about the nightly drag races along Gangbanger’s Way west of Central and and along Conduit of Blight from Gangbanger’s to points south?

I live a good mile from Gangbanger’s and at least a half-mile from Conduit of Blight, and EVERY EVENING that racket keeps me awake into the middle of the night. The horrific uproar penetrates through solid block walls, double-paned windows, and a heavily insulated attic.

Conduit of Blight is lined with apartment buildings, mostly inhabited by working folks. Because there’s a school right next to those apartments, many of the residents there have children. How would YOU like to have to wrestle your kids out of bed at 5:30 or 6:00 in the morning after they’ve been kept awake half the night by screaming hot-rods?

Is the refusal to patrol and limit those drag races a class thing, a malicious thing, or just an ignorance thing on the part of our fine city leaders?

Now, I enjoy watching drag races myself, and if it were safe for a single woman to be out and about at 10, 11, or midnight in this corner of North Central, I probably would get up, get dressed, and trek down there to watch the show. But OUR NEIGHBORHOOD IS NOT A RACE TRACK.

Why exactly was the wonderful race track over on the far west side shut down? That was a perfect answer to the problem: hot-rod lovers got to show off their toys and race them, it was one heckuva lot of fun, and the show did not have to go on under anyone’s bedroom windows.

And what excuse IS there for not having the police keep this illegal use of the city streets under control?

If the city has an excuse to offer, please explain it.

This, of course, will elicit no response, or at least none with any teeth in it. Elected reps here in lovely Arizona — especially city council members — tend to rest cozily in the pockets of amply moneyed interests. They do not CARE that the children of the hoi and the polloi are kept up until midnight. Even the moderately affluent voters of the outer reaches of ritzy North Central don’t have much heft with these people. If you’re not a developer, you really don’t count.

But I suppose it’s worth occupying 30 seconds of their time — or their secretary’s time — to pester them with a letter.

Jerks!

Tell me we’re not this old…

…are we?

Walking the dog this morning, I fell into a reverie about my father and his life’s ambitions…this, stemming from the realization that my house, all by its little self, is worth FIVE AND A HALF TIMES the amount he had set himself as a goal to accumulate so that he could retire.

And “retire” was his life’s goal: he just wanted to quit working.

Quite reasonably: his job was hard (most of us would find it grinding), it kept him at sea most of his life, and at heart the man was a homebody.

He had dropped out of high school and lied about his age to get into the Navy by way of running away from home. So as you can imagine, he was not a real sophisticated guy when it came to things that you and I might have learned in high school and college, or in the sort of jobs we would have had as adults. He didn’t understand, for example, about inflation. For him, a dollar was a dollar and always would be a dollar.

He figured that if he could accumulate, in savings, $100,000, he would have it made. Whenever he reached that goal, at whatever age it happened, he would quit his job and retire to Possum Kingdom. 😀

Once $8,000 would buy you this house…

Well, Sun City came along at just about the time he was approaching his goal. He thought that was a grand idea: cheap houses and no damn kids barreling around outside squealing and laughing.

When he retired, he did have that hundred grand — and then some. As I recall, it was about a hundred & ten.

He worked SO hard. A ship’s deck officer worked 24/7, with crushing responsibility for a multi-miillion-dollar vessel filled with enough oil to destroy a hundred miles of coastline.

This line of thought arose when, God only knows why, I recalled how angry my mother used to make him when she would go out and diddle away some phenomenal amount of money on make-up or clothes. She loved make-up, probably because her endlessly toxic smoking habit had wrecked her complexion and traced a road map of wrinkles over her face. I can remember one time, when we were living in Southern California and I was in high school, we went into a department store and she spent two hundred dollars on makeup.

$8,000 wouldn’t buy you the front porch at this place…not today!

How much was that, really? Well… Two hundred bucks in 19 and aught 60 was worth $1,853.45 in 2021 dollars.

Holeeeee crap!!! Can you imagine? It’s a wonder she survived…clearly the man was a marvel of self-restraint.

Redfin thinks my little house is now worth $579,225. Well over FIVE TIMES the net worth he figured would sustain him from the age of about 55 through his dotage until he toppled over into the grave.

It didn’t, of course. He ended up having to go back to work, not so much because of inflation but because — another outcome of his financial naiveté — he had almost all his savings invested in insurance securities, which tanked shortly after he quit.

Never put all your eggs in one basket…

Wow. It’s hard to believe I am SO OLD that as I was entering adulthood a grown man could, quite reasonably, figure he could retire on a fraction of what my house alone is worth. A tract house that is most certainly not Mrs. Gotrocks’ dream home!

Their little house cost $8,000 when it was new. Redfin thinks it’s worth $274,000 now. That’s pretty cheap for middle-class housing hereabouts. Cheap because…well…Sun City. 😉

SDXB wants me to move out there, partly to get away from Tony the Romanian Landlord (who busies himself just now with installing a nursing home two houses up the street) and partly, o’course, because you can’t beat the price of the real estate there. But oh, my…Sun City.

I just do NOT want to live in a ghetto for old folks. This morning as Ruby and I were strolling around, we passed pretty houses with irrigated lawns, and xeric yards with lush trees and shrubbery. (Yards in Sun City are “desert landscaped” with gray gravel. Or gravel dyed green, presumably to ape the look of a lawn.) Stopped to chat with a neighbor who was having her kitchen cabinets refinished — woo HOO! Gossiped while we watched the carpenter work. Watched a nitwit roar up Feeder Street N/S on an unmuffled motorcycle. Frolicked around a grassy public park (there is no grass in Sun City, except on the private golf courses where no, your dog is not allowed). We admired a gaggle of little kids playing on the swings and slide (no, your kids are not allowed in SC, either). Roamed into the Richistans where we assessed the progress of a spectacular renovation job (no, there are no Richistans in Sun City: the houses are all of a kind). Hopped in the car and darted down to AJ’s (no, there are no AJ’s grocers in Sun City or anywhere near it) and bought a roll of spectacularly expensive dog food for the Queen of the Universe.

Yes. I could bank about $275,000 if I sold the Funny Farm and moved to Sun City.

But between you’n’me, I don’t think it’s worth the cost.

I do NOT know what, if anything, can be done about Tony’s empire-building at the expense of all the other neighbors’ property value … or even if it will come at our expense. But I do know I don’t wanna live in Sun City, no matter how much cash I can pocket by selling this place and moving out there.

But still, the thought lingers: I am SOOO OLD I can remember when a brand-new middle-class house cost eight grand, and when a house just like mine (same model, same size, same tract) cost a mere one hundred grand. And when a bag of make-up worth $200 would have bought you a freakin’ trip to Switzerland.