Coffee heat rising

All Around the Swimming-Pool Hole…

Round and round we go!

Holy God, what a week!

As I seem to have failed to mention here, a while back I hired a guy to ride herd on the swimming pool, which was turning green and also turning into one helluva lot more work than I care to do, here in Old Age Hell. The Pool Dude thing has gone along sorta kinda OK. He managed to un-green it at the time I hired him, and my workload dropped to almost nil.

But…well… Let’s just say that “nothing lasts forever.”  To make a very long and complicated story relatively short, Pool Dude made off with my Hayward pool cleaner. This is a device that you attach to the end of a 40-foot hose, which you insert into the inlet that passes water from the pool into the pump and filter, where debris is collected and clean water is then pumped circulated into the pool.

He resurfaced with another cleaner — also a Hayward, but noticeably older, tireder, and worn out. This thing was barely functional.

I asked him to bring mine back. No action was forthcoming. Meanwhile, a fine algae bloom festooned the pool walls, and the water began to turn green. The closest to anything like an explanation I got from the guy was a sorta sidewise excuse that he liked to have a couple of these devices in his workshop from which to cannibalize parts to repair his customers’ units.

Yeah. So we know what happened to Harvey, right?

After repeated demands that he bring Harvey back, he showed up with a Hayward cleaner…but it was not mine! It was old, tired, and faded. Apparently he imagined I would believe his story that he’d refurbished and renovated the thing and would be ohhh so happy to get it back.

This aged device barely worked. The filter needed (still needs) to be decombobulated and cleaned out — a big job that should have been done weeks ago.

After some thrashing around, I find the name of a pool guy on the neighborhood Facebook page. By this time Pool Dude has made off with a $445 piece of equipment and apparently has no intention of returning it. I consider reporting the bastard to the cops — which I’ll have to do if I want to make a claim on my homeowner’s insurance. But realize this will create a huge hassle…and since he never gave me a receipt and nobody was here to witness the transaction, I can’t even begin to prove it. Which, presumably,  is why the guy figures he can get away with such shenanigans.

Now I arrange for Swimming Pool Service and Repair — a venerable outfit that does major repairs and renovations, not routine cleaning — to come over and shovel out the pump and filter — a job our boy should have done when he started last fall and that, when I finally asked him point-blank to do the job, he flat refused to do. They agreed to come out Monday to get that done.

Meanwhile, the new guy comes over and dumps a ton of chemicals into the drink. This causes the water to turn milk-white. He says to run the pump for 24 hours and (as if anyone needed to be told…) to stay out of the water.

The pressure shoots up to 35 psi — normal for this pool is around 18 to 22 psi — and the system grinds away for hour after hour after hour, all day, all night and now the better part of another today.

I watch in anticipatory horror, hoping a monsoon storm doesn’t come whaling in and dump dirt and debris into the drink.

Swimming Pool Service and Repair — an outfit that does major repairs and renovations, not routine cleaning — is coming next week to clean the pump and filter — something Our Hero should have done when he started last fall and that, when finally I asked him point-blank to do the job, he flat refused to do. So I hope the system will make it through till Monday — if a major storm comes in, I may have to just shut everything down and let it turn green…again.

*****

Now I email Pool Dude telling him firmly to return my pool cleaner, now not later. Don’t think I’ll ever see it or him again. And since I can’t prove he took it — no receipt, no witnesses — I can’t even report him to the police. Or to anyone. Don’t even faintly expect to hear back from him:  figure either he gave Harvey the Hayward Pool Cleaner to one of his better-paying customers or he deconstructed it to use the parts to repair customers’ units. 

Neighbors on FB recommended a couple other pool dudes.  Eventually I snare one who seems to have a brain. He wants me to run over to Leslie’s and buy 25 pounds of granulated chlorine.

*******

Eventually, Pool Dude shows up at the house. I inform him that he’s canned. He’s not altogether surprised, but he’s plainly dismayed…because, he confesses, three other of his clients have fired him! 

Yeah. Well. Incompetence will out. Eventually.

*******

This morning I went over to my newly favorite Leslie’s, a hole-in-the-wall up in Sunnyslope that used to be called B&L until the Leslie’s corporation moved in and made the owners an offer they couldn’t refuse. The original owners still seem to be working there, for the nonce. Thank goodness, because they’re honest, down-to-earth, and not in the habit of hustling you to buy stuff you don’t need. So, by the time the sales tax soaking was applied, I dropped over $500 to replace the device Pool Dude stole.

What a mess the whole Pool Dude thing has turned into. It’s too bad…he’s a charming, sweet guy. But maybe that’s how crooks make their way in this world.

The Cancer That Is Not a Cancer

So…a couple, three months ago, I trot out to the beloved dermatologist — halfway to Yuma — for a regular check-up. When you’ve lived as long as I have in the desert subtropics, you have a continually budding crop of cancerous and precancerous growths on your hide. So what you want to do is get every new excrescence excised before it does develop into skin cancer. She goes checkity-check-check-check and then she sees a little mole on the side of my nose. It’s about a 16th of an inch in diameter, something I never noticed because I’m covered with spots, rather like a two-legged leopard.

She says oooohhhh that’s suspicious! We’d better biopsy that.

Okay. Nothin’ new there.

Time passes: a week or so. They call and tell me it was a melanoma, and now I must come in and get it and a chunk of my face removed.

So I arrange to traipse across the Valley and have a plastic surgeon slice up my nose and then repair the damage. She does an awesome job — truly amazing. Friends who have had this kind of surgery have ended up with their faces…well, shall we say, defaced. I expected to come away with some baby-scaring scars, at the least. But hallelujah, brothers and sisters! When the incision heals up, after some weeks, it heals with NO scars.

Seriously: you would never know that my face had been laid open from the top right side of the nose to the bottom left side. I’m told it was a good thing I came in, because the thing was a malignant melanoma.

As a side-show to the hypochondriac’s jamboree, whilst searching the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest That Is The Internet for something, anything that might relieve the crazy-making peripheral neuropathy, I discover that PN can be caused by the presence of a malignancy. Like, for example, a melanoma.

It all begins to make sense, right?

Time passes.

And now it’s time to re-up my Medigap insurance. I call my agent. She asks me the usual litany of nosey questions, one of which is “have you had a cancer diagnosed in the past year?”

Well, yeah: a malignant melanoma falls into that category.

The upshot is that, even though insurance companies are not legally allowed to deny Medigap coverage, what they can do is charge you piratical rates, at the drop of any hat that comes along.

I end up with a bill of something over $3750 for one (count it, 1) year of supplementary coverage!!!!!!!

You can’t do without this, BTW. Because “supplementary” is not exactly le mot juste. If you don’t have it, you will be gouged THOUSANDS of dollars for medical bills that regular Medicare doesn’t cover. Many thousands of dollars.

Okay, so…there’s the backstory.

Yesterday, I go to call the dermatologist’s office, having realized that I forgot to ask them to forward a report of their activities to MayoDoc. When I ask them to send their records about the malignant melanoma they removed a month or so ago, the clerk there says, “Oh, that wasn’t a melanoma.”

Say what?

“Uhm…they told me it was…”

Are you kidding? you put me through all that sh!t for a tiny black spot on the side of my nose, totally benign, one that if I thought it would make me feel too ugly to go to the ball, I could cover with a dab of make-up????

It’s a 40-minute drive each way, plus the fun and games of injecting anaesthesia and laying on a table stock-still for 30 minutes while they hack the thing off  my face and glue and sew me up plus three weeks of healing time plus having to keep applying topical medications…but that ain’t the half of it!

No, indeed.

Now, we’ve fucked up my insurance record! Because when I went to renew my Medigap policy a day or two ago, the broker asked me if I’d ever had cancer, and of course I had to say “yes, a melanoma.”  If it was really nothing, then chances are my Medigap insurance won’t cover it — because removing it would be deemed “cosmetic.” But that is as naught compared to the amount I will have to pay, going forward, for Medigap coverage. The $3,700+ I sent to the insurance company the other day was, no doubt, just a starter.

Reached the broker as dawn cracked this morning. — she said she hadn’t sent any applications in. Looks like we’ll recover this time.

But what happens next time?

Life in Dystopia…

Memo from the Dermatologist’s Waiting Room…

…way to HELL and gone out on the far west side of the Valley…

HOLY maquerel!  Had to fill up in order to get all the way out to the west side for this morning’s traipse to the dermatologist. Gas at the corner QT is $4.79 a gallon! Three-quarters of a tank set me back SIXTY-TWO BUCKS! And 41 cents.

And that’s cheap! Driving westward, ever westward, I passed gas stations offering the stuff for over five bucks. Yes. That is “per gallon.”

How are people who have to commute or use a vehicle to do business managing this?

I figure we can expect this is gonna be pretty much permanent. Have you ever seen gas prices actually go down? Not likely…leastwise, not significantly.  And you hear the excuse bandied about even now: “After all, these prices are what they have to pay in Europe.”

Sure enough.

But Europe has adequate public transit.

Europe has commerce and services situated in reasonably safe central parts of cities and towns.

In Europe, you’re not likely to get brained and robbed walking down to the nearest grocer’s. Or dragged off from the corner bus stop and raped.

European cities are CITIES, not vast sticky puddles of formless sprawl.

At any rate, these prices make it worth sitting in line (and sitting in line…and sitting in line…and sitting in….) at the Costco to fill up and stay filled up at their tanks. But since that’s what everybody else figures, the lines at the Costco pumps stretch halfway to Yuma. You can figure on a 15-minute wait just to get up to the pump. And if the damn thing refuses to take your card – as it did mine, the last time I went by there – all that thumb-twiddling is just so much wasted time and annoyance.

There’s a Costco on the way back into town from Derma-Doc’s place. It’s actually a business Costco, but thanks to the incorporated editorial bidness, I happen to have a business account. So on the way I’ll stop by there as I’m driving driving driving eastward and ask them WTF was with their rejection of my card. And while I’m at it, renew my membership, which I believe to be due about now.

Godlmighty I’m so, sooooo tired of doctoring.

My mother’s relatives were Christian Scientists. Her grandmother and her aunt lived into their mid-nineties and NEVER saw a doctor. Her uncle, who was not a religious nut, also lived into advanced old age…and died of something that no one was ever able to diagnose – the guy just kinda wasted away.  But honest-ta-gawd, sometimes I think Christian Science is not such a bad idea. You’re gonna die when you’re gonna die – not much sooner and not much later, far’s I can tell. Why make yourself miserable being poked, prodded, sliced, diced, dieted, and lectured?

* *

Arrived out on the west side at the doc’s office  way, wayyyy early, having had to allow some unholy amount of (unneeded!) time to fill up the gas tank. So drove around one of the new look-alike stick-and-styrofoam developments. Gosh…some of those houses can’t be more than 20 feet apart, eave to eave!  My father’s aversion to investing in residential real estate kinda makes sense now, looking at these acres and acres and acres of junk.  And he hadn’t even SEEN junk, back in his day….

* * * *

Back in Town:

{chortle!!!} Successful interlude with derma-tech. I REALLY like those folks.

From there, I proceed back across town over grody Indian School Road. Dodge into the Costco down by the railroad underpass, figuring to renew the annual membership and then pick up a few not-very-necessaries.

Belly up to the customer service bar. Present my membership card and my Visa card (Costco doesn’t take AMEX: costs them too much).

The CSR demands to know some three-digit number for the Visa card.

Huh?  AMEX has a three-digit nuisance number, but I’ve NEVER been asked for one for Visa and didn’t even know such a thing existed. Thrash around my wallet. Can’t find it. Lose my temper (quite frankly) and stalk out. On the way I tell her I’m sorry her employer has lost a customer – permanently.

Driving driving driving driving back across the interminable and interminably ugly west side, it crosses my mind that CC mailed me a renewal form. Drive and drive and drive and drive and dodge importuning Death two or three times and dart in the house and dash to the pile of unattended mail on the dining-room table, and Yea verily! There’s a mail-in form to renew membership. Doesn’t ask for a secret code of any kind, for any vendor.

Fill it out. Stuff it in an envelope. Stick an (expensive!) stamp on it. Jump back in the car. Drive to the PO. Drop it in a USPS mailbox.

Note to Self: do not even THINK of renewing in person next year. Incompetent nuisances!

When William Shakespeare had Miranda say “What a brave new world we live in” and added Prospero’s ironic riposte, did he think that brave new world was as dystopic and as shitty and as nuisancey as the one we live in today is? What on earth would he have made of a life that consists of one techno-hassle after another after another?

Also amongst the unattended mail, I find a notice to renew the Medigap insurance. They want THIRTY-SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS AND FIFTY-TWO CENTS for a year’s worth of Medigap coverage!

Speaking of Brave New Worlds…what IS this effing Brave New World we live in?

Drop a Tranquilizer before Visiting a Gas Station…

{gasp!} {hyperventilate!!!!}

Just back from a junket to Costco…and waypoints. Belief HAS officially been defied now….

The plan was to traipse up to Costco in search of the usual bargain on gasoline. CC routinely underprices every gas retailer within several miles of a given store, right? While there, buy a few not-urgently-needed but nice-to-have grocery & household items, and also renew this year’s membership, which I’m told is officially running out.

Thank gawd they sell wine… That’s all i can say….. 8-o

Drive and drive and drive and drive and…every road in the goddamn city is under construction. Wherever you’re goin’ you really CAN’T get there from here. Arrive at the store north of the Great Desert University (WAY north…), which is about the same distance from here as the store in Paradise Valley but which, because of the relative penury of the surrounding populace (middle-middle class, not upper-middle-class and Richerati) will likely have a lower price on gas.

My membership is running out. Ask the lady at the entrance where to get it renewed; she says the easiest way is just to pay at checkout.

Ramble around the store ogling all the amazing eye-popping goods. Toss a bunch of stuff I don’t need into the cart. Make my way through the checkout line. Offer to pay for the membership renewal. She says I don’t have to do that now.

Yeah? Well…then why are they telling me to do that now? I figure she just doesn’t want to be bothered. Okkkayyyy….

Retrieve the Dog Chariot. Head for the gas pumps.

They’re mobbed.

But, being the canny type, I manage to slither into a line that has only three or four vehicles ahead of me.

Wait and wait and wait and wait, then wait and wait and wait and wait, and then wait some more.

FINALLY pull up to a gas pump.

Stick my Costco card in. Clickety hummedy click. Then stick my debit card in (Costco doesn’t accept AMEX credit cards)…and….

PLONK! Am told my cards are no good.

Annoyed, I stalk across the lot and retrieve the attendant.

No problemo! saith he.

He sticks my Costco card in. Clickety hummedy click. Then sticks my debit card in. And PLONK! We’re both told to take a flyer at the moon.

He proposes to hold up the ever-longer line with some sort of hoop jumps. I say f’geddaboutit! Because I happen to know the QT in Sunnyslop is charging the same rate Costco is.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and dodge construction zones and drive and slip through a short-cut i know and drive and drive and finally arrive at the QT.

Whip up to an unoccupied(!!!!!) pump and…and…lo and sumbiche! Find the price is a bargain $5.21 a gallon — yea, verily:  the same bargain price that Costco was charging!

Five. Dollars. And. Twenty-One. Cents. A. Gallon!!!!!!!!!!!

It cost THIRTY DOLLARS to refill that quarter of a tank.

CAN….YOU…IMAGINE?

Well, thought I crabbily.There go any ideas about a weekend in Prescott. Or maybe in Yarnell. Or, oh Helle’s belles, even in freakin’ Sun City!

Hmmmm…

Okay, so between you’n’me and the lamp-post, that is the LAST time I visit a Costco to buy (or attempt to buy) gasoline. We have not one but two QT’s practically within walking distance of the ’Hood. And since about half the time (or more), the main reason I go to a Costco is not to shop in the CC but to buy gasoline, that is gonna mean a WHOLE lot less of the Funny Farm’s budget will be spent at Costco stores. I may not even bother to renew my membership. Enough being enough, after all.

One is left wondering what this state of annoying affairs foreshadows for supplies of day-to-day cost-of-living goods: food, diapers, soda pop, motor oil, coffee, tea, toothpaste, shampoo, hot dogs, steak, broccoli…. If the cost of fuel has gone up THAT much across the board, then suppliers and marketers will have to raise their prices accordingly.

This probably is a good time to stock up on things like paper goods (a far better time than we saw in the last Great Paper Panic). And on nonperishable foods. And canned goods. And stuff that can be stored in a freezer.

Because…clearly grocery prices are headed for the stratosphere.

And if you garden? Well then, garden like crazy, my friend! I’m thinking I may build a raised garden in the backyard right now. A bunch of things — summer squash and peppers and tomatoes and if you have any skill even things like corn will grow now. Then, in Arizona an amazing variety of veggies and fruits grow in the fall and winter.

It’s never too late to learn the fine art of canning….

{grump} All Hell Continues to Work Its Way Loose

As the dog and I hiked back to the house along about 6:15 a.m., there across the street we see our neighbor’s lawn crew, the bunch who stole EVERY SPRINKLER IN THE FRONT AND BACK YARDS.

{chortle!} Guess I haven’t mentioned that little fiasco.

Couple weeks ago, these guys showed up. And since Gerardo seems to have quit, I hired them to clean up the yard. Their fees, by comparison with Gerardo’s, were exorbitant: $180 for the first clean-up, then $80 every two weeks, forevermore.

Shee-ut.

Well, I knew Gerardo was undercutting the competition — or else giving me a special deal, more likely. But he seems to have quit: he’s not coming either to my house or my son’s. And I can’t take care of this yard myself. So..ooohkaaaayyyyy….

They did a pretty good job. So I thought…until I went to put a sprinkler on a parched plant.

Sprinkler? What sprinkler? We don’t need to steeenking sprinklers!

Uh huh. Every. Single. Sprinkler was gone. The little metal ones. The regular plastic ones. All of them.

Sumbiche.

So it was off to buy some new ones.

Lowe’s does not have little metal sprinklers.

Home Depot does not have little metal sprinklers.

The grand, old-money nursery on Glendale does not have little metal sprinklers.

Turns out there’s a sprinkler shortage!

That would be why our guys felt called upon to steal mine.

Finally found a few at an Ace Hardware (everybody buys sprinklers in hardware stores, right?). Grabbed three of them. And they’re now locked inside the garage.

If it’s not red-hot or nailed down…

****

In other quotidian gnus, the dentist wants EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS to replace the broken crown. Jayzuz! What do they think it’s made of?

No, it ain’t made of gold.

The peripheral neuropathy continues to drive me nuts. However, in one tiny glimmer of light, I stumbled upon a study suggesting that antihistamines may help with the peripheral neuropathy.

Seriously??

Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I sure have plenty of those around the house. Arizona is where you come to find out that you’re allergic to everything…

The researchers were using Claritin, but also mentioned chlortrimeton. Apparently chlortimeton is now available over the counter — it used to be a prescription drug. Claritin is readily available, and in fact I happened to have a bottle of it in the house. Benadryl is also mentioned as effective. Though that stuff has some inconvenient side effects for me, I do have some of it in the house.

So I drop a Claritin. And by golly, it does seem to help some. The tingling/stinging is not gone, but it’s noticeably milder.

We’ll see if this works over a period of days or weeks.

****

Meanwhile, the other day La Maya and I decided to go out to lunch.

Our first choice, a beloved Italian restaurant near Moon Valley (in the middle-class northerly realms of Phoenix), was closed, to our horror. They were hard-hit by the plague — I’d heard the husband died (a man and a wife owned it). La M said that wasn’t so…presumably, then, the gossip mill got it wrong.

From there we drove from Yuppified joint to yuppified joint, until we got alllll the wayyyyyy down North Central to Camelback and decided to go into one of the restaurants in the AJ’s shopping center.

Personally, I’m just not all that fond of eating out. In the first place, I cook much, MUCH better than the short-order operators of most restaurants. So the food, when you come right down to it, isn’t very good. And what you get is spectacularly overpriced. And the noise is annoying. And the cigarette smoke (often) is annoying. And…blech!

At any rate, we shared a kale salad, which she enjoyed.

Driving back up lovely North Central…HOLEEE shee-ut! We saw the single closest call I’ve ever witnessed, and were almost dragged into the middle of it.

Central Avenue in that area is a 40-mph zone. This means the locals drive 45 to 55 mph along that lovely main drag, which bisects an upscale neighborhood to the north of the central commercial districts.

We’re cruising along calmly enough in a pod of 45-mph traffic when, incredibly, a Moron steps out into the crosswalk in front of the oncoming traffic (among which we are numbered).

Yes, you are required to stop for nudniks in crosswalks. But it is assumed that the nudniks will wait until the barreling-along cars have passed before stumbling across the road.

He walks right out in front of La Maya, who slams on her brakes. She misses him, so he proceeds to stroll in front of the car next to her!

He escaped intact — literally by inches. And he seemed unruffled…as though he does this all the time.

And yeah. Yep., He probably does.

Both of us expected to see him go flying through the air. Thank heaven no such acrobatics ensued.

Phoenix: what a place!

****

Out of the blue, the credit union apparently stopped making some — possibly all? — of the autopays I’d set up to my various creditors. Suddenly I got a notice from the gas company threatening to cut off service. A little checking revealed that other utility bills also had not been paid.

WTF?????

So now I’ve got to traipse to the credit union and do battle over that — around the Adventures in Dental Science.

WonderAccountant is coming over this afternoon to try to help untangle whatEVER that mess is. One thing is for sure: as senile as I may be, I know I did not ask the CU to discontinue the autopays. That would be insane!

But it IS a mess, and I am not a happy camperette.

Speaking of the which…I’d better get up, eat some breakfast, and start shoveling through that stack of paper…

Whatever can go wrong…

STOP THE WORLD! I wanna get off, and get back on in about 1947.

Holy mackerel! Whatever CAN go wrong WILL go wrong. Whoever made up that hoary saying must have been living my life in a previous incarnation.

Greeted the sun this morning by finding a hard thing in my mouth. Whaaaaa???

It’s part of a tooth. A back molar simply fell apart.

So now in half an hour, when the dentist’s office opens, I’ll have to call and make an appointment to get THAT fixed, no doubt to the tune of a great deal MORE hassle, expense, and painandsuffering.

Meanwhile, I’m supposed to spend the afternoon at the church office, staffing the front desk. How I’m gonna do that and sit in a dentist’s chair at the same time escapes me. But we’ll deal with that when the need arises. I guess.

At 9 a.m. — less than half an hour — I need to surface at Leslie’s Pool Supply, therein to get them to test the water and sell me the chemicals needed to rebalance the chemicals.

Pool Dude was here yesterday — while I was traipsing from pillar to post around the Valley — Dermatologist in Avondale, then hours at the downtown credit union, then up the moribund Target on 19th Avenue, therein to buy some area rugs so that my son’s dog can walk around on the tiles without falling over (he’s old and weak and his feet slide out from under him when he tries to walk on tiles — and my whole house is tiled).

The Target folks insist they’re just remodeling, even though it’s hilariously obvious that they’re selling off merchandise with intent to close down the store. If they admitted that the location is going out of business, of course, they’d have to clear out the junk with a sale. As it was, I realized that Charley does not need fancy rugs; all he needs is the rubbery stuff you lay down underneath them, which give him plenty of traction to move around. Poor old pooch.

Dermatologist removed more suspicious growths. Reported that none of the last crop had turned to cancer. Yet. I remarked on my one-time best friend’s brother-in-law, a healthy and athletic man who, I recently learned, died of skin cancer — malignant melanoma.

More than one of which I’ve enjoyed meself.

At the credit union, I explained to the extremely nifty dude that I can’t get into my account. We dorked around and dorked around, changing my password. As it develops, these days to change a bank password you have to have a cell phone!

Fortunately, I’d brought the useless iPhone my son gave me — useless because with the plague, the senior center nearby shut down its iPhone class, because Apple’s “class” was a sadistic joke (more so for the alleged instructor than for the customers), because I do not know how to get into it, because…on and on. We were able to fire it up and use it to reset the bank’s password. Now all we have to do is get me into my account there.

With one headache and crisis after another since then, though, I haven’t had time to attempt that trick.

This morning will be consumed with dealing with the swimming pool. When I left for the dermatologist trek — before Pool Dude surfaced — the walls were festooned with fresh algae. I left a check in an envelope for him and flew out the door.

When I got home, I found the empty envelope on the pavement near the pool and the pool’s walls festooned with fresh algae.

Tested water…chemical balance seemed OK — good enough for gummint work, anyway. But decided I should take a bottle of it up to Leslie’s for a full array of tests, and while there try to snab some granulated chlorine.

The chlorine shortage continues — kicked off by a fire that leveled the factory of the major US producer, a year or so ago, and dragged out by political correctness (chlorine being bad for you, after all). So I’m going to have to pay through the wazoo to re-fill my pool supply kit…I’m down to something like two three-inch tabs. Eventually I’ll probably have to re-plumb and install one of those salt-water systems, which will cost an arm and a leg. As I recall, it didn’t do that great a job on La Maya and La Bethulia’s pool. But…I guess if we can’t buy chlorine anymore, we’ll have to take what we can get.

Come four o’clock this morning, good old Cox’s phones were down. Come five o’clock: same. Come six o’clock: same. It finally came back online. Fortunately, I’ve learned to use the iPhone just enough to get into my email and to also onto the Web to check what time Leslie’s opens.

Speaking of the which, it’s ten till. Sooo…off and running!