…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.
- 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.
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!
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.
Grab a kitchen knife.
Call the 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.
Check the hall coat closet please dear God don’t let some dude be hiding in here!
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.
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.