Coffee heat rising

Lordie! Make it stop!!!

4:00 a.m.

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

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

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

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

Understand: he weighs 80 pounds.

Poor old fella!

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

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

FINALLY he managed to get enough traction to stand up.

Out into the backyard.

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

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

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

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

Holeeee shee-ut!

Move his stuff into the dining room.

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

All of this drama in about 25 minutes…wheee!

This is what happens when you outlive your life.

Say a prayer, my friends:

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


Finally ensconced back on his bed.

Human stumbles toward her bed.

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

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

oh HELL!

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

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


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

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

ohhhhhh shit!!!!

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

Poor beast…

Settle down? Not a chance in Hell!

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

Human loses patience.

Dog ensconced in living-room nest. Lights out.

What next, Lord?

Thursday a.m.

So I called the dentist this morning to try to weasel out of today’s appointment. My understanding was, we were to discuss and maybe try to do something about the chronic pain in the upper left jaw.

Ugh! Just what I don’t wanna do with my morning…

….and in fact, when I rolled out of the sack this a.m., the pain was GONE!

This is something that’s been going on, unchanging, for weeks. Now, poof! It’s GONE???

Well, I have other things to do than endure more dental torture, so I called to cancel the appointment. But…


Today’s appointment wasn’t for dental pain. It was to get my teeth cleaned.


I am DEAD SURE we did that less than 6 months ago.


24 Hours Pass
Now It’s Friday


Somehow I survived the trip to the dentist’s. Just tooth-cleaning. No big deal. Time-consuming, but otherwise bland enough.

Followed by a very bland day.

M’hijito has made no move — that I know of — to pursue another dog. Probably that’s best: he needs to recover from losing the beloved Charley. But I do hope he can shake off the blues and seek a new sidekick, in due course.

Meanwhile: One of the lamps on my dining-room chandelier developed a short. I installed it shortly after moving in here, lo! these many years ago, and I still love it. This one is close, though not identical. You get the idea, though: half-a-dozen fake candles

So I call Electrician Dude. He and his young sidekick surface. He spends maybe half an hour inspecting and then fiddling with it. Get it working again. Then he forks over a bill for TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!

As you can see from that Amazon link in the previous paragraph…I could have bought a brand-new chandelier for that!

Soooo…dammit! Guess we’ll be looking for a new electrician.


Saturday a.m.

And another 24 hours pass. Wake as usual at dawn, dawg campaigning to go outside. Putter around. Notice her eyes are running, not an unusual thing here in Allergy Central. Like humans, dogs are allergic to all the dust that blows around and the weeds that sprout everywhere you look. Get a Kleenex to wipe her face and…ohhhh shee-ut! it comes away with BLOOD on it.

Holy mackerel. Her eye is red because it’s bleeding!

Should I take her to an emergency vet?


That means

a) an interminable wait (one commenter on Yelp said they sat in a waiting room for SEVEN HOURS)
b) a BLINDING bill

Any chance I could squeeze in to the ineffable Dr. Bracken’s schedule?

Right! Sure! On a Saturday morning!!

They supposedly open at 8:00 a.m.  It’s 8:15 a.m.

Get on the phone: line is picked up by an answering yakathon. It blasts Muzak (of a sort) into my ear: a repetitive banjo twang.

twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang
twangidy-twang twangidy-twang

….on and on and on… After about five minutes of this, a young-sounding male voice answers. He takes my number, supposedly to call back. He says they don’t open until 9:00 a.m. I remark that maybe they’d better change the data on their website.

Ohhhhh welll….

How can I SAY how much I don’t wanna drive way to hell and gone into Darkest Arcadia on a Saturday morning?

This will blow away half the day…assuming I can get in at all.

Phone rings: Vet’s staff on the phone. Explain what’s happening. She wants to ask him about it. She puts me on hold: BLASTING goddamn annoying Muzak…combined with advertising pitches for why you must bring your pet right in.

Godlmighty! Are there PR people out there who specialize in annoying your customers?

Human comes on phone:  He wants to wait and see. Thinks it could be allergies, since she’s not digging at it and seems not to be in pain. Suggests gently wiping with dampened cotton balls; call back if not improved by Monday.


This is why I take my livestock to that veterinarian, endless schlep notwithstanding. He’s not in the business of clipping you, and so if he thinks something can benefit by a wait-and-see approach, he’ll tell you.

As it develops, everybody else who’s ever heard of the man betakes themselves there, too. That office is humming with traffic, all day, every day.

I’m convinced that he really IS the single best vet in the city, and probably in the state.


In other precincts: someone else has noticed that it’s hot outside. 😀  Ohhhh how the media love Arizona summers! On any given Slow News Day, there’s always something to get rattled about…


What to do? What to do?


Nothing like a little hysteria to sell newspapers and news websites. No, there’s nothin’ “historic” about 112 degrees. It’s actually pretty typical for July and August in the low desert.

That said: my power bill is gonna be through the roof.

Jacked the A.C. down to 77 last night, so as to manage to sleep. Just turned it back up to 80, which will make it mighty hot in the family room & kitchen, where skylights act like automobile windows. So we’ll have to hang out in the bedrooms throughout the afternoon.

Which is what I’m gonna do right now: Go back to bed!

YOUR DOG IS NOT YOUR KID! The fur-baby syndrome

Honestly. What IS the matter with people?

This morning’s doggy-walk devolved into another Trip Devoted to Hassles. At this time of year, a day very quickly gets hot. So all the dog-lovers are out by 5:00 or 5:30, traipsing around the park and up and down every street adjacent to the park. This would be charming (as long as you watch your step and don’t have a lawn that invites doggy toiletry), if only people would be just a little smarter about dogs. If only the idiots would keep their dogs under control. If only they wouldn’t assume you’re out there so that your dog can “play” with their dog.

Ruby is poorly leash-trained, because the minute I got her, I landed in the Mayo Hospital getting both boobs lobbed off. So she never has been adequately leash-trained. She’s fine as long as no one else is around, but let someone come trotting up with their “fur-baby” and she has a lunging frenzy,.

If you say something like “please keep your dog under control,” the idiots simper and go ohhhh don’t worry! They just want to pla-a-a-a-y!

Well. No. They don’t just want to pl-a-a-a-a-y. My dog wants to clear the earth of mutts like yours, stupid!

Seriously…what does possess people to come bounding up to a stranger and let their dog have at your dog?

Part of the problem, IMHO, is the idiotic “fur-baby” trope.

Jayzus! Talk about stupid!

Your dog is not your “fur-baby.” It is not your child. It is a highly evolved wolf. It can be regarded as part of your family only if your family is regarded as a pack, like unto a dog pack or a wolf pack.

That latter bit sounds promising, until you consider that dogs are not humans, humans are not dogs, and canine social structure is only superficially similar to human social structure.

The fact that those two social structures are vaguely similar makes it possible for dogs to live with humans, for humans to live with dogs, and for the residents to empathize with each other. But it does NOT make a dog the same as a human child, or a child the same as a dog.

This morning Ruby and I got out the door at exactly the wrong moment: 5:30 a.m. sharp. From the git-go, everywhere we looked, here came some chucklehead with a dog towing them down the street. In several cases, the dogs were off-leash. One guy had three dogs with him, nary a one on the legally mandated lead. At the park itself, people’s dogs were running around loose all over the place.

To avoid confrontation, we had to walk by on the far side of the street. This is a road that has no sidewalks in front of the houses facing the park. So either we climb up onto people’s lawns and tromp on their grass, or we risk life and limb to walk along that stretch of asphalt.

Finally we reach our corner of the ‘Hood and turn up our street. There, what do we encounter but a guy with one dog on a lead AND a guy with THREE dogs romping around off-leash!


  • We’re not in the park
  • We’re not in anyone’s yard.
  • We’re on a public sidewalk running along a street where most people drive around 40 mph, out of not-payin’-any-attention habit.

What IS the matter with people?

Covid and Our Pets: How scared, really, should we be?

Got a referral to a pool guy who cleans tiles — mine now being encrusted with lime. When he learned that I’ve tested positive for the Dread Disease, he announced that he wouldn’t come anywhere near the place.

This, frankly, seems reasonable, especially if you have a pre-existing condition of one sort or another.

But his moment of terror led me to wonder…how scared, really, should we be of catching Covid from our livestock?

And…can I give Covid to Ruby? Can she give it to me…or to other humans?

Well, the obvious answer is that this is a damned uncomfortable ailment, even in its milder form, which apparently is what I’m enjoying just now. So, yes: it does behoove us to avoid discomfort — of any kind, particularly of the variety that lays you out in bed.


The truth is…it would appear that unless you’re elderly or you have a pre-existing condition, the bug is unlikely to kill you. And it also would appear that yes, contagion between humans and dogs and between dogs and humans is not only possible but fairly common.

Here’s our source:

Anna Csiszar, et al. “Companion animals likely do not spread COVID-19 but may get infected themselves.” 2020 Oct; 42(5): 1229–1236. Published online 2020 Aug 7. doi: 10.1007/s11357-020-00248-3

These authors find that domestic pets, even in First-World countries, are vectors of the disease. However, they regard the risk as rather low: “”Actually, there is no evidence for a single case of pet to human transmission to date.” (Bear in mind the article’s publication date, though.)

More currently, the CDC tells us that

  • The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread from people to animals during close contact.
  • The risk of animals spreading COVID-19 to people is low.
  • Pets can get serious illness from infection with the virus that causes COVID-19, but this is extremely rare.

Hmm… Okay. Even though we’re advised not to let our critters sleep on the bed with us (hah! Good luck with that!!), the chance of a dog or cat catching the bug from us exists but is low; serious Covid illness in your pets is unlikely.



Day from Hell…on Steroids!

HOLY mackerel, what a day!!!

Along about late morning, I started enjoying some breathing and coughing problems. COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGHETY COUGH COUGH!

Pretty much a dry cough — not hacking anything up. Well, actually, once or twice during the night I practically strangled. But…WTF? The coughing wouldn’t stop.

Nothing I tried beat it back one bit.

I’m thinking this does not look good. COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGHETY COUGH COUGH!

Eventually I come to light long enough to take my temperature: 101 degrees.

Holy shit.

My normal temp is around 98.2.

I’ve already been charging from pillar to post out there in the heat. The last thing I wanna do is traipse to a doctor. Way to hell and gone up in North Scottsdale!

Try the mercury thermometer. It’s off the scale: over 106.

Oh, sher…

RE-try the electronic thermometer: 100.8.

Prob’ly not very drastic, after all the crap I’ve been through this afternoon.

Call the Mayo. Nurse Kim gets all anxious. She wants me to drive right out there, or else call an ambulance and have them cart me up there.

a) I do not want to drive halfway to Fountain Hills to get to the nearest Mayo facility.
b) There’s no way in Hell I’m going to our nearest full service hospital and ER: John C. Lincoln, the home of the careless and the incompetent.
c) Nor am I trudging downtown to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where I’ve had a truly hair-raising experience.
d) I suspect these wacky swings represent…well…Looney Toons.

So we decide I should go to a nearby pharmacy or the neighborhood Urgent Care Clinic, which is right down by the Albertson’s. She wants me to get tested for covid-19.

Albertson’s has an excellent pharmacy, and straight across the street, Walgreen’s has one very similar to it. If it weren’t 96 degrees out there just this minute — at 7:20 p.m. — I could walk down there. In mid-afternoon, Wunderground suggests, the high was a balmy 99 degrees, with 19% humidity.

Garden spot.

No, Albertson’s pharmacy does not have covid tests. No, Walgreen’s does not have covid tests.

So I go to the Urgent Care Center next door to the Albertson’s. That fine institution has six people sitting in the waiting room. And outside, the most horrifying, pathetic bum…the poor guy is collapsed on the pavement, in the shade of the pony wall that separates the parking lot from the sidewalk.

Even if I had any cash — which I didn’t — I don’t give handouts to panhandlers. Many of these folks are dangerous, when they’re not making pests of themselves.

Inside the “Urgent” (yeah…) Care place, I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait and I wait, along with all the other “patients” (got that right) who are waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting.

Finally I think oh fukkit! Get up, walk out, drive back home. Gasping for air.

Call the Mayo. They try to get me to drive out there. I bang around trying to manage that…but finally think, once again, oh fukkit!

I just. can. not. bring. myself. to. drive, a half-hour or forty minutes. and then get to a place where I have in the past waited HOURS for care.

If I die, I die. Kulawahed!

Right now the mercury thermometer won’t let me shake it down below 99 degrees. Screw it. The battery thermometer reads 100.8.

So presumably I have a low fever. Or I’m fricaseed in the heat.

Here’s what I’m gonna do:

First, I’m going to set up the steamer to blast

I’m a-gonna traipse into the backyard and take a dip in that cool but not at all cold swimming pool.

Well. Maybe not. Now that the steamer is put together, I feel a little cooler. The headache could go, though….

Reset the electronic thermometer. FRANTIC beee-eee-eep beee-eee-eep beee-eee-eep!!!!!!!


Now it claims I have a temp of 101.1!!!

Make up your mind, ya damn thing!

WhatEVER: my mind is made up: throw on some clothes and head for the Mayo. DAYUM!


So…here I am, in the Mayo’s shiny, majestic new ER. Quite a place!  The computer’s iOs (or the surrounding architecture??) is not letting me save much to disk, or save copy written in Word or MacMail. My son is in the middle of a dinner party…offered to drive me out here, but that was not necessary.

How could I do without this little horror show? Let me count the ways…

I hate hospitals, to begin with.

Especially, I’m not fond of ERs, which are scary places…IMHO.

A little kid is back there being tortured: screaming her sweet head off.

My head hurts like hell, speaking of heads.

I need to go to the bathroom, but am afraid they’ll ask me to pee in a cup so I’d better not get rid of the present collection.


LOL! We’re now all pee’d out, X-rayed with a vengeance, ridden around in a chariot all over the new and old parts of the ER. Zowie! They’re still threatening to drain blood out of me with a damn needle: THE part of this sorta thing that I hate the most. But ohhh well.

This is a nasty li’l cough. I’m as sure as I’m sitting here that it’s GOTTA be a case of covid.

COULD be an ordinary cold, o’course. One could keep on hoping. BUT…I don’t get a fever with an ordinary cold. And rarely get a fever with the flu. So I think it’s pretty safe to guess that whatever ails me begins with a “c” and ends with a “d.”

My computer isn’t working right in here. Though I’m in Funny’s post-building function and it seems to be working…nothing else is functioning. This post is up and the system is letting me type in it, but other pages are nonfunctional. So it remains to be seen whether any of this copy ends up on the Web.

Lordie!!! All these professional folks with tattoos! About every second or third staff member is covered in skin artwork!

Heh… My mother would have been SO abhorred!!!! She thought tattoos were low-class even on men. And on women? Well! It just wasn’t done!

Another thing that would have sent my mother into a spiraling tizzy is the price of gas!

It’s well over $5 a gallon here. Yesterday I did manage to fill up at a QT: a bargain $4.99!

Back in the Dark Ages — this would have been in the late 1960s or early 70s, I think — my mother once remarked, reflecting on the State of the World, That when gasoline reached a dollar a gallon, we would have soooooo-shal-ism!!!

My parent were right-wingers, Goldwater types. My father: even more extreme than that. I recall him sitting me down one day to lecture me about the virtues of bigotry. He was, as you might imagine, an extreme bigot: anyone who wasn’t white like him was less than fully human. Not only white, but American of English and German extraction.

Ironically, though…as we’ve mentioned elsewhere in these precincts, he was a quarter Choctaw.

Soooo….how it came to be that he hated anyone who wasn’t lily-white is a great mystery.

Cultural thing, I expect. It was probably just the way people who lived in rural Texas were.


It’s almost midnight. I think they’re going to spring me out of here pretty quick. One of the staff was in here collecting my insurance information.


A-N-N-N-D…I was right. The disease of the day IS Covid 19.

Holeee sheeut!

Wanted: Indiana Jones for Senior Consumers

One of the many joys (yes: that’s /s/) of aging is the attitude of Americans toward the elderly. This ranges from the nasty to the predatory: overall, Americans regard their older compatriots as idiots, negligible fools, and nuisances. One aspect of this is said to be that merchandisers all across the board target the elderly (when they notice us at all) for scams and rip-offs.

It’s true: they can and do pull the wool over your eyes more often and more easily, because older people tend to be more trusting. And if experience serves…that opinion appears to be true. I do not remember vendors, back in the day of my Misspent Youth, trying to cheat me, people trying to feed me ridiculous and obvious lines of bull, salespeople trying to overcharge me as a routine matter…and on and on.

The business with the junk refrigerator is a case in point. Nothing more has been heard from AMEX about that fiasco — one of the several “fun” chores on the slate for today is to call American Express and rattle their cage about that. Meanwhile, I need to buy another refrigerator — one that doesn’t keep me awake all night rattling and roaring…which will set me back another $1400.

It useta be… that when I wanted something, I would do the research on-line and in consumer publications; then go into a store and say I want this and this and this, and I do NOT want that and that and that. The sales person would appear to understand plain English, and s/he would show me this and this and this and NOT show me that and that and that.

Now that I’m Old, though…EXACTLY the opposite happens. Sales people seem to assume that I’m naive, stupid, and just plug-incompetent.

When, O dear merchandiser, when you insist on hustling me to buy something that is not what I asked for, and when I can see that what I asked for is right there on the floor, then I perceive that you’re trying to rip me off. (Yes: upselling me when I know exactly what I want IS a form of rip-off, thankyouverymuch.) And, my friends…that perception happens more and more often with every passing month of age. How can I count the ways that I’m sick & tired of nitwits trying to rip me off when they decide that because I’m old, I must be stupid?

At this point…seriously: I would be willing to pay a fee to someone who would go to the vendors in town to do the shopping I need to have done — I would PAY YOU to order a refrigerator for me. I would PAY YOU to buy me a new microwave. I would PAY YOU to take my car to the dealership, get it serviced, and repel all offers of unnecessary work. I would PAY YOU to get the plumbing fixed. Because even if I paid you for those things, I would save money…and also escape a great deal of aggravation and frustration.