Coffee heat rising

A Balmy Evening…

…for the balmy, that is…  At 7:10 p.m. the thermometer on the back porch reads 109 degrees.

Hey! Ya can’t shovel heat!

Nary a sign of the summer rainstorms known in these parts as “monsoons.”

But it’s still a bit early for them. I think of monsoon as an August phenomenon. F’rhevvinsake, it’s only July 17.

These are the times that make the humans think 12 months of swimming-pool expenses are soooooo worth it! 😀 Into the drink this afternoon. Hop out. Shampoo hair in the hose. Return to the shack’s interior, where the AC system labors to hold the temp (in the coolest part of the house: the hallway) down to 80.

What a day!

Started with Ruby flushing Ratty out of the marjoram bed. Dayum! She almost caught the poor critter!

Later on: the Great Termite Project.

Exterminator came by. He didn’t think the infestation was too bad…yet. He sprayed the little gals where they were evident, and then laid down one helluva barrier all around the house’s foundation. I decided we should have him come back at regular intervals to harass the critters. Whenever the weather cools some, I’ll try to get him up into the attic (you’d have to be suicidal to go up there in this heat!). He didn’t think the girls have invaded there yet…he did show me where he believes them to be, and provided a pretty convincing argument to that effect.

We didn’t see the much-beloved Pool Dude this morning — Monday is his day to come around. We probably missed him while we were indulging in the dawn doggy-walk. The pool is positively pristine this evening, which it assuredly would NOT be, in this heat, had he not surfaced at some point today.

Wait, I know how to tell: did he retrieve the new pump pot filter basket I bought?


Whoa!!! He did NOT!

Holee mackerel! That means His Cuteness never surfaced here today!

He must have had car trouble. Or the world collapsed on his head.

Fortunately, he’s done such a killer job on maintenance over the past few months that the damn thing looks clear and clean. So from a selfish point of view, that’s good. But..gosh…  I hope he’s OK…

Back to the subject of infestation: The roof rats are back.

One of them was actually brave enough this morning to shoot right across in front of me.

Cute little fellas. Too bad they carry such nasty diseases. Too bad they do rather more damage than one would like to cope with.

So I set out the traps. When last checked, they were no more successful than they’ve been in the past. But…that was checking their daytime performance. We shall see, come morning, how they worked during our little tenants’ night-time maneuvers.

Awwwww crapola: Cop copters buzzing around overhead.

Check that all the doors are locked. And…hooleee shee-ut! The front screen was NOT locked.

Ohhh well. Now we’re barricaded in: two deadbolts engaged on every exterior door.

Four-legged rats. Two-legged rats. Six-legged rats. What a place we live in!

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!

RIP, Charley the Golden Retriever

CharleyThe white retriever, actually. Charley was a breeder’s fancified version of a golden: a typical furry golden, but with all white hair.

Charley passed on to his furry fathers yesterday. He had a congenital ailment called megaesophagus, and it finally killed him.

That, and age. I believe he was 12 years old, a very long life for such a large and overbred dog. I remember thinking, when M’hijto got him, that he’d probably live about nine years. He outlived Cassie the Corgi and he outlived my guess. So he did pretty well for himself.

What next, I know not. My son is not speaking to me over the phone…partly, I expect because he doesn’t feel up for speaking and partly because during the weekdays he’s on the phone nine hours a day, working out of his home office for an insurance company that, recognizing the enormous savings occasioned by accommodation to the pandemic, announced they were closing their Arizona offices and henceforth everyone would be working from home. So now he manages a crew of insurance adjusters over the phone.

Can you imagine? I can’t…thank goodness I was born 30 years too soon!

Meanwhile, I wonder what the guy will do next, in the canine companion department.

If it were me, I would pause before investing another large pile of dough in an overbred pup.

If you want a certain breed, the local Humane Society has just about any breed your heart desires, at a vastly reduced price. Problem is, you have no idea what’s happened to the dog during its existence, and how it’s likely to behave now. But…that’s where I got Cassie the Corgi, who was just about the best dog I’ve ever had.


Meanwhile, speaking of dogs and that which we miss…  Ruby has been on the lookout for Pool Dude since about 7:00 this morning. Nary a sign of him.

It is Monday, right? {checks computer calendar}  Yep. He should’ve been here three hours ago.

Seriously: she knows when it’s Monday. Exactly how she knows escapes me. I don’t unlock the gate (he has a key). I don’t yammer at her that Pool Dude is on the way. She just knows.

The pool needs some attention…like, right now. I did clean out the skimmer basket (chuckablock full of leaves and palm tree debris) and the pump pot basket. But have neither the gear nor the products on hand to refurbish the chemicals, so if he doesn’t show up in a day or so, we’re gonna have a green pool.

So. I guess whenever I finish scribbling this blog post — i.e., right about now — I’m gonna have to get off my duff, trot a bottle of pool water up to the favored Leslie’s store, get it tested, and buy some chemicals for this week’s water-balancing act.

That, o’course, will risk missing the guy, which means I’ll have to re-test the water when I get back.

And in the meantime, I’ll also have to track down some references to a new Pool Dude.


nothin’ else to do with my time, eh?

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?


coughity cough
coughity cough
coffity cough
cough cough COUGH cough cough cough….

The song of the day… 😮

I’ve been living on aspirin and Robitussin for longer than I can remember now. Fortunately, though, I don’t HAVE to remember. In a blinding stroke of foresight (how DID i know i would not be able to remember my name, much less when i took the last dose of pain-killer or cough med?), I set up an Excel spreadsheet to record when I gulp down this med or spray that med into my nose.

Good thing, because this damned covid virus affects your brain. I couldn’t remember my name if it weren’t written down somewhere. (But…where???)  Seriously: there’s no way in Hell I could keep track of the med-gulping without writing it down.

The Mayo’s staff diagnosed me with Covid on May 16. So this has been going on for over a month, with no credible end in sight.

Well. No. That’s not quite true. With mind-boggling genius, I started taking notes in that spreadsheet, recording the state of the Onion and the progress of the Disease. And adding any bits of information I happen to come across. Review those notes,and you see that in fact this thing is getting a LITTLE bit better, very very verrrreeee slowly. At the crack of today’s dawn:

Date Time Temp Meds Ailments
19-Jun 6 a.m. 97.7 Robitussin Mild cough
CBD cream itching hands, feet (milder than y’day)
Tingling about the same as y’day, maybe slightly better
8:00 a.m. aspirin Back pain mild, seems to be going away

WordPress resists any attempts to tidy up Excel’s formatting…sorreee. I’m just too sick to fight with a computer program this morning!

Hmmmm… The fever has gone away: 97.7 is normal for me, being the cold fish that I am. One of the most aggravating symptoms of the Ailment is FRANTIC tingling in your hands, feet, and lips. This is called peripheral neuropathy, and it is truly crazy-making. A little experimentation revealed, however, that over-the-counter CBD nostrums work handsomely on the phenomenon. Unscented CBD balm — comes in a tube that looks like Chapstick on steroids — beats back the lip tingling. And unscented CBD lotion keeps the buzzing in the extremities at bay.

This, of course, means you need to reside in a state where CBD products can be sold legally.

Robitussin and aspirin, though, should be available wherever you are in the US.

Lanacane and Aspercreme, both presumably legal anywhere in the nation, do exactly nothing for the peripheral neuropathy.

Apparently, the reason I’m not in the Mayo’s ICU just now is that I had the good sense to get ALL THREE shots of covid vaccine at the earliest opportunity. Otherwise — given my gruesome susceptibility to respiratory diseases — chances are good that I’d be on a ventilator. Or dead…

So, if you haven’t taken the covid vaccine, GET IT NOW! Do not buy into the superstitious nonsense about the vaccine. It will not kill you. It will not make you sick. It will not turn your hair green. But it will protect you from developing a life-threatening case of this hellacious disease.

Meanwhile, despite repeated evidence of the truth of the old axiom, “Whatever can go wrong WILL go wrong,” things are as under control as they can get. I guess.

* Ruby has apparently not caught the disease (yet), even though dogs are susceptible to it and even though there’s no hope in Hell of keeping her from sleeping on the bed with me.

* Swimming Pool Service and Repair came out last Friday and made off with the pool pump. They said it would take three days or so to fix it. So I hope their guy will resurface (heh) along about Wednesday.

* Pool Dude has disappeared from the scene. Whether he also has The Disease (a strong likelihood) or whether he got peeved when he discovered I’d arranged someone else to fix the equipment is unknown. I hope he comes back — the man has been a godsend. But if he doesn’t, well…I’ll just post a query on the neighborhood Facebook page, asking after some other service.

Don’t think SPS&R does regular weekly maintenance. If they do, they’d be charging some phenomenal rate…don’t even ask!  However, I’ve found a new Leslie’s outlet, and the guy who runs it does NOT behave like a vulture. So if Pool Dude disappears from the scene, I’ll go over there and ask for the name of a customer or two.

* Today is Cleaning Lady Day. Just now Luz should be at WonderAccountant’s house, across the street, though the last time I walked by the front windows I didn’t see her car out there.

Two weeks ago — last C.L. Day — I turned her away, because I surely do NOT want her to catch this thing. The shack really needs to be cleaned now. So…this does not bode well. I hope she hasn’t come down with the the covid horror.


Hmmm….  WonderAccountant thinks the Beloved Luz  arrives HERE around 9 and then goes to her place. I think the opposite. Ohhh well…


And speak of the Devil…by golly, there she is.

Well, this is good. BUT….  I’m not real comfortable about exposing her to The Disease. Just explained to her that I’m Infected and so she does not have to clean the house today. Offered to pay her for this week’s job and let her go on her way. She declined.

Another day, another cuppa coffee…

Ohhhh-kayyyy…. Let’s see if WordPress will give us sane formatting today, or whether we have to jangle up our honored Web guru and make him crazy with whatEVER is going on.

Not that we’re not already crazy enough with whatever is going on. Do you still have the temerity to read the news? If so, how exactly DO you retain your grip on your marbles?

Here we are, busily charging a former (if incompetent, yes) president of the United States with THIRTY-SEVEN felony counts of what is basically a treasonous act. Oh, gooood….  Moving on (surely there must be someplace to move on to??)…

Meanwhile, the Republican Party worries that the Presidential Fiasco will come back to haunt them. Guys…if you didn’t want to have to handle a mess, why did you put a mess in the White House? 😀

We have our Native American brethren being (once again) madly ripped off by yet another huge Belagana scheme: hundreds of Navajo being exploited…and God only knows how many members of other tribes.

The Ukrainians are beating the bedoodles out of the Russians. That’s nice…I guess. Be careful who you pick a fight with next time, Vlad baby!

Our brats aren’t buying enough booze to support profits in the concert industry. Awwww….


Enough of that, already! Quite enough to prove that WordPress’s paragraph-break function is working again.


Meanwhile, as we discovered yesterday, the pool is decidedly NOT working. Swimming Pool Service & Repair’s guy surfaced (heh!) yesterday evening and made off with the pump. He figures it’ll take them about three days to fix it and get it back over here.

So far, the water hasn’t turned green. He said not to fuss with it: if algae starts to grow, just take a gallon of chlorine and walk around the pool’s perimeter, slowly dribbling the stuff in.

Ugh! Chlorine: not my favorite choice of drinks…. 😮


Dawdled wayyyyyyyyy too long to get out the door for Ruby’s morning doggy-walk. It is spectacularly hot and humid out there by 7:00 a.m. And the Doggy Jamboree was in full swing by the time we reached the Richistans.

Ruby wants to clear the earth of other dogs, a little characteristic of which other dog owners seem utterly oblivious. While I’m trying to keep my dog from eviscerating theirs, they’re cooing ohhhh don’t worry! they just wanna playyyyy! 

How does a species with so many stump-dumb stupid members manage to survive?

Ninnies of this sort had permeated the Richistans, so we doubled back and walked through the tract of 1960s ranch houses just to the north of ours.

Man! You do not even want to KNOW how much it must cost to air-condition those old piles. In the 1950s and 60s, power was not very expensive here. Consequently, houses and office buildings were never built with effective insulation…often not with any insulation at all. My son’s house, which is of that vintage, just about bankrupts him in the summertime, even when he jacks up the thermostat and has big floor fans blasting in every room.

Once the back yard…now the back porch of the back porch!

I remember my parents’ house in Sun City, each of whose walls was built of one layer of slump block. Period. Didn’t even have a slab of drywall inside, to pretty it up. Put your hand on one of those walls and you’ll burn yourself.

But…in those days, people didn’t stay in Phoenix over the summer. Without a doubt, Del Webb assumed his hordes of retirees would all drive back to Michigan and stay there in their RV’s between May and October. And many of those folks do. SDXB, who now lives in Sun City, does in fact clear out of the Valley for as long as he can, every summer.

My parents didn’t. They’d had their fill of living out of suitcases and driving back and forth across the country, what with my father’s Merchant Marine job and living in lovely Saudi Arabia. And yeah: that house got pretty hot in the summer. My mother jacked that AC so it never went off at any time of the day or night.

Here’s their house, photos taken during the last time it was on the market. It’s much modernized…didn’t have a dishwasher when we lived there, for example. The original screened porch along the back of the house has been enclosed, adding a nice dose of extra square footage to have to air-condition. They’ve laid down some reasonably decent tilework on all the floors– we had ugly carpets throughout.

My father! Just makes me cringe to look at this place and remember what he went through as my mother lay dying in one of those bedrooms.

That poor man. He worked SO hard, all of his life, just to build a comfortable, care-free retirement for them. And how thrilled he was to find Sun City! Boyboyboy: “no brats hollering outside your bedroom window when you’re trying to take a nap!”


Meanwhile, all the time my father was working like a mule, my mother was smoking herself to death. And what a way to go: just freakin’ hideous!

After he had “retired,” happily moved the two of them to a ghetto for old folks, and ensconced me in the University of Arizona (he got me into college a year early, for his convenience), his investments crashed. He’d put everything in insurance securities, which went down the tubes just a year or two after he had retired and deposited us in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. He lost his shirt and had to go back to work, to restore at least some of his retirement savings. I can’t even imagine how horrible that must have been for him. All his life he drudged away so that he could retire at the earliest possible moment and live happily ever after with his bride.

Who, we might add, really was the love of his life.

For his trouble, he got to attend her as she stumbled off to the Next World. And a mighty gawdawful trip that was.

As soon as she died — literally within days — he bought himself into Orangewood, a life-care community in the North Central district of Phoenix. It was ideal for him, because he was accustomed to institutional living and in fact liked it. My mother had refused to go, because a cramped little hole in a warehouse for old folks was not where she wished to spend the last years of her life.

Little did she know how few years she had…

Oh well. Forthwith he moved himself over there. And honestly, I think he would have been very happy at Orangewood had he not been instantly snabbed by the witch who seduced and married him. What a harridan! He didn’t know that until it was too late, though. Upshot: the last few years of his life were pretty damned miserable.

Keep that in mind: when you get old, don’t be in any hurry to lock yourself into a marriage. Nobody cares whether some old buzzard is living in sin with some old bat!

That house is lookin’ mighty good now — or at least, it was when those photos were taken. They enclosed the carport — which was on the west side of the building. Another layer of block plus a large space of empty air (garage) would cut the heat level in that living room, very nicely. They also enclosed the back screen porch, much enlarging the indoor living space.

And they added a dishwasher — my mother never had a dishwasher, in all the time she lived with my father…thirty-some years. All nice new appliances, very good. Ceiling fans: good. Those room air conditioners would have made it a LOT more comfortable for her…really, when you come down to it, it’s kind of odd they didn’t think of that. But then again, maybe not: they bought central air-conditioning to have central air-conditioning, after all. The bathrooms are basically the same, no doubt with updated fixtures. That gawdawful Pepto-Bismol pink tile in the back bathroom was the height of style when they moved in!

Really, if there just weren’t SO many unhappy memories associated with that place, right now today I would seriously consider buying it.