Coffee heat rising

{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…

Did she…or didn’t she?

Sometimes in the wee hours of the morning, I find myself turning over the small (and large) mysteries of life. You know what I mean?

One of those mysteries is whether my mother deliberately committed suicide by smoking herself to death. It strikes me as a distinct possibility. But as is so often true, when one thinks about such a thing one encounters seven kinds of ambiguity.

She had a difficult life — one that might reasonably be expected to lead many of us to contemplate suicide.

Her mother was, shall we say, a bit “fast.” My mother was the woman’s second unwed pregnancy…I found out by accident that somewhere out there I have an unknown uncle. Ohhh well.

A custody fight ensued after this second unwanted birth. The father lived in Glen’s Falls, then a tiny farming town in upstate New York. The mother’s family lived in the San Francisco Bay area. The case was argued in front of a court in Glen’s Falls, where the father’s relatives pretty much owned the place. Not surprisingly, custody was given to the paternal grandparents, wasting a trip East and a lot of money for the San Francisco set.

My mother’s earliest memory was of her mother packing up a little red kiddie wagon and sending her off to live with her grandparents — telling her to walk to the paternal manse, dragging the wagon behind her.

So she grew up on a farm in rural upstate New York, evidently working as the family serving girl. She spoke of hanging the carpets on clotheslines each spring and pounding the dirt out, of having to wash the soot off the kerosene lanterns every day, and of the family canning kitchen garden vegetables and setting eggs to keep in big barrels over the winter. And of how cold it was in the outhouse in the wintertime. And of the time snowdrifts came up to the second-story windows and her grandfather had to dig a tunnel so they could get out of the house.

About when my mother reached her teens, the grandmother developed diabetes. In those days, there was no such thing as insulin. They tried to control the symptoms with what apparently was a pretty bizarre diet…and a pretty ineffectual one. When her grandmother died, she was at last sent to live with the maternal grandparents, who lived in Berkeley.

For my mother, this was a fortuitous development. Suddenly she was riding on streetcars and buses — conveyances she had never seen before. She once remarked on how utterly amazed she was to find you could turn on the lights in a room by flipping a wall switch.

But as arrangements go, living with the mother’s family also had its peculiarities. These folks were Christian Scientists. They never went to doctors. Period. They would go to dentists — provided no pain-killing chemicals were applied — but medical doctors were verboten.

Meanwhile, the mother had apparently continued to cat around. It was, after all, the Roaring Twenties, and you may be sure the nicey-niceness that infected her sister and her mother did not affect her. My uncle once remarked, in passing, that “Olive marched to a different drummer.”

Heh! I guess!!

She married — apparently a pretty nice guy — and unloaded him. And continued to enjoy the Roaring Twenties as a flapper.

Not surprisingly, eventually she developed a reproductive malignancy — she believed God was punishing her for all the abortions she’d had. On her female relatives’ advice, she delayed going to a doctor until it was way too late to save her life. My mother, who by then apparently was in her mid-teens, nursed her through her grim final illness.

As a result, my mother was simply terrified of cancer. Seriously: it was almost a phobia.

Pack that away in the back of your mind.

***

Years passed. She married some guy. Divorced him. Married my father. Got dragged to Saudi Arabia, where we spent ten years in the hot sands by the Persian Gulf, basically imprisoned inside the chain-link fences of an American oil compound.

Came back to the States. Got three whole years in San Francisco (where she really wanted to live) while my father went back to sea.

Next: dragged to Southern California when my father quit that job and took up with another shipping company. Spent another three monotonous years there.

My father wanted nothing more than to retire, and he had decided that they would move to Sun City, Arizona, for the purpose. Neither of them knew anything about Arizona…but hey: it couldn’t be any worse than the Rub al’Khali, could it?

One morning when he was home from the boat and they were getting into their cups, he had the bright idea that if he could shoehorn me into college a year early — at this time I was a high-school junior — he could quit his job and they could move to their dream tract house in Sun City.

So, amazingly, they broke out the portable typewriter and sent a letter to the University of Arizona (they didn’t quite know where it was, vis à vis lovely Sun City, but hey: it’s all Arizona, right?) and proposed that since I was such a bright little kid the university should accept me a year early — in the fall of that year.

Even more amazingly, forthwith the admissions officer wrote back with Sure! Send her right along!

Holeee shee-ut.

So they yanked me out of high school, bought a house in the cotton fields to the west of Phoenix, and took off for Arizona.

Yay. So much for UC Berkeley, hm?

My mother was always an avid smoker. I hated the stink of cigarettes. But the parfum de burning tobacco was what graced our homes, wherever we happened to be. She smoked more and more as the months and years proceeded. One day I realized I could tell when she awoke in the morning, because before she even rolled out of the sack, she’d light up a cigarette.

Before she turned off the light at night, she puffed one last cigarette down to the filter. And before she lifted her head in the morning, she fired up another one.

In fact, there was almost never a time that she didn’t have a cigarette in her hand, except when she was shoving food in her face. When we went to a restaurant, she would smoke until the food was set on the table, smush it out to eat, and then light up again as soon as she finished her meal.

After I married and had my own home, I asked her to please not smoke inside my house. She threw a sh!t-fit in which she exclaimed, “I’m your mother and you can just put up with my smoking!”

No kidding! I remember the exact words to this day.

You understand: She knew. The Surgeon General’s report to the effect that smoking tobacco was proven to cause cancer came out in the late 1950s.

I remember the day, back in that decade, when she brought some friends home to our apartment in San Francisco. The subject of that report came up, and they exchanged skepticism about it. One PR stunt that had appeared on a national TV show entailed having a smoker take a puff on a cigarette and exhale into a white handkerchief. The result was a big brown spot.

They wondered if this trick was real.

So my mother trotted back to her bedroom and brought out a brand-spanking-clean, freshly ironed white handkerchief. In those days, a proper San Francisco woman carried a white handkerchief wherever she went.

They lit up a cigarette, one of them inhaled deep and puffed out dramatically into the hanky. And yup: left a big, dark brown filthy blot in the middle of the white cotton.

They all went “Isn’t that amazing” and laughed.

It took her another 18 years to smoke herself to death, but kill herself she did. She died in 1976, in agony, of cancer. On my birthday.

***

She was terrified of getting cancer. She knew smoking was a cause of cancer. She had seen the brown gunk just one puff of burning tobacco deposits in your lungs. And yet she continued to smoke. Not because she couldn’t quit. Because she wouldn’t try to quit. Not once, right up until the time she could no longer hold a lighter in her hand, not once did she make any effort at all to quit smoking.

If that isn’t deliberate, I’d like to know what it is.

Using CBD for Peripheral Neuropathy

A reader asks which of the various over-the-counter CBD nostrums available in some American states seem to work best against the depredations of peripheral neuropathy.

This has been my experience:

The only rub-on nostrums I’ve tried are things I’ve found at Sprouts.

Their CBD Oil seems to be the strongest (well…that I’ve found so far, anyway). But it’s messy — like smearing Mazola on your hands or legs. If you’re putting it on your feet, of course you can cover it with socks. I’ve put it on the palms of my hands, which tingle & sting like the dickens, but only right before I go to sleep … hoping not to accidentally rub it all over the sheets.

Sprouts has little jars of CBD balm and of CBD cream. The balm has the consistency of Vaseline. Again: messy…but it seems to be pretty effective. The cream is much like any hand cream or face cream. It also dulls the stinging/tingling/pain some, and it’s much less messy.

You can get a CBD lip balm at Sprouts. That stuff is very effective for the crazy-making tingling lips.

Also found something called “Hemp Travel Balm Plus CBD.” This comes as a rub-on stick very much like the lip balm, only the tube is wider and it’s clumsier to apply. I think this stuff is not as effective as the lip balm. But…nothing ventured…none of these products are gonna put you in the poor house.

Last time I was there I found a “lotion” that comes in a tube. It’s called Garden of Life CBD Intensive Recovery Lotion. Claims to have 800 mg CBD; and it’s THC-free (as I think all of these things are). It seems to work as a moisturizer and it also helps some with the tingling/stinging effect. I think it’s a little milder than CBD balm and cream in jars.

Another product altogether that seems to work on the crazy-making tingling/stinging/burning is extra-strength Benadryl cream. Since this does not contain the Magical Mystery Weed, you can find it in drugstores and grocery stores everywhere.

Of things you can swallow: so far the most effective pill I’ve tried is plain old aspirin.

You could combine an aspirin sparingly — maybe once a day — with an antihistamine pill. Because I’ve been trying to unclog the ears, I’ve been using Sudafed. Try this strategy sparingly — dunno about you, but some antihistamines have been known to knock me into the middle of next week. I wouldn’t try it for the first time before driving, and also be aware that some of the things can keep you awake half the night. But IMHO if you’re NOT tingling and stinging, “awake” is an improvement…

If you have legal head shops in your state, then it might be worth buying some CBD gummies. These are fundamentally CBD-laced gum drops. I’ve never seen them at Sprouts — here in Arizona they seem to be available only at head shops. A friend of mine put me onto them as a nostrum that helps you doze through the middle-aged sleeper’s 3 a.m. wake-up call. I have found these things help quite a lot that way. A-n-n-d…the other night I took a flying leap off the Quack’s Diving Board and tried one to see if it would work against the neuropathy. When the hands were having a tingling frenzy, I chewed up half of a gummy, to see what would happen…and I think it actually did help. But I’d also taken an aspirin an hour or so earlier, so it’s hard to know exactly what might have been going on there.

Bear in mind that I am not a doctor and this post does not constitute medical advice! If you have access to legalized pot products and decide to try them for your peripheral neuropathy, proceed with caution! Do not drive after using any CBD edible(!). Don’t combine them with any other drug — especially not alcohol. And don’t overdo it with any of this stuff.

For Nothing Happening…

…an awful lot has been going on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dayum!

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

😡😡😡😡

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

😡😡😡😡

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

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

Huh?: That’s never happened before!

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

“No, I need your Medicare card.”

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

“We have to have your Medicare card.”

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

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

Ohhhhhh sheeee-ut!

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

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

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

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

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

No. Make that right over my house!

Holy sh!t!

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

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

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

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

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

Get into the house.

Kitchen door is closed.

Call the dog.

No dog.

Grab a kitchen knife.

Call the dog.

No dog.

Head down the hallway toward the back of the house.

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

Call the dog.

No dog.

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

God obliges.

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

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

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

click click click click click…
Little dog toenails on tile

Out she emerges from her nest.

Whew!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

d) Pull out some more of my hair.

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

Scored my fix!

Ta DAAA! Just back from the neighborhood Albertson’s, where I scored the third and last Covid-19 fix. Couple days ago, I got the flu shot — also in those down-at-the-heels but relatively peaceful precincts. Wanted to wait until any soreness or crankiness from that wore off before subjecting myself to whatever the covid shot might do…which so far is…nothing.

Normally, I wouldn’t go into that Albertson’s on a bet. Ever since a panhandler chased me around the parking lot at a run, I’ve avoided it (Noooo….the Funny Farm is not located in the loveliest of all possible venues….why d’you ask?).

But a few days ago, I went into the Safeway to get this year’s flu shot — where I normally go for these things and for grocery items that can’t be had at a Costco, at a Sprouts, or at the fancy gourmet grocer down at Central & Camelback. It was the middle of the afternoon and there were six people in line ahead of me. After filling out an endlessly nosy form answering irrelevant questions that are strictly none of anybody’s business, I got in line outside the little room where they take their victims….uhhh, patients.

We stood. And we stood. And we stood. And we stood some more…. Not ONE person moved up in the line. Finally, after about fifteen minutes, I gave up and left.

Over to the Albertson’s. Hardly anyone in the store (not surprisingly). Just one merry Latino family ahead of me, with adorable and funny kids to keep all onlookers entertained. In there and outta there in less than ten minutes — all of us. The pharmacist is the one who gives the shots. He’s a real AFRICAN African — Somali, I’d guess, but possibly Ethiopian. A beautiful person upon which to rest one’s eyes, and a very, very nice man…a guy who can shoot you up with a vaccine without you even noticing it.

This visit evoked a moment of nostalgia: The single most beautiful human being I have ever seen an all of my 75-plus years was a Somali man who came to work for us while we were in Arabia. The Americans would hire local and immigrant workers — mostly Goanese, Pakistani, and Indians — to do housework. This guy was passing through, and somehow my mother hired him for a day or two of housewifely chores. His name was Musa. As he stood by the ironing board pressing clothes, I sat on the floor and played with my toys, watching him work.

He had come out of Africa across the Red Sea, and he had walked across the Rub al Khali to reach Ras Tanura, where he hoped to take ship and move on to some more desirable destination

Got that? Walked across the most gawdawful barren desert on the planet.

He was so handsome that he truly was beautiful: that is the only word for his appearance. He looked like an exquisitely realistic sculpture carved out of ebony, the blackest Black man you’ve ever seen. I was only about eight or ten years old, and so was not at an age to have developed any appreciation of the natural aesthetics of the human body. So you can imagine how striking he must have been.

Well, this pharmacist, while handsome enough (I guess), was not drop-down gorgeous like Musa. But he was every bit as spectacularly ebony. I imagine he or his forebears must have come from the same part of the world, at some point along the line.

Or…who knows? Maybe Musa made it across the Middle East, through Europe, and over the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe he landed on the shores beneath the Statue of Liberty, and maybe he built a family here. Maybe that pharmacist was Musa’s son or grandson!

Today’s the Day…

Yup: Today’s the day they chop off my nose.

Guess it’s better than chopping off my head.But…I wonder.

A lovely friend from church is going to schlep me out to the westside dermatologist’s office.It’s an hour’s drive out there, especially at this time of day: the far side of the rush hour. We will be trudging across the city until the cows come home… WAIT! It might be faster to harness Old Bossie to the wagon and ride out there behind her!

The traffic in this city is just gawdawful.Phoenix is L.A. redux, and I do not mean that in a flattering way.Everything you so love about the L.A. basin: dirty air, mobs and mobs of people, spaghetti tangles of freeways bumper to bumper with homicidal drivers, acre on acre on acre of ticky-tacky housing developments — much of those instant slums. Holee mackerel, what a place!

If my son didn’t live here, I would be SO gone by now.

To frost the cookies, something’s wrong with the valve in the center bathroom’s tub, so I couldn’t take a shower in there. This meant I had to use the shower in the back bathroom, which Satan — the house’s previous owner — lined with very handsome travertine tiles. Satan’s parting remark to me — in the last five seconds of the final walk-through — was “Oh! And by the way: this travertine has to be resealed every six months.”

Right. In a room smaller than the bedroom’s closet that has no ventilation.

So, I very rarely use that shower — turn the water on briefly now and again to keep the plumbing functional, but otherwise, as far as I’m concerned this houses has one (count it: 1) bathtub/shower….in the other bathroom.

But finding that one busted, now I was forced to shower in the travertine cave and then scrub the damn thing dry with microfiber rags from ceiling to floor and polish the effing clear glass sliding doors he put on there.

What the F*** possesses people???????

I was up at 3 a.m., and that despite having dropped a CBD gummie. VickyC swears the stuff keeps her asleep until dawn.I ain’t found that to be necessarily so… It’s better than being awake at 1 a.m., I guess.

Hmmm…. Those guys who bought the house across the street have got some new contractor in there…earlier this morning they were hauling big sections of ductwork in through the carport door. These are the new owners who had an insulation truck parked out there for three days pumping stuff, nonstop, into the house or its attic. It takes about four hours to blow insulation into the attic of one of these houses. So…wha?

I think they’re turning that house into a commercial property. It looks like they’re setting it up as a shop of some sort. And apparently no one is giving them any argument.

Of course, this tract is zoned residential. But since we’re close to the westside slums, our City Parents no doubt figure it doesn’t much matter how this neighborhood is trashed. I ought to call the city and suggest they send an inspector around…  But it’s not illegal to pour insulation into your attic and it’s not illegal to install new AC ductwork…though between you’n’me whatever that stuff is, it’s not built for air conditioning.

But…if they destroy the house by turning it into some kind of machine shop before the city finds out about it, it may be totally impractical to return it to residential use. Especially if whatever products they use in their business could leave toxic waste. That would make the place effectively unsaleable. According to Zillow, they paid $515,000 for it. How that compares to shop space in a commercial district, I do not know…but whaddaya bet it’s a lot less?

*****
SHE’S B-A-A-A-C-K!!!!!

And noooo…the procedure did NOT take six or eight hours, as advertised by those who do not know what they’re talking about. It did not even take four hours. It took just about an hour, beginning to end.

Those people over there are BEYOND amazing!

Now I have a fantastic Scar-Face Al incision…my plan is to go into the CU and say “gimme all the cash in the tills or you’ll look just like me!”  😀

Seriously: their team was just incredibly great. They figure it’ll heal up in about three weeks or so. NONE of the horror shows that our friends have promised occurred. And yes, I could have driven home…not only, contrary to Margie’s experience, did they NOT enough pile giant wads of gauze & crap over the nose to so’s you couldn’t wear your glasses, they didn’t pile any bandages on at all. There’s a terrifying set of stitches (can’t wait to go to the park and scare small children!)…they said it would be swollen for a few days, but the only thing I need to do to care for it is dab some Vaseline on.

Well, they sent several pages of instructions home, but I think the gist of that was “please don’t do stupid stuff” and “keep the damn thing dry.”

I should go over to the Safeway to pick up the RX they supposedly sent. But knowing pharmacies in our part, it probably won’t be there. And I SURE don’t feel like driving around right now.