Coffee heat rising

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!

Stop the World…..

Developed a fine sore throat during the night. And a keep-you-awake-till-dawn cough. Just got back from a junket to the corner Walgreen’s, where I grabbed a bottle of Robitussin DM.

Tbe generic stuff that was in the medicine closet last night did exactly nothing to soothe the hacking. Or much of anything else.

Today the bark has subsided pretty well, but I have a sore throat from Hell.

Can’t gag a whole aspirin down, so much does the throat hurt. So I had to cut it into quarters and choke down each quarter with an unwelcome swiggle of nasty-tasting Phoenix water. Yech.

I do hope this isn’t a strep throat!

So here we are at the Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest — to wit, the Internet, first recourse of the neurotic. CDC says these fine symptoms typify strep throat:

  • Fever:  Nope
  • Pain when swallowing: Yep!
  • Sore throat that can start very quickly and may look red: Yep
  • Red and swollen tonsils: Sorta
  • White patches or streaks of pus on the tonsils: Not that I can see
  • Tiny, red spots on the roof of the mouth, called petechiae (pronounced pi-TEE-kee-eye): Nope.
  • Swollen tonsils. Who knows? How much time do you spend in front of a mirror gazing at the reflection of your freakin’ tonsils?
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the front of the neck: Not much

Hmh. Soooo…I’m hoping it’s “just” (heh!) a virus.

Awful, awful night. Coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed and coughed. CDC says symptoms do NOT include cough…so, paradoxically, the night of hacking is sorta positive.

I guess.

Problem is, I get preternaturally sick with bugs that make most people, apparently, only mildly ill. The next time some idiot says to me “ohhhh, it’s just a little cold,” I swear I’m gonna brain them.

That “just a little cold” does NOT  apply to me, most of the time. This one, given how much the throat hurts as compared with previoius experience, is gonna lay me out flat for a good week or ten days, and leaving me coughing and gasping for breath for about a month.

The Walgreen’s down at the corner of Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South changed hands about a year ago. WHAT an improvement!! That place really was a dump — you had to dodge a phalanx of panhandlers to get in the door. Now there’s not a single sponger pestering you between your car and the door. They totally cleaned the place up inside. Where before it was dingy and depressing, it’s now brightly lit, clean-looking, and well organized. THANK YOU, whoever bought the place.

It’s across the street from the Albertson’s supermarket, which has a full-service pharmacy…attached to a gigantic grocery store. So one wonders WHY people would go to that Walgreen’s, when you not only can get your Rx there, you can also pick up a cartful of groceries. WhatEVER: lots of folks were there. A long line extended back from the cash register by the door. Luckily, they let me buy the cough med at the pharmacy counter, so I didn’t have to stand and stand and stand.

That’s something.

I guess.

Gaaaahhhh! Wouldntcha know it?

Well… Of course you’d know it. We all know it:

Computers Crash.

And when do they crash?


When you’re tired.

When you hurt all over.

When you most need the damn thing.

When you least feel like farting with the damn thing…

WHY is that?

Fortunately, I have a subscription to Best Buy’s “TotalTech” service. That lash-up, by the way, is worth the price in spades! Three times I’ve had to call those guys out here. They show up at the house and they bang around and fiddle around and actually FIX the damn thing. Without me having to unplug stuff and tote it up to a shop. Need to call them now — it’s 7:15 p.m., but they claim to be reachable 24/7. We shall see, in a few minutes.

The thing is reloading now…sorta…at the speed of a snail swimming through a bowl of honey. I’m hoping if it can be forced to reboot, it’ll kick back on. But…well…don’t have much hope.

The machine is a certifiable antique. A very, VERY old iMac. I use it mostly as a TV set — that’s what I tried to rev it up for this evening: to watch PBS News. Looks like that ain’t going to happen.

For ordinary computing tasks — word processing, Excel, cruising the Web, and whatnot — I use a newer MacBook. Even that’s getting pretty old now. But it still works, and I like it because I can loaf in a comfortable chair or on the bed while playing on the Web. Mostly the iMac serves as Command Central — a number of tasks that keep both machines online and operating run through that thing — and to amuse myself while I’m standing in that room ironing clothes. Plus it has to be turned on for the printer to work. No iMac, no printing from the MacBook.

Okay, it sllllllooooooowwwwwwlllleeeee arrived at the end of the black reboot bar…and now seems to be hung there. Am I going to shut down and try to turn it back on?

Don’t you just KNOW this is gonna mean I have to to buy a new iMac, to the tune of how many berzillion bucks?  And since I’ve about shut down the editing business, that adventure won’t even be tax-deductible. Helle’s Belles!


Okay, got it to turn off — with some difficulty. Now to wait for…oh, say…five minutes or so and then try to turn it back on. Har har! good luck with that, eh?

The timer looks kinda peaked…probably out of battery juice. How do I NOT feel like tracking down batteries,  IF the stash still contains any that fit in that thing…

… …

… … …

And now it’s sorta rebooting, or trying to: verrrrrrrrrrrrreeeee sllllloooooooollllleeeeeee

Yea verily, my guess would be it’s not gonna reboot.

Oh damn oh hell…now am I gonna have to buy a new computer, on top of all the other mechanical headaches?

Its little reboot bar is c-r-r-a-a-w-w-w-l-i-i-i-n-n-n-n-n-g-g-g-g-g-g across the screen. Silently, ever silently. My guess is that if the thing reboots, it won’t be in our lifetime.

Set the timer for five minutes. If it hasn’t rebooted by then, I’ll call TotalTech (24 hours! Even at 7:30 on a Friday night!) and try to get somebody over here.

In the Berzillion Bucks Department, the refrigerator that AMEX extracted, for free, from the sleazy B&B Appliances outfit, while less than optimal, IS running.

Five Minutes Later

Still crawwwwwwwllllliiiing. But it’s sllllooooowwwwwwwllleeee nearing the end of the reboot bar. Better wait another five or ten minutes to see if it gets there and, if so, what happens then.

How do I hate this computer stuff? Lemme count the ways…

Believe it or not, back in the heady days of the infant IBM PCs, I used to be highly techie. For the time, that is.

But the techie stuff left me behind. Truth to tell, I just lost interest in it. So in very little time — a matter of months, really, I was in the dust.

And never felt much desire to crawl out of the dust, truth to tell.

Okay, let’s play a game of Klondike Solitaire on the MacBook, then go in the other room, shut down, and try to reboot the iMac come Hell or High Water.

You know and I know that will cause the damn thing to crash in flames, right?

Well. Believe it or not, thanks to American Express I have a functioning, relatively quiet refrigerator…flat-out FREE.

AMEX made the sleazy B&B Appliances refund my money, 100%. Not long afterward — a day or so — the weird noises ceased and the fridge started to work normally. It’s still obviously a rip-off: you can tell it was damaged and broken in several places, which they tried to cover up. BUT…it does work. So…that would mean there’s no need to run right out and drop $850 to $1,000 on another refrigerator. Especially since I’ll be dropping that much or more on a new computer.

Half-an-hour or 40 minutes later…

Endlessly on the phone with the Best Buy “geeks.” The soonest they can send a tech over to work on the thing is the 22nd.  That’s five days from now.

Five days in which I cannot print anything…because for reasons that I’ve never been able to figure out, the printer will talk ONLY with the desktop iMac. It won’t print anything from the laptop unless the desktop is turned on AND working.


Ohhhh well! at least they are gonna come over, and I don’t have to drag the damn desktop in to the store and try to explain the problem.

To perfect this predicament, next week I have a “virtual appointment: with MayoDoc. Cripes! If anything happens to the laptop, I’m not going to be able to do that…and knowing the way things have been going — whatever can go wrong will go wrong — you may be damn sure that the laptop will go on the fritz that very morning.

Best Buy’s “Total Tech” crew cannot be beat…at least so far, in my experience. Those guys have been great. I could do without having to wait the better part of a week (that’s unusual: they usually show up the next day), but since I’ve shucked off the clients, there’s no real need to HAVE to have a functioning printer right this minute. My son will print anything crucial, I’m sure. WonderAccountant, who’s across the street, might do it in a pinch…if I can work up the nerve to ask her. But by and large, nothing urgent has to be done.

Which reminds me…we DO have a new (if cheapo) printer stashed in there…if push comes to shove, I can ask the guy to connect that. Probably won’t produce copy that looks as classy, but it will produce…something. Probably. Maybe.

Over to Lowe’s this afternoon to look at LG refrigerators. Those seem to be the highest-rated of the whole lot. And yes, Lowe’s does have LGs, and by golly, they have one that is exactly what I want! A stripped-down model: top freezer, bottom fridge, each with one door (not two), $900.

Having been bopped about the head and shoulders over the Great Refrigerator Purchase, this time I refrained from whipping out the charge card. But think in a day or two I’ll probably go over there and buy one.

It’s a challenge to my cheap-skateitude! The evil local dealer’s unit is working reasonably well now. It’s noisier than I’d like, but not so much as to keep you awake all night. And thanks to American Express, I’ve got it essentially for free! They refused to take it back (they’re not kidding about their “no returns” policy) and AMEX refuses to pay them. So that leaves the thing in my kitchen.

On the one hand, I’d like never to see it again (to say nothing of never to hear it again…), but on the other…hey: what we have here is, when you come right down to it, a free refrigerator.

  • Is it brand-new? Probably not.
  • Does it have a few dents? Yep.
  • Has it likely seen some repair work? No doubt.
  • But does it work? Sure does….

So…to the cheapskate mind, it just seems downright foolish to replace it with a $900 unit.

3:30 a.m.

A-n-n-d…to make things perfect, it looks like a long-ago, potentially life-threatening infection is recurring. I should get in the car and start driving…driving…driving out to the Mayo. But…forgodsake.

Not. Now.

on and on and endlessly on….

Electronic Run-arounds in the Wild New Year

Well, if starters are any clue, it looks like 2023 is gonna be one helluva year. We have…

  • a monster blizzard blasting away at most of the country, which has…
  • blocked air traffic and no doubt much of the highway traffic nationwide…
  • Covid resurgent in China, which has obligingly reopened its borders(!)…
  • a major storm bearing down on Northern California, whose residents by and large do not know what is meant by the term “major storm”…
  • starving refugees from garden spots like Rohynga
  • a pair of tourists stroll out across a frozen lake in northern Arizona, fall through the ice, and drown (what is it about Arizona that reduces tourists to morons?)
  • a-n-n-n-d…on the micro-level: my jaw hurts, possibly dislocated

It’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow, with temps in the 50s — which here in the low desert is passing crisp.

Naturally, whenever you need to talk with a doctor, it’s ALWAYS a weekend or a holiday. Called the dentist’s office. Got a runaround. He was supposed to call me back. Nary a word…probably because he’s calling from a blocked area code. My phone is set to block calls from several of the area codes around Maricopa County, where I know no one and which are regularly spoofed by nuisance phone solicitors to disguise pestering phone calls.

So: electronic runarounds of the day #1 and #2: jump through hoop jump through hoop jump through hoop to finally get a human at the doctor’s office, and then get told he’ll call me back…which doesn’t happen, probably because I’ve had to disable part of my own phone system to block the nonstop barrage of phone solicitation.

Next: I need some more nose spray — the stuff that actually works, to wit: Afrin.

Big Brother wishing to protect us from ourselves, you can no longer buy Afrin in a sane size. You get half an ounce from any purveyor at Amazon. (Why? Because if you overdo the stuff, you just make your nose stuffier than it already was. Since you’re too stupid to grasp that concept, Big Brother must take it out of your sticky little hands…)

So any time now I do need to get off my duff and traipse over to the Albertson’s or the Walgreen’s and buy some more of the damn stuff. And…how can I count the ways I do NOT want to go out in the traffic, dodge fellow homicidal drivers, dodge stoned bums, dodge panhandlers for the privilege of buying enough nose spray to unclog my damn head???

This is likely to turn into another runaround, because you can be sure one or the other of those stores no longer carries the gunk at all. AND you can be sure that whichever store I enter first, that’s the store that doesn’t carry it anymore. Yep.


Woo HOO!

Wrongola! The journey down to the bum-infested corner was a success! Not only did the corner Walgreen’s NOT have any bums standing at the door (someone new bought the franchise and apparently decided to clean the place up a bit), but they DID have Afrin in a full one-fluid-ounce size!!!!

A miracle.

That’ll last me at least a year or two. I’m thinking maybe I’d better buy another bottle or two, because dontcha just KNOW this is the last we’ll see of that stuff…  Two more squirt bottles of that size would probably last me to the end of my life.

Hungry. The other day I (stupidleeee!) bought a microwaveable package of something billed as macaroni and cheese. Ohhhkayyy…

NOW, I figure, is the time to heat that stuff up. Num num, eh?

Well, no.

NEVER is the time to heat that stuff up.


What on EARTH is the matter with Americans that we eat the sh!t you can buy off grocery shelves???

Ugh. Macaroni and cheese that was absolutely, positively devoid of flavor.

Who eats this stuff?


After a few icky bites, I threw the whole thing out.

You — yeah, you, dear reader: you’re presumably American, right? Or more or less so?  Do YOU eat crap like that? WHY?

For less than the amount of time it took to drive to the grocery store, I could have condescended to make myself…you know…an actual sandwich. With real cheese on it. And a real tomato on the side. I could have fired up the barbecue and tossed on a slab of steak, a hamburger, or a chunk of chicken. And a fistful of asparagus spears, doused in olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

Why, really, do we sacrifice edibility for what we imagine to be convenience?

Cruising back into the’Hood… The homeless folks were resting in the bus stop’s covered bench. None of them seemed to be hitting up passers-by, probably because there were no passers-by — the locals having grown wise to the ecology in those parts. One of them had what looked like an iPhone, but it might have been a cheaper smartphone of some other brand.

Before we squawk YOW!! I CAN’T AFFORD ONE OF THOSE THINGS, in fact, they don’t afford them The local social services provide them, free, to the certifiably homeless. Yes, it would be significantly cheaper for the taxpayer to provide flip phones that could be used to dial around. But WTF. There must be better things to complain about. Somewhere.

Still. I do wish someone would pay my T-Mobile bill, so as to make using my cell phone free…



Still Struggling to Get Back

Wow! Despite trying to reconstitute Funny a week or three ago, I’ve drifted away again. Seems like life has devolved into one hassle after another hassle after another hassle after another.

Got an appointment this noon at the Mayo. Fortunately, it’s at the campus in Phoenix, not the one way to He!! and gone out on the far side of Scottsdale, halfway to Payson. But it’s still a long drive, most practically done over a hectic freeway where, if your car breaks down, you’re pretty much screwed. Yes, I do have a cell phone, but I hate the things and have one helluva time trying to make it work. So…if the Tank craps out, today will be even more unpleasant than it’s already slated to be.

LOL! It’s already started out on the wrong…uhm…foot(?). Needed to print out the instructions the Mayo sent  — a trick, since they sent it via their obnoxious “Portal” lash-up, whose documents will not print out from my system, meaning I had to copy and paste the thing into Word, then print it on my machine, which hung and refused to be unhung. leading to an hour of farting with computer equipment. It’s now 7:30, my nerves are on edge, I haven’t had anything to eat, the dog hasn’t been walked, the supposedly “fixed” tooth in my upper jaw that seems to have caused an eye cyst hurts (yes: did you know that dental work can cause a cyst in your eye???), and I wanna bite someone. Already I’ve had so many sh!t-fits the poor little dog is hiding under the toilet.

Boyoboy, how i do NOT wanna spend the afternoon at the Mayo being tortured?!? These tests are going to take four hours! At the end of which, you may be sure, they’re gonna say they can’t figure anything out. Because…well: because. That’s the way things go, eh?


Y’know, when IBM first brought us the PC, I was an enthusiastic early adapter. But….

Today, I’m coming to hate computers. And not hate them….

Admittedly, I spend most of my conscious hours online. If I’m not reading news or cruising the Internet, I’m playing games. Endlessly, pointlessly, time-wastingly playing games.

And really: CAN you think of a worse way to spend the last few years of your life? Seriously?

Not much time is left to me, yet here I am, wasting it diddling with stupid, pointless, meaningless, eye-glazing online games. And Quora. And Facebook.

What else could I be doing? 

Well, not much that’s any more meaningful, come to think of it.

At this time of year, I could be hiking in the Mountain Preserve.

Why am I not?

Well…I’m leery of taking the dog out there — rattlesnakes, y’know. She pokes her head under every creosotebush, and sooner or later she’s going to get hurt or killed doing that.

And given my age and increasing decrepitude, I’m less than perfectly comfortable hiking around out there alone. One fall, and I’m screwed, even if not dead.

One guy — much younger and much more outdoorsy than me — slipped on a steep stretch on the north side of the mountain (where I used to hike all the time). He hurt his foot or ankle so that he couldn’t walk. His phone would not work because of the granite all around him. He hollered for help, and no one heard him. He ended up spending the whole night up there(!!!). The following morning, he realized people in the houses at the western base of the mountain might be coming out to go to work, so he started hollering again. Yelling. And yelling…and yelling…and yelling…. finally some fellow came out to get his newspaper, heard the guy’s cries out in the distance, and called the cops. They had to get a team to haul him down off the mountain.

So as you can imagine, my enthusiasm for prancing around up there is less than vivid these days.

There’s a (very!!!) upscale neighborhood over north of the Biltmore, where elegant mansions populate rolling hills that look out over the smog…uhm, city. This is an excellent place for mild walking exercise over paved roads…

Why do I not drive over there every day and hike around those elegant hills?

The main reason is that there’s no place to park. Well, there is and there isn’t. You’d have to leave your car on the street in front of someone’s house, and then…find your way back to it. Easier said than done: all those streets are winding little lanes, and it’s easy to get lost up there. You have a real good shot at losing your car. And…gooooood luck getting someone to help you. How do you call the cops and tell them to come help you if you don’t know where you are?

Second reason, of course, is that it is RitzyTitzyville, which means that you have almost no chance of getting help: no stores to go into, no houses where anyone would answer the door, no nothin’. Likely you wouldn’t even be able to get them to call the cops, which would be your best way of getting found once you got lost.

And finally, it being RitzyTitzyville, if you park your car on the street in front of someone’s house, the rich person or her servants will likely think you’re some kind of criminal, call the cops, and have your car towed.

So today will be utterly absorbed with traipsing to the freaking Mayo Clinic.

Meanwhile, the (expensive!!!!!) doorknob on the front door broke. The locksmith is supposed to show up tomorrow morning to fix it. Between now and then, dodging traipses to doctors’ offices, I’ve got to traipse to Home Depot and try to find a matching Kwikset doorknob.

Good luck with that. I’ve been here how long…eight or ten years? How much chance do you suppose there IS that I’ll be able to find hardware to match?


Well, I’ll have to stop by the Depot on the way home from the Mayo, and since these accursed tests are supposed to last a good four hours, it’ll be 5:00 p.m. by the time I get there…in the middle of the hideous rush-hour traffic.

Oh, good! Not one but TWO of the neighbors’ yard dudes just showed up at the same time. And they’re BOTH out there roaring away with their blowers and other racket-makers.

Gotta get going… And so, away!

Times Have Been a-Changin’…

Couple days ago, I had occasion to drive through the neighborhood around the old-folkerie where my father chose to live out the last years of his life.  It’s over on the easterly side of North Central Phoenix — actually, within (almost reasonable) walking distance of the big North Central house where DXH and I took up residence, just to show the world what we could afford.

Killing time drivin’ around the other morning was kinda fun, kinda sentimental. After running away from the church, being told we had no choir today (why??????), I filled the gas tank and then cruised up into some of the (relatively) old neighborhoods over in the area of my favorite QT station. Part of this area comprises the easterly section of a renowned slum known as Sunnyslope.

My! We’ve been told that the ‘Slope has gentrified…. They ain’t kiddin’!!

WHAT a difference. Houses and whole streets that used to be run-down dumps have been cleaned up and painted up and spiffed up…gosh! Some of those little houses — built as homes for working-class folk, downright tiny — are suddenly VERY cute.

A decade ago, you couldn’t have gotten me even to drive around in there — because it wasn’t safe. Now, if I were in the market for a centrally located house with “charm,” that would be one of the areas where I would look.

Meanwhile, in the center of this middle-classifying neighborhood, the old-folkerie where my father retreated after my mother died has been HUGELY revamped. “Gentrified” ain’t the word for it.

When my father was there, it was a sprawl of single-story garden apartments arranged around a dining/activity center/nursing home. Renamed — no longer “Orangewood” but the ever-so-snootier-sounding “Terraces” — it’s three stories, painted in the latest, most stylish eye-searing white and beige. It’s spread out vastly — probably three times the footprint of the old place. And it looks bloody expensive.

Apparently it is: I hear tell it costs even more than the Beatitudes, whose business model is based on bankrupting the inmates.

It used to be that the neighborhood where this fine institution resided was…well…shall we say trending toward shabby (not to emit the word “slummy).”  Now it’s all been cleaned up, spiffed up, painted up, even in some areas rebuilt! Who’d’ve ever thunk! I would call it an upper-middle-class neighborhood now.


In other precincts for the agèd, my dear friend L. (of the J. & L. duo) passed on a few days ago. He and his wife J. had, you may recall, moved into a similar institute called the Beatitudes, over L.’s vehement objections. But L. was very elderly — 94 years old — and his health was failing fast. He’d fallen a couple of times, and J. found she couldn’t help him get back on his feet by herself…so was justifiably frightened of what might happen if she couldn’t find someone quickly to get him back upright. Additionally, they had a demented neighbor who took to making trouble for them. One of this character’s more recent antics was making like she was going to run him down in her car.

So even though L. did not want to go, it was clear that getting away from their pretty little patio home was the wisest move, and, given that, the nursing care offered by the Beatitudes was a godsend for J., if not for L.

On the other hand…speaking of getting away…

J. was right, and within a year or so, L. passed on. A-n-n-d…within a week of the burial service, her daughters packed up what remained of her worldly goods and drove them and her off to California, where they live near Sacramento.


So much for the glories of the old-folkerie. As soon as the most pressing need was past, she was outa there.

That has to have been a very pricey maneuver. Shortly after they moved into the place, she told me it cost her everything she netted from the sale of their handsome North Central Avenue patio home to get them in there. Basically, she forked over a huge chunk of her net worth to obtain end-of-life care for L.

Think you could do better at the Terraces? After a bracing buy-in, you’ll pay a staggering monthly fee. For that you get a far better designed and roomier apartment than the cramped space J. & L. landed in. But…good luck to you if you run out of money before you run out of life.

Heaven help us.

Why should we have to impoverish ourselves, our spouses, and our children to pass from this world in peace?