Coffee heat rising

Surprise!!! NOT a Disaster!


For a change, something went more or less right today. And when I say “a change,” I ain’t kidding: whatever I’ve touched and whatever has touched me has gone SPROOOOINNNNNGGGGGG!!!

Mostly this has had to do with money. AMEX claims it wasn’t paid; AMEX claims a payment bounced (bullsh!t to that!); WonderAccountant’s mind is boggled; Financial Dude has retired and gawd only knows WHAT is becoming of my investments…and on and on and brain-banging on.

This afternoon, after I’ve enjoyed a good two hours of wrestling with everything that could go wrong and did go wrong, the doorbell goes off: BING BONG!!!!

This causes the dog to go off:


Leap up. Run to the living-room. Nobody there. Truck is pulling out from the curb. Oh hell, now what?


Now what is the lampshade I ordered from Amazon!

My favorite living-room lamp is a big old brass number my mother bought in San Francisco, when we came back from Arabia. A handsome number indeed, it still retains its original silk lampshade (I think…unless she bought a new one after we moved to Arizona, while I was off at the university).

That shade started to fall apart, and I realized — alas — I would have to buy another one.

You understand…she bought the thing about in 1957 or ’58… And that lamp has stood on a table in her house or mine all those years since then. That would make the lamp and that lampshade 65 or 66 years old!

Can you imagine a retail product sold today lasting that long?

Hah! Fat chance, as we used to say back in the 1950s.


So I break the shade out of the box, with considerable trepidation.

It does measure 14″ x 14″, just as the old one did…but somehow it looks slightly different. Looks a little smaller. But it’s not smaller. It does fit the lamp. And, mirabilis…

It looks OK.

Not quite the same as the original. But there’s a limit to how much you can ask, eh?

For inscrutable reasons, it looks rather smaller than the old shade. But…it’ll do. If you didn’t know about the old shade, you’d think this one looks just fine.

Amazon has jimmied the image so there’s no way in hell I can copy it for you. So you’ll just have to guess at how it looks. God forfend we should help them sell their products, eh? 😀

Here it is on Etsy, though…for 20 bucks less than I paid for it at Amazon. Memo to self: after this…check other websites before buying from Amazon!!!

Cry, the Beloved Weather…

Picture these at 105 degrees…

Holee mackerel, the weather is yucky. Not very hot: about 95° in the shade of the back porch. But humid: stuffy humid. Feels like it wants to rain, but there’s not enough cloud cover to make that happen.

Very glad I don’t have to work outdoors here in lovely Arizona. Though many days are balmy, my guess is that more days than not fail to lend themselves to laboring comfortably.

This morning I had a couple of termite exterminators puttering around. And you do hafta say: that looks like a nasty job, under the best of circumstances.

These guys quoted a reasonable price — unlike some of their competitors, who wanted amounts in the four figures. For $400, they not only sprayed the obvious spots, but also got into the attic and puttered around up there. One of those outfits wanted ten times that much.

Now o’course that doesn’t mean they did a great job. But with any luck, they squirted enough of the stuff around to slow our little buggy friends’ progress.

I hope.

Some of this stuff is very toxic. I had a friend who was working in her home office, her dog loafing under the desk when an exterminator visited. They sprayed all around the foundation. The stuff seeped under the slab and outgassed into the house. (Concrete foundations here typically develop cracks over time.)

It killed the dog and made her very, very sick. As in damaged her health long-term.

Downtown, our beautiful old 1929 house was built over a wooden crawl space. The folks before us had arranged regular termite treatments, which we continued after we moved into the place. You pretty much had to, if you were going to live mid-town: that area was infested with termites.

The cats would barf for three days after the place was sprayed. I shudder to think of what that stuff must have done to the guys who crawled under the house(!!) to spray that stuff around.

So…I really don’t like to spray for termites. But there’s a point at which you have to. Otherwise, you’re gonna enjoy some serious damage.

In other pricey realms: The irrigation system that I installed at the time I moved in here — 12 or 15 years ago — has about given up the plastic ghost.

Plastic is what the pipes are made of, and the stuff is about shot. Major leaks…plants that don’t get watered at all, puddles out in the middle of the yard…on and on.

So earlier today I called Gerardo, who claims to be an irrigation dude. (R-i-i-g-h-t!) He’s going to come over and inspect by way of making a Plan. And…I think most of the plumbing will have to be redone. That won’t be cheap.

Tho’ he should be able to avoid having to actually dig up most of the existing array of water lines, he’ll have to disconnect those, dig new trenches, and install new pipes, bubblers, drippers, and sprinklers. Front and back, I’m afraid: the whole system is quietly going kerplooie.

So that’ll be an expensive venture.

Our honored Republican leaders, if we believe the news, are merrily shutting down the government. And that is going to create quite the little catastrophe. The logical outcome will be a stock market crash.

When that happens, I’ll lose my shirt: most of my savings are in the market.

So on a personal level, this little antic of theirs is gonna come at the worst of all possible times.

LOL! Can you believe I used to be a dyed-in-the-wool Republican?

Yeah. Active in the party. Even a bit of a John Bircher.

It was chip-off-the-old-blockerie: my parents were extremely conservative. I fell astray after I married a wild-eyed liberal who was active in the ACLU — he was on the national board. And alas, I’ve never returned to the fold. 😀

To this day, one of the funniest things I can remember my mother saying — it must have been in the early or mid-1960s — was that (her words!) “if gasoline gets to a dollar a gallon, we’ll have sooooshalism!”

LOL! Well, by now you’d think we’d have officially linked up with the Soviet Union, eh?

…WILL go wrong

Indeed. WhatEVER can go wrong will go wrong.

This is turning into one of those days.

It rained all night and was still heavily overcast when I rolled out of the sack. Decided I was NOT gunna drive way to Hell and Gone to the Mayo Clinic — halfway to freakin’ Payson! — in the rain, in the rush-hour traffic.

No way. No How.

Got on the phone to cancel the appointment.

Or rather, tried to get on the phone. WHAT a runaround!!!

Wouldn’t you think a huge, famous operation like the Mayo would somehow manage to afford a minimum-wage telephone operator? OHhhhhh no… It’s

for Blah blah blah, punch 1
for Blah blah blah, punch 2
for Blah blah blah, punch 3
for Blah blah blah, punch 4
for Blah blah blah, punch 5….

On and on and endlessly ON.

I finally gave up. Left a message on the Endlessly Annoying Portal that I wouldn’t be there. If they bitch about it, I’ll give ’em an earful.

Feed the dogs. It’s raining. But they slip outside to sorta do their thing.

Gather stuff to fix coffee, and… and… AAAAGHHH!



Where’s the coffee?




Search some more…

Cannot find the coffee beans!

We know this is a WTF moment, because we can’t find the glass jar that holds the coffee beans. If I’d run out of coffee, I would’ve put that thing in the dishwasher. And when it was clean, I would’ve taken it out and set it in its appointed place in the cupboard.

I give up. Fix some tea.


Now I know I have to traipse down to AJ’s to pick up a new bag of coffee beans. While there, I need to get some more cans of the wet dog food we use to dope Charley’s dry dog kibble, by way of luring him into eating.

Sit my butt on a chair, and BING BONGGGG!!! It’s Gerardo at the door.

Dayum. He’s hot to do some phenomenal amount of work. Not just clean-up, but tree pruning and irrigation fixing and on and on. By the time he finishes, he presents a bill for two hundred bucks.

And…I still haven’t made it to the store.

Trapped for two hours while the guys bang around. My GOD they work like horses. How do they do that in this unholy heat and humidity?

They’ve finally driven off down the street. And now I’ve GOTTA get dressed and head down to the store. Bleagh!

Water! Falling Out of the Sky!

Who’d’ve thunk it? Last night we got fierce thunderstorms rolling through the Valley. And…rain! This wet stuff that fell right out of the sky onto the ground. Weird…

Seriously: it was one of the fiercest little freshets I’ve seen in awhile. Apparently it caused a fair amount of damage and — horrors!! — shut down a football game. Lightning apparently hit a house not far from here…looks like a condo development where I considered buying a place. This story claims it’s a house, but reportage in the local media leaves a lot to be desired. Like…you know…accuracy?

Three in the morning just now: the usual hour for the Little Old Lady Wake-up Call.

Went out to check the pool, figuring to find the Mess from Hell. But no! It was nowhere like a disaster area. This, thanks to the various workmen who inhabit the yard:

  • Gerardo’s crew beat back the palm tree mess just a week or so ago.
  • Pool Dude, who works some kinda miracle with the Hole in the Ground into Which to Pour Money, has kept the pool amazingly clean over the past some weeks. It was still OK as of this wee hour…just some leaves floating on the surface, which I scooped out easily with a net.
  • It’s too dark to see the roof, but no leaks made themselves evident…so I assume (hope!!) it’s OK. Probably was a real good thing that I forked over a few fistfuls of cash to have that thing worked on.

Hmmm…. Can’t see much in the dark, so further inspection of the Funny Farm will have to wait until tomorrow. I think Garage Repair Dude is supposed to show up tomorrow to fix the garage door. Hope so. Checking to see whether that thing is still closed — it could have blown open in the wind, since there’s a side door to the garage that would have invited some mighty gusts in.

…Nope! The side door slammed shut, apparently pretty early on. Don’t see a lot of mess on the floor out there. Can’t bring myself to go out on the west side and inspect that part of the yard…wouldn’t be able to see a lot in the dark, anyway. Plus there would be nothing I could do about it at this hour, anyway.

LOL! And — natcherly — now that I’m ready to crawl back under the covers, the Dawg wants to get up. Never fails!



Not to say A-a-a-a-a-k!


She was lurking in the garage, and when she saw me she was just as startled as I was in spotting her. She shot underneath the dryer, where she presumably is hiding now.

Called Ruby the Corgi, who came trotting out to investigate.

Corgis are ratters. One of the things they’re bred for is chasing rats around ships and barns.

But by the time Her Majesty arrived, Rattie had dodged out of sight. Dayum!

Well, I have rat poison now. Been reluctant to put it out, lest Ruby find it and munch on it. Or…lest she find a deceased gourmet rat and eat that.

Tossed several pellets of the stuff in behind the washer and dryer, and then put some inside a rat trap along with a little slab of dog food, hoping maybe the combined deliciousness will lure Rattie into that.

Rattie, it develops, is very smart. She has exactly zero intention of strolling into a trap.

That would make her several degrees smarter than a dog, we might note.

I’ll have to keep Ruby out of the garage now, to be sure she doesn’t get into the scrumptious rat pills. Or find a rat roast to munch out there.

This is gonna be a PITA of the first water….

Speaking of water, as we scribble the much-vaunted California storm is making its way into the Valley. It’s thundering away out there, the air having chilled down to a crisp 71 degrees. We’re told to expect an 80% chance of rain and light winds.

Hmmmm…well, it may rip and roar a bit in our parts, but I doubt we’ll see any rain here. The thunder is pretty far off in the distance…I think the alleged thunderstorms are well to the north of the ‘Hood.

San Berdoo apparently got something over 13 inches of rain with this storm. Almost 12 inches in Riverside. Looks like the main part of the thing is bearing toward Nevada. Pretty startling images from the low desert of California…egad! Wunderground is predicting a .o5% chance (whoop de dooo!) of rain here, with a low of 71 during the night. Eeek. Be scared. Be very scared.

And lookee here!  I failed to “publish” this adventure. Apparently.

Trying again…


Speaking of Storms: The Perfect $torm…

This morning the power went out in the two back bedrooms, shutting off my Internet connection and closing down the big computer.


Called the electrician, whose services I haven’t needed in an age or two. He came over with a sidekick, and they spent the ENTIRE MORNING wrestling with the wiring. Truly: they were here for a good three or four hours, and no grass grew under their feet.

Ultimately they decided the problem lay with the previous homeowner’s DIY Adventures in Wiring. Satan, as the guy is still (un)lovingly known, made a hobby of taking on challenges in the building trades. Seriously:

  • He removed a plastic shower surround in the master bathroom and installed new plumbing and stone tile all by his manly li’l self. Nice job…except the stuff has to be resealed every six months….yes, indeed: filling the bedroom with toxic fumes each time. 😀
  • Removed flooring in living room, dining room, and hallway; replaced it with new tile.
  • Rebuilt a wall between the living room and the front bedroom, removed by a prior owner. In the process, forgot to re-install the doorbell, so….now we have to rely on those battery-operated (highly-stealable) bing-bongs.
  • Removed the asbestos popcorn from the ceilings and replastered them.
    • Note that he didn’t understand how dangerous asbestos is, and so breathed in great quantities of dust as he scraped the stuff off the ceilings…
  • Installed a new mantel over the fireplace…out of code.
  • Installed new Home Depot cabinetry and tile countertops in both bathrooms.
  • Replaced the master bedroom window with a sliding door (Burglars Welcome Here!)
  • Replaced the master bathroom sink with a shiny new Home Depot fake marble sink.
  • Filled in the wall between the living room and the front bedroom, which a Previous Genius had ripped out so as to create a gigantic party room.
  • But didn’t notice that in doing so, P.G. removed the wiring for the doorbell. So now, the only doorbell that works for this house is one of those battery-run portable things.
  • Installed, for reasons incomprehensible, an electric outlet on the front porch down near the ground, where it gets drenched every time the watering system comes on.
  • Built the side deck on the west side of the house, and did a good job of it.

Great work. Seriously!


Well, if you’re not a licensed, bonded electrician, you really shouldn’t be messing with wiring and electrical fixtures. /eyeroll/

At any rate, today’s Adventure in Homeownership set me back $380.

Uh huh.

While I’m glad to get the tangle in there cleaned up some, frankly, I doubt if it was necessary. I’ve been in this house for…what? eight or ten years. And no problems have ever ensued from the wiring lash-up in the office.