Coffee heat rising

Apartment House Dreamin’?

Of late… I grow more and more intrigued by the possibility of trading the Funny Farm in on a swanky apartment in the mid-town area. These are now proliferating with gay abandon, all over downtown and midtown Phoenix. Many of these places look very nice, indeed.

My agèd friend J., in insisting on moving herself and her husband L. into the prison for old folks that is the Beatitudes, was right in thinking that trying to live independently as you progress deeper and deeper into the Land of Old Age gets riskier and riskier with the passing the months and years. Now, she and L. were in their 90s when she insisted that they up and move into an institution. AND, more to the point, they had a dangerous lunatic living next door, who threatened not only them but other members of the HOA — one of whom was on the freaking City Council. Apparently nothing could be done about this nut case until she actually assaulted or murdered someone…and since the wretched woman had become quite a nuisance, it was reasonable to say “Let’s get away from this.”

And given their age, it was reasonable to decide the best “away” was into an old-folkerie.

But…ugh!! What a way to live! In a dormitory for old folks.

It seems to me that if you lived in a high-rise apartment whose building was well maintained and centrally located, you could replicate most or all of the services offered by the Beatitudes. Videlicet:

  • Meals can now be ordered and delivered right to your door — easily and at reasonable cost.
  • People in our economic class have cleaning ladies: J. & L. already did. She (imho) didn’t do a great job, but neither L. nor J. could see well enough to detect the places this woman failed to dust. But if you had a competent and caring lady, like the wonderful Luz, she would keep your place as clean as it needs to be.
  • Exercise classes? Phoenix College has them! For one heckuva lot less than it costs to live at the Beatitudes. PC is a five-minute drive from North Central.
  • Entertainment and mental stimulation? Midtown Phoenix is the home of a little theater troupe, a library, two major museums, a busy arts center in a refurbished shopping mall, parades, movies, a major community college with classes coming out the wazoo…. All of those strike me as a lot more entertaining than patronizing amusements put on for inmates.
  • Emergency and routine heathcare? Once you’re in mid-town, you’re right next door to not one but two major medical centers: St. Joseph’s & Good Sam. True, if you had a heart attack or stroke, you’d have to get an ambulance to take you there…but there are ways to simplify that chore.
  • Meals? Central Avenue is literally lined with restaurants. The inimitable AJ’s is within walking distance of some of the new apartment buildings; at any rate, the lightrail goes right up to AJ’s front door. Also along the way is a Safeway. Plus Instacart will deliver any groceries your little heart desires, from just about any vendor.
  • Uber is all over that part of town. Anywhere you wanted to go — to a store, to a theater, to a sporting event, or to the interminable visits with doctors and dentists — you could  be chauffeured.
  • You could hire a practical nurse to come in once a week — maybe even more often than that — to check on your health and be sure you’re safe. Possibly you could hire such a person to show up once a day…or recruit volunteers from your church to check on you.
  • The “Communicate America” emergency alarm service — where you push a button hanging around your neck to call an EMT — would serve just about the same purpose as living at the Beatitudes or its competition, the Terraces, in terms of assurance that you could get help in an emergency. Their device has a number of minor annoyances, and the service is pricey; an Apple Watch will do the same thing, as will an iPhone.

Those steps would provide the same services and goods that an old-folkerie would: food, regular check-ins, emergency services. Uber could take you to church, plays, movies, restaurants, grocery stores, sporting events,  and whatever else you pleased to do. For that matter, if you lived on Central Avenue, public transit would take you to most of those places. In other words…if you thought it through, you could replicate the services and advantages of an old-folkerie, without the depressing disadvantages. And being in one of those centrally located apartments would facilitate that scheme.

I’m thinking that given my age, even though I’m still pretty spry, maybe I should think about how I can get myself into one of those places and make it work as a haven for the pending decrepitude. A lot of those strategies could be replicated right here in my own house…EXCEPT…

  • The house is not as centrally located
  • You’d have to oversee yard and pool help as well as cleaning-lady and LPN help
  • The nearest hospital is John C. Lincoln, which IMHO is about as second-rate as you can get
  • On the other hand, the house is paid for, so the amount you’d have to pay in HOA fees for one of those apartment buildings would cover the cost of hired help..

This is something that bears thinking upon…

Newton’s Third Law of Disequilibrium

Is it some law of Nature that you can never, ever have a dull moment? Newton’s Third Law of Disequilibrium, maybe?

So I have this mailbox made by an outfit called MailBoss, which I installed while we were having a rash of mail thefts here in the ’Hood. This monster is the Fort Knox of the mailbox world. It is freaking impossible to break into. When you buy it, they give you two (count’em, 2) keys for it. And the instructions explicitly state, in words of one syllable, that you’d bloody well better not lose the keys because they cannot be replaced AND there’s no way in Hell you or anyone else will be able to break into the locked mailbox.

Yes sir. Got it, sir!

I thought I had lost one of the keys. I keep one hanging from a nail inside the front security door, which itself is pretty impermeable. The other, to my knowledge as of about 10:00 this morning, was…well…disappeared. So I went this morning to take the surviving key to my killer locksmith over in Glendale, a guy who no doubt ranks among the top Killer Locksmiths on the planet. I doubted he could copy it, but figured it was worth asking. The worst he could do would be to laugh and say “noooo way!”

But y’know…it was hot…it was humid…i was tired…i did not feel like schlepping to the gas station and then driving from pillar to post…so decided to belay that errand for a day or two. So, turn around, come back and hang the key back in its place.

So I think.

This afternoon when I went to find it? GONE.

The spare key in the drawer (I thought)? NOT THERE.

This elicited a high panic of epic proportions. Dammit, I thought I was gonna have a heart attack!

After much frantic searching — like 30 or 40 panicky minutes — I finally found found the spare key. A-n-n-n-d after I stopped hyperventilating, eventually found the other key, too.

But oh MAN! What a moment of panic!!!!!

I figured I was going to have to order a new mailbox. The thing is SOOOO HEAVY it takes three men and a horse to install it…and now we would be asking the three men and the horse to UNinstall one of the monsters and put a new one in. Good luck with that! And in the meantime, I’d have to drive to the post office to pick up my mail every day!!

Auuughhhhh!

Honest to God, I do not know when I’ve ever been so upset.

And now as the sun settles toward the west, storm clouds are blowing in. Got the camp lantern out, as we almost surely will lose power sometime between now and midnight. Let’s hope that holds off until after it starts to rain, which will cut the heat to about 80 degrees. It’s already dropped to about 100. How…refreshing!

Soggy Day in Rattie Central

Rathame…

At 7:00 this morning it was 90 degrees and overcast. And damp. Very, very damp.

That is extreme, even for lovely uptown Phoenix! Especially for this time of year. Normally it’s very hot, but also very dry in July. So you can bitch and whine about the heat, but it’s basically empty bitching and whining.

That is so until early August, when we start to get the kind of weather we have now: hot and humid. The difference is, in normal (pre-Paved Paradise) times, we would have had a spectacular thunderstorm every afternoon or evening, followed by much cooler temps.

*****

And during the interval when this scribble was interrupted by a phone call from WonderAccountant, it’s started to rain. Hot, wet, and raining.

W.A. is having a wondrous Adventure in Medical Science. She experienced some chest pains; her husband drove her up to the Mayo, where she enjoyed a number of interesting tests, experiences, and discussions. [heh! typed “unjoyed” there…have we discovered a new word for this sorta fun?) They concluded she was not having a heart attack — what she was having, they seem not to have figured out. But she is now reamed steamed & dry-cleaned, so called to cancel our planned evening at the concert tonight.

Between you’n’me, I’m very sorry she wasn’t feeling great but moderately relieved that we don’t have to venture out tonight. Really, I don’t enjoy driving in the rain and the dark with my fellow homicidal drivers (talk about taking your life in your hands!!), and truth to tell, even with the full complement of covid shots, I’m just not very comfortable about spending time in crowds.

An hour of gossiping produced a consensus that we both think the Mayo Clinic is far, far superior to most of the medical practices in the wild here, as experienced during our respective lifetimes as Arizonans. I guess if I ultimately make up my mind to move, it’s gonna be to someplace closer to the Mayo’s ER — EMT’s in this part of town will NOT take you to the Mayo. They give you the choice of John C. Lincoln (please just take me to the Hormel slaughterhouse…), St. Joseph’s (where one night I waited outside their ER for over five hours, before I finally gave up and had a friend come take me home; then got another friend, by dawn, to drive me to the Mayo, where they slapped me into surgery before I could even take a seat in their waiting room), or Good Samaritan, where I haven’t been back since I gave birth without anaesthetic.

Okay, to be fair: the anaesthetic wasn’t needed.  I thought labor was supposed to hurt a whole lot more than it does, and so by the time we arrived there, the kid was ready to pop out.

*****

Apparently Rattie attempted a foray into the yard this morning, despite all the throwings-around by Gerardo and his crew. Ruby signals Rattie’s presence by going batsh!t every time she spots the little gal through the Arcadia door.

Rattie has gotten wise to this, since every time I hear Ruby go on a tear, I let her out the garage door (which is a lot easier to open, because of all the anti-burglar hardware on the Arcadia). Ruby shot out and patrolled the side yard, but by then Rattie had either hopped back over the wall or climbed up into the trees to take refuge. I think the former, since Ruby evinced a great deal of interest in the odor trail along the wall’s footing and the view of the top of the wall.

I do hope the blockading strategy will keep her out, but fear the truth is we are going to have to take the tangle of cat’s claw vines down off the alley wall. If I could think, offhand, of a legal way to replace the jungle plants (which make for a fine Rat Hotel) with something that would block the view of the backyard, that’s what I would do. But to run a couple more rows of block along the top of the walls here in the ‘Hood (which are about 5½ feet tall, easy for a grown man to peer over), you have to get a permit from the city. This involves a bureaucratic hoop-jump that I do not wish to engage.

Neither, I suspect, did any of the neighbors who have taken matters into their own hands — many of them have piled several rows of block atop the developer’s original walls, far more than would be legally allowed. However, I have a friend whose ex-wife enhanced her backyard wall — in a house, like this one, that occupied a corner lot — and was ordered by the city to take the entire expensive thing down. So she ended up with no wall, no privacy, and no money.

Even if I jump through the regulatory hoops (and succeed…), they no longer make cinderblocks in the kind of dust-gold color the developer used, back in the early 70s when he built out this tract. So whatever goes along the top would not match the wall. One could, in theory, paint the wall…opening not only several cans of paint but also a whole new can o’ worms… But that, then, would have to be maintained for the duration of the house’s existence.

If you could find chimney-red cinderblocks (not an impossible proposition), you might be able to make it look like you intended to have a contrasting line of decorative (heh) block along the top. But since no one else has done this, dollars to donuts it’s not a practical idea.

The vines have some distinct benefits, not the least of which is that they cut the stupefying heat that would be reflected off that wall in their absence. Secondarily, they produce rafts of very lovely bright yellow flowers.

So it goes: lovely Phoenix, Arizona, July 16, 2021…

Rat Wars: Cavalry the Rescue

The enemy

My goodness! You should have SEEN what Gerardo and his crew (a.k.a., his immediate and extended family!) did this morning! .

So…a little background: determined to engage full battle with Rattie, a week ago I asked folks on the RP Facebook Page for recommends for someone who can cope with roof rats. Called the most ecstatically raved-about gent. The guy wanted a thousand dollars to secure the fort against rats and kill off any present occupants.

Don’t think so, brother..

Depressed, call Gerardo. He says, as usual: ay señora, no problema! 

He shows up with his crew, he himself armed for full battle. And those guys worked themselves like freakin’ oxen!.

Gerardo, who in his inimitable way knows what he’s doing (in spades), climbed into the accursed attic. Fatlady followed him up to survey the battleground. Satan had sealed most of the openings with sheets of wire screen. In the gerjillion-degree heat, Gerardo checked every opening, repaired all that which was decrepit, and installed new barriers where necessary. .

His sidekicks, a.k.a. los gentes de la familia, pruned back every tree branch that was within leaping distance of the roof (which was one whole helluva lot), hauled the copious trimmings into the alley, and generally supervised the boss. .

The day

The boss climbed up on top of the freaking chimney(!!!!!), where he was annoyed and disgusted to find piles of rat poop (not unlike cat poop, interestingly enough). He cleaned up that mess, and then he installed a heavy-duty screen barrier across the top of the chimney to keep Rattie and her tribe out — as well, one presumes, as the errant dove and pigeon. .

Jayzus! The heat and the humidity defied belief!.

They cleaned up the entire vast mess and presented what Gerardo clearly thought was a blinding bill: $550, which included $200 for a check that had gotten left under the front-door mat until it melted in the recent rain..

As nothing, IMHO, compared with the other dude’s $1,000 starter fee. Gerardo pledged to keep the barriers in good repair, going forward, and the trees trimmed back from the eaves..

I suggested that he and his crew toss off their togs and take a dip in the pool to cool themselves down in the crushing heat — promising to hide in the bedroom and not disturb their masculine sense of propriety. He would have none of it. .

You realize that Gerardo makes his son — yes, also an Eagle Scout! — work all summer? Yes. He had his kid in tow, heaving and hauling. 😀 No goofing off for that young gent. .

Wow!

“Another Beautiful Day in Arizona…”

Yep: “Another beautiful day in Arizona! Leave us all enjoy it!” That was the catch phrase of the late, great Arizona Governor Jack Williams, an accomplished if less than perfectly literate local politician who came up as a radio announcer. In spite of last night’s mostly dry thunderstorm, temps here have run upwards of 112 degrees. Once I glanced at the thermometer in the back porch shade: 115.

Plan of the day: Install a new bed in the now-unused middle bedroom, which was the TV room until off-the-air TV was taken away from us. Now it just sits there…but, I’ve noticed, because the room is directly below the central air-conditioning unit and so gets air fresh out of the fridge, it is the coolest room in the house. The plan is to get an inexpensive but reasonably comfortable twin bed and sleep in that room during the summer months. Then switch back to the more spacious and comfortable queen-sized bed in the master bedroom for fall, winter, and springtime. And so into the heat and on the road.

I whip into the mattress store where, in the past, I’ve bought excellent products for decent prices — not rock-bottom, but far from “luxury” prices.

Holy shee-ut! EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAH for a regular twin-size mattress, box-spring, and frame.

I kid you not! That is what I paid for the queen-sized bed I bought when the old one wore out, just a few years ago.

Jayzus.

Out of that place, I do stagger.

Should I venture across the street to Bed Bath & Beyond, there to snab a set of sheets for this spectacular purchase?

I think not. In the first place, my experience with BB&B is that they tend to be overpriced. In the second place, they tend to be underqualitied. I decide, WTF, to drive out to Costco and grab a set there.

This was very, very stupid. Extraordinarily stupid. Gold-medal-winning stupid!!!!!!!

Best way to get out there?  Across Lincoln, the northernmost main drag south of the Phoenix Mountain Park, then up 44th through lovely Paradise Valley, and zip! into the parking lot.

Almost sounds sane, doesn’t it?

Eastbound on Lincoln at 24th street, the main road that disgorges central- and central/east traffic onto Lincoln, some nitwit has contrived to have a fender-bender in the fast lane. Traffic in all three lanes comes to a stop as the very pretty young woman driver gets out to try to cope…and is swarmed by Heroic Gentlemen charging to her rescue.

This would have some charm if it weren’t 111 degrees outside just then. In the shade.

So the Damsel in Distress and all of her many Knights have the traffic dead stopped. I’ve been around this block before, though, and so am wily enough to dart left into the entrance of a (spectacularly ritzy) gated community, where I can hang a U-ie and head back in the direction I came from.

Now I am westbound when I need to go east.

But on the way, I think WTF, I’ll just fly into the Macy’s at Biltmore Fashion Square. At this time of year, they’re bound to be having a white sale.

And yea verily, that they are!. Have you ever noticed that when a major department store puts stuff on sale, it’s because said stuff is junk, serious junk, that NO ONE in their right mind would buy? Today, this is true in spades. You would NOT believe the crappiness of the hilariously dreadful crap on offer.

Onto the freeway. Northerly northerly northerly and OFF on Cactus, eastbound.

Easterly easterly easterly, past the Fry’s. If I had any sense I’d derail this trip to go in there and buy a set of cheapie junk sheets, but…

a) I have no sense; and
b) I figure that kinda cheap junk may last through three launderings, if we’re lucky.

Hang a left on Tatum. Northerly northerly northerly…FINALLY reach the Costco. They will have sheets. They always have sheets. Right? And they’re excellent quality sheets, the kind of thing you can hand down to the next generation as heirlooms.

Well.

No.

I frikkin cannot BELIEVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Costco does not have regular-size twin sheets! The only twin sheets they have are for extra-long mattresses.

Stalk out into the parking lot. Eyeball the Penney’s next door. They’re closing that Penney’s, because they’re about to tear down the shopping center and replace it with an apartment development. Whooo knows? Maybe they’ll have sheets. Maybe even sheets on sale!

Hike across the broiling asphalt, dodge into the Penney’s.

They’ve shut down the escalators. You can’t even GET to the bedding department. And noooo, I’m not getting onto a crowded stuffy stinky elevator in Time of Plague.

Make my way upstairs and find, in the bedding department, one of the most superbly certifiably stupid CSR’s I’ve ever met, in 55 years of department-store shopping. OOOOhhh this one is dumb. I cannot make her understand that no, I do not want something that does not fit, and noooo I do not want something with a weird busy little pattern that looks a lot like E. coli organisms under a microscope. All I want is a set of twin-size sheets in a plain boring color. Gray would do. White would do. Beige would do. No, bright pink will NOT do. And absolutely positively the Escherchia coli germs will not do, no way no how.

😀

Back in the car.

On the way out of the shopping center, stop at the Target. Why the hell not? Couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve already seen, eh?

There I meet the cutest li’l gay guy, who also is shopping for bedding. He is similarly disgusted. But he does point out a few sets that…uhm…do not offend too much.

Grab one of these and fly out the door. Price is around 80 bucks. Yes. For a set of freakin’ Target sheets!!!!!!!!!

Stumble back out. Dodge a few fellow homicidal drivers in the parking lot (would those be “homicidal parkers”?), make it back onto Cactus, and start driving. Westerly westerly ever westerly. Migawd, it’s STILL hot!

No. Make that “even hotter.”

Here at the Funny Farm:

  • It’s 81 in the master bedroom. It’s 84 here in the family room.
  • It’s 80 in the bedroom where I propose to install this fine new bed, but for some reason it feels a lot cooler.

That’s with the thermostat set at 79, as low as I figure I can push it without risking bankruptcy.

And as I sit here scribbling, in comes an email from one Priscilla Castro of the dermatologist’s office, wanting to discuss the results of the latest effing biopsy, one she made of a mole that has resided on the side of my nose for as long as I can remember. They’ve decided the thing is malignant. This, of course, means ANOTHER endless trip to the far west side for MORE surgery. Hot diggety dawg.

I call back instantly. “She’s not at her desk,” says the airhead who answers the phone. Odd. She was there 30 seconds ago when she emailed me.

Airhead says she’ll call me back. I explain, for the 89 berjillionth time, that they CAN NOT REACH ME BY PHONE because I block all incoming calls from area code 623 because I get rafts of nuisance calls from telephone solicitors EVERY DAY spoofing the 623 area code. As usual, the phone kid doesn’t even faintly understand what I’m saying. Sheeeeeee-ut!

By now I’m tired, I’m beyond hot, and I simply have no more patience for stupid.

I’m also kinda scared. One of the things they took off was on the side of my nose. It’s been there for years, to the point where I objected that it couldn’t be much or it would have made trouble by now. Stephanie (derma-tech) said it was “vascularizing,” whatever the hell that means. I think I would’ve noticed if it had changed, since I paint my face almost every day, and that entails hiding blemishes under layers of paint. But if she found cancer in it, they’ll be chopping up my nose. And that will require plastic surgery to repair. And THAT will entail endless trips the west side, disfiguring butchery, and several unpleasant procedures to fix. Email “Priscilla” to clue her that unless she can call me from a phone that doesn’t have a 623 area code, she’ll need to email me.

Shortly, Priscilla calls. She says I need to come in, let them cut the roots of this thing off my nose, and then they will repair the (considerable!) damage with plastic surgery.

I have a friend who’s had a quasi-malignant thing removed from his nose, followed by plastic surgery. “Repair” is not quite the word. Though he doesn’t look terrible, nevertheless you can tell that something pretty drastic happened there. I do NOT want my face cut up and then patched back together, not unless it’s absolutely, positively, unavoidably necessary.

A night passes. Daylight dawns. And I snap out of that little panic long enough to remember my Medical Motto: ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION!

At the Mayo, I’ve been assigned a dermatologist, for reasons neither he nor I could grasp. A week or so ago, I traipsed out there and met with him. Liked him. We were both puzzled. I left, thinking “huh!”

Sooo….what could be a better source of a second opinion than the Mayo Clinic, eh?

Yesterday — Saturday, natcherly — I emailed him through the Mayo’s annoying DIY Web “portal” lashup and asked if we could make an appointment, and may I have the Avondale dermatologist send him the results of the biopsy. Of course, I haven’t heard back. I do hope to hear from him tomorrow, and sincerely DO hope he’ll agree to review this little fiasco.

Meanwhile, we still have the Rat Situation.

This, if anything, is getting worse. Over the past couple of days, I’ve stuffed piles and piles of steel wool into the crevices and openings around the side yard deck, of which there are a-plenty. These have become little doorways to Rattie’s nest under there.

Ruby has developed chasing poor Rattie into an Olympic sport. This morning the little dog was standing patiently by the back door.

Human opens door.

Dog ambles quietly out to river of rocks (a decorated drainage ditch, now home to Rattie since we blocked off her entrances to the side deck).

Rattie, alarmed, leaps up.

Dog launches into the chase!

Rattie shoots across the yard, just under the speed of light.

Ruby flashes after her.

Rattie dodges into the cat’s-claw vines.

Ruby saunters back to the door, expecting a Doggy Treat for having orchestrated that spectacle.

This, while entertaining in a predator-ish way, is not really a good thing. Roof rats carry a wide variety of exceptionally malign diseases, which they can  transmit to dogs as well as to humans: murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, and plague.

{sigh} I’m awfully afraid the only way to get rid of Rattie, short of poison, is going to be to pull out the cat’s claw hedge. And of course, that will mean every bum who wanders up the alley can peer into my yard. And into my pool, where he’s likely to get an eyeful of the local scenery.

So, later this morning I obtained the name of an exterminator from one of the neighbors on the ’Hood’s Facebook page. Will call him the first thing tomorrow morning — Monday.

In passing, she remarked that she preferred to communicate by email than over the FB page, because some of the neighbors work themselves into a state of high moral dudgeon over the prospect of killing our cute little rats. She remarked – confirming my own observation – that the neighborhood is now overrun with rats.

As these shenanigans are en train, I happen to venture into the front yard, where I notice…hmmmm…what?? The mound of gravel-covered dirt that was piled over the stump of the dead ash tree I had cut down, lo! these many years ago, has been pushed aside and dug up. There are little holes around in there.

WTF?

Rats?

That’s what I suspect. But…on closer observation, I see several holes in the depression where the stump has pretty much disintegrated. These are larger than the holes Rattie typically digs. Gopher?

Hm. Yes, we do get the occasional gopher here in the ‘Hood.

A-a-a-n-d…my scheme to block Rattie out of her nest under the deck has failed. Just this minute I hear Ruby YAP and thump against the Arcadia door: her signal for the Presence of the Rat.

dayum!  Leap up, RUN with Ruby to the garage’s side door, and let her rip!

She shoots out like a rocket, patrols the base of the deck…but Rattie is long gone. However, she finds a new hole: Rattie has managed to burrow out of (or into) her nest under the deck.

That, I’m afraid, tore it: now I know I’m going to HAVE to get a professional exterminator. Tomorrow I’ll call the neighbor’s guy.

This, of course, is going to mean Ruby will have to go somewhere else. We can’t have dead and dying poisoned rats laying around the yard, nor can we have poison bait laying around where Ruby holds sway over the backyard. I guess I’ll have to put her up with M’hijito, or else board her somewhere (expensively).

Ohhhhhh gawwwd…pleeeze don’t hurt our little ratties! Aughhh! How do people who are that stupid ever learn to put their pants on, much less acquire a $500,000 to $1 million shack???????

Ain’t a-goin’ nowhere, lady!!!

Hotter’n the Hubs…

We’re supposed to see 114 degrees on Saturday. But what the heck…this is only Tuesday. 😀

Doesn’t make much difference, though. Once you’re over 110, it’s all pretty much the same: hotter than the hubs of Hades.

SDXB is in Denver with New Girlfriend, where they’re having a good time in relatively cool (heh) surroundings. From there he’s headed up to Oregon to hang out with his sister & brother-in-law. He’d planned to come back here briefly, to check the house and restock the suitcases, I guess. I suggested he forego the side trip and go directly up to the Pacific Northwest, which I hope has cooled down a bit.

The air conditioner on Sally’s house, behind me, where the young couple moved in when she betook herself to an old-folkerie, is on the fritz. It’s making a loud scraping and growling sound, such a racket you can’t stay out in the yard for long. You actually can hear it inside my house, if you’re listening for it.

The kids  are pretending nothing is wrong with the AC unit, as it groans, rattles, grinds, and squeaks through every moment it runs.

Which is 60 moments x 24 per day…

Sally and I bought these units at the same time, after a hailstorm blew through and knocked out every air conditioner in the neighborhood. We both bought the same brand from a nearby, well established HVAC firm: a Goodman model with a 10-year no-questions-asked warranty.

Unfortunately, the warranty on these units has now expired. This suggests, of course, that after ten years one can expect the unit itself to expire. Which is what one suspects is going over there.

At any rate, the damn thing is so loud you can hear it inside my house. I hesitate to complain…don’t want to stir up bad blood with these already kinda touchy neighbors.

They’re right-wing fundamentalists who believe God told them to produce four children, which they duly did: pop-pop-pop-pop. The kids are great — I love the sound of children playing and carrying on. But the parents have their strange moments.

He tries to work on that AC unit himself. These units need to be serviced once a year (better: twice, spring & fall) to maximize their life span. But apparently a lot of folks here don’t know that, or else are unwilling to pay a workman unless the unit is actually busted.

If the thing craps out in this weather, they’ll either have to put the kids up with friends or relatives or else rent a motel room.

Man! It’s one thing to be hot and miserable yourself for a couple of days and nights, but to have four little kids screaming and whining in the heat…torture! For everyone concerned.

And if they wait until it breaks to get it fixed, that’ll cost them an unnecessarily pretty penny.

Heh! Y’know, you can’t tell people stuff like this. I guess it’s the kind of thing you have to learn from the School of Hard Knocks….a particularly expensive educational institute.