Coffee heat rising

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.

Driving in Phoenix…with God as My Copilot

Human, weaseling her way through stupendous traffic:  Good gawd!

Divinity: Yasss?

Human: Ooops! Uh-oh…

Divinity: What d’you want now?

Human: Well…uhm.,.well, Your Godship…why do you keep doing that?

Divinity: Which of the infinity of things that I keep doing have you got in mind?

Human: You know…the thing with the morons?

Divinity: Which morons?

Human: The morons that are ALWAYS ON THE ROAD EVERY TIME I GET IN MY CAR!

Divinity: Well…possibly every driver on the road except thee is a moron.

Human: Your Godship! Not all of God’s Critters can be morons!

Divinity: I wouldn’t put any money on that, if I were you.

Human: Okay, okay. But…then why do all the morons in the freakin’ world stream out of their houses, leap into their cars and get in front of me every time I turn on the ignition?

Divinity: Hmmmm…..  Fate?

Human:  But Your Godship: you are Fate!

Divinity: One could argue that.

{sigh} Evidently God has it in for me.

Hopped in the jalopy along about noonish yesterday and headed down toward Sassy Glasses, La Maya’s favorite overpriced eyewear store — whose denizens have shown themselves to be a) exceptionally competent and b) well connected with other professionals in the eyeball profession. I need a referral to an exceptionally competent ophthalmologist to deal with the latest Joy of Old Age that I’ve developed.

Right away, at Main Drag South and toney Central Avenue, I come across a fender-bender. A pretty young woman has rear-ended a young man’s vehicle at the light. She is weeping. He is stalking across the intersection headed for the condos on the east side, where he evidently lives or has pals who can help out.

Should I stop and see if she is OK? Should I call 911?

No. All young people have cell phones and they all know how to call 911. No doubt the cops and the medics are en route. Best to get the Hell outta the way.

Continue toward the eastern edge of the North Central commercial district, wherein resides the glasses place. Is it…wait, wait…is it really early afternoon on a Monday? W…T…F?????? Traffic is just freakin’ FIERCE.

Finally make my way to the parking lot at the strip shopping center where Sassy Glasses resides. After a fight, get parked near the front. Hop out, saunter over to the entrance, and…find the door LOCKED.

At the risk of repeating myself, think WTF???????

Figure it must actually be Sunday, not Monday. Dayum!

Loop back toward AJ’s, there to buy tonight’s dinner and a few not-too-perishables for the upcoming Xmas chivaree with my son.

Westward/southward bound, the roads are JUST JAMMED. It’s 2:00 in the afternoon! What. The. Hell?

Get to AJ’s. Buy a few provisions. Ask the butcher if I need to reserve a pair of those gorgeous prime rib steaks to pick up right before Christmas. He says no, that’ll be OK.

Head back up North Central.

Realize I’d better bypass Central and Northern, the site of the fender-bender. Detour across a minor main drag that bisects a neighborhood flanking Central, continue past 7th, and veer north on 15th, a feeder street that feeds, all right: the Capitol district with traffic cruising in from the west side, the north side. and  dropping off the freeway.

Get up into the hood, by-passing the wrecky-poo scene. Come to the little road into my part of the’ Hood. Signal to turn left.

A-n-n-n-n-d…

How DO the Morons know when I’m on the road?

A southbound moron, who has the right-of-way in neon-lit spades, STOPS and gestures the moron before me to turn left in front of him. Illegally. In spades.

My moron accommodates him.

WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE DO THAT?????? FORGODSAKE WHEN YOU HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY TAKE THE GODDAMN RIGHT OF WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I stop. He gestures for me to turn left, illegally, in front of him.

Asshole.

No, stupid, I am not going to put myself at risk by making an illegal turn in front of oncoming traffic on a sub-main drag, you damnfool MORON. I now turn right into the neighborhood flanking the’Hood, dodging the nitwit.

This of course, takes me out of his way, but it also aims me in the exact opposite of the direction I need to go, through Lower Richistan’s winding roads infested by playing children, frolicking dogs, and watchful parents. Wend my way over four blocks of irrelevant streets. By the time I arrive back at the intersection from whence I dodged the fool, said fool is gone.

Get home. Pissed.

Divine laughter emanates from the graying skies.

 

Brave…Strange New World

I wanna say, in the first minute, that surely it hasn’t been SO long since I drove down Seventh Street that the place has changed to the point that I barely recognize it. But…but…??? Maybe it has?

Or maybe instead I’m losing my marbles.

Seventh Street is a road that, when I lived on the east side of Central Avenue between Central and Seventh, either housed my favorite haunts or formed a large part of the route to them. But… On reflection…???

In the first place, now that I live to the west of Central and even of Seventh Avenue (in Phoenix, avenues are to the west of Central and streets are to the east), many of those places on Seventh Street and Twelfth Street that I used to haunt, I hardly ever go to any more.

These days I tend to avoid the Safeway at Seventh Street and Glendale, where I used to do most of my non-Costco grocery shopping. It’s overpriced and overcrowded. Most of my groceries these days come from Sprouts, AJ’s (a local gourmet market), or Costco. Same with the Walgreen’s catty-corner across the intersection from the Safeway. Most of the stuff I’d buy at a Walgreen’s, I can get from Amazon or from the Albertson’s just down the street. If I just must patronize a Walgreen’s, there’s one across Conduit of Blight from said Albertson’s. All that’s required is to run the gauntlet of panhandlers to get in the front door: annoying, but a lot less time-consuming than driving several miles to a bum-free parking lot.

Unholy traffic! It was only quarter after three, but you’d  have thought it was pushing 5 p.m. Unless an awful lot of businesses are letting their workers off early because tomorrow’s Thanksgiving, the traffic on 7th Street has increased so vastly as to make the road almost unrecognizable.

Seriously. I was searching for my favorite bicycle shop, there to replace a pair of padded biking gloves that I use when manhandling Ruby’s leash. I know where it is. I know exactly where it is.

Damned if I could find it!

So I ended up having to trek east to Twelfth Street, schlep way the Hell & Gone down to Bethany Home, and backtrack north up Seventh again. Of course I found it, right where it belonged. But the whole corner seemed so changed, so altered, that I almost didn’t recognize the place.

Today’s road cruise took me past a place the handsome young real estate agent took me to: Nice enough patio home. Actually a very pleasant place, all things considered. I declined, because I really don’t want to live in a patio home — don’t like being crowded that close to the neighbors. Now…boy! Am I glad I said “no, thank you!” The tsunami of traffic pouring past that place…yipes!!! The noise would be deafening. It would be like living next door to Niagara Falls, twice a day.

Money blogger’s message here: Next time you’re looking at a house to buy, before you make a bid on it, go visit there during the rush hour. Park the car, get out, walk around for ten or fifteen minutes, and listen to what you can hear.

Dear Elected Representative, Chapter 2

So in my last post, I described my effort to enlist our elected city councilpersons to bring a stop to the (LOUD!!) late-night drag-racing on Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s Way, the main drags to the north and to the west of the ‘Hood.

I sent the same message, by email, to District 3 and District 5 councilindividuals, since Gangbanger’s Way runs east/west through both of those sylvan neighborhoods.

From one of these worthies, I heard nothing.

From the other, I heard a whinge to the effect that the city just doesn’t have enough funding to pay the cops to ride herd on drag racing. Or much of anything else.

Yeah. She actually said that.

In writing.

Apparently, the one who had nothing to say was the one who realized actions speak louder than words.

Along about 10:30 or 11 p.m. last night, once again up rose the ROOOOAAAAAR from the impromptu race track. I was reading. Figure that eventually I would have to cover my head with a pillow in an effort to get to sleep…which would as usual be a forlorn effort.

I continued to fiddle with whatever was amusing me…and…

About 15 or 20 minutes later, all of a sudden the race-track roar STOPPED!

Hey!

Is it possible that the one who didn’t bother to respond to my grutch instead used his energy to browbeat the policia?

I waited for the festivities to resume.

Minutes passed.

A quarter-hour passed.

Forty-five minutes passed.

Silence!

A miracle of silence!

Sooo…apparently that Dear-Sir [or Madame]-You-Cur letter WORKED! We’ll see tonight, if the racket resumes.

But if the racket does resume, the correspondence from the ‘Hood will resume.

😀

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!

Another Fine Day in Crime Central

Jayzus, what a day!

We’re awakened at dawn to the tune of the neighborhood watchdog, Will, urging us on Facebook to stay inside! lock the doors and windows! do NOT go outdoors! and don’t answer the doorbell either!

Turns out a murder has taken place just a few blocks to the north of the ‘Hood, in a historic slum neighborhood called Sunnyslope. Cops are swarming. And yes, it’s just another morning in Crime Central.

Shee-ut. This means Ruby and I can’t do today’s doggy-walk. And for that matter, we can’t loaf around the yard with the doors open, either.

WTF?  Well, it was just another day in lovely Sunnyslope. Yet another guy was on the run from the cops, having shot a fellow denizen in his pickup. Shot him dead….nice aim.

The perp fled down the canal….the very canal that runs up behind those cute little antique workers’ houses I was, in passing, coveting.

Couple days ago, a not-very-smart young woman was jogging on the same canal pathway. Nabbed, raped, and thrown in the drink.

Fortunately a passer-by found her and fished her out of the water before she was drawn into one of the weirs, which would’ve been the end of her.

Y’know….this ain’t politically correct, but…i will be dayumed if I can figure out why women figure that “liberated” means “free to wear skimpy outfits over their nubile and sexy bodies as they trot up and down public streets with their boobs and their bums bouncing.” PoliticallyCorrectly, sure: in theory we should be able to do anything the guys can do. But that ignores biological reality: to wit, that some males see any female as fair game and no amount of Liberation will change that fact. The reason you wear clothes that cover your body is to keep your body to yourself, as much as possible.

Dare to say that, though, and…

§ §

Yesterday on the (incredibly long) way home from the dermatologist’s office, I managed to dodge whatever was going on at Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. Place was swarming with cop helicopters and patrol cars. Whipped into the ’Hood and made it into the garage without incident. Which is always nice.

Derm was pleased with the way the schnozz is healing, after the surgery to slice off an alleged carcinoma. She wanted me to buy some scar cream to help with that process — sold, of course, by their office. Fortunately I’m now on to their business plan: so, when presented with an opportunity, asked how much. FIFTY-EIGHT BUCKS. Thanks, said I. Bye!

Drove home, stopping at two drugstores and a supermarket. At least one didn’t have it. The other two didn’t have staff to help find stuff. Dodged the cops into the ’Hood, darted into the Funny Farm, fired up Amazon, and lo!! As suspected, there was the very stuff the doctor ordered: Forty bucks. 

Any question why I so often feel like I live in a Third-World country?

After driving driving driving, I arrive at home, greeted by a corgi. Dust settles. Dog goes out. I pour a glass of wine. Cop copters roar over the Farm.

Call the dog. Shut and lock the doors. Pour another glass of wine.

Another armed robbery….nothin’ to look at here, folks. This, also, in lovely Sunnyslope: right where I’ve been coveting those cute little old houses with the gigantic yards.

Soooo…there’s another real estate transaction that goes on the shelf. Waaayyyy in the back of the shelf….

§ §

Come noontime today, it’s over to the church for the volunteer gig: once a week I staff the reception desk in the church office.

Sitting at the front desk in the church office building, putting in my duly appointed volunteer time. Gasp!!!!!  It is sooooo excruciatingly b-o-o-o-o-r-i-n-g! Even more so because everyone but the ubiquitous Nanette is out, apparently all day. NOTHING is going on, not even the phone jangling.

Stupidly, I grabbed the wrong pair of glasses as I shot out the front door…the distance-only pair, not the bifocals. Soooo….I can barely see the computer I brought to amuse myself through the long, silent, tedious afternoon.

So the time goes by

very…

very…

very…

s-l-o-o-w-l-y……

From the church it’s down to AJ’s to pick up some more fruit and…maybe something for dinner, since I don’t feel much in the mood to fire up the grill.

The smog is so gawdawful the sunlight looks yellow, and the sky is colored a strange shade of yellowish gray. Just like lovely Southern California. This was one of the several reasons I loathed living in Long Beach. Driving here has gotten a lot like driving in SoCal, too.

Just an ugly place. Yech.

If my son decides to retire to Utah and I’m still living, I’m a’following him!

Seriously: he has a daydream of telecommuting from some sylvan spot in the boondocks. He’s especially interested in southeastern Utah or southwestern Colorado. And since, far’s I can tell, he no longer goes into an office at all, really there’s no reason he couldn’t do exactly that: move to the sticks and do his job online.

I personally would not choose to take up residence in Mormon Country. Doubt if he has a clue how hard it is to buy a bottle of wine in those precincts.

But seriously: Arizona has some very pleasant towns and wide-spots-in-the-road in the sticks, where the locals’ morals don’t interfere with your choice of dinner beverages and a decent regional medical center is within a 20-minute helicopter ride. Anyplace between Tucson and Nogales would fill that bill very nicely. Same is true of the Prescott area.

But as for Phoenix? It’s L.A. East.

And lemme tellya: there was a reason I hated living in Long Beach, all the time I was in high school. Now I feel much the same way about the crowded, hectic, smoggy, crime-ridden Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun.

This old bat would give a lot to get outta here.