Coffee heat rising

…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!


North Central: Neighborhood from Hell

An entertaining discussion appeared this morning in the neighborhood Facebook page:
(I give up trying to format this thing! Sorry for the glitches…Facebook content just does NOT carry over into blog format with any consistency. Gaaaaah!)

Fernando M.
Top contributor
What’s going on with all of the cops and chopper?
Victoria H.
Top contributor
F’r cryin’ out loud. Fountain Hills looks better and better
Lily F.
Top Contributer
Listening in on the police scanner and it seems it was a break in/home invasion of some sort and they were trying to locate the suspect. He’s in custody now and we can all rest tonight ◡
Fernando M:

Top contributor They got him.

Beth M:
Fernando M. any details where they nabbed him?

Fernando M:
Beth M: at the third house in on 15th Ave and Harmont.

Fernando M.
Which house?!? We are on Harmont and 15th Drive!

Andrea R. A.:
Squad was parked at 17dr/Griswald. Squad car just flew past my house, heli is low. Squad car just down the street near neighbors house

Michelle B-I:
Andrea R.A. are they at the dead end near my moms?

Andrea R A
Michelle B-I yes they were now at Royal Palm

Aimey O B:
Andrea R. A.  there was one parked down here at 16th & Griswold also, for abiut 1/2 hr. Then we heard he was in the yard under a tree on royal palms, ‘3rd house west of 16dr red roof’ that’s when the helicopter left so assuming that’s where they apprehended him.

Andrea R.A:
Aimey Odom Bussing thanks for the update

Laura Rodriguez:
Thank you all for the updates! Woke up to the helicopters and knew I could count on our neighbors looking out for the neighborhood. Great to have neighbors with police scanners. Might need to get one.

Emily G.:
Laura R.  there’s an app, Scanner Radio

Fernando M:
They have a dog out now

Fernando M:
I’m listening to the police scanner and they are trying to surround someone. Preparing for “him” to jump the wall

Noël D:
Fernando M: did you hear them say it was from a break in/home invasion? I read from somewhere else it was someone running from a traffic stop

Emily W:
Top contributor
I hope everyone is ok. I’m glad they caught the person but it sounds like they did some harm first.

Emily W:
Top contributor
There’s a cop on the corner of 15th ave and royal palm. Not sure what’s going on though

Sonya V.
Been going on a VERY long time flying low, spotlights from helicopter in our yard, voices from helicopter but can’t understand what they are saying. 16th ave and las palmaritas. Any news yet on what’s going on?

Eric T:
I guess no sleep tonight going to be a long day tomorrow

Fernando M:
Royal palm and harmony alley

Fernando M:
I’m someone’s yard jumping to the alley

Fernando M:
He is in the church parking lot

Jessica L. G.:
Heard two loud bangs that woke us up about 30min ago, cops have surrounded the park since, husband saw someone across the street picking up something off the sidewalk on the park side, then ran north on 15th ave just before cops got here

Fernando M:
They just came over the speaker and said you are surrounded!

Aimey O.B.:
I was sitting at the kitchen table working (everyone else was asleep) & all of a sudden our entire backyard was lit up like daylight!! (16th dr & griswold) For several seconds! Freaked me out!! I woke up my fiancé & we watched as cops searched the alley rt behind our house w k-9 & followed them on the scanner!! Wont be falling off to sleep anytime soon after all that!!

Beth M:
I don’t know, I heard voices that sounded like it was from the copter and my backyard keeps getting lit up.

Gail G.O.:
Doesn’t sound like they had them surrounded.

Patti C:
There’s a police car on 17th drive and Harmont. Copter had been circling over my house with lights. I assumed it was something with the apartments or light rail but must be more than that

Andre W:
Top contributor
That glass of wine, didn’t realize anything strange was happening last night.

Jeanne D:
Wow that’s crazy

Ahhh yes. Business as usual here in our beautiful home…

Every time I think about moving to Fountain Hills (or the South of France), I’m reminded of the cop who chatted with me after the Great Home Invasion episode. I remarked to him that maybe I should move to Scottsdale or some such. He said — these are his words, indeed — “Don’t do that! We go to these things all over the Valley. It doesn’t matter where you live. This stuff happens all the time.”

And yea verily, even in stodgy, muffled Sun City, a year or two ago a couple of thugs invaded a home out there. They herded the homeowner’s male house guest into a bedroom and shot him in the head.

Unlikely they could have known the guy. The house guests would have been from out of town. He probably mouthed off to them.

What a place!

Twenty-First Century as Gigantic Rip-off

Those of us who are decrepit enough to remember life in the late 1900s can surely attest that there were plenty of ripoffs on the float, back then in the “good” ole days. But jeez…

Every which way from Sunday, here’s somebody trying to siphon your money out of your wallet. I swear ta gawd!

Today I had to register the Dog Chariot. Every year or two (depending on how much you’re willing to pay at any one time), you have to trot your car into a state facility to get an emissions test, for which you have to pay about 20 bucks.

Once you pay, they give you a sheet of paper that you have to use to re-register your car. This year: the tab is $227 and change. In other words, it’s going to cost almost $250 to register a nine-year-old car. For one year.

I find this passing infuriating. Yes, I know: we need to pay to maintain the roads and hire highway patrolmen. But we already pay an exorbitant state income tax. And stiff sales taxes on everything that passes a cash register.

But evidently there’s nothing one can do about it.

For a change, though, this year’s ritual was not the unpleasant production of the past. Used to be, you’d drive in and find a dozen lanes, any one of them with ten or fifteen cars ahead of you. So you get in line and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you…

…and you don’t have much choice of which line you get into. And this is August. The hottest month of the year in Arizona. (Understand: it was 112 here today…and that was actually a fairly balmy day.)

To my surprise, this time there were not very many cars and trucks ahead of me.

A worker motioned me to a line that had only one vehicle, and it was already inside the drive-thru.

So, incredibly, I didn’t have to wait long at all — only a few minutes.

Get in there…and usually they make you get out of the car and wait inside an uncomfortable booth: hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic.

This year, though, they seem to have done away with those. He didn’t even make me get out of the car!

And…it only took him a few minutes to do the job — not a quarter-hour or more. Forthwith he came back, handed me the paperwork, and said I was good to go!

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! No hassles??????


Then you look at the paperwork.

The fee to register that nine-year-old vehicle is $227.77.

Can you imagine?

Two hundred and thirty bucks to drive a car I should have traded in four years ago?

Dayum. What do you suppose it costs to register a brand-new Venza? If they even still make them….

I don’t drive that car much. Now that I don’t have to schlep to jobs in Tempe or in Glendale, I rarely have any reason to bucket around the roads. Yeah: I drive to the grocery store, the Costco, and the occasional doctor’s or veterinarian’s office, but that’s about it.

If we had decent public transit here, I probably wouldn’t even own a car.

But we don’t, so I do.

There’s good reason not to feel safe on the city’s buses and trains. Mainly, the transients ride them for free (partly because on the train, no one is taking tickets, and partly because various organizations hand out free bus passes. And o’course, because they’re air-conditioned). Most of those folks are harmless. But some are…not. Many are ex-convicts. Most are drug users. Some are out of their heads with mental illness or the effects of street drugs. So…no. They’re not strangers you want to spend a lot of time with, in elbow-to-elbow seating. Or standing.

And that’s specifically why I don’t ride lovely Phoenix’s buses and vaunted trains.

So here we are in a city — and a state — where public transit is neither very practical nor very pleasant, and those of us who have to drive (that includes almost everyone) gets gouged for the privilege of putting our cars on the road. Don’t forget: this is not the only tax we pay. Gasoline is taxed liberally. Most retail products are taxed at the checkout counter (and points along the way thereto…). Power is taxed. Water is taxed. On and on it goes.

Not that one doesn’t want to support government and public services. But maybe the funds should be used intelligently?

Lordie! One extreme idea after another!



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…


Revisiting the Good Old Days…

{ooookayyyy…. Let’s see if this effort retains the formatting I kindly asked WordPress to emit…}

So…this morning, driving home from an expedition in a southerly precinct, I happened to wander through our old neighborhood, known hereabouts as the Encanto District.

It’s a beautiful area, consisting of tracts that date from the 1920s to present. The Young and the Upwardly Mobile live there, partly because it’s close in — no significant commute — and partly because the beautiful old houses are handsome, unique, and built to last the ages.

Here’s a pretty little shack in our old stomping grounds: just $1,050,000. Dollars. Yeah. It looks a lot like my friend Emily R’s place, the more or less elegant residence for her and her extraordinary husband, who believed he was a girl and in time had himself surgically transformed accordingly…

This thing is right on the park.

But then we have this, two blocks from where we lived on Cypress.  It sold for eight hundred and thirty-five grand….

The reason I wanted to leave that area, BTW, was two-fold:

* I thought our son should be able to go to the public schools. But that wasn’t an option down in the historic slums. If we moved up to North Central, he could go to the Madison schools, which had an excellent reputation, not only locally but nationwide.

* And yes, the place was overrun with bums and burglars.

My mother started to campaign after the evening that the guy tried to pop the deadbolt on the side door to the utility room, which opened into the TV room where I was sitting on the floor typing up a grad-school seminar paper…in my bra and panties. He came very close to succeeding. When I heard the rattling noise as he was trying to jimmy the lock, I got up to see WTF — I’d thought it was the cats shoveling litter out of their catboxes, one of their favorite activities. Finding the lock lever jumping around, I ran out to the front courtyard and started screaming FIRE! FIRE! CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT.

This, as desired, brought all the neighbors out to watch the house burn down, and that caused the would-be rapist to take off to the boondocks.

On the other occasion, a guy did get inside the house. DH’s resonant snoring had driven me out of the bedroom and onto the living-room sofa. Our German shepherd, Greta, was very elderly by this time. She was sleeping in the hallway right outside our bedroom door.  I woke up in the dark of the night, saw a flashlight in the kitchen, and thought (no kidding!) ooohhhh! the baby must have waked up and John must have gone into the kitchen to get him a bottle! 

 When I went John??…well!  At the sound of my voice, Greta knew that whoever was ambling around in the kitchen was not me and not John.

She JUST EXPLODED! It was one of the most terrifying noises I’ve ever heard…truly: you do NOT want to piss off a GerShep.

She got between the poor li’l perp and the door he came in. As she was about to despatch him to his maker, he found the side door. Managed to dodge outside and slam the door in her face, just as John ambled into the kitchen from the back of the house.

Still clueless, I get up and trundle out to the kitchen.

“WHO WAS THAT MAN?” he demands.

“What man?” say I.


Holy sh!t. 

Well. I’ll tellya…it was the end of the romance for me. That his first thought would be that I was entertaining some chucklehead while he was sleeping off the evening’s drunk said to me this guy doesn’t trust me and he probably doesn’t even like me. I never felt particularly comfortable with him after that.

Life is strange that way…