Coffee heat rising

Heah Come de Storm!

Eek! SIXTY-mile-an-hour wind gusts? Say it ain’t so, dear Wunderground!

We’re told to batten down the hatches for a fine little freshet that’s swooping in from the southeast. And yea verily, just now we’re getting some startling rolls of thunder.

Not raining here at the Funny Farm yet, at just 9:00 p.m.

Wait, I take that back! The rain just started…and it is already pounding down. ohhhhh gawd, what a mess that pool is gonna be!

Oh well. At least we’re not out in it.

Just grabbed the chair cushions in from the side deck. One of them: soaked. The other: just damp.

Water is roaring against the bedroom window Arcadia door like someone is spraying the glass with a hose! Yipes!

And now… Huh! Suddenly it stops.


Arizona is a weird place. One of its weirdest aspects is its weather.

Good Morning, America!

Midnight: Weird noise outside.

What?  Pool equipment run amok? Air conditioner on the fritz? Juvenile delinquents frolicking?

Stumble outside. Cop copter is circling over the intersection of a neighborhood lane and Conduit of Blight Blvd. He flies up this way, then doubles back. Ugh.

Why DO I live in Crime Central, anyway?

Climb back into bed.

Dog wants out. Wouldn’tcha know it?

Lift dog out of bed. Follow her to the backyard.

* Cop copter is already gone. That’s somethin’, anyway.
* Wait for the dog to do her thing. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.
* Neighbor’s AC is making the weird noise. Sounds like an expensive fix.
* Motion-sensitive backyard light is losing motion sensitivity. Does it just need a new lightbulb, or is that another expensive fix?

“Come ON, dawg!!”

*Scrabble scrabble scrabble scrabble…. Dog digs up quarter-minus.

Stumble back in the house. Lift dog back onto the bed.


Dog’s stomach is growling dramatically. Why did I imagine I wuz gonna get back to sleep?

Fed her…when? Around 6 p.m.

Helle’s belles. That was seven hours ago!

Do I really have to get up at 1:00 in the morning and feed the dog? And then let her out into the crime-infested night again?


Now What?

LOL! Speaking of the Hubs of Hades, the local denizens are as weird as anyone you would expect to reside in the Miltonic Underworld. 😀

This afternoon I’m puttering around in the house, not doing anything consequential, and what do I hear but KEEEEEE-RASH!! Coming from the street to the east of the Funny Farm. Car wreck, it sounds like. Right in front of Tony’s Rest Home for Juvenile Delinquents.

Now what, indeed?

See that the dog is safely contained. Find some shoes. Trot out front to  peruse whatever new excitement has occurred. And find…


Nope. Nary a dented car. Not even a smashed mailbox stanchion.


No idea, still, what THAT was about. If one of the brats had bashed a parked car, a fender surely would have been crushed. If they’d run into a mailbox, that would make quite a twisted little display.

The brats are in the habit of SLAMming the front door. Apparently it sticks — Tony being the clever handyman that he is, you’d think he’d shave it down so it would fit smoothly. But who knows? Maybe they’ve trained the inmates to slam the door as a signal to tell the overseers that they’re going outside.

Pool Dude: MIA

hmmmmm…. It’s 9 o’clock in the morning…

Got the right day?

Yep: it is Monday.

Pool dude is usually here and gone long  before this. If he’s been around, I sure haven’t seen him.

And if he had been around while I was here, Ruby would have alerted me. She is hopelessly in love with the man. Not only does she fly into a frenzy of joy when she sees him, but…she knows what day of the week it is.  And in the Canine Calendar, today is definitely Pool Dude Day.

How on earth that’s possible, I cannot imagine. But on Monday mornings, she’s standing by the glass sliding doors watching. And watching. And watching…waiting for the mysteriously beloved Pool Dude.

Most optimistic hope is that he had car trouble, or that some major hassle arose at an earlier customer’s place. But…I tried to call him earlier this week to ask about a question that arose, and got no answer. Left word on his machine: no call-back.

I take these developments as bad signs. Though he’s been reliable all these many weeks that he’s been working for me, at one point in the course of a conversation he did make some remarks that revealed he has a prison record.

That in itself is not enough to put me off. In fact, it explains why he’s trying to make a living in rather low-skill self-employment, since he seems to be a smart and self-sufficient kinda guy.

But the problem is, if he got busted for something — anything, no matter how minor — that will make big, BIG trouble for him. He may be in jail or under some kind of house arrest.

If that’s the case, pretty clearly it’s the end of his pool maintenance business.

And that makes his problem my problem…  Because he’s been doing an awe-inspiring job on the damn pool! The water is crystal clear and the system is running beautifully. That thing has never looked better or been cleaner, not since I’ve lived here.

The remains of three pool tabs were in the chlorine floater. So…well…in this heat, you wouldn’t THINK they’d last a whole week. But that would mean he must have shown up on some other day. I haven’t seen him…but anything’s possible.

I tried to phone him a few days ago: no answer. Left word on his voicemail: no return call.

Not. A. Good. Sign.

Welp. If Pool Dude has flaked out on us — and since nothing lasts forever, that’s surely a possibility — I’ll have to find a new guy ASAP. In this heat, that water can turn green overnight.

So, drat!  The pool is running fine right now, and should continue so for a week or ten days. But I don’t seem to have the required skill to keep it running clear and shiny.

While I’m traipsing around the city, then, I guess I’ll need to go by the Leslie’s Pool store in Sunnyslop — the best branch of that outfit I’ve found so far — and ask if they can recommend any customers who are in the pool maintenance business.

However…I fear Leslie’s itself does that, which means they’re not going to refer the competition to me. So THAT means I’ll have to put out yet another notice on the neighborhood Facebook page, begging for leads.


O Gawd! the guy at the credit union couldn’t get me into my bank account. He told me to go home and call thus-and-such an annoying number.

It’s 108 in the shade, with thunderheads building up to the north.

How can I COUNT the ways I don’t feel like getting on the phone to the CU’s representative?

Wait…how can I count the ways I ain’t a-gunna do it?

Stopped at the Sprouts next to the campus on the way home. Snabbed a package of lamb chops, a package of beef steak thingies. Fresh asparagus. Box of fresh bright-green spinach w/ which to make a salad. Fresh corn on the cob. Fresh bottle of cheap wine.

SCREW COMMERCE! By damn. I’m a-gunna eat myself stupid and then fall face-first into the sack.

The heat and the humidity defy belief. This feels like the shore of the endlessly effing Persian Gulf…which is another way to say you feel like you’re swimming through the air.

The last time I can remember this kind of heat, they shut down Sky Harbor because the jet airplanes couldn’t get enough lift from the hot air to take off safely. Or at all.

High as a Kite? Or Crazy as a Loon?

In central Arizona’s lovely August heat, Ruby and I have to get out for the daily doggy-walk right at or even shortly before dawn. This stroll takes us around Upper Richistan, about a mile of shaded walking…two if we elect to walk up toward our friend Marge’s house, visit the cow pasture in those parts, and stroll back to the Funny Farm.

This morning was icky hot and humid, so we limited the day’s hike to the Upper Richistan loop. It’s around 5:30 or 6:00 a.m. by the time we get to those parts.

So we’re strolling along the road when along comes this couple, a youngish man and what appears to be his wife or girlfriend. And the woman…well…she’s clearly stoned out of her mind. She’s already kinda raving on, and when she sees Ruby, she goes BONKERS.

She starts carrying on with ohhhh corgi!!! it’s a CORGI. look at her cute little butt! And then on and on and on about the cute little butt.

We’re not going to get away from this nut case, so I end up deciding to make an about-face and take another route, back into our low-rent precincts of the ‘Hood .


This is Business as Usual in the ‘Hood. The pair probably came from the slum apartments that stand on the far side of Conduit of Blight Blvd. That place, which once meandered pleasantly through a rambling golf course — now a gigantic weed patch — started out as a compound of upper-middle-class rentals. But over the years they’ve gone steadily downhill, and now the golf greens are dead and the apartments are run-down dumps. A resident once shot a cop through the front door of one of those fine dwellings.

Oh well…. Derailed from our usual route through the sylvan glens of Upper Richistan, we head back into our section of the ‘Hood. Up a cross-street to the north of us…hmmmmm….  Some of the houses there are being rebuilt and upgraded. Evidently somebody thinks that, given the central location and the widespread hallucination that there’s something kewl about the lightrail, they can fancify a house and sell it for quite a bit more than it’s worth.

Oh well, indeed.

We circle back into our part of the ‘Hood, over to where the cop lives with his young family, past the home of our eccentric pal who escaped here from the Darkest West Side. And as we walk, we pass by the Old Lady’s House.

Oh, dear.

This woman, a long-time resident of the ‘Hood — quite possibly an original owner! — was widowed and apparently left with exactly nothing. She simply didn’t have the funds to maintain a house, whether or not she owned it free and clear. And one of the things she skimped on to get by was…oh, yes: homeowner’s insurance.

Sooo… When the wild, hurricane-like storms we had a few years ago came through and tore a hole in her roof, she couldn’t afford to get the roof fixed!

This apparently didn’t much matter most of the time: she couldn’t afford air conditioning, either, so it was gonna be hotter than the hubs in there all summer and colder than a bygod all winter. But the big problem was, whenever it rains, water pours into the house like a cascade.

That’s what the wretched woman was having to live in.

Finally, the house was removed from her possession… Unclear whether she died, whether she moved in with someone and just abandoned the place, or whether it was taken for taxes. Most of us think the latter, but who knows? She was moved out of there, and the place stood vacant for awhile.

Now apparently someone has bought it. Whether as an investment or to live in it is unclear. WhatEVER: they just finished installing a whole new roof! And now they’re over there fixing up the walls and presumably repairing and spiffing up throughout.

It’ll be interesting to see whether the present owners move into it, or whether they’ll sell it for a handsome profit.

A place around the corner that was basically rebuilt from a few surviving walls recently sold for something over a million bucks. To give you an idea: my first house in the ‘Hood was a block up the street: I paid $125,000 for it and felt that was too much….  Zillow thinks my present house — same builder, same model, a block & a half further from Conduit of Blight’s noise and crime — is worth $535,000 and change.

Can you imagine?

I sure can’t!!

When the Gods Are On Your Side….

Or playing a practical joke…  That’s possible, too. We’ll know soon enough.

Doorbell rings as I sit here loafing. Ruby goes dog-bonkers. Now what?

I haul myself upright, stumble to the front door, fling open the inside door…and… HOleee mackerel!

There stands THE single most GORGEOUS young man I have ever seen.

No exaggeration. The creature is beyond handsome.

Normally I’d tell a solicitor to walk on, walk on… Not this one, though!

Incredibly, he’s peddling something that I need seriously and soon:  roach and rat treatment.

Lordie! When, dear God, did you decide to be on my side?

Well, let’s hope this is not some kind of cosmic joke.

The monthly service he’s selling is reasonably priced, and he offered a pretend discount, cinching the more-or-less affordable market rate.

The rats and the roaches are not going away. Even though I did catch Rattie in a trap the other day, all the other traps have remained untouched (rats being no fools after all). And as for the sewer roaches…well…there’s not a lot the locals can do unless the city can be prevailed upon to come around and treat the sewers that flow under our sidewalks. We used to get that service, but the city seems to have quit it. Possibly lobbied away by the bug companies that want individual citizens to pay them royally. Kill off the roaches: kill of their business.

I do have to say that combined, the roach issue and the rat issue are getting a bit beyond the pale. I’d already decided to hire an exterminator…but when this spectacular being showed up at the door, it was ACCOUNT SOLD!

Seriously, I’ve been thinking I need to give up and hire a service. We used to have a bug service in our first house in downtown Phoenix. There — the Encanto district — the stately 50-year-old houses tended to be infested with termites. And really, everybody had a termite service. We eventually canceled because the bug spray made the cats sick…and it was beginning to make me sick, too. And yeah…when we went to sell the shack, lo and behold! Termite damage.

The Funny Farm, at least, is built on a concrete foundation. Our house downtown had a wooden crawl space…deeee-lishus! But nevertheless, the attic is framed in wood, and I believe the plasterboard walls have wood framing inside. And as for the roaches…Helle’s belles! They don’t care what your house is made of.

Anyway…dunno where the termite company found that spectacular young man. But they couldn’t have picked a better representative!