Coffee heat rising

Grrrrrrrrr! Stop the freakin’ world….

So I go to cancel this morning’s physical therapy misery so as to spend the full day coping with the various crises that have come up, only to find that somehow it’s gotten moved from 10:30 in the morning to 1:45 in the afternoon.

Why? I’m sure I should recall, but I most decidedly do not. Because I can’t remember much of anything anymore…

Have ALL of the appointments been moved to the start of naptime? WHY???

Oh well. We can deal with that later. Much later.

Slept all the way through till 4 a.m. and so should not feel quite so zombified this morning. But just now all I want to do is go back to bed.

  • Not cope with the cleaning lady underfoot all day.
  • Not hassle with the weirdly busted computer, entailing an hour or more on the phone with the Apple techs
  • Not drive to the locksmith and order up a wildly expensive replacement for the security lock key the cleaning lady has lost…

No kidding: wildly expensive is it. Those things cost $15 or $20 to replace. So as you can imagine, I start the day feeling a little aggravated. The slope looks steeply downhill from here…

At least (claims she), the keys didn’t have my address attached to them (let’s hope to god she’s telling the truth!). Otherwise, I’d have to have the locks themselves replaced. One of these Medeco locks runs about $160….not including the cost of having the locksmith come to the house and install it.

The computer’s gone whacko, apparently because of a keyboard command I unwittingly entered. Normally you can click through from one window or page to another. But there’s a stupid setting whose appeal utterly escapes me that causes the thing to “sweep” from one window to the next with an effect like an old Kodak slide projector.

I find the effect annoying to the point of being grating. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make it stop, because I don’t know what cutesie appellation Apple has chosen to call it so I can’t look it up in the support documentation. So now I have to get on the phone to Apple and fart around, fart around, and fart around some more. Just what I want to do to fill up the morning.

The locksmith’s shop is to hell and gone in Glendale. Not that far, but still…one more PITA. I’ll have to wait til the C.L. gets here before I can leave, because of course in this neighborhood I can’t go off and leave the door unlocked.

This accursed LA-style city…ugh! Have I said how much I hate driving around this place? It just gets worse and worse, the more they build, they more they gentrify, the more they “improve.” Every change inflicts some new confusion…and every damn day seems to bring some new change.

Really, I should go up to Prescott and look at real estate. This place is driving me crazy.

But first, speaking of driving me crazy, I have to find a new hair stylist.

The other day I drove out to Shane’s to get the annoying new short hairstyle trimmed. That would be the one I was forced to get because I couldn’t comb my nearly waist-length hair with a broken shoulder in the way. Shane is a great stylist…but he charges 60 bucks a hit. So as you can imagine, having to cut my hair off in a cute little pixie was NOT what I want to do. Oh well.

He’s in Scottsdale. Has been for the past several years. So I start driving driving… Come to the touristy 5th Avenue section, find his street (3rd Avenue) and…and…and… The salon is not there.

Huh?

I drive around and around and around and AROUND old-town Scottsdale and

Can.

Not.

For.

The.

Life of me…

…find Shane’s place. Finally I give up and come home.

This damn hairstyle he created is yes, very curly and very cute…and it has a forelock that falls RIGHT INTO MY EYE. I can NOT make it stay out of my face — the only way to keep it from fukkin’ blinding me is to take a plastic hair roller clip thing and pin it up on my head.

Which as you can imagine looks spectacularly fashionable.

Drove back into town to make an appointment at the salon in the AJ’s shopping center, which…of course…you had to ask? Is not there anymore.

Tried to find my old stylist’s salon up by the west-side university campus.

Gone.

So now I have to start completely anew and find a stylist, by guess and by God. And by God, am I pissed about that.

Moving on, I decide to cut the physical therapy this morning so I can traipse to the locksmith’s shop whenever CL fnally shows up. Call there and find my appointment isn’t at 10:30: it’s at 1:45. We cut the number of sessions from three a week to two, and I think we must have changed the hour from morning to afternoon.

Which is NOT when I want to be flailing my arms and legs in the air, dammit! About 1:45 in the afternoon is about when I run out of gas and wanna lay down for an hour or two — especially after a night that has ended at 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning. I am effin’ TIRED by early afternoon and mostly just wanna go back to bed.  So this is an annoying development.

So. Back to the hair:

Seems to me I have two choices.

  • Find a stylist who can trim the forelock out of my eyes. Or…
  • Let it grow back out. And grow…and grow…and grow…

It will take three or four years for the hair to grow long again. Three or four years of shaggy awfulness. Or maybe four or five years… Plus of course there’s always the “what’s she trying to prove?” question. The truth is, I’m way too old to wear my hair down around my shoulders. By the time it gets there, for godsake, I’ll be 80 years old!

For godsake, it’s 9:30. Where IS that woman?

Welp! There’s an easy way to cause her to show up: Pick up the phone and get an Apple tech on the line…

Cheaper by far…

…to get wherever you’re going by riding Ol’ Paint. Whatever hay costs, it can’t be as much as gasoline!

No kidding: yesterday morning on the way to a dermatologist’s appointment, I darted into the new QT gas station that they stuck on the site where a landmark old gringo-Mexican restaurant had stood for many a year. The cheapest gas on offer was $2.95 a gallon!!

Augh! Makes driving all the way across the city to fill up at a Costco begin to make sense.

Maryvale: once a brave new world…

Had to buy gas because the junket to the dermatologist’s office is endless — halfway to freakin’ Yuma. There IS a Costco on the route home — marketing to business customers, not us hoi polloi — and it does have a gas station. Fortunately, I have a business membership. But…wasn’t absolutely sure I could make it all the way to hellandgone to Avondale and then about 2/3 of the way back into Phoenix on the amount of gas still in the tank. And believe me: you do NOT wanna be stuck in lovely Maryvale, hands-down the most threatening slum in the state.

Anyhow, the car is now stocked with a tank of low-test, which should suffice for another two or three weeks.

Think o’that: your basic three bucks a gallon for the lowest-octane stuff.

Eighty bucks to replace the CO/smoke detector that gave up the ghost. That was ducky, too.

No wonder i imagine i should have recourse to psychedelic drugs….arrrghhhh!

Speaking of the which, I found a peddler closer to home!

This joint (heh!) is right across the freeway, in a defunct shopping center. But that notwithstanding, heaven help us: the place delivers! Woo hoo! I’ve arrived in Junkie Nirvana!

****

Flew in through the doctor’s door as the clock rang 1 p.m.  My God what a horror show it is, driving in this freaking city! On the way out, as is not uncommon in Our Fine City, we all wound our way past a crash in a major intersection: two vehicles utterly totaled.

Red lights, you understand, do not apply to Arizona drivers. 😉

Derm didn’t seem to think the new lesions were anything to worry about. Froze them off. Et voilà: half the day blown away! Ain’t that ducky…Ain’t old age grand?

On the way back, I went into Metrocenter, where the cannabis dispensary mentioned above supposedly resides. Nary a sign of it. Turns out — I discovered after I got home and called to ask where they are — that they’re not IN Metrocenter: they’re on an outer fringe road ringing Metrocenter, next to the old Discount Tire.

Was that a strange experience!

Metrocenter is a ghost shopping center — a huge one. If I recall correctly, when it was built it was the largest enclosed mall in the country. That record didn’t stand long, of course…but still…it is a huge structure with dozens and dozens of stores and several large anchor tenants — Sears and Penney’s and Diamond’s (Dillard’s) and Goldwater’s and The Broadway. Two storeys, an ice-skating rink, a movie theater — it was quite a big deal. And it was a vibrant place: everybody went there to shop and to socialize. Now it’s just vacant, except for a bloated Walmart store.

It was kinda creepy to drive around in there. And sad. I wish they’d tear it down and build some other development in its place.

They’re going to run the light-rail boondoggle into the now mostly vacant parking lot, where presumably the bums will be made to get off…that being the future new end of the line. Said train riders come into our neighborhood to loaf and steal because the end of the line is now at the intersection of Conduit of Blight Blvd. and Gangbanger’s Way. If the bums are allowed to ride another few miles — across the freeway and into Metrocenter — then of course they’ll all swarm into the neighborhoods over there and lurk around the businesses in that area.

Once you’re in the area west of the I-17, you’re in a vast sprawl long neglected and indeed reviled by our City Parents, most of whom hail from affluent parts of town…far far away from the Great Unwashed of the West Side. Our August Leaders do not care about the property values and the well-being of the po’ folk who live west of Conduit of Blight…those tracts form a kind of a dust-bin for more affluent parts of the city. So I expect the bums will be given free run of the whole area.

If that’s what they’re going to do, then it would make sense to convert the vast, empty mall into housing, treatment facilities, and care for the homeless. The mall would be perfect for the purpose: dozens and dozens of little stores that could easily be converted into SROs; a built-in chow line; large spaces to use for meetings, job training, drug dry-out, or church proselytization; and office space to house social workers, psychologists, and cops. It’s the stupidest thing…why do city governments never seem to do obvious things that make obvious sense?

Ohhh well. When I got back into the ’Hood, some kind of weirdness was going on. On the east end of the alley, someone had left a vehicle in the middle of the street, midway between my house and the house behind me. No one was around. No one seemed to be in the alley. The car was just sitting there in the road. Cop helicopters were just arriving on the scene, buzzing the neighborhood in general.

Called the dog to the garage door, grabbed a shilelagh, walked through and inspected the house — no sign of entry. Chatted with WonderAccountant: she agreed that the car in the middle of the road was odd, but had seen nothing else out of the ordinary.

Eventually some guy came out of a house across the street, jumped in the oddly parked car, and trundled off.

In the Land of Pot…

Well, that was an interesting experience.

VickyC, her son D, and I made a run on the marijuana dispensary that has sprung up in the Lowe’s parking lot, just down the road from the Great Desert University’s west campus. Though I’ve been in a number of stores in the hippy-dippy mode, I’ve never visited a real, dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core head shop. Man!

They had that place zipped up, down, backward and forward with security. As soon as you walk in the door, they grab your driver’s license and enter all its details into their computer. You do have the option of refusing to give them your phone number, but that is it. Also, these outfits take cash only. No paper trail as to who bought what, when…

The customers, all of them male, looked like normal enough persons. No hippy-dippy aspirations to “style” — they looked mostly like ordinary office workers. But they all spoke the jargon, which is extensive enough that when those for whom it is mutually intelligible take up the subject of cannabis they sound a lot like they’re speaking a foreign language.

We each got a potted…uhm, pot plant. They were not cheap: $20 or $30 apiece. However, VickyC estimates you get about $100 worth of the product off of a single plant. So…it will be interesting to see how that works out.

As we were driving around, our fellow homicidal drivers, a.k.a. The Morons, were out in force. On the way back toward the ’Hood, one fruitcake on a motorcycle swerved into D’s lane right on his front bumper. The clown missed being churned into clown butter by about eight inches. THEN…he did it again!!!!! After Dustin laid on the horn…

Another guy, this one in a car (at least he had some armor around him) also damn near hit us. He was smoking up as he drove, clearly stoned out of his head. Lovely.

Both these incidents occurred on Conduit of Blight Blvd, a fine thoroughfare to avoid at all costs.

At any rate, the little plant, which apparently belongs to a variety called “Banana,” is still in its pot, sitting on the side deck. The wind was really wailing when we got back here, and I didn’t much feel like wrestling with potting soil and water and whatnot in a gale. By sunset, the weather had settled some, but I still didn’t much feel like potting the thing and trying to figure out where to put it. Today…well…

This morning bright & early I have to traipse out to the Mayo…a return visit to the orthopod. Not happy about this: I’m really not feeling at all well…the pain, I guess, is just wearing me down. And I expect a major, MAJOR hassle. Getting parked out there with all the ongoing construction is a gawdawful headache. That’s after driving way to hell and gone up there, which as you can imagine from my description of yesterday’s road antics, is never a fun experience.

The shoulder hurts all the time, and I’m extraordinarily tired of hurting all the time. The joint is now mostly pretty mobile…if you call a stab of pain when you reach your arm up to comb  your hair or take a coffee cup out of a cabinet “mobility.”

To complicate matters, La Maya is in town and wants to get together for lunch. I very much doubt if I’ll be back here much before noon…or even by noon. So just now we’re circling round and round about that. {sigh}

But if she’s here and wanting to trot out to some restaurant, it will delay the pot potting escapade that much more.

Heh heh…I have had exactly nothing to say to my son about said escapade. You may be sure that when he sees that thing in the yard, he will have a sh!t-f!t of Olympean proportions… Conveniently, Gerardo showed up here earlier in the day, so I won’t have to listen to his commentary on my criminal career for at least another month. 😀

Time to turn out of the sack and start getting ready for the day’s hassles…

Shopping Adventure in the Absence of Instacart…

In the “How Dumb Can You Get?” department, today I believe I scored a gold medal for Olympic how-dumbness.

This morning I decided nothing would do but what I must drive up to Costco so as to purchase, among other things, two pair of size 12 blue jeans in my favorite brand: Gloria Vanderbilts. My usual size 8s and 10s no longer fit, after the extended period of sedentary solitude occasioned by covid confinement and then by the broken shoulder.

I had tried to put an order through Instacart to achieve this purchase, but ran into an Olympic-sized snafu, and a chucklehead who barely spoke English as their excuse for customer service. After this jerk put me on hold with obnoxious Muzak blasting into my ear at high decibels, I hung up and went on about my way.

Now, if you had been here, you would’ve reminded me that today is Good Friday. And yes, that would be the Friday before Easter, the first big holiday we’ve had in over a year for which large numbers of people imagine that it’s probably-sort-of-kind-of safe to get together with their families. Right?

Pissed as hell with Instacart — whose employee has now become aware that I have checked out and has begun to harass me with nuisance telephone calls — I clamber into the dog chariot and head on up toward Costco, over Phoenix’s homicidal surface streets.

There must’ve been a thousand people inside that store along about 11 AM. I exaggerate not. This store has an enormous parking lot and almost every space was filled. I parked next to a sporting goods store that occupies the pad just to the north of the Costco’s. Under the best circumstances, any given Costco is crowded and hectic. But when the stores are really crowded, they morph into Sites of Nightmare.

So there I am inside this concrete cave trying to get from point A to point B through churning mobs of people, each one of whom believes that she or he is the only person in the place  and navigates accordingly.

Turns out that it was a good thing the scheme to deploy an Instacart runner was foiled. If any such soul  had been sent forth into the fray to try to find a pair of Glorias, they would’ve been flummoxed. Apparently, Costco has decided to quit carrying Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, one of the very few brands that accommodates the rear ends of aging women. All that was left were the sad dregs of their last shipment, clearly meant to be the LAST shipment.

Hell and damnation!

Eventually I decided to experiment with a couple pairs of Buffalo jeans by David Bitton. These are made of stretchy tencel — no, not the desired denim, but the stretch might give them an outside chance of sorta-maybe-kinda fitting. I buy denim jeans for a simple reason: I do not want to live in stretchy athletic tights! I like saggy baggy comfortable jeans. That is why I like Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.

But…whatEVER.

An hour of banging from one wall to the next wall to the next wall to the next wall inside the Costco eventually elicits the dog’s treats, a roast chicken, no make-up of any interest whatsoever, a bottle of cheap Portuguese wine, a box of grapes, a box of Campari tomatoes, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a chunk of blue cheese, a box of blueberries, and…some other stuff, I’m sure. A lengthy stand in line transfers ownership of these items to me and finally I am out the door.

Escape into one’s vehicle is most surely not escape from the madding hordes — this is being, after all, lovely Phoenix: capitol of the lunatic Arizona driver.

I’m making my way home by surface streets, electing not to risk my fellow homicidal drivers’ lives with a one-handed jaunt down the freeway. Incredibly, the southbound I -17 has been detoured onto Conduit of Blight Boulevard! No kidding: four lanes of 70-mile-an hour-traffic is pouring onto a surface street best described as “annoying” during its better moments.  Conduit of Blight is aptly named in the map of my personal geography. It passes through some of the dreariest agèd ticky-tacky in the city. Naturally, the residents are out and about, and — typically– one of them is tooling along blasting everyone around him with his boombox. Literally, the bastard has got the thing blasting so loud that even with all the windows in my car closed, each THUMP from his bass speaker causes my rear-view mirror mirror to vibrate!

This lovely serenade follows me all the way down to Gangbanger’s Way, where I hang a left, dodge away from the bastard, and whip into the ‘Hood. This, need I remind you, is why I do not carry a pistol in my car.

What a place!

Out of the tunnel of annoyance, into the daylight of hilarity…

Tuesday: The usual 4 AM a.m. wake up call leaves me, once again, without enough sleep by the time I finally give up and roll out of the sack. About three hours later, I decide I’d better walk the poor little dog, who has not been outside in for-freaking-ever.

So I’m lashing the dog up in the complicated lash-up required to keep her more or less in line wiithout having her choke on her collar and fly into a reverse-sneezing frenzy. Remember, a doggie walk in these stressful days has to be managed with one hand: normally it requires two hands to keep her under control at all times. So in the best of conditions, this stroll is going to be a one-handed wrestling match.

Phone rings, just as we’re about to head out. My friend who was going to drive me to the first physical therapy session in the morning. Yeah.

Well, says she, she has remembered that she has a couple of errands in Scottsdale. So she will need to drop me off about a half an hour early and I’ll have sit there and wait for the therapy appointment and then  after that little nightmare is over I will have to wait again for heaven only knows how long until she gets back from Scottsdale to pick me up.

To put it mildly, this is not a scenario that appeals. So I say I will find some other way to get there.

As a matter fact the “other way” will be for me to drive myself, over my son’s dead body and in direct contravention of doctor’s orders.

Frankly I believe I will have no problem driving over there one-handed. As a practical matter I drive around with one hand most of the time. Except of course when dodging my fellow homicidal drivers. This, after all, is why we have power steering. Right?

By 9:45, the rush hour will be over and it should not be too unsafe to get there. It’s only 3 miles. I can get down there and also back home with a series of right-hand turns… In fact the only left turn I would have to make would be off a neighborhood arterial onto a relatively tame main drag. Additionally, the parking at this place consists of a long row of single-car spaces, so you can drive straight through without having to back and fill to get out.

Ruby loves grass, probably because we don’t have any. So when we get into the Richistans, all she wants to do is wallow and roll in the luxuriant, irrigated lawns that grace the stately homes. And, we might add, sniff every drop of dog pee that has ever  been deposited thereon. And of course, dump on said grass. Preferably directly in the line of sight of the proprietors’ front windows.

It’s supposed to reach 90° by afternoon and it’s already getting warm. All I want to do is move along, get the doggie walk out of the way and get back home where I can sit down and put my feet up again. So while she’s sniffing around in someone’s grass, I decide to stride right along… As I’m marching toward Pretoria, dragging her highness behind me, I hear ssskkkkkkkriiichchchchch….  

Huh? Turn around, glance back, and there’s the poor little dog at the end of the lead: she has assumed the position and is now helplessly being dragged forward by the harness, squatting and looking much like a stuffed Easter bunny.

Oh, dear God! I stop. She finishes the job: all over the neighbor’s front sidewalk. So there’s a nice mess to clean up!

We continue up the way and of course, invariably, it does not matter what time of day or night you leave your house with your dog…you cannot avoid your fellowvdog-walkers…

Along comes someone else with two large black beasts straining at their leashes. On our side of the street. The only side of the street that has any shade.

So we have to cross the (hot!) (asphalt!) road and proceed down the sunny side of the street until we get past that patrol. They drag their human into a garage, but the human leaves the garage door open, thereby also leaving open the question of whether he has let his dogs off the leash to roam around loose inside there, ready to charge us as we walk past.

I’ve noticed, on the way out, that the Funny Farm’s front yard is sprouting a nice crop of dandelions and assorted other weeds. When I get home, I call Gerardo to find out when he figures he will be around again. He says he’ll come over tomorrow. How convenient. I tell him that I won’t be here tomorrow morning, but Luz will be here. I arrange to leave a check for him on the back patio table. It also means I will have to leave the side gate open, because he has lost the key that I gave him and I have never managed to go to a locksmith and have another one made. Nor am I going to do so tomorrow, given the circumstances. I pointed out to him that Luz will need to be alerted to his presence since she will be less than thrilled to see a crew of dudes invade the backyard while she’s here alone.

At any rate speaking of the dog and the doggie products, I did manage to pick up three weeks’ worth of doggie mounds out of the backyard this morning. This is the first time that I have felt up for even trying to maneuver the doggy picker-upper gadget… And SURPRISE! Nooooo problem! So that was a pleasant discovery.

As a matter of fact, overall the arm is feeling a lot better. It seems not to hurt (much) unless I lift it up and out to the side. Lifting the arm straight frontward seems to elicit scarcely a twinge… Though I will say I haven’t tried to raise it over my head. So I take this as a good sign. I hope.

One thing that is clear from this fiasco: you cannot live in Phoenix without access to a car…PERIOD. It very well may be that if you imagine you are going to age in place in a freestanding home, you’re simply going to have to be able to drive a car or to find some way to get some transport service — not volunteers, not relatives — to ferry you around. This predicament, of course, is what makes it possible for outfits like the Beatitudes to talk the elderly into consigning themselves to a de facto prison. The Beatitudes will ferry you to doctors and grocery stores — at some considerable inconvenience to yourself, but at least you can get there.

One way around that, I think, is to move into one of the newer apartment developments that are going up around the city. These things are roughly modeled on European urban areas: commercial and office space on the ground floors, with apartments on half-a-dozen upper floors. If you live in one of these places, you could in theory avail yourself of restaurant food and maybe even some (very expensive) specialty groceries. One of my friends works in such a place right now…apartment buildings and office buildings are mixed together with retail and restaurants in a single development. It wouldn’t be my first choice of living environments, but on the other hand it wouldn’t be my last choice, either. The Beatitudes would be my last choice. With Sun City as the second-to-last.

The big malls built in the 50s and 60s here are moribund. Plans are on the drawing board to convert one such mall — the venerable Paradise Valley Mall, home of Macy’s (defunct), Dillard’s (now renting out its second-floor offices to freelance entrepreneurs), Penney’s (on its way out), and the like. There is a freestanding Costco in that shopping center — one would presume they will close it because it will be way too tacky to go with the fancy production the developers intend to build… But if it doesn’t close… If it stays in place… Well! That would make such an apartment development look mighty attractive. The living space would be right next door to a place where you could buy anything your heart wants, in lifetime supplies. Costco also has a gas station that underprices the competition by anything from $.05 to $.13 a gallon. It would be across the street from a Target, an REI, a Dollar Store, and a slew of middle-class restaurants. And it’s just up the road from the Valley’s largest and best-stocked Fry’s supermarket, which competes directly and ferociously with AJ’s, purveyor of fine and overpriced goods And it’s also close enough to the Mayo Clinic that you could get there quickly, and the 911 people would drive you there if you asked, rather than telling you that they’re going to take you to the depressing facility at John C Lincoln. The truth is that might be a place for me to consider moving to.

Fact, I think I will ask one of my coreligionists, who is an ambitious real estate agent, if she’ll keep an eye out for me as that place is developed.
Later. Having been up since 4 a.m., I’m going to take a nap before the sun comes up. And honi soit qui mal y pense!

Historic perambulations

Dawn spreads its glowing veil over a spectacular day: clear blue skies, bright sun, and cool air. Temp is about 68; expected to max out at 70. Sooo….along about mid-morning the hound and I set out for a lengthy stroll.

She, of course, wishes to go to the park. So…OK. Off we go to the park and then a block past it to South Tony Realms Drive, a lane that runs between Feeder Street North/South and Main Drag West, proceeding through a neighborhood that could be called Old Money. The houses, most of them on third- to half-acre lots, were built in the 1950s and maybe the early 60s. It’s quite a lovely neighborhood with irrigated lawns (irrigation is really about the only way even rich people can afford lawns anymore) and nicely maintained brick or block homes. As you might imagine, a third or a half an acre of affordable grass is in high demand, and so a lot of those places are being fixed-and-flipped. We saw three in the process, there in about three blocks of side streets.

It’s interesting how eccentric the neighborhood is, in a low-key way. For one thing, at least three sections consist of what I’d call “semi-custom houses.” That is, you can tell they were installed by the same builder using a sort of…oh, builder’s template, maybe. But they’re not recognizably the same model in the way the houses here in the ’Hood are. The ’Hood is a later vintage — early 1970s. Other parts of the neighborhood — which are in high demand now — were built out in the late 1950s. This whole area was out in the country in those days: cotton fields and citrus orchards.

My part of the area is a tract that was started by a couple of brothers who were prominent builders here, Hugh and Frank Knoell (pron. “k’NELL”). Theirs was the same company that built out Sun City, and the houses are very similar: uninsulated cement block structures with unassuming front elevations, all of them looking much the same. I’d say there are maybe a half-dozen different floor plans and elevations, though a couple of nearly identical elevations are attached to floor plans that are different on the inside. Something terrible happened and Knoell went out of business when they were about halfway through building out the tract. Knoell sold to another builder, who finished the job, so that part of the tract is subtly different…but not enough so you could tell unless you knew about it.

To the north of my part of the ’Hood stands a smaller tract of contemporaneous classic Southern California style. It’s a lower-rent area, and the houses are Pure Anaheim. Which is about as bourgeois as a residential structure can get. 😀

For reasons unclear to me, the area to the south and east of the park (which at the time was not a park but rather a sheep pasture) was more upscale. Beverly Hills it ain’t….but the houses are large and occupy lots ranging from about a third to maybe a half an acre. Most of them are apparently custom or “semi-custom” homes, all but a couple of them sprawling single-story ranchers. No two of these places seem to be the same.

But the weird thing is…they’re not all vast sprawling monuments to their original owners’ egos. Some of them are quite large. But a few really are no bigger than my house. Apparently some people wanted to live in relatively small homes — less upkeep, presumably — but with lots of elbow room between the neighbors.

At one point along the line, after I’d moved into my first house here, much closer to Conduit of Blight, I looked at an open house over in that older area….more out of curiosity than with any idea of actually buying it. It faced on the park, a circumstance that was considered a marvel of luxury. It was a little large for my taste — for one person and a dog, you don’t need to live in a hotel. But the thing that was a jaw-dropper was that it still was using a septic tank!!!!!

Not surprisingly, in a way: by the 1950s, this area was still out in the country. Encanto Drive — smack in the middle of what is now considered the “historic” central city — was the city limit: about 7 miles from here. But as the sewer system expanded, most people connected with the city lines. I think it was free (read, “paid for by your property taxes”) at the time. Someone was either real cheap or real suspicious of Big Gummint! 😀

Dog is campaigning for an evening doggy walk. Away!