Coffee heat rising

Doggy Divin’ at the Break of Day

Dayum! As dawn cracks, the dog falls in the pool. Into the deep end, natcherly.

So I have to leap into the water (fortunately I was about to go swimming so am not burdened by blue jeans and shirts). The resulting tsunami swamps her and her head sinks below the surface. I swim to her, grab her as she’s going under, haul her over to the seat, and lift her out.

I thought she had figured out the pool boundary. She seemed to have realized that the water is not some flat surface she can walk on. But apparently she mis-stepped, and PLUNK! into the drink she went.

Anyway, drag the frantic dog out. She seems not to be at Death’s Door. Lock her out of the pool area, try to dry her with a towel. She’s having none o’that.

Now she’s soaked. The stuff Jim the Pool Dude has been putting in the pool to keep the algae under control really irritates my skin and presumably will do the same to her (expensively, no doubt), so now I have to shampoo her. She wouldn’t let me get near her long enough to grab her and drag her over to the hose, so whenever I get the chemicals washed off myself and out of my hair, I’ll have to put her in the tub and wash her off with the hose-end shower thingie.

Run inside. Jump in the shower and scrub the chemicals off me and out of my hair.

Chase down the dog. Wrestle her into the bathtub, Shampoo her all over, rinse (…fight fight fight fight…), pour hair conditioner all over her, rinse (…fight fight fight fight…), realize the conditioner is still all over the tub’s floor and that makes it too slippery for me to stand up; crawl out of the tub verrrreeee carefulleeee, grab a towel, start to wipe down the dog; realize the conditioner and even some shampoo are still in the dog fur, rinse the dog again and again and again and again (...fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…fight fight fight fight…); haul her out of the tub again, try to dry her off (shake shake shake shake shake…all over the bathroom walls, cabinetry, and floors); give up and let her wander off (shake shake shake shake shake down the hallway); retrieve scouring powder and Simple Green, scrub the bathtub & shower surround, rinse the bathtub, then dry the bathroom walls, dry the bathroom floor, dry the bathroom door, dry me.

Holy shit! You know those little round red bruises us old people get on our arms? Yeah. Now I’ve got FOUR new ones on the right arm. Where, I presume, she dinged me with her claws.

Man, I really got a snootful jumping in. Went running this morning, before this little drama happened. That was enough to confirm that the chronic cough/scratchy throat are NOT covid but, as suspected and fervently hoped, allergies. Both those annoyances disappeared after a little steady, deep breathing. But now my throat hurts again and I’m coughing again.

Dog is snorking. Worried that she breathed water into her lungs,. Vet won’t be open for an hour. Can’t afford the emergency vet; besides, it would take almost an hour to get there, anyway.

But forthwith she stops. Seems to be fine.

Ugh. I’d started letting her into the pool area a week or so ago, because every time I go swimming she has a barking frenzy. She stands at the gate and raises holy Hell. Put her in the house? She stands at the back door and raises holy Hell. If she can come over to the pool, she shuts up and just trots around the perimeter, peering at me.

Heeee! Where she delivered a scratch, I’ve got a long fancy red thin line  extending north-northwest from one of the new elegant red spots. Ah, and she poked a little hole to the north of that. Heh! Looks like a geometry lesson: “what is the angle between ab and cd in an isosceles triangle?” 😀

Good thing I’m too old to care what I look like anymore!

Dispatch from “Prison”

This, my friends, is The Life.

Yes, I’m afraid so… All my Facebook friends are whinging mightily on and on about being cooped up at home, poor souls — well, except for one Fortunate Soul who happens to live on some acres of spectacularly gorgeous country. But the city mice? squeak squeak squeak squeak!

😀

Welp, I’m also a city mouse. But one with some weird traits that suit her well for Covid Quarantine.

At heart, I’m a recluse. Am now, always have been. Well, no: I might not have been in the first grade…but six years of unrelenting grade-school bullying and ostracism left me distrusting people and most comfortable with my own company. The more people I get to know, the more I like my dog…

You think that’s a joke? Not. So. Much.

So the fact is, an ordinary day around the Funny Farm is not so different from a day of Self-Isolation.

I live in a beautiful house with a beautiful yard and a handsome pool (already almost warm enough to swim in!). My job is something I’ve been doing 100% from home since 2000-and-aught 9. I’m good at it and I like it. And you know…there’s always something to do around a house that sits on a quarter-acre lot. The weather is spectacularly gorgeous: in a few minutes I’m going outside to dine on the patio. And there are moments — quite a few of them — when I suspect the highest and best use of one’s personal time is loafing.

Dog and I made a one-mile circuit of the park this morning. When we left at dawn, I hoped we would have some dog-free, human-free peace. Who gets out of the sack on a weekday when they don’t HAVE to go to work?

Yeah.

First cross-street, through the gloaming along comes a couple with a yappy little dog, It flies into a frenzy when it sees Ruby and tries to attack her. Luckily these two are smart enough to have their pet on a leash. It yaps and lunges savagely, but we get away unscathed.

We continue toward Lower Richistan. On the other side of the street, along comes a woman with a large white dog. She thinks she has it under control, no doubt…but not so much. It lunges at Ruby and tries to charge us, dragging the young woman off the sidewalk and into the road.

We get by this obstacle, and from there find the way un-doglested. There is NO one in the park — I imagine this is because of the covid scare. We manage to walk along the west sidewalk all the way to the south side, with no pestering or even threat of pestering. Cruise through the neighborhood to the south of the park. Walk north in the general direction of the Funny Farm.

But no. Here’s a moron with a big dog off the leash.

They’re a distance from us, so we forge on.

Around the corner, and here comes some guy in a car with two huge mutts in the back seat. He parks his car, flings open the door, and lets them charge into the park.

We walk across the street to avoid that catastrophe waiting to happen, with some success. I make a mental note: STAY COMPLETELY AWAY from the park (that you pay for with your taxes), no matter what time of day it is!!!!!

***

And dinner, partaken of in mid-afternoon, because I ate so much for breakfast that I’m not hungry till then, is fairly decent: grilled steak, roasted potatoes, grilled asparagus, a fine salad with fresh Meyer lemon and olive oil dressing, a passing decent cheap red wine, and a dose of Talenti ice cream.

Laundered clothes: usually I let a vast load pile up before diddling away time with that task. but with the current scare under way, I’m tossing stuff in the wash every couple of days.

The houses in this neighborhood have a peculiarity that, when I first bought here, I regarded as very tacky: all but one of the models have the washer/dryer hookup in the garage.

Of course! Everyone wants to spend time in 110-degree summer heat or 40-degree winter chill laboring over the laundry, right?

Well, at the time I bought into the ‘Hood — the height of the Savings & Loan Fiasco — I needed a place to live, and as a beggar couldn’t be a chooser. As it has developed, though, this trait has had a number of benefits. Obviously, it keeps the noise and mess out of the living area. Also, a couple of times when a washer has overflowed, it has saved me from having to clean up a gawdawful mess from the inside floors. And what is now to the point: After an outing to some germy store, I can shut the door behind me as I drive in, hop out of the car, and immediately strip off my clothes and throw them in the washer. A sink with a bar of soap is right there for the obligatory hand-scrubbing.

Discovered a way to build bird-proof “cages” to protect the vegetables I want to plant from the pet wild birds that have moved in to take advantage of the bird feeding stations. Planted a couple of heads of lettuce outside, and the birds leveled them to the ground. They also shredded a beautiful little succulent that I bought a few weeks ago and delayed planting outside till the weather was better. Managed to keep them out of the chard seedlings by draping nylon bridal-veil mesh over a stick, but that won’t last once the plants get a little bigger.

Next: to make a bunch of face masks out of a pair of old Laura Ashley pillowcases I found in the linen closet. These are supposed to be doable in 10 minutes. We shall see…they look pretty easy. Want to make some for myself, m’jiito, and the neighbors.

Then, once it’s good and dark, it’s off for the second one-mile walk with the hound. The plan is to try to get two miles of walking a day, by going out in the morning and the evening for one-mile junkets.

Fewer people are out with their dogs after dark, though last night I encountered three of them. One had a crazed yapper. The other, a couple, had a large retriever-like thing that was well behaved enough, and a big white pit-bull mix that…well, these stupid people had the mellow retriever attached to the large male human, and the pit-pull attached to the willowy female. The pit-bull launched into full attack mode when it saw Ruby. We were on the other side of the street. The damn dog dragged the woman into the street and pulled her down the road, trying to get at me and my 23-pound pooch.

She managed to regain her footing and haul the dog to a stop, but it looked pretty iffy there for a few seconds.

See what I mean about people? You just can’t fix stupid, no matter how hard you try.

No Cure for Stupid

LOL!!! There’s a BIG SIGN attached to the front gate reading

PLEASE DELIVER PACKAGES FOR THE BOXANKLE FAMILY TO 1234 EAST WHIZBANG DRIVE.

YOU ARE AT 1234 EAST WHIZBANG ROAD.

* ROAD AND DRIVE ARE DIFFERENT. *

Well…or something to that effect, only slightly more polite.

 

Apparently “polite” is not operative on “stupid.” Once again a UPS moron delivered a package for Josie, who’s holed up behind a wall of weeds and refuses to answer doorbells. So I had to traipse this thing over to her and leave it outside her locked security gates. She’s attached a new interior screen to the things, so you can no longer toss a misdelivered package into her entryway. But it doesn’t matter. The weeds and the jungle are now so thick no porch pirates can spot anything left at the door. 😀

Honestly. Neighbors you wish would move away….

The renters at the Perp‘s house, across the street, also fall into that category. Their ragweeds are up to your fanny. And they’re bikers. They like to roll their motorcycles out to the driveway and sit there revving up the unmuffled engines.

So how are y’all doing in the Great Pandemic Terror? I see they’ve locked down California and locked down Texas (whateverthef**k that means), but so far have refrained from applying prison technology to the inhabitants of lovely Arizona. We have closed all the schools, though; we’re told there’s some possibility that the public schools will remain closed for the rest of the semester.

Local parents have found a way to defeat that public-health measure, though: They’re banding together in neighborhood collectives to lodge the kids with a stay-at-home parent while all the worker bees go on in to the office.

This has some charm, despite its obvious untreatable stupidity: yesterday afternoon walking the dog was like a lovely Sunday afternoon, with all the little cutie-pies out playing up and down the streets. These beautiful children do add a great deal of charm and joy to an aging central neighborhood. But one hopes they’re not carrying anything to cut short one’s own plans for aging…

Frankly, I find myself wondering if a bunch of parents won’t decide that home-schooling isn’t such an eccentric quirk after all, once they discover that a home-schooled kid can get through a whole day of public-school content in about 90 minutes to two hours, at the dining-room table. If they figure out that they can hire on retirees and stay-at-home residents to watch the kidlets in play groups or take them on field trips while the working parents are at the jobsite, home-schooling may begin to look one helluva lot more attractive.

Once again, Ruby was attacked by some moron’s off-the-lead dog yesterday. When I started hollering at this pair — a young(ish) man and wife — to keep their F**KIN’ DOG on a leash, dammit! — they just didn’t get it. The dog did have a leash on. They just weren’t holding the other end.

Yes! They were letting their dog roam around their unfenced front yard dragging a leash behind it. See? “Dogs must be on leash”? Our dog IS on a leash. Right?

Neighbors we wish would move away…

Haven’t had much to say here because I’ve been paddling frantically to keep my head above a tsunami of incoming work. Sent off edits for a huge study in business management to the expectant authors. It’s an amazing thing, one that has taken a decade of research. Very, very interesting.

Literally had no time to take a deep breath when in came a book-length project. This is a historical study of Burma, Vietnam and waypoints  — again, extremely interesting. The author is a native speaker of Chinese teaching at a prestigious US university. I’m excited to read it…this is going to be a significant contribution to her field and quite a privilege to work on.

Made a run on AJs to pick up a crucial supply I’d forgotten to hoard: wine. {gasp!} What would one do if one ran out???

The shelves — all of them — ranged from empty to half-empty. Staff said the place had been going crazy for the past week — though my observation, a few days ago, was that AJ’s was pretty calm compared to Safeway, which literally was a mob scene. Most of the good cheap wine was sold out, but fortunately, I’m an aficionado of fine wines in the $8 to $9 range…and so is my pal, the AJ’s wine concierge. So managed to find an Oyster Bay Sauvignon blanc (!!! I thought they didn’t carry it! Walmart’s finest vintage!) and four superb bottles of…uhm…red stuff. This should last for a few days. I hope.

My son has been ordered to work at home. Even though he seems to prefer that when it’s his choice, when the boss says get-the-hell-outa-here, it’s a different tale. “I’m bored!” quoth he. He was reduced to cleaning out the kitchen drawers.

Yes. When you work at home you get a lot more work done a lot more efficiently than you do at an office…same as when you study at home. 😀

Speaking of work…it’s onward to Burma for me…

You Can’t Escape from Stupid

Apparently can’t escape the neighbor’s dog, either…

😀 People are stupid. No matter which direction you look or how you look at them, people are plug-stupid.

Oneself included, of course…all too often.

Today, we have proof of both.

So…the ongoing bug is taking its toll on me. I’m effin’ exhausted. Meanwhile, the wounded hand hurt ALL. NIGHT. LONG  And was all swollen up come the dawn.

It’s normally been a little swollen, but this was beyond the pale. Bound an ice pack to it and wrapped it up in elastic bandage.

No…proverbial…dice.

But meanwhile, after two months of coughing and gagging and fever and misery, the bronchitis I picked up (probably at the Mayo’s ER) healed up…only to be followed a couple days later by a new epizootic — this one apparently just a garden-variety cold.

I don’t do very well with garden-variety colds. For me there’s no such thing as “just a cold.” These things make me effin’ miserable, and they go on and on and freaking on. Like, for weeks. So now I’m coughing up gunk and sneezing and snorking and struggling for air through a blocked nose…and on and on. Yes. Always on and on.

Annoyed — this means still more time off choir, more time feeling awful, more time low on food because I can’t face the thought of doing battle with Christmas crowds to buy basic groceries, more…whatEVER — I start treating the stuff as per usual: generic Afrin to clear up the nose, and generic Robitussin to stifle the frantic coughing. This is working okay.

Meanwhile, the Mayo gets on the phone to discuss upcoming X-rays and wtf is the matter with my busted-up hand. Their nurse practitioner now catches wind of this new ailment. She is not pleased and starts asking the usual questions, to which I respond with the usual answers. I mention the antibiotic I was given for the UTI, which is known to cause lung problems — some of them life-threatening — in older women. She allows as to how it might be a good idea to add a chest X-ray to the upcoming paw X-rays. “Had any chest pain?” asks she. “Uhhh….no,” say I, with some degree of honesty.

Fine. Now I spend the next few hours mostly loafing and reading, after consuming a breakfast (coffee, fruit, rye bread, nuts, cheese) so outrageously late that it qualifies as lunch. I medicate myself so as to be able to breathe and not to be able to cough my lungs out.

While I’m reading a particularly interesting new book, suddenly I get a sharp little pain in the middle of the chest. Sometimes this is scar pain. But I think…no…probably gas. And in fact, a burp or two come up. But this subtle jab recurs. And recurs again.

Holy sh!t i must be having a heart attack! This is IT, dear Lord!

Should I call 911? What’ll I do with the dog? Should I try to drive the 15 miles to the Mayo? What if I don’t make it…who will I kill on the road? Am I doooomed?

Well…after a moment it becomes apparent that I’m not dying. Maybe I’m having some sort of heart thing. Maybe not. It passes.

I get up, go in the other room, and take my blood pressure. Elevated. But not extremely so. As I take and average the usual four or five measurements that comprise an effort to get an accurate reading, the numbers drop by 15 points. Looks this is one more thing that’s not going to kill me.

Realize I’ve gotten exactly zero exercise all day long. Decide to do a short, calming yoga routine. After a few easy poses, I try the blood pressure routine again: first reading is down 22 points off the previous set’s initial reading.

And it’s off to the Internet — aka The Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest — whereinat we learn that Afrin (nose spray) can raise one’s blood pressure, and Robitussin can cause “dangerously high blood pressure” and chest pain.

Uh huh. Name a drug, any drug, List its side effects. And invariably I will have the weirdest, most far-fetched, and most alarming manifestation possible.

So there’s stupid stuff No. 1. I probably should have called the doctors, but out of stupid orneriness I did not and am not going to because I have bloody well had enough of doctors, and because this little flap now looks not very alarming.

Moving on… While I’m not getting any exercise, Ruby the Corgi is not getting any exercise. I haven’t taken the poor little pooch out all day. And the skies are clabbering up. It’s supposed to rain off and on tonight and tomorrow, and then pour all day on Christmas.

Decide to take her for a Doggy Walk. So, along about 3:30, we set out.

It’s a nice afternoon, under gray skies. We socialize with various wandering neighbors, children, dogs. Marching through Lower Richistan toward Upper Richistan, by golly, what do we encounter but those astonishingly stupid people with the dog that keeps trying to plunge through their front picture window. The old man is outside standing around the sidewalk, with this dog once again wandering around off the lead.

Annoyed, I make a quick about-face and head back toward the ‘Hood. At Feeder Street N.S., I realize that this guy’s house is a half-block east of Richistan Way, so that if we take the next neighborhood lane to the north of him, we can circumvent him and his pooch and get where we want to go. So that’s what we do: head west on the next little street. Get about two-thirds of the way to Upper Richistan, and there the jerk is! Standing there with his massive dog.

Yes. He has walked east to Richistan Drive, north to this little road, and west a half-block in our direction, where he’s now standing around waiting for us to confront his fuckin’ dog.

Well, that’s probably not how his train of thought, such as it is, actually goes. But it’s the upshot. He simply does not grasp the possibility that his dog has been living and breathing for the opportunity to take out my annoying little corgi.

So now I have to do another about-face and walk back into the ‘Hood, curtailing our walk significantly.

The last time this idiot and his pea-brained wife saw me coming and noticed me turning in another direction, they called after me in their best ninny voices, Ohhhhh don’t worry! He won’t hurt anybody!

That’s fine, but how’s about you obey the leash laws, you morons? And how’s about we don’t tempt fate?

This is the dog that takes up a position on a shelf or table that these two have installed in their front picture window. It dozes all day in this window. Every time the critter sees me and Ruby walk by the house, it flies into a freaking berserker RAGE. It roars and barks and growls and, more to the point. throws itself against the window over and over, banging the window so hard it rattles and groans.

Eventually that window is going to break. When it does, the dog will come flying out through piles of glass shards and, if it doesn’t disable itself by getting mortally slashed, will come right straight after me and my pipsqueak dog.

These people are retirees, so it’s hard to believe the fools don’t notice their 90-pound beast is bashing itself full-force against a plate glass window. They couldn’t possibly miss it. That means they’re simply too fuckin’ stupid to surmise the obvious consequences.

They’re the folks who feed the coyotes.

Yeah. That’s why that street and the alley up behind their house are home to Coyote and all his wives, pups, and cousins. At night they put out two or three dishes of food for the feral cats (which they love dearly), thereby calling the coyotes to their driveway to consume the food. Being Belaganas, they’re none too bright about Coyote and appear not to understand that a fed coyote is a dead coyote. Or rather: incapable of understanding that concept. They have been told and asked and told again and asked again not to leave food out for stray animals, time and time and time again. But these idiots seem to think common sense doesn’t apply to them.

Stupid: it’s an epidemic.

Golden Shepherd? German Retriever?

This dog here…

Charley

…is not a golden retriever. Or even an English retriever, the proper name for a “white golden retriever.” He’s a German shepherd tricked out to look like an English retriever.

HOLY mackerel, what an adventure last night.

M’hiijto has gone off to southern Colorado to visit his ancient grandmother, leaving Charley the Alleged Retriever with me and Ruby the Corgi for a few days and nights.

About a half an hour or 45 minutes after our little tribe had shut off the lights and gone to bed last night, somebody came up to the house and apparently tried to get in. Charley was in his accustomed nest at the front end of the hall, where he can see the front door in case his Human shows up (hope springs eternal in the canine breast). All of a sudden, that dog EXPLODED. I mean, Ger-shep explosion: high insane rage explosion. He started out loud and angry, got more and more emphatic and then rose to GET YOUR ASS OUT OF THAT BED, GRAB YOUR DAMN GUN AND GET OUT HERE!

Holy shit.

Welp, I grabbed the phone, not a pistol, and flew up the hall, pursued by Ruby, who was barking LIKE HE SAID! LIKE HE SAID!

Charley was just insane, trying to get out the door, trying to get through the window, roaring like a freaking lion.

They hadn’t set off the motion sensitive lights, but they’d called for backup. Someone drove up in front of the house; they jumped in the vehicle and it shot off down the street.

So I guess Charley scared them off.

Gooood dog, Charley!

One thing after another…

Man! Has it ever been a busy few days! Where to start?

Dog Busting, Friend Busting, Weekend Busting

My good friends KJG and VickyC have been machinating a weekend junket to Payson, whither KJG and Mr. KJG recently moved. We were hugely looking forward to seeing the G’s in their new home, a Very Big Deal indeed.

Between the time I left  yesterday morning to drop Ruby the Corgi off at my son’s house for the day and the time I arrived at VickyC’s house in a historic downtown neighborhood, KJG had called, reached VickyC, and said the plans were off.

Mr. KJG had taken their beautiful and endlessly beloved pet greyhound for her morning walk, and while he was out a neighbor’s loose mutt attacked them. The greyhound was alarmingly injured. What the status is now, I do not know — no reply was forthcoming from my emailed inquiry, so in true Drama Queen mode, I assume the dog is dead or in extremis.

This greyhound is Mr. KJG’s baby. They both really love that hound. Should it be permanently hurt or dead, then that is a major tragedy in their household.*

The thing is, rural veterinaries are often not equipped to cope with this kind of emergency. When Charley had his self-induced heatstroke while on the road with M’hijito, the vet up in Nowhereseville said that if the dog was to survive at all — which he did not think would happen — he would have to be transported to a 24-hour emergency vet in the Valley. Additionally, greyhounds are not like normal dogs. One of their eccentricities is that they cannot tolerate the anaesthesia normally used in veterinary practices — they require a special anaesthetic, and they require a vet who a) knows this (good luck with that!), b) who has the stuff in stock, and c) knows how to use it. So you pretty much have to have already established a relationship with a vet before anything happens to such a dog. They’ve been there plenty of time to have done so, but I’m sure this esisode was not a grand way to launch the weekend.

Meanwhile, a new bishop for the diocese was consecrated. It was quite a chivaree and one that I wanted to attend and to sing at. However, my friends and I had made these plans many weeks ago, and trying to get three busy schedules to coordinate is quite a challenge. So I didn’t feel I could duck out of it…

*Some hours later: We’re told the dog is patched up and will be OK. Good news!

Planning for Good Works

VickyC and I punted by going to breakfast, then briefly browsing some antique stores, and plotting some schemes for volunteer work. She is a graduate of the Valley Leadership program that trains young executives, and so has all sorts of contacts and projects.

After many years at her current job with a regional water supplier, she recently applied for a position with a national nonprofit for which my ex- once served as state president and then as a national board member. Naturally, I was very interested in this development and suggested that I’d like to volunteer, assuming all his old cronies have now moved on. That appears to be the case, and so if she gets the job maybe I can sign back on.

Meanwhile, her employer encourages people to participate in community work, and so she already is much engaged. Among of her interests are the de-privatization of our prison system and initiatives to rehabilitate offenders back into society so they do not end up going back to jail. One of the groups she works with is looking for volunteers, so she may introduce me to those folks.

Sometimes I think it’s time to quit the editorial business — just shut it down, rather than continue wrestling with getting paid and ponying up cash to have the taxes done. WonderAccountant has already suggested we de-incorporate it, and we’re about to send in the paperwork to convert it to an LLC. This would much reduce the costs of tax preparation, and also much de-complicate the work she does for me and the bidness. But…given what I’m paid, I do wonder why I even bother: wouldn’t it be better to do something that helps folks for free?

Debugging

All the edible contents of the pantry have been sitting in the freezer for a good three days now. That’s twice as long as is supposedly needed to kill off any infant moths and their eggs. Yay!

That cabinet is now mightily cleaned and very tidy. So today I retrieved the food and packed it back onto the shelves. Very nifty.

I’m almost certain that this infestation came from the dog kibble, an elegant variety of which I buy at an expensive gourmet grocery store. This stuff, I use as doggy treats and to spike the corgi’s custom-made chow. Although I threw out a bunch of aging products, the kibble was really the only thing that clearly was occupied.

WhatEVER. All the pantry goods are now secured inside jars with tight lids, even the pasta. That should discourage any further depredations. And it sure makes the shelves nice and neat.

🙂

Mattress Gambit

So I finally gave up and went to a MattressFirm outlet, the one next door to the Whole Foods at Town and Country. The general over-pricedness of this shopping center — well, with the exception of the Trader Joe’s, the upscale thrift store, and the Nordstrom’s Rack — does not inspire confidence. However, I did find a very comfortable inner-spring mattress, exactly what I had in mind, for well under a thousand dollars.

Can you imagine: $1,300 to $1,500+ for mattress from Penney’s????? Next door to the Costco in one of the grungiest shopping centers in the city???? A store that employs, far as anyone can tell, exactly ZERO sales people? Give. Me. A. Break.

This prize is supposed to be delivered tomorrow, and they will cart off the huge, unmoveable clunker that’s been occupying space in the bedroom for the past fifteen years.

Briefly, I considered having the delivery guys just tote it into the former TV room, which just now serves no purpose. A bed in there would turn it into a guest bedroom, eh?

But really, the room is too small for a queen-sized mattress. I’d have to buy some sort of platform for the thing or else just set it on the floor, neither of which I wanna do. Other furniture in there would have to go. And given that no one ever stays here overnight, the whole idea looked like a great deal more trouble than it’s worth. Really, it would make more sense to get an Ikea bed platform and toss a twin-size Tuft and Needle pad on it. Or a futon. So…

Vacuum Cleaner Fiasco

Now that did turn into a fiasco, when in a fit of frustration and exhaustion I abandoned the supposedly unfixable Shark vacuum at the 35th Avenue Sew’n’Vac, an outfit that in the past has cheerfully repaired the things.

Apparently staff there outright lied when they said parts could not be purchased (oddly, they’re readily available on Amazon) and the machines cannot be opened to work on them (oddly, Amazon customers report all kinds of repairs having been done on their older models).

By leaving the machine there and asking them to throw it out so I didn’t have to tote it home and figure out how to dispose of it, I essentially let the store steal it. And…they have in the past sold second-hand vacuums.

But…I have another old Shark vacuum, which runs fine but is just old and tired. I use it to vacuum the car and pick up the occasional mess of broken glass. After I realized that yea, verily, parts are easy to order and others report no problem with repair jobs, I called another vacuum repair store. The guy who answered said they could clean and refurbish that vacuum.

Since I truly hate the new Shark I bought at Costco the other day — it’s swiveling suction head threatens to yank your shoulder out of joint — I’m thinking I’ll have this other repair guy fix up the old one and then return the $150 number to Costco. So that will put a bundle of cash back in my checking account and relieve me, temporarily, of yet another source of annoyance.

Pool Fiasco

The newly (expensively) refurbished pool pump doesn’t seem to be working. Just now I’m too tired to be mad as a cat about that…but I surely should be. Yesterday I spent half the afternoon cleaning up the algae infestation that resulted from sending the damn pump to the shop for a week or ten days. WHAT a mess, and what a project!

The vacuum just simply does not run when plugged into the (expensive) new inlet on the side of the pool: hangs up on the accursed new hair-resistant drain covers and stops dead. And it is sucking air, causing the pump to cavitate.

Jayzuz.

So it’s now plugged into the strainer basket inlet. Again. This required reattaching three lengths of plastic hose. Still sucks air, still cavitates but now it runs like a bustard.

I’m thinking it’s possible one or more lengths of that hose is leaking. A couple of them are pretty old. But that stuff is ridiculously expensive . I really, truly do NOT want to go out and buy half a dozen lengths of it. They do have pool vacuum hoses at Amazon, but reviewers seem to hate them, and they come in 30- or 40-foot lengths. The shorter lengths — four or five feet — are preferable because you don’t have to replace the entire pricey length if one crack shows up, and because they’re easier to store.

At any rate, I’m getting very, very tired of paying Swimming Pool Service & Repair to get the damn job done right. They soak me for a service call every time they come over here to do something that should have been done as part of the refurbishing job.

The newly purchased hose bonnet gadget — used for picking up large debris that could damage Harvey the Hayward Pool cleaner — proved to be exceptionally annoying. The maker has added a new blandishment: lengths of nylon brush around the circumference. This stuff a) does not play well with the coarse new Pebble-sheen surface and b) pushes the debris out of the way instead of letting the device suck it up into the bonnet.

This afternoon I realized I could take a flat-head screwdriver to the frame and prize the stupid brushes out. By then Harvey had sucked up most of the BBs that had blown out of the damned palm trees into the pool, so haven’t yet tried to see how this “improvement” works. But, dammit, I see that I can get the old-fashioned no-cutesy-brush version from Amazon, for a lot less than I paid at Leslie’s. So I may try to snap those things back in, return it to Leslie’s, and order one that’s not so extortionately priced.

Doggy-Walk Fail

On the way back into the ’Hood from church, what should come galloping across the road but the BIGGEST, HEALTHIEST, HUSKIEST coyote I’ve ever seen in my life. He was gorgeous — in great health, full coat, and at least as big as a German shepherd. And on a dead run, presumably streaking away from something that spooked him.

One of the little girls on the corner of the road that leads toward La Maya and La Bethulia’s house started to putter after him on her bicycle. No grown-up being in evidence, I pulled a U-ie and cruised down the street after him. Didn’t see him in the alley, though that’s the most likely place for a coyote to take shelter. Stopped by La M’s neighbor’s house, where the family was puttering in the front yard, and told them to keep an eye out for the coyote-hunting kidlet. They hadn’t seen him come by, so he presumably shot up the alleyway.

At any rate, it’s now after dark. Ruby the Corgi has not had her daily doggy-walk, but with that big fella in the offing, I think I’d just as soon not take her out in prime coyote-prowling hours. So…she’ll be unhappy with me all evening.

So. Yeah:

One damfool thing after another!