Coffee heat rising

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!

Tiny House Dreamin’…or Nightmaring?

So here we are killing time by cruising the Internet till it gets warm enough to walk the convalescent dog, and what do we come across but this intriguing article reflecting on the joys and drawbacks of life in the faddishly current “tiny house.”

Tiny houses, as you’ve no doubt noticed, are (heh) Big these days: touted as small of footprint, gentle on the environment, and mighty cheap. And for sure: if you enjoy RVing or camping for lengthy periods in a tent, you could find one of these minuscule dwellings to be just the ticket. I can imagine that if you were single, or a young couple still madly in love and very close, a tiny house could be a solution to the housing problem.

As a vacation home? Reminds me a lot of a hunting cabin. Not something I can contemplate living in for any length of time, but maybe it would do for a weekend; at most for a month, assuming you were close enough to a town with a grocery store so you could reprovision occasionally. But I think you’d have to be pretty desperate to choose one of these things as a place to live long-term.

It might work if you lived in or close enough to a town were you could rent space to hang off-season clothing and store goods that are needed only occasionally. And if you ate out a lot. But if you were given to cooking every day, it’s hard to see how you could store even a week’s worth of food and cooking supplies in such a place.

To my mind, even a single-wide mobile home — what we old bats call, politically incorrectly, a “trailer” — would work better. And a double-wide? Far superior.  Although to my mind the costs, elbow-to-elbow closeness, and restrictions of a mobile-home park are prohibitive, there’s not a thing to stop you from parking your trailer in the middle of a piece of property where zoning permits. And that would include any number of idyllic rustic locales like the one pictured for the article in question. You really don’t have to keep it in a trailer park. Buy a piece of rural property, install a septic tank, and run lines from the local utilities, and you’ve got your own very fine trailer park. For one.

For that matter, there are trailer parks and there are trailer parks. Some are highly desirable: close to scenic venues, quiet towns, outdoor activities. La Maya and Bethulia bought a nice mobile home, spectacularly renovated, in a beautiful trailer park near the ocean in the Bay Area, for example. It’s not only in a very pretty spot, it’s close to a college town with every amenity you could possibly crave and then some, and it’s not so far from San Francisco.

When we were looking for a place to move SDXB’s mom — this was at the time the Bush Recession trashed the sweet WW II-vintage garden apartment complex where she’d been living — we realized that for what she could collect from the depreciated value of her garden apartment, about the best she could afford would be a mobile home. Some of the places we saw during this search were amazing. Not all that cheap, it must be said — but certainly not the cost of a stick-built house.

At one point, we found a mobile home that was nicer than my house — and my house was on the high side of middle-class. It was larger than my house. It was newer than my house. It had a better kitchen. And, perched on a hillside north of town, it had a view to die for. Plenty of room between the neighbors — the lots were at least a third of an acre apiece, some significantly larger. It was close to where SDXB and I were living, not far from a first-rate hospital, and within reasonable driving or taxi distance of grocery shopping.

Really: if that place had been in Yarnell, I’d have bought it for myself! 😀

Alas, though, the “had been in” part was the kicker.

We saw it on a weekend. I went back out there along about the middle of the following week, to explore the tract and to take another look, by way of confirming that what we thought we were admiring wasn’t just wishful thinking.

Yea verily, the handsome little hillside home was still there, still beckoning.

But that’s not all that was there. Just to the west of the subdivided residential land was…ohhh wait for it… A huge sand and gravel operation! Vast monsters of equipment were fully engaged in tearing down the side of a hill that, when things were quiet, appeared to be part of the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. But which clearly was not. The air was thick with dust and the noise was crazy-making.

That was too bad. Because without that little…uhm…drawback, it would have been a lovely place to live.

Nevertheless, it did demonstrate that by including mobile homes in your search, you could find a double-wide that is larger than my four-bedroom house (square footage-wise), just as pleasantly appointed. and a whole lot cheaper than the $430,000 my house is supposedly worth now.

Hassle after hassle after hassle

It just goes on and on and on and on…

So in addition to wrenching my back and spraining my hand, which will require a visit later this week to a doctor whose offices are on the south edge of freaking Sun City, halfway to Yuma, now ANOTHER actinic keratosis springs up, practically identical to the one suspected to be a squamous cell carcinoma, which required three trips to the dermatologist for biopsy and removal.

I had a standing appointment next week, not at the office halfway to Yuma but at another office, halfway to Las Vegas! It will take a good hour to drive out there. When this new itchy/hurty thing appeared, I called and asked if we should accelerate that appointment. She said she’d squeeze me in this afternoon. But no, not at the office I’m used to going to, which at least is right off the freeway, but at the halfway-to-Vegas office, which entails trudging mile after mile after mile after ENDLESS mile across Bell Road, through some of the most congested parts of the West Valley. If that weren’t enough, this morning I found another of the precancerous pits on my back.

It hurts to drive the car with this damn back pain. To reach the pedals & the steering wheel, I have to sit with my knees elevated above my hips, which as far as I can tell is the single most uncomfortable position to assume when your back is ripped up. So believe me: I’m not looking forward to two hours of that.

Then PayPal is demanding a series of actions or else they’ll close the bidness account. Tina and I haven’t used the thing since last October, so we decided to just let it go, since I haven’t seen any action from China since last October and she hasn’t extracted any work of her own. So of course, the instant that decision is made, in come 18 typest pages of abstruse math whose author wishes to have it turned into impeccable English. Great.

So I try to open a new PayPal account with a different email. PayPal jams. I can’t open a new account, apparently. And they demand that I link a credit card or debit card with it. NOT a freaking chance on God’s Green Earth! Almost all the most egregious complaints about PayPal entail PP reaching out and charging a user’s credit card — no appeal, fuckyouverymuch — and so you absolutely positively do NOT want a credit card “linked” with that outfit. In fact, I don’t think I want to do business with PayPal at all.

Sooo…on the way back from traipsing halfway to Las Vegas, I’ll have to make a detour to visit the credit union (assuming I can get there before it closes) and ask for advice on alternatives to PayPal.

WonderAccountant says she uses a Wells Fargo account so as to have access to a SWIFT number — the credit union is too small to have such a thing. This, she advises, would facilitate at least some funds transfers. However, where Wells Fargo is concerned: been there, done that, don’t wanna do that again. Nor do I want to do business with any large bank, because I have no desire to pay them so they can have my deposits to invest.

Western Union does business in China, but I think that would inflict an undue nuisance on my clients…to say nothing of “on me”: you have to find and traipse to a Western Union office to collect your money, then traipse to the credit union to deposit it. Wayyy more trouble than it’s worth; wayyyy more opportunity for fuck-up than I want to enjoy.

***

So I drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive. Leave at 1:12, walk in the doctor’s door at 2:04.

And…well…the little burg of Surprise now really is a surprise.

When I first came here and lived, off and on, with my parents in the original build-out of Sun City, Surprise was a raggedy wide spot in the road on the way to California. It wasn’t a town, exactly; it was a settlement for farm laborers. There was, in a word, nothin’ there but workin’ folks who didn’t speak English.

Now? It’s a vast carpet of late-model sprawl. Mile on mile after mile on mile of look-alike stick-and-styrofoam houses and mile on mile of look-alike strip shopping centers filled with clone restaurants and stores. Southern California on steroids.

Inside the office: A uniracial clientele. Three notably white patients wander out from back offices into the waiting room as I’m sitting here. They check out. One of them, at least, is fairly affluent: the receptionist tries to book an appointment six months hence – August – and he says nooo way, he’ll be up north out of the heat all summer.

Uh huh.

But…the houses are of later vintage, not pushing 50 years old, as my aluminum-wired shaque is. They’re all well maintained – grâce à the ubiquitous HOAs that have been inflicted on homebuyers here for lo! these many years.

It occurs to me to wonder what the crime rate is, out in those parts.

Not freaking bad, apparently: per 100,000 residents, a mere 89 violent crimes per annum, compared to 508 in lovely Arizona and 383 nationwide. Burglary: 168.5 (how do you get half a burglary? Catch the poor little perp in the act and chase him off?), vs. Arizona’s 536.3 and the nation’s 434.4 (4/10 of a burglary? Really? Picture it: Yes, officer, I was trying to burgle this shack, but just LOOK at the damn place! There’s nothin’ here to steal!) Vehicle theft: 129.3 vs Arizona’s 271.6.

That latter is probably explained by the fact that for several decades no one built enclosed garages: with no snow, all that was required was a shade structure. Believe it or not, once upon a time (oh! so folkloric!) Arizona was a fairly safe place to live. So vehicles in older neighborhoods are more vulnerable to break-in and theft than those parked inside the garages that have become standard in newer parts of town.

Hmh.

Despite the extreme whiteyness (which I find a bit disturbing) and the dreary sameness of the strip shopping malls that line the main drags, I wonder: should I consider moving here? Would it be better not to have to live behind hardened locks, not to listen to the merry buzz of ghetto birds overhead day and night?

Well.

Hell.

I think probably not. All the tidy elbow-to-elbow-to-elbow houses look the same. Inside and out. And something there is about elevated ceilings that exist for no other reason than to trick the eye – to make the occupant feel the dinky rooms are bigger than they are. Something there is about all-electric kitchens with hateful glass stovetops. Something there is about “plant shelves” that exist to break the boredom of the fake high ceilings and openings that evade having to use so much drywall. Something there is about noisy, ugly vertical blinds. Something there is about a solid gravel unlandscaped backyard and a dinky little nook that’s supposed to pass for a patio, ten feet from the wall between your house and the neighbor’s… Something there is that gives me the creeps. I hate that kind of design and building. Just can’t stand it.

No wonder the’hood is gentrifying. No wonder some fix-and-flipper figures he can get 750 grand for his latest 2700-square-foot-magnum opus, despite the bums and the commerce desert and the crime rate and the idiotic lightrail and the Section 8 apartments across the main drag. He probably can.

Jeez. The thing isn’t even in Lower Richistan.

At the credit union? The manager doesn’t know what alternative we might have to PayPal. He allows that he doesn’t like PayPal, thinks they’re none too ethical, and has the impression that of late they’ve been getting worse. He says he’ll have someone from the cash flow department call. Well. I don’t expect to hear from them.

My sense about this is that we’re probably going to have to deep-six the Chinese phase of The Copyeditor’s Desk. And since most of our custom now comes from China, that will mean, most likely, closing the business altogether.

Too bad. But frankly…even adjunct teaching would replace its income. With a lot more aggravation, of course. I should probably look for part-time work at Costco…

Enough, already!

Yarnell dreamin’ again: I have SO had ENOUGH, already(!) of the gawdawful racket that comes with living in the lovely city.

The damned helicopters are hovering over the freeway, where some guy rolled his work vehicles and dumped nails — yes, NAILS — all over three northbound lanes. They’ve got the freeway shut down and are routing traffic up Conduit of Blight Blvd to Gangbanger’s Way, creating a massive rush-hour traffic jam. This would be a massive jam if it weren’t 7 in the morning. It’s hard to imagine what a mess they must have just now.

So sirens are wailing, helicopters are roaring, and the damn train on Conduit of Blight is going BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG!!!!

I hate this racket. The sky is not supposed to roar. We were told the damn train boondoggle would be quiet (it is not). Between the cops and the ambulances, this area never is free of sirens howling.

Y’know, I love my house and my yard and my neighbors, but when you can’t enjoy the place because the ambient racket hurts your ears, you have to wonder why you’re staying. Especially with the city about to institute yet another scheme to dump transient drug addicts in your lap.

Interestingly, housing prices in Tucson are somewhat lower than they are here. I was surprised to learn this. The Oro Valley, an area on the northwest side of Tucson, has the lowest crime rate in the state, and yet the housing prices are similar to those in my part of the ’hood.

Tucson is surrounded by mountain ranges. If it weren’t for the city, it would be an exceptionally beautiful spot. Check out this little hovel, for example. How would you like that view off your back patio? I don’t much care for the late-model architecture — detest walls that don’t come up to the ceiling and dust-catching “plant shelves” — but one could live with it if the place were quiet and the views spectacular.

For what I could net on this house, I could buy a comparable place in Tucson, on acreage. There’s an area called Casas Adobes with houses whose vintage is more my speed. This place, for example, could be made more or less acceptable simply by getting rid of the owners’ ugly furniture. It’s cheap enough (if $312,000 can be called “cheap”) that I would come away with an even trade, after the expenses involved in unloading my house.

Problem with Casas Adobes, I suspect, is cued by those bars on the windows. Almost every house for sale in that district has bars on every window and door. And that’s telling you they have a crime (and probably a transient) issue. Trulia’s crime map makes the Casas Adobes itself look OK, but the area just to the south is not good at-tall. Well. The “area just to the south” is the entire city of Tucson. Which is, it must be admitted, mostly Chez Pitz.

On the other hand, the advantage of Tucson — as compared to lovely Yarnell or Prescott or Wickenburg — is that it is a city. It has a cultural life. In fact, because the University of Arizona (which resides in Tucson) still resembles a real university — as opposed to the learning-factory model of Arizona State — the university does support quite a vibrant cultural life. Tucson also hosts a major medical center, with one of the only top-ranking hospitals in the state. Tucson has a church, St. Phil’s in the Hills, whose music program appears to be similar to All Saints. Probably not as large or as elaborate. But there it is. None of those things hold forth in little burgs around the state.

Something to think about…

Happy(?) Thanksgiving

Never fails, does it? All real emergencies, terrors, clogged drains, and minor inconveniences invariably happen on a holiday. Or, at best, on a Sunday.

Not so reliably on a Sunday, though: too many resources are open and available on Sunday.

But Thanksgiving? Christmas? The Fourth of July? Ohhhhh yeah! Whatever can go wrong will go wrong…on a major holiday!

Early this morning the dogs and I climb off the bed. Cassie seemed OK but tired, which wasn’t surprising because we spent yesterday evening at my son’s house. She doesn’t sustain even the most routine exercise well anymore: lately, if I try to walk her around the corner and back — about a tenth of a mile — she tires but seems OK. But the next morning she seems exhausted.

When she walked outside to do her thing, and I didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. But within the hour, she couldn’t stand up to eat her food. She just stood over her dish, shaking all over. She seemed almost paralyzed: couldn’t or wouldn’t walk, and though she was sort of standing, it was more like huddling upright. I had to lift her onto the doggy bed pillow, and then position her so her nose would not be pressed into the stuffing and suffocate her.  Even reclining, she continued to shake all over and she seemed unable to move on her own. It was almost like she’d had a stroke.

My son and I are supposed to go to our friends’ house for Thanksgiving dinner. This, we might add, is a bit of a BFD.

So the emergency vet’s receptionist said the wait there right now is several hours. And how much does a trip to the emergency vet cost? “A hundred dollars.” And that is  just to walk in the door.

If Cassie is dying, I figure she might as well die here as there.

But now I don’t know what to do about the Thanksgiving thing. I hate to leave her here to die by herself. But…on the other hand, I don’t know that she will die today. She has her ups and downs (though rarely as extreme as this). This isn’t the first time I’ve thought she was on the way out. Apparently these swings are a function of the adrenal gland tumor. Weakness, shaking, collapse, lack of energy, panting, rapid breathing are all symptoms of the thing. So, we might add, is “symptoms seem to come and go.”

There isn’t much I can do for her except let her rest. And frankly, other than putting her down right now, there’s not much a vet can do for her, either.

So I’m sitting there on the bed e-mailing this intelligence to my son: writing her obituary, as it were. And I hear {click click click click} up the hallway. Ruby is standing right there, so it ain’t her. Cassie has managed, somehow, to pull herself to her feet and she’s staggering up the hall toward the kithchen.

She’s walking and she’s stopped shivering all over. And…next thing y’know, she eats a whole plate of dog food..

Well, she staggered outside briefly. Then disappeared. Had to set Ruby to searching for her, which is a trick because one thing a corgi ain’t is a search dog. I’ve worked on the “find” command with that mutt until I’m blue in the proverbial face, and she still only vaguely gets the idea.

Found the patient inside, again unable to walk, shaking again. Picked her up and carried her back to the dog bed. She’s resting and has stopped shaking, at least as long as she’s reclining.

Okay, let’s try to think rationally here.

  • She doesn’t appear to be in much discomfort, except that she’s too weak to walk. That she ate an entire serving of dog food indicates that she’s not in a lot of pain.
  • I’m going to have to have her put to sleep in the next few days or, at most, weeks.
  • Therefore it doesn’t make a lot of sense to rack up a bill of hundreds of dollars to take her to an emergency vet.
  • Nor does it make sense to spend all of Thanksgiving Day sitting in a veterinary waiting room for something that ultimately can’t be helped.
  • If she’s going to die today, my being here will not change that.
  • But she’s probably not going to die today, given that she was able, eventually, to get up and eat, and given the pattern of ups & downs.

Unless things change a lot for the worse, I think I could safely go to our friend’s house. There’s little or nothing I can do for the dog here.

Next week, though, I’m afraid it’s going to be The Time. If she doesn’t pass through the veil today, I’ll have to take her up to one of the vets tomorrow or Monday.

This Event will present a whole series of new decisions:

Do I get another dog?

If so, what kind of dog?
From where?

Do I stay here in my house, or move away from the recrudescent Tony Situation?

If I’m right about what Tony is up to (let us hope not!), then I will need to get another German shepherd or similar protective, aggressive dog. There’s a reason I didn’t replace Anna with another GerShep: I’m too old to train and handle a large, high-drive dog safely. This fact inclines us to say “move away.”

If I move, where do I go?

Some friends are trying to sell their two-bedroom patio home, by way of moving themselves into an upscale old-folkerie. It’s a nice little house, centrally located, and I would buy it but for two things:

§ One of the reasons they’re moving is that they have a certifiably lunatic neighbor who has made a lot of trouble for them. Out of the frying pan, into the fire!!
§ It needs about $15,000 worth of renovations.

Well. And there are some other things:

§ It’s two houses in from Central Avenue, a noisy main drag.
§ It’s in an HOA. I do not want to deal with an HOA.
§ The little development borders the canal, which is a superhighway for drug-addicted bums.
§ It’s within (loud) earshot of Sunnyslope High School, where the band practices and football games blast forth during the fall semester.
§ They’re asking more than it’s worth, IMHO, especially given that it needs new flooring, a new security gate in front, new landscaping, a gate on the west side through which to roll the garbage can by way of keeping the peace with the crazy next door…and on and on.

For what I can pay, that leaves either Sun City or Fountain Hills, neither of which are within reasonable driving distance of my life.

If I stay here and Tony starts to do his thing again — frankly, I’d put money on it that he’s up to just that — then I will need to get a dog that’s big enough to be some protection. That represents a) expense and b) hassle. I’ll also need to add to the armory: really, I need a shotgun, because I’ve become too goddamn lazy to drag the pistol to the range and practice.

A new shotgun will cost several hundred bucks…as nothing compared to the cost of moving. I have some friends who are into armaments and so may be able to find someone who knows someone who’d like to sell Dear Old Dad’s heirloom. Unfortunately SDXB has already unloaded (heh) his. But a few hundred dollars is, indeed, as nothing compared to the cost of moving.

I might be able to get an older, fully socialized GerShep from the German Shepherd rescue. But that poses its whole new set of questions:

How will Ruby take to a new room-mate?
Given enough provocation, will this proposed GerShep exterminate Ruby?
The German shepherd’s lifespan is nine to eleven years, during which one can expect to have to deal with some very expensive ailments. Do I really want to do that again? For a dog that I may have for, say, five years at the outside?

Here’s the Kid. And so, away.

 

A Quieter Day in Hell…

So things are looking a little less devilish today. Believe it or not…

Cassie seems much, much improved. She still chokes and wheezes when she drinks water (a lot of it!), but she’s always tended to do that. I’m easing her off the Temaril-P, because Son’s Vet remarked that the prednisone is probably the cause of the incontinence. So far, she seems not to be suffering from removal of the drug.

Meanwhile, Ruby has started sneezing, snorting, and coughing, suggesting that MarvelVet’s staff’s first guess — an infectious disease — was the right guess from the git-go.

So I feel a little more positive about my little pal, for whom I was beginning to lose hope.

Many immediate tasks need to be done. But I’m still too tired to attend to a one of ’em. Cassie rousted us all out of the sack along about 2:30, as usual, needing to get down and get out before she exploded. Outside, it’s starting to sprinkle. Will we get another two inch-downfall, like yesterday’s? We run for the side door, she hunkers down on the rosebed, and…and…

KER-BANGGGG!

HOLEEEEE SHEE-UT! A lightning bold strikes so close you can hear it crackle! A blast of thunder rattles the trees and the rafters. Cassie jumps about two feet into the air and so do I. In mid-piss, she runs for the door!

Nooooo!!!!! Stop! Wait! HURRYUPOUTSIDE!

She turns back to the flowerbed and pees a flood. We both fly back in the door.

I try to persuade Ruby to go outside. She’s having nothin’ of it.

Shortly the rain begins to fall. No…to blast down out of the heavens. The dogs are alarmed. I think it must be hailing, but no amount of peering out into the darkness reveals any verifiable flying chunks of ice. No. It’s simply the most ferocious rainfall I’ve seen in many years.

Weirdly, the power stays on.

Usually, we lose the power during these little freshets.

I end up spending the rest of the night editing a Chinese math paper. So much for sleep…again.

From there a sorta miserly breakfast — bacon cheese tomato broiled on toast — and off to choir. I do NOT know how long it’s been since I’ve had more than a couple hours, collated from snippets, of sleep during a night.

Someone compliments our new choir director on the house he and the wife recently bought and moved into. Out of curiosity, I ask him what part of town it’s in. They’ve been posting pictures on Facebook and the architectural style looks familiar, but in my dotage I haven’t placed it.

“The Pointe Tapatio,” says he.

Holy mackerel, think I: that’s a Gosnellerie!

SDXB’s friend Bob Gosnell and his brothers built three fancy resorts here in the Valley, which they sold to…uhm, Hilton, I think. And around these palatial joints they built distinctive fake-Southwestern housing developments, kind of cool in appearance but not so cool on the inside when the heat runs high. They were famed for their shoddy construction — and I remember a conversation in which Bob admitted building them as cheaply as possible.

On the other hand…

Hmmm…

The things are still standing.

I hadn’t even given the Pointe developments a first thought — to say nothing of a second thought — when thinking of where I might go to get away from the accursed Blightrail, the plague of homeless drug addicts, the coming infill housing for said homeless drug addicts, and the City’s various other schemes to turn our neighborhood into a slum.

The Pointe Tapatio isn’t in the greatest part of town, nor is it in the worst part — it’s on the way up 7th Street to on-again-off-again tony Moon Valley, but still in a historically blighted area called Sunnyslope. But…on the other hand… it’s as far away from the lightrail, Conduit of Blight, and the slums of West Phoenix as you can get and still be more or less in North Central, sort of. You can walk from most of the neighborhoods to the Phoenix Mountain Preserve. It’s within easy driving distance of the church, of my son’s house, and…hmmmm…and it’s closer to one of the grocery stores I habituate and to the Costco I prefer. Dayum.

Off to the Internet to do a little real estate shopping!

Interestingly, many of the houses are about the same size as mine, and about in the same price range. They may be $20,000 or $30,000 more than my house…but…y’know what? I really could pay that much more, to get out of here. That would cost no more than making an even trade for a house in Prescott and then having to get a moving company to haul my furniture cross-country.

And it wouldn’t require me to pull up roots.

And I probably won’t live long enough for the thing to fall down around my ears.

Click on the picture for a larger image.

Most of them have those dreadful glass-top stoves. Thanks: done that, not gonna do it again. Gas is non-negotiable for me…and lo! I did find one house that does have a gas stove. So that means somewhere up in there, they have gas service. Oh, yeah, here it is... The kitchen cabinets are just flat gawdAWFUL, but that can be remedied with a couple layers of paint. Just lookit that stove!

Now all I have to do is find THAT in a single-story house. Two stories: also a non-negotiable. Too bad. If it were one story, I’d be on the phone to the Realtor right this minute.

But it’s hopeful. I may ask my Realtor friends to keep an eye out for me.

Why didn’t I think of this?

Well, I know why: because I know Bob. ;-D