Coffee heat rising

Another Fine Day from Hell y-Cumin’ In…

Yes: this is going to be a day from Hell. Only quarter to eight and I’ve emptied the refrigerator & freezer, packed what would fit into the big freezer in the back of the house; stashed the rest of it on the kitchen counter.

Can’t empty the refrigerator compartment until the guy gets here to deliver the new fridge, which could be any time between now (ten to 8 a.m.) and 5 or 6 p.m. So all that stuff will have to be taken out and stashed…who knows when? Who knows where? Then immediately placed in the new refrigerator, which we can only hope will chill down fast. Fortunately, it’s wintertime, so if I turn off the heat, the ambient air can be relatively cool in the house. So with any luck, nothing will spoil.

Meanwhile, the brats in Tony the Romanian Landlord’s day-care for juvenile delinquents* continue to make pests of themselves. Just now a big van drove up to that house and dropped off a bunch of them. One of the girls over there has taken to showing up at my door begging for help, claiming someone has hit her (quite possibly true, given what we know of the way he brought up his own daughters). After this, when I see that kid at the door, I’ll call a cop. She can explain the problem to the police, who are the ones who should know about it.

No sign of Pool Dude. It’s 8 a.m.  He’s usually here by 7:00. Hope this doesn’t mean we’ve lost him…I have nooo idea where to find someone else to do battle with that thing. He does a wonderful job: the water is pristine clear, with nary a sign of the usual algae curtains growing on the walls.

His presence or absence may be moot, though: with no end in sight to the growing Southwest water shortage, the city or the state may mandate that pools have to be drained. In that case, I may build a patio over the top of the thing. But…let’s borrow that trouble a little later.

Later this week: another expensive home improvement: installing motion-sensitive lights and a security camera on the side of the house facing the Romanian Reform School. The little dollinks throw rocks at the side of my house and the roof. Although I’ve seen them in action, I want some proof so that I can call the cops on him again. And if I can find out what agency he’s working with, I can put in a complaint with that outfit.

Four hundred dollah for that little embellishment!

Really, I should put the house on the market and move away from that mess.

That would make sense, eh? Blow 5 or 10 grand to escape a malicious nuisance? Right….

Probably makes more sense than fighting it. BUT…my son is dead-set against my selling this place and moving somewhere else. Why? Escapes me. I suspect the sub-text is that he may want this house for himself, and he hopes to sell the aged, un-air conditionable shack where he’s living now.

Hmmm… Supposed to rain tonight and all day tomorrow, continuing into the week. Goodie…a little more hassle!

A-n-n-d speaking of expensive home improvements: we’ve got delivery of a new refrigerator AND a new microwave scheduled for today. Yeah: they both crapped out at once, to the tune of $1500!!!

Satan and Proserpine, who were inveterate DIY nuts, replaced all the appliances in the kitchen. As one might expect of a set of gadgets installed at the same time, they’re all crapping out at once.

Actually, the built-in double oven crapped out a long time ago. Since I can’t afford to replace that and it’s not something I must have to live a halfway normal life, I use those ovens as storage cabinets. The countertop oven and the backyard BBQ take up the slack. In theory, I could even bake bread in the countertop oven, but since I can get excellent bread at the corner Sprouts and down at the beloved AJ’s market, that idea is moot.

Ohhh well. If I have to sell the house to get away from the Tony Situation, at least we’ll have two brand-new kitchen appliances as a selling point.

* Hmmm… Looks like I’ve never held forth on Tony’s Home for the Delinquent and the Hapless. Okay…well, that tale will be forthcoming, maybe today while we await the advent of the appliance guy. And what a tale it is!

Woman as Cargo Camel

Women’s clothing, as those of you who are female know, often has no pockets. If pockets exist, they’re more decorative than functional. Yet women, especially mothers, have to carry around piles of junk and debris. If you have kids, you need to haul stuff for them. But even if you don’t: a woman’s wallet is not made to to go into a pocket. Hence, the purse: a pack for a pretty little camel.

Some time ago, I decided to throw over those traces. I wanted to quit lugging a purse around, once and for all. Reasons abound:

  • Hauling a bag over your shoulder or in your hand everyplace you go is a nuisance.
  • It makes you a target for purse-snatchers and muggers.
  • Purses are easy to misplace, easy to forget.
  • Once you’ve lost a purse with your wallet in it, the resulting hassle defies belief:
    • Searching from pillar to post for the thing
    • Calling the bank to disable use of lost bank cards and checks
    • Ordering new bank cards and checks
    • Lost cash, if you carry cash with you (I no longer do so, for exactly this reason)
    • The amazingly time-consuming hassle of replacing a driver’s license
    • More hassle to replace other forms of ID and entry cards
    • Buying a new wallet, which at best rquires an Amazon order, but more likely will require traipsing to a department store
    • Putting someone else up to buying groceries and the like until replacements arrive

On and on and on…

Contemplating these joys, and, after having been chased around an Albertson’s parking lot by a panhandler (thief?), I decided to go into full rebellion: REFUSE to carry a purse around.

This is more difficult than one would think, because of the way women’s clothes are designed — presumably to fit some clothing maker’s idea of “sexy.” About the only clothing item that consistently has pockets is a pair of jeans. And even then, pockets in women’s pants are often shallow and tight, making it difficult to carry even a small wallet. And most women’s wallets are anything but “small” — the maker’s assumption being, reasonably enough, that the thing will be carried in a purse.

So…how to pull it off?

Several strategies, at least one of which entails some risk:

  • Hide your driver’s license in your car, so that you always have it at hand..
  • Get copy of your driver’s license to carry into a store, in case someone demands to see it when you go to write a check or use a charge card.
  • Get a metal card carrier and stash all your ID and credit cards in it.

Obviously, keeping your driver’s license in your car is, in some respects, a bad idea: anyone who steals your car or even just breaks in will be stealing one of your key pieces of identification. However if you’re lugging a purse around, all you have to do is forget it someplace or get it yanked off your shoulder as you’re walking across a parking lot. I’ve come to regard stashing it in the car as worth the risk.

Accepting that risk frees me from having to lug a bag everywhere I go, from trying to find someplace safe to stash it when I get to where I’m going, from having to remember to take it with me when I leave that destination, and from the risk of purse-snatching. It also means I have to look for clothing that has pockets — and pretty much precludes wearing anything very “fashionable.”

Fortunately, because I no longer go into an office, I can live in jeans. With the shift from office to working online from home, this is probably true for more women than it has been in the past.

And I’ve found that it’s very much worth the effort to shed the purse-hauling custom. Without a bag full of identification, cash, phone, bubble gum, and whatnot, the local Albertson’s parking lot — a haven for panhandlers and shady types — becomes a great deal less menacing. The risk that I’ll misplace an indispensable piece of identification almost disappears. No bag hanging off my shoulder means no sagging clothing, which means I can wear lighter, cooler shirts in the summertime. And it’s one fewer thing to have to remember all the time.

Time to Move Along?

Mogollon Rim from near Payson

HOLY mackerel! This place gets more and more crime-ridden and more and more violent with every day that passes!

Y’know…I can handle the mailbox thefts. And the burglars. And the cop helicopter flyovers every damn night. The abductions (for the purpose of rape) from the bus & train stops at Conduit of Blight and Feeder Street E.W. can be dealt with simply by never riding a bus or a lightrail train. The transient drug addicts: locks on the doors and windows, plus a large, loud dog. The panhandler harassment at the corner shopping centers: drive to some other district for grocery shopping and drugstore visits. The car break-ins and thefts: close the damn garage door…oh, but first, do park your car on the inside of said garage. The mail thefts: for a mere 400 bucks, install a Fort Knox of a mailbox. The burglars: keep a fine, fully loaded .45 on hand.

But I sweartogawd, every which way you turn, here’s more gratuitous, demented, and criminal violence. And it is too…damn…close to home.

I go by this corner every time I visit the Costco north of the university.

Ruby and I could walk to this dump, if it were safe to do so. As it is, I drive by there several times a week on the way to the freeway or to points west. That’s rather closer than I’d like to get.

This fancy charter school is in the Arcadia district, not far from where my late step-sister lived.

This episode took place in an informal B&B (why are those legal???) that popped up, also in the Arcadia district — an area where the ritzy and the titzy congregate to live in what they imagine will be peace.

A moment of nuttiness took place at a park just south of the university’s west campus…another garden spot that I pass in my car with some frequency.

Central High School is the best public high school in the city (which may be telling you something). My son went to a Jesuit high school directly next door to it — they occupy, in effect, practically the same campus. Sunnyslope belies this figure, though; it also has a reputation as one of the best-performing high schools in the country.

Yet… the violence and the vagrancy and the craziness go on and on and on and on, every damn day! And it seems to get more frantic as the weeks pass.

And y’know what?

I’m tired of living in the middle of a war zone. Once again I’m brought back to the feeling that as much as I love my home and my neighbors and my neighborhood, as much as I like being 8 minutes from the church and 10 minutes from my son’s house (he also lives in a war zone…), it’s past time to move along.

The violence, the crime, and the Loony Toons spread pretty homogeneously across the Valley. Of course, there’s more low-end craziness in garden spots like the apartments that flank the ‘Hood on the west side of Conduit of Blight Blvd and the dank slum directly to the north. But as that cop said after the Adventure of the Home Invasion: “It’s everywhere.”

[Yeah? Well…whaddaya bet some parts of Everywhere have less of it than our part does?]

So…if one were gonna move, where would one go?

Well, if I stayed in the Valley, the two choices would be Fountain Hills or the Cave Creek/Carefree area. I don’t consider the Sun Cities a choice: just not innarested in living in a ghetto for old tolks.

Both these venues are expensive. Fountain Hills has the added attribute of late-model cheesy construction: structures that were built to fall apart. The Funny Farm is probably in the last generation of solidly built affordable residential structures, and even it has a failing in the insulation department. Those houses out east are simply junk: Southern California-style built-to-fall-apart junk. Expensive junk.

Anything that is newer construction shares that fine attribute, and most of the stuff in Cave Creek and Carefree falls under the rubric of “newer.” Ticky-tacky is the name of the Development Game here in Arizona, price range notwithstanding.

That leaves as options some of the outlying towns, or Tucson.

  • Tucson, also plagued by gimme-a-buck developments, has two big draws: the best hospital/medical center in the state (something that looks Bigger the Older you get), and the vibrant cultural center that is the University of Arizona. A lot is going on in Tucson, the weather is far more pleasant than Phoenix’s, and with a fine mountain range behind the city, just about anyplace you can live is fairly scenic.
  • Prescott, a large small town/small city up the I-17 between Phoenix and Flagstaff, is a pleasant little burg. HOWEVER…it’s been discovered. From what I’m told, mobs of Baby Boomers and younger people are moving up there, turning it into yet another Southern California East. The weather’s a little cooler (though what you save in air-conditioning you’ll probably spend on heating); it has a supposedly excellent medical center (people who work there beg to differ, interestingly enough); and it’s a straight shot down the freeway to the urban marvels of Phoenix. I’m not at all sure it has enough more to offer, when compared to Fountain Hills, to make it worth a major move and a long drive into town.
  • Payson: Mr. and Mrs. Fireman moved up there, on the edge of the Mogollon Rim. They bought an extremely cool house in the forest, and, given Mr. Fireman’s outstanding handyman skills, have turned it into a to-die-for little palace. Problem with Payson? Rudimentary services and facilities. They had to drive their dog into Phoenix to be tended to by a veterinarian after the poor pooch was attacked by a neighbor’s dog. No Costco: only one Safeway, a store that I would call…well, pretty blah. No first-rate doctors or dentists — they drive into town for those services, too. Doctors? Doctors? We don’t need no steeeenking doctors!
  • Uh huh. Well…if you have to schlep all the way down the mountain — about a two-hour drive — for basic shopping and services, you’d be far better off to live in Fountain Hills.  Not only do they have a couple of supermarkets within the development, there’s a Costco down the road and all the upscale shopping of lovely Scottsdale just a few miles to the west. Plus you could walk to the Mayo Clinic from Fountain Hills!
  • Chandler: Nope. Ticky-tacky suburb Hell.
  • Florence: Nope. No better than Payson, but not as pretty.
  • Ahwatukee: Blech. If I’m gonna live in ticky-tacky mass construction, I’ll take Fountain Hills any day.
  • Tempe: Gawd help us!
  • Sun City/Youngtown: Horrible ghettos for old folks, garnished by cheaply built ticky-tacky.

Really, in a lot of ways, the ‘Hood IS the best of all possible worlds, at least for someone who’s not swimming in money. It’s an established neighborhood. Because the upscale section has irrigation, we have mature and very beautiful green landscaping. Even over here in the po’ folks quarters, the trees and shrubbery are mature, shady, and lovely. It’s close-in — shopping, schools, entertainment, doctors & hospitals, all right around the corner. We have a park in the middle of the neighborhood. We’re served by a decent public grade school and one of the nation’s top public high schools, plus an array of private and religious K-12 schools. Young upwardly mobile types have discovered it and are madly gentrifying, so there’s nowhere for property values to go but up. Plus: what could be better than young families with young kids playing around the neighborhood?

So…i dunno. It’s a toss-up. So it seems to me…

Moving for Olde Age?

So my friends J & L(x2, of the male variety) invited me and a bunch of co-religionists to view the valley fireworks from their high-rise apartment on Central. This has become an annual tradition, which is really cool. This year they wanted party-goers to donate a chunk of dough to the church for the privilege, a chunk which, alas, I don’t happen to have laying around on the living-room floor. So…the human will be home listening to the local bang-bang nuts playing with their explosives and trying to calm the poor little dog’s nerves. (When I’ve gone to J & L’s for the Fourth, I’ve left Ruby with M’hijito, where the unruffleable Charlie the Golden Retriever keeps her pretty calm.)

That high-rise strikes me as a potential alternative to an old-folkerie, for when I get too old to handle the hassles of living in a house on a quarter-acre of land. Though a two-bedroom there is just an apartment and so is a lot smaller and more economically appointed than the four-bedroom Funny Farm, for an old buzzard it has a lot of advantages…

  • Less space to have to keep clean
  • Much better security
  • Someone else takes care of the exterior.
  • It’s within walking distance of AJ’s.
  • It’s close to two excellent hospitals (my house is close to a large urban hospital, too, but that place is not what you’d call “great” in terms of quality and safety).
  • Incredible views!
  • The lightrail goes right by the front door — you could ride it to the museums, the library, the baseball games, AJ’s, the Episcopal cathedral downtown, and even out to Tempe (if events at the university beckoned).

On the other hand…

Moving to J&L’s tower would mean sacrificing manysmall pleasures and would make parts of my present life so difficult I might have to make major changes…like find a new home for Ruby.

In a two-bedroom apartment, there would be no space for both a guest bedroom and my office. And the whole extra bedroom and closet that I use for storage would go away!

Then we have the pool issue. Despite the latest spate of grousing, I like my private pool that resides behind 8-foot walls and piled-up vines. I love skinny-dipping whenever I feel a whim to cool off. And I’m not going to strap myself into an elastic strait-jacket for a five-minute dip in a public pool. Here, when it’s miserably hot I can step out the back door and hop in the drink. There I’d have to change clothes, ride an elevator downstairs, traipse to a pool, then climb back out, ride back up, and hang up a suit in the bathroom.

Living on top of the neighbors is not my idea of a gracious lifestyle, no matter how fancy the apartments are.

AJ’s would be within walking distance, at least as long as I can still walk that far. But how long would that be? If I’m not walking the dog a mile or two a day (which surely would not happen in that hard-edged part of town), before long I won’t be walking much at all…won’t be able to.

Despite the crime in the neighboring slums (which does spill over into the ‘Hood) and the soaring property taxes and the endless wrangling of workmen, I’m inclined to think that living in my own little cottage with my own yard and my own garage and my own swimming pool mightily beats living in a box in the sky.

Would a high-rise apartment beat self-imprisonment in an old-folkerie? Probably. But can I provide all the services for myself here that I’d have to provide if I were living in an apartment? No doubt.

Think I’d druther have those services here than there…

Weather Report: Scattered Scam Flurries

Honest to Gawd, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many scamming emails fly in over the digital transom as have come in over the past two or three weeks. Every time you turn around, here’s another wacksh!t scam. Check out the latest:

Begin forwarded message:

From: “Customer Service” <>
Subject: Attn: We have noticed unusual activity in your PayPay account….
Date: April 22, 2022 at 12:08:50 PM MST
Reply-To: “Customer Service” <>

Dear User
Attn: We have noticed unusual activity in your PayPay account

Thanks for your patience while we review the unauthorised activity case on a payment you have sent. We’re happy to confirm that this transaction is eligible for PayPal Buyer Protection, and we’ll cover the full disputed amount for you if there are any.

The payment for this transaction is now pending in your PayPal balance awaiting confirmation from the sender. If It’s you, There’s no further action required from you at this time. We’ll let you know if we need any additional information.

Transaction details:

Merchant’s name: Home Depot LLC.
Merchant’s transaction ID:973476LAIPXJ
Your transaction ID:5896321478LWISUSD
Invoice ID:49598-WPLS-268P-4178-9689
Transaction date:22 April 2022
Transaction amount:$1296.97 USD

If you did not authorize the charge, you have 72 hours from the date of transaction to open a dispute. For more information, We recommend you to get in touch with us.
PayPal Customer Service toll-free for the USA & CANADA +1 (805) 421 4441 or
Please don’t reply to this email. This mailbox is not monitored and you will not receive a response. For assistance, log in to your PayPal account and click help in the top right corner of any PayPal page.

Great stuff, ain’t it?

It’s particularly interesting — IMHO — that they seem to assume the targets of their scams are spectacularly stupid. Guess there must be enough morons out there to make it worth their time.

Hey…we elected Donald Trump to the august office of President of the United States. We can’t be all that bright, as the citizens of a nation, can we? 😀

Still…you’d have to be even stupider than that to not remember the details of a $1300 charge on a credit-card-in-the-sky.

Forwarded this direly urgent notice to Paypal. Not that they can or will do anything about it.

But we can!

Pay effin’ attention, folks! Do not believe anything that comes in over the email. Even if you think it’s credible — today I also got one claiming I owed for some purchase I imaginatively made on Amazon, whose delivery services I use all the time — check, check, and double-check before you send money or information to any email that comes in over the transom. Look it up: did you really make that charge? Did you seriously not pay it? Really? Did you receive whatever they claim they’re sending to you? Do they really have your mother-in-law kidnapped in Guatemala?

Report these efforts whenever you can. Here’s the address for fake PayPal demands:

Google the business involved and “phishing,” “scam,” “email fraud,” and/or whatever other relevant term comes to mind. This should elicit a department where you can report attempts at fraud using the company’s identity.

A number of agencies investigate online fraud operations, plus just about anything that spills over state lines can be reported to the FBI. Here are a few places to report these fine schemes:

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
USA Gov: Report Scams and Frauds
Gmail: Avoid and Report Phishing E-mails
U.S. Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation: Spoofing and Phishing
FBI: On the Internet

There are many others. Google where to report phishing emails to access the bonanza and possibly to find sites especially relevant for whatever scam has come your way.

Know that there are widely available mailing and telephone lists organized by age. I first was made aware of this when I magically became eligible to join AARP. Suddenly I found myself not only the target of endless pitches from that august institution, but for hustle after hustle after hustle from scammers who clearly hoped I had arrived at the threshold of old age absent some of my marbles.

In about three weeks, I will reach the 3/4 of a century mark. Clearly, this also is another milestone for hustlers, peddlers, and effin’ crooks: they all think if you’re pushing 75, you must be shuffling off to Senility Acres.

Keep your wits about you as you approach your allegedly Golden Years. The gold these clowns see is in your pocket and your bank account.


Fill up that afternoon…

…with HASSLES!

Yep: I spent the entire afternoon shift down at the church reception desk putting out fires ignited by the theft of my card wallet and every credit card and ID card to my name. Three hours of figuring out what recurring charges need to be OKed by the credit union, which ones have been in place since the memory of Person runneth not to the contrary, and which are new charges that the CU staff need to know about.

I’m now prepared to gallop into the CU tomorrow morning, let them know which autopays are legit and should stay in place, which autodeposits are real and must not be fu*ked up, alert them that my son’s account is vulnerable, too (won’t he be thrilled?), and try to order up a new Medicare card (good luck with that!).  This afternoon — just a few minutes ago, I found the original of my Social Security card, so that is one truly major hassle evaded. But trying to get a new Medicare card involves a fine hoop-jump with a faceless, brain-banging system. And…because my son has linked his credit-union account with mine by way of juggling payments on the mid-town house…ooooohhh gawd! Presumably if the sh!thead can get into my account, he can get into my son’s.

So THAT highly convenient arrangement will have to be demolished.

I’ve been afraid to tell M’hijito about this débâcle. But…depending on what CU staff say tomorrow morning, I may have to tell him about it. And oh my friends and ah my foes, you may be sure I’ll never hear the end of it!


Man! I’ll tellya…I’m hoping (against hope) that tomorrow’s visit to the credit union will be as close to the end of this headache as we can get. If push comes to shove, o’course, we can close both accounts and start over with new account numbers. But that will just be stage 2 in the marathon headache.

I have a sh!tload of autopays that will have to be re-done; probably will need the advice and consent of credit-union staff to pull that off. We already have a new debit card. But some of this stuff, like Social Security and Medicare cards, cannot be issued anew. Big Brother will give you a new card, but  with the same number. So if the jerk has got your name and your card number, you’re just flat outta luck for whatever bills he runs up.

So, what can Funny’s readers learn from this fine fiasco? Well…

1. Photocopy all the cards in your wallet, front and back. Store these copies in a safe place where you can find them quickly.

2. While you’re at it, compile a list of all your credit-card issuers with contact information. Do not lose this!

3. If some doctor’s office’s staff demands that you carry your Social Security card around with you and show it to them every time you visit (ahem! are you listening, Young Dr. Kildare?) tell them to take a flyer at the moon. Remind them that it is illegal to use a Social Security card as ID and that they have no business demanding that you bring your Social Security card every time you walk in the door. Nor, for that matter, once they’ve recorded your Medicare data, is there any reason to expect you to flash your Medicare card for every visit.

4. Keep an up-to-date running record of every charge, credit, and debit you make. Don’t wait for statements to come in. Keep your own list of debits and credits!

5. Although auto-pays of recurring costs like utility bills are convenient, consider that they may morph into first-class hassles if a theft requires closing a bank account. It may be better to write (gasp!) paper checks or manually send electronic payment. While manually paying every little routine bill is a time suck, undoing your carefully crafted bill-pay system is even even greater time suck…and a chaotic one.