Coffee heat rising

But…I Want It NOW…

Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not whenever I can find it (if I can) on the local market.


It’s spectacularly convenient to be able to order up this little thingy and that little doo-dad and have it delivered right to your door. Yes. That much must be admitted. That much must be admired.

But the other day, I wanted one silly little, minor little, once always-available-about-everywhere little thing, and I wanted it now. Today. Ideally, within the hour.

It was the sort of thing you used to be able to find in a type of store called a “dime store,” such as a TG&Y: chain stores that sold inexpensive handy-dandy gadgetry that people use around the house and the car and the yard.

No more! Far as I can tell, dime stores no longer exist.

I drove from pillar to post searching…

  • Albertson’s does not carry it.
  • Safeway does not carry it.
  • Target does not carry it.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond no longer exists.
  • Walmart does not carry it.
  • Lowe’s does not carry it.
  • AJ’s does not carry it…

On and on and gas-guzzlingly on. NO ONE carries it.

What is “it”?

It’s this: an old-fashioned purse-sized, pocket-sized spiral-bound notepad.

Apparently they still make them. Although of late retailers will not let you copy an image and paste it into your effing blog post….

You just can’t find them. At least not in brick-and-mortar retail stores. I searched all over the effing city, and nobody had these things.

Upshot: It’s not that you can order it from Amazon. It’s that you HAVE TO order it from Amazon. And if you need it now? Well, screw you, m’dear.

Ugh! I am sooo unstuck in time! My God, sometimes I feel like I live not in a different era but on a different planet from the one I grew up on.

And while we have many, many blandishments that are wonderful and amazing…well… Are they?

We have these awesome phones we can carry around! Whoop-de-doo!

  • Now anyone who takes a whim to do so can pester us on the phone as we drive around or hike or bicycle ride or sit in a meeting or…whatEVER.
  • Now advertisers can track us around the city and harass us at will.
  • Now if our car craps out and we don’t have one of these gadgets with us — or, Gawd forfend if it’s not charged up — we are in deep, deep trouble.
  • Now if we’re on the lam from the cops, the authorities can track us down, intercept us, and bust us…

Hmmmmm…. THIS is a good thing?

We have delivery services that bring everything from a cheap notebook to a filet mignon to our doorstep. But what if we want to shop for it in person? What if want to see what we’re getting before we plop down our credit card?

What if, f’r hevvinsake, we want it NOW?

Ugh. What a brave new world!

Surprise!!! NOT a Disaster!


For a change, something went more or less right today. And when I say “a change,” I ain’t kidding: whatever I’ve touched and whatever has touched me has gone SPROOOOINNNNNGGGGGG!!!

Mostly this has had to do with money. AMEX claims it wasn’t paid; AMEX claims a payment bounced (bullsh!t to that!); WonderAccountant’s mind is boggled; Financial Dude has retired and gawd only knows WHAT is becoming of my investments…and on and on and brain-banging on.

This afternoon, after I’ve enjoyed a good two hours of wrestling with everything that could go wrong and did go wrong, the doorbell goes off: BING BONG!!!!

This causes the dog to go off:


Leap up. Run to the living-room. Nobody there. Truck is pulling out from the curb. Oh hell, now what?


Now what is the lampshade I ordered from Amazon!

My favorite living-room lamp is a big old brass number my mother bought in San Francisco, when we came back from Arabia. A handsome number indeed, it still retains its original silk lampshade (I think…unless she bought a new one after we moved to Arizona, while I was off at the university).

That shade started to fall apart, and I realized — alas — I would have to buy another one.

You understand…she bought the thing about in 1957 or ’58… And that lamp has stood on a table in her house or mine all those years since then. That would make the lamp and that lampshade 65 or 66 years old!

Can you imagine a retail product sold today lasting that long?

Hah! Fat chance, as we used to say back in the 1950s.


So I break the shade out of the box, with considerable trepidation.

It does measure 14″ x 14″, just as the old one did…but somehow it looks slightly different. Looks a little smaller. But it’s not smaller. It does fit the lamp. And, mirabilis…

It looks OK.

Not quite the same as the original. But there’s a limit to how much you can ask, eh?

For inscrutable reasons, it looks rather smaller than the old shade. But…it’ll do. If you didn’t know about the old shade, you’d think this one looks just fine.

Amazon has jimmied the image so there’s no way in hell I can copy it for you. So you’ll just have to guess at how it looks. God forfend we should help them sell their products, eh? 😀

Here it is on Etsy, though…for 20 bucks less than I paid for it at Amazon. Memo to self: after this…check other websites before buying from Amazon!!!


Whatever you want, whatever you need, whatever you have to do, it HAS to be the hard way!


This morning I wanted to run by the grocery store to pick up an extension cord for the laptop and, while I was at it, replenish the pantry a bit. Visits to two huge supermarkets yielded NO extension cord. But I did find one at the neighborhood Albertson’s, my very least favorite place to shop because of the shady adventures in the parking lot. I head for the check-out with that and a bottle of cheap white…and am told…


No. No, I cannot buy a bottle of wine.

Why? Because it’s Sunday morning. In Arizona, it’s illegal to sell alcoholic beverages of any kind before noon on Sunday. Holy holy holeeeeee….

Shee-ut!!! I’d forgotten about that!

Furious, I walked out and left the other stuff I’d intended to buy — admittedly not much, but if I have to go to some other store or shop at some other time, why should I stand in line at a cash register twice?

Aren’t you happy, don’t you feel privileged to have sanctimonious Kris-tee-anns looking out for your morals?

It’s 11:34 now. In another 20 minutes, I’ll set out for AJ’s, where I’druther fork over my money, if fork over I must. The only reason I didn’t drive down there this morning was that I do not feel like shopping and I just wanted to get the damned errand-running over with.

In another fine snafu, apparently American Express never received this month’s payment. Got a threatening collection letter from them.

Called. They have THE best customer service people! Talked at length with a sweetie-pie who has an exotic accent. Got that straightened out. They’re forgiving the late charge; first thing tomorrow morning I will head over to the credit union and get that bill paid electronically.

I still haven’t seen the bill. Don’t see it anywhere around the Funny Farm. Probably it got delivered to the neighbor who got SDXB’s house when the City bought it and gave to them (yes: FREE!) after the new airport runway displaced them. That address has the same street number, but a one-word difference in the streets’ name — like Neighborhood Lane vs. Neighborhood Road. Stuff is misdelivered all the time. I have to mark on orders from Amazon “ROAD, please, not Lane!” Otherwise, they take stuff to her and I never see it.

Bein’ from a totally different socioeconomic world, she and her family don’t forward misdelivered packages or mail. If it’s mail, they just throw it in the trash. If it’s a package, they apparently keep it for themselves.

Interesting how customs differ, even within a given country.

Welp…in another 20 minutes, God will allow me to buy a bottle of dinner wine. So I might as well get started traipsing down to AJ’s.

Why I quit shopping at Costco…

{sigh} This is sad…because I love shopping at Costco. It’s like visiting a Renaissance fair: vast quantities of food, jeans that actually fit, doodads, gizmos, and endless bottles of cheap wine.
And I do understand that Costco, for whatever reasons suit its business plan, needs to limit its customers to “members.” So no, I don’t mind carrying a Costco card around and flashing it at the door and again at check-out.
But the new demand that we ALSO flash our driver’s license when paying up? Uhhh nope. Sorry, Costco. That’s a yard past the edge of the pale. You already have my ID in the form of a Costco card bearing my photo. Enough’s enough.
I carry my driver’s license hidden in my car. This is because I have exactly ZERO desire to tote a purse around with me, and most women’s clothing does not accommodate bulky wallets and such. When I go into Costco, all I take with me is an endless shopping list, a credit card, and my Costco card. I do not carry these in a wallet; I do not tote them in a purse.That’s why jeans have pockets, after all.
I simply loathe having to carry a purse.
So, I don’t: I minimize the amount of junk I have to carry, and once you’re down to a couple of cards and your keys, you can fit all you need into your pockets. Even when you’re wearing women’s clothing.
But add ANOTHER nuisance card, and then I’ll have to haul the stuff around in a bag or a wallet. And ya know what, dear Costco bosses? I ain’t a-gunna. First I’m not going to risk losing my driver’s license as I tote it around your store, and second, I really don’t enjoy putting myself at risk of theft by prancing across a parking lot with a purse dangling from my shoulder.
Just now I’m on the way out the door to buy a bunch of Costco-esque items…dishwasher detergent, Q-tips, doggy stuff, this and that. If I were going to Costco, I would as usual succumb to Impulse Buy Mania and no doubt buy a bunch of stuff I don’t need. Instead, I’m gonna buy all that at Walmart.
On one level, it’s annoying. I love to shop at Costco — it’s like a medieval fair, a riot of impulse buys. On another, more practical level, though, it’s a GOOD thing. Because…
* Shopping at the nearby Walmart saves gas. Costco shut down the centrally located store a few minutes from my house. To get to the nearest outlet, now I have to traipse across the city, risking my life, diddling away gasoline, and feeling annoyed by the time I get to the store.
* It saves money. I don’t much enjoy the Walmart: it’s in a shady neighborhood, so trudging across the parking lot feels unsafe. Nor do I enjoy the Albertson’s and the Safeway in my parts: the two stores practically clone each other; they tend to be overpriced, and they’re boooooring places to shop. As a result. I tend to get in there and out as fast as I can, and not dawdle over the impulse buys. That is: I buy only what I need when I go in there, and THAT’S IT.
* Costco offers a wide variety of middle-class goods, which has a drawback: It’s an impulse-buy carnival! Every time I go in there, I come out with something I didn’t plan to buy. By contrast, the Sprouts in my neighborhood is all very nice, but a little too environmentally, socially, and health-wise “correct.” The goody-two-shoes tendency limits one’s choices, even though it also leads the store to offer some things you can’t get anywhere else. Albertson’s & Safeway are booooring: nothing to see there, so you tend to stick to your shopping list. And that, over time, saves a whole lot of money.
So I guess I should say “Thanks, Costco, for unwisely driving a customer away: it’s saving me a lot of time and money.” But I’m still gonna miss it.

And now for a balmy afternoon….

Heh! After yesterday’s 110° at 7 p.m., we’re having a balmy afternoon today. At 4:30 in the afternoon — usually about the hottest point of the day — we’ve only barely reached the 110 mark. Brrrr!

Taking advantage of the crisp temperature, I sallied forth to the Safeway, there to buy some eye salve for the poor little dog, plus a whatnot or two. Truly hotter than the hubs on those black asphalt streets.

Safeway has invented a new annoyance: if you want to buy wine or other boozy beverages, they try to steer you into a dedicated checkout stand in the liquor aisle. Took a second or two to figure that out…

Right, guys. Like I want to stand in line to pay TWICE! Once for food and household items, once for a bottle of Chardonnay.

Criminey. WHO thinks this stuff up?

Oh well. When I expressed my annoyance, I was excused from the booze department line and allowed to buy all my groceries with a single pass-through at the front-of-the-store cash registers.

Man! My air-conditioning bill is gonna sail through the stratosphere this month. Here in the front room, the temp is 80 degrees, with the AC unit pounding away nonstop. But in the front guest bedroom, where Ruby and I have taken refuge from the present heat wave, it’s 78. That’s because the room sits directly under the AC unit, and its vent is the first vent that comes out of the machine.

By the time it reaches the family room, where I’m poking away at the keyboard right now, it’s in the low 80s. And the unit does not go off. Nope. Not once, not alllll dayyyyy long! That’s even though the thermostat is in the hall right outside that refrigerated bedroom.

No sign of the mid- to late-summer monsoon weather. Usually by now we have rainstorms that coalesce late in the afternoon and hold forth from around 4 or 5 p.m. on into the evening. This phenomenon cools the air significantly, sometimes to such a degree that in theory you could cut back on the AC bill.

Not this year, though! Not so far.

No doubt Ruby wonders where her dinner is. Poor beast!

I’m holding off on feeding her until the sun goes down — that’ll be another 2 hours or so — so that if and when we go for an evening doggy-walk, the pavement will be cool enough for her to walk without burning her feet. Even so, if we wanted to cross the street, we would have to wait till around 10 p.m. for the asphalt to cool. The sidewalks we can manage awhile after sundown….the roadways: not so much.

Ruby has a low-level eye infection…i think. Either that or allergies. Nothing much grows at this time of year that ought to trigger allergies, so the hypothesis is either an infection or dry eyes. My doc has me wiping my own dry eyes with something called “iVisia,” which seems to help a little. Tried it on Ruby, and found that yes, it’s seems to work on her, too.

But…go ahead! Just TRY to find it.

Found it a few days ago at the Safeway….but today when I picked up another bottle and brought it home, I discovered the stuff I’d grabbed off the shelf is a gel, not the liquid drops.

arrrrghhhh! AM i going to traipse back through the heat and the lunatic drivers to return that?

I dunno. Really…some things are just. not. worth it.

Speaking of “not worth it,” have you seen THIS little bit of intelligence? Robert Kennedy’s nutty son is busy spreading crackpot conspiracy theories…as part, it appears, of a projected run on the presidency.

Holy sh!t.

Are there, d’you think, enough anti-vaxxer ignoramuses, enough paranoiacs who believe 5G networks are a tool to spy on us all, enough conspiracy theorists who imagine the CIA put out the hit on RFK Sr. to carry this nut case into the White House?

Holy sh!t. Truly. If there are, I am moving to Venezuela. Or better yet: to a desert island in the middle of the Pacific.



Glub! Underwater in Lovely Phoenix

It is SOOOOOO wet out there that all you have to do is stand outside to raise a sweat.

wait wait! That’s true of standing inside, too!

Where does this city think it is? Dankest Georgia? Right now the sky is overcast — seriously overcast, as in “gimme 45 minutes or an hour to deliver the rain” — and we’re enjoying 90 degrees on the back porch. Wunderground says it’s 95, with 35% humidity…and I could buy that

Pool Dude surfaced this morning, shortly after dawn. I’d about lost hope…thought he’d disappeared from the scene. But nooo…here he is!

Did a nice job of cleaning the already pretty clean hole in the ground into which to pour money. Repaired some stuff. Chatted…sweet guy, IMHO. Probably a serial killer, but he can hold a nice conversation. And he’s cute. 😉


A-a-a-an-d…. O’course I pick the most miserable hot day of the year to generate an Adventure in Frustration.

Hoooleeee sheee-ut!

The eye that had the cyst in it, lo! these several months ago — the eye that we thought was HEALED, ooohhh thank you gawd and billy graham — started itching and hurting. Again.

Can’t see anything in there. Apply the long-ago-recommended Refresh brand eye drops.

Nothing: no effect.

Wait a day or two, hoping Nature will take its course.

Nothing: no effect.

Hurts itches itches hurts hurts itches…and so on to infinity….

So I call the Honored Eye Doc. His staff directs me to trot out and purchase an over-the-counter product called Ivisia: eye drops of provenance unknown to me.

And, as it develops, unknown to about every retailer in the city.

Walgreen’s doesn’t have it.

Albertson’s doesn’t have it.

Walmart doesn’t have it.

Finally, after what feels like driving…driving…driving for hours through the 110-degree heat, I stumble into a Safeway. Stagger to the pharmacist’s counter. He points me to a stack of shelves down an aisle 15 or 20 feet from the his counter.

And lo!!!  THERE IT IS!

Grab. Trudge to checkout. Stand in line stand in line stand in line stand…pay up.

Back in the car.

Heat makes Arizona drivers crazy. We shouldn’t find that surprising, though. Everything makes Arizona drivers crazy.

Trudge and dodge and dodge and trudge and finally make my way home. If the present discomfort didn’t make this thing feel ever so slightly urgent, I would’ve just come home and ordered it from Amazon.

Honestly. I don’t know how local retailers even begin to compete with Amazon. The hassle factor entailed in schlepping around the God Damned City to find ONE STUPID LITTLE ITEM is sooooooooooo aggravating, that given just a little more motivation, I would’ve succumbed to common sense and ordered it online.

But…the eye hurt, and I really really did NOT want to wait two days for delivery plus run the risk of our pet porch pirates stealing the stuff before I can find it.

Ohhhhh well! Now we have it.


I sweartagawd, it feels just like lovely Ras Tanura out there. That desiccated corner of Eastern Hell on the shore of the Persian Gulf…summertime was sauna time.

Seriously: I can remember waking up in the morning on those hot summer fucking days and seeing water dripping off the eaves. And no, it had NOT rained during the night.

I can remember standing in the front yard under a clear blue sky and watching RAIN condense out of the hot, cloudless air.

Like that: that’s how it feels.

My poor mother. How on earth did that hapless little Upstate New York orphan survive even her first 16 or 18 years on this pitiless earth, to say nothing of 30+ years of marriage to my globe-trotting, tightwad father? In her place, I would have died long before I gave birth to the first lifeless baby, to say nothing of the second one and the third brat that survived.

To say nothing of the man who dragged her to Hell (seriously…) and back again. She was, when you think about her, an amazing woman.

Damn! I wish I’d appreciated that while she was still living.


Seriously: when I say it’s an inexplicable wonder that local retailers are surviving Amazon — if they are — I kid you not.

  • There were hardly any customers in the Walgreen’s.
  • Hardly any in the Albertson’s.
  • More in the Walmart, but not enough to keep a large retail enterprise alive.
  • Naught but a bunch of yuppifed egotists in the Safeway, creatures that were buying one or two items apiece…nary a week’s worth of groceries in evidence at any check-out stand.
  • Now consider what a hassle it was to get ahold of this magical mystery eye salve in person, from a brick-and-mortar retailer….
  • Why on earth would anyone want to go through that?

You may be sure that in the future I will remember. And when I can, I will order all the little necessaries online. Occupying a fricasseeing hot afternoon schlepping from place to place through nasty traffic is not something I want to do whenever I need this or that little retail item.