Coffee heat rising

Another Fine Day in Crime Central

Jayzus, what a day!

We’re awakened at dawn to the tune of the neighborhood watchdog, Will, urging us on Facebook to stay inside! lock the doors and windows! do NOT go outdoors! and don’t answer the doorbell either!

Turns out a murder has taken place just a few blocks to the north of the ‘Hood, in a historic slum neighborhood called Sunnyslope. Cops are swarming. And yes, it’s just another morning in Crime Central.

Shee-ut. This means Ruby and I can’t do today’s doggy-walk. And for that matter, we can’t loaf around the yard with the doors open, either.

WTF?  Well, it was just another day in lovely Sunnyslope. Yet another guy was on the run from the cops, having shot a fellow denizen in his pickup. Shot him dead….nice aim.

The perp fled down the canal….the very canal that runs up behind those cute little antique workers’ houses I was, in passing, coveting.

Couple days ago, a not-very-smart young woman was jogging on the same canal pathway. Nabbed, raped, and thrown in the drink.

Fortunately a passer-by found her and fished her out of the water before she was drawn into one of the weirs, which would’ve been the end of her.

Y’know….this ain’t politically correct, but…i will be dayumed if I can figure out why women figure that “liberated” means “free to wear skimpy outfits over their nubile and sexy bodies as they trot up and down public streets with their boobs and their bums bouncing.” PoliticallyCorrectly, sure: in theory we should be able to do anything the guys can do. But that ignores biological reality: to wit, that some males see any female as fair game and no amount of Liberation will change that fact. The reason you wear clothes that cover your body is to keep your body to yourself, as much as possible.

Dare to say that, though, and…

§ §

Yesterday on the (incredibly long) way home from the dermatologist’s office, I managed to dodge whatever was going on at Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South. Place was swarming with cop helicopters and patrol cars. Whipped into the ’Hood and made it into the garage without incident. Which is always nice.

Derm was pleased with the way the schnozz is healing, after the surgery to slice off an alleged carcinoma. She wanted me to buy some scar cream to help with that process — sold, of course, by their office. Fortunately I’m now on to their business plan: so, when presented with an opportunity, asked how much. FIFTY-EIGHT BUCKS. Thanks, said I. Bye!

Drove home, stopping at two drugstores and a supermarket. At least one didn’t have it. The other two didn’t have staff to help find stuff. Dodged the cops into the ’Hood, darted into the Funny Farm, fired up Amazon, and lo!! As suspected, there was the very stuff the doctor ordered: Forty bucks. 

Any question why I so often feel like I live in a Third-World country?

After driving driving driving, I arrive at home, greeted by a corgi. Dust settles. Dog goes out. I pour a glass of wine. Cop copters roar over the Farm.

Call the dog. Shut and lock the doors. Pour another glass of wine.

Another armed robbery….nothin’ to look at here, folks. This, also, in lovely Sunnyslope: right where I’ve been coveting those cute little old houses with the gigantic yards.

Soooo…there’s another real estate transaction that goes on the shelf. Waaayyyy in the back of the shelf….

§ §

Come noontime today, it’s over to the church for the volunteer gig: once a week I staff the reception desk in the church office.

Sitting at the front desk in the church office building, putting in my duly appointed volunteer time. Gasp!!!!!  It is sooooo excruciatingly b-o-o-o-o-r-i-n-g! Even more so because everyone but the ubiquitous Nanette is out, apparently all day. NOTHING is going on, not even the phone jangling.

Stupidly, I grabbed the wrong pair of glasses as I shot out the front door…the distance-only pair, not the bifocals. Soooo….I can barely see the computer I brought to amuse myself through the long, silent, tedious afternoon.

So the time goes by

very…

very…

very…

s-l-o-o-w-l-y……

From the church it’s down to AJ’s to pick up some more fruit and…maybe something for dinner, since I don’t feel much in the mood to fire up the grill.

The smog is so gawdawful the sunlight looks yellow, and the sky is colored a strange shade of yellowish gray. Just like lovely Southern California. This was one of the several reasons I loathed living in Long Beach. Driving here has gotten a lot like driving in SoCal, too.

Just an ugly place. Yech.

If my son decides to retire to Utah and I’m still living, I’m a’following him!

Seriously: he has a daydream of telecommuting from some sylvan spot in the boondocks. He’s especially interested in southeastern Utah or southwestern Colorado. And since, far’s I can tell, he no longer goes into an office at all, really there’s no reason he couldn’t do exactly that: move to the sticks and do his job online.

I personally would not choose to take up residence in Mormon Country. Doubt if he has a clue how hard it is to buy a bottle of wine in those precincts.

But seriously: Arizona has some very pleasant towns and wide-spots-in-the-road in the sticks, where the locals’ morals don’t interfere with your choice of dinner beverages and a decent regional medical center is within a 20-minute helicopter ride. Anyplace between Tucson and Nogales would fill that bill very nicely. Same is true of the Prescott area.

But as for Phoenix? It’s L.A. East.

And lemme tellya: there was a reason I hated living in Long Beach, all the time I was in high school. Now I feel much the same way about the crowded, hectic, smoggy, crime-ridden Valley of the We-Do-Mean Sun.

This old bat would give a lot to get outta here.

Epistle from the Church’s Reception Desk: You Know You’ve Been Stuck in a Rut Too Long When….

…driving through your city’s downtown is like visiting some other planet! 

😀

Our city council likes to describe lovely Phoenix as a collection of “villages,” a metaphor whose purpose always sorta escaped me. But today it occurred to me…they could be right.

This morning before hitting the volunteer desk down at the Church, I had first to drive ALLLLLLLL the way to the far West Valley to pick up my lab report from the eager-to-operate dermatologist over there.

Then drive home, copy her report and write a note to MayoDoc explaining what OrthodontistDude said (viz.: don’t let any mere dermatologist slice up your face…get a plastic surgeon to do it) and expressing, as subtly but also as obviously as possible, the possibility that she might refer me to such a creature. Then get back in the car and drive and drive and drive and drive to the far East Valley to deliver this message. Then drive and drive and drive and drive to get back to the church, for whose activities I was (as announced to my coworker) running late.

It was the most extraordinary experience, driving from west side’s acres of former cotton and corn fields, now sprouting houses, CLEAR ACROSS THE CITY to the farthest eastern reaches of Richlandia! Because…I had to drive through downtown Phoenix, a garden spot I haven’t visited in a good 20 years. Or more. Then, once on the far side of those precincts, up Scottsdale Road through the fields of the now much updated and re-commercialized tourist traps.

The city of Px has changed SOOOO much as to be — seriously: no exaggeration — unrecognizable.

I used to work downtown, for a law firm that occupied three floors of a high rise. And DXH and I lived for about 15 years within walking distance of that small-town business district, in a much-gentrified antique central neighborhood. So, I knew the downtown area well.

Today the freeway was up-gescrewed, so I got off just to the west of the downtown commercial district and elected to cross the city on a main drag called Van Buren Street. This was my old stomping grounds: the Firm was located two blocks to the north, and this also was the route I used to take driving  across the city from our classic antique house to the university in Tempe. So I know it well. Or…so I thought.

What I found was not my mother’s route to Tempe…that’s for sure!! 😀 The entire downtown area has been SO MASSIVELY TRANSFORMED as to be unrecognizable!

Old bars and whorehouses are gone. So are most of the old office buildings and many of the old high-rises. These have been replaced by huge, shiny new high-rises, And the old SROs and dives? Mile after square mile of brand-new, very fancy mid-rise apartment buildings. A vast athletic arena covers blocks. The scary slums around the mental hospital: gone! Replaced by more apartments.

This goes on for blocks and blocks and blocks. Parts of it look like San Francisco; some of it reminds you of the higher-tax regions of L.A. What a thing to see!

Seriously: except that the roads follow the same routes, it was like driving through some other city.

driving driving driving…eventually I come to Scottsdale Road and turn north for the miles-long journey toward Shea Blvd. Out of the light-industrial low-rent area, northward into touristy downtown Scottsdale. And my gosh! Same story! It’s like the whole damn place has been demolished and rebuilt! Only a few of the buildings look familiar. Most of them are newer, snazzier, and ritzier!

driving driving driving driving…finally hit Shea Blvd. All of the formerly upscale housing developments along that route are now…MORE upscale! Walled, gated “communities,” not mere housing tracts. Holee moleee!

It’s a positive development…I guess. Goes a way toward explaining why property values are exploding in the’Hood. Any place that’s centrally located and middle- or upper-middle-class is going to inflate wildly in price, with all that fancy architecture and expensive real estate surrounding us.

But y’know what? When I got home to the ’Hood nestled between Conduit of Blight Blvd and Gangbanger’s Way, it struck me that our neighborhood has also gentrified madly…to the point where it is MUCH nicer and much more pleasant than snooty Scottsdale!!

 Those overpriced stick-and-styrofoam tract houses with their orange cement tile roofs do not hold up well to the passage of time: surely not as well as slump block and shake shingles. Our houses look soooooo much better and our irrigated yards with their towering green trees look sooo much prettier than those desert-landscaped McMansions…it rather defies belief!

And herein lies the point: When you live in your own “village,” an enclave of a vast urban jungle, you have your own aesthetic, your have your own ethic, you have your own shopping venues, social resources, churches, cops, veterinians, yard dudes, dogs, cats, and funny-looking neighbors. You have, in short, everything you need within arm’s reach. You don’t even notice the change going on in nearby “villages..”

No wonder the fix-and-flippers are having frenzies grabbing up our houses and selling them for three times what they’re worth… Who’d’ve thunk it?

Soggy Day in Rattie Central

Rathame…

At 7:00 this morning it was 90 degrees and overcast. And damp. Very, very damp.

That is extreme, even for lovely uptown Phoenix! Especially for this time of year. Normally it’s very hot, but also very dry in July. So you can bitch and whine about the heat, but it’s basically empty bitching and whining.

That is so until early August, when we start to get the kind of weather we have now: hot and humid. The difference is, in normal (pre-Paved Paradise) times, we would have had a spectacular thunderstorm every afternoon or evening, followed by much cooler temps.

*****

And during the interval when this scribble was interrupted by a phone call from WonderAccountant, it’s started to rain. Hot, wet, and raining.

W.A. is having a wondrous Adventure in Medical Science. She experienced some chest pains; her husband drove her up to the Mayo, where she enjoyed a number of interesting tests, experiences, and discussions. [heh! typed “unjoyed” there…have we discovered a new word for this sorta fun?) They concluded she was not having a heart attack — what she was having, they seem not to have figured out. But she is now reamed steamed & dry-cleaned, so called to cancel our planned evening at the concert tonight.

Between you’n’me, I’m very sorry she wasn’t feeling great but moderately relieved that we don’t have to venture out tonight. Really, I don’t enjoy driving in the rain and the dark with my fellow homicidal drivers (talk about taking your life in your hands!!), and truth to tell, even with the full complement of covid shots, I’m just not very comfortable about spending time in crowds.

An hour of gossiping produced a consensus that we both think the Mayo Clinic is far, far superior to most of the medical practices in the wild here, as experienced during our respective lifetimes as Arizonans. I guess if I ultimately make up my mind to move, it’s gonna be to someplace closer to the Mayo’s ER — EMT’s in this part of town will NOT take you to the Mayo. They give you the choice of John C. Lincoln (please just take me to the Hormel slaughterhouse…), St. Joseph’s (where one night I waited outside their ER for over five hours, before I finally gave up and had a friend come take me home; then got another friend, by dawn, to drive me to the Mayo, where they slapped me into surgery before I could even take a seat in their waiting room), or Good Samaritan, where I haven’t been back since I gave birth without anaesthetic.

Okay, to be fair: the anaesthetic wasn’t needed.  I thought labor was supposed to hurt a whole lot more than it does, and so by the time we arrived there, the kid was ready to pop out.

*****

Apparently Rattie attempted a foray into the yard this morning, despite all the throwings-around by Gerardo and his crew. Ruby signals Rattie’s presence by going batsh!t every time she spots the little gal through the Arcadia door.

Rattie has gotten wise to this, since every time I hear Ruby go on a tear, I let her out the garage door (which is a lot easier to open, because of all the anti-burglar hardware on the Arcadia). Ruby shot out and patrolled the side yard, but by then Rattie had either hopped back over the wall or climbed up into the trees to take refuge. I think the former, since Ruby evinced a great deal of interest in the odor trail along the wall’s footing and the view of the top of the wall.

I do hope the blockading strategy will keep her out, but fear the truth is we are going to have to take the tangle of cat’s claw vines down off the alley wall. If I could think, offhand, of a legal way to replace the jungle plants (which make for a fine Rat Hotel) with something that would block the view of the backyard, that’s what I would do. But to run a couple more rows of block along the top of the walls here in the ‘Hood (which are about 5½ feet tall, easy for a grown man to peer over), you have to get a permit from the city. This involves a bureaucratic hoop-jump that I do not wish to engage.

Neither, I suspect, did any of the neighbors who have taken matters into their own hands — many of them have piled several rows of block atop the developer’s original walls, far more than would be legally allowed. However, I have a friend whose ex-wife enhanced her backyard wall — in a house, like this one, that occupied a corner lot — and was ordered by the city to take the entire expensive thing down. So she ended up with no wall, no privacy, and no money.

Even if I jump through the regulatory hoops (and succeed…), they no longer make cinderblocks in the kind of dust-gold color the developer used, back in the early 70s when he built out this tract. So whatever goes along the top would not match the wall. One could, in theory, paint the wall…opening not only several cans of paint but also a whole new can o’ worms… But that, then, would have to be maintained for the duration of the house’s existence.

If you could find chimney-red cinderblocks (not an impossible proposition), you might be able to make it look like you intended to have a contrasting line of decorative (heh) block along the top. But since no one else has done this, dollars to donuts it’s not a practical idea.

The vines have some distinct benefits, not the least of which is that they cut the stupefying heat that would be reflected off that wall in their absence. Secondarily, they produce rafts of very lovely bright yellow flowers.

So it goes: lovely Phoenix, Arizona, July 16, 2021…

“Another Beautiful Day in Arizona…”

Yep: “Another beautiful day in Arizona! Leave us all enjoy it!” That was the catch phrase of the late, great Arizona Governor Jack Williams, an accomplished if less than perfectly literate local politician who came up as a radio announcer. In spite of last night’s mostly dry thunderstorm, temps here have run upwards of 112 degrees. Once I glanced at the thermometer in the back porch shade: 115.

Plan of the day: Install a new bed in the now-unused middle bedroom, which was the TV room until off-the-air TV was taken away from us. Now it just sits there…but, I’ve noticed, because the room is directly below the central air-conditioning unit and so gets air fresh out of the fridge, it is the coolest room in the house. The plan is to get an inexpensive but reasonably comfortable twin bed and sleep in that room during the summer months. Then switch back to the more spacious and comfortable queen-sized bed in the master bedroom for fall, winter, and springtime. And so into the heat and on the road.

I whip into the mattress store where, in the past, I’ve bought excellent products for decent prices — not rock-bottom, but far from “luxury” prices.

Holy shee-ut! EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLAH for a regular twin-size mattress, box-spring, and frame.

I kid you not! That is what I paid for the queen-sized bed I bought when the old one wore out, just a few years ago.

Jayzus.

Out of that place, I do stagger.

Should I venture across the street to Bed Bath & Beyond, there to snab a set of sheets for this spectacular purchase?

I think not. In the first place, my experience with BB&B is that they tend to be overpriced. In the second place, they tend to be underqualitied. I decide, WTF, to drive out to Costco and grab a set there.

This was very, very stupid. Extraordinarily stupid. Gold-medal-winning stupid!!!!!!!

Best way to get out there?  Across Lincoln, the northernmost main drag south of the Phoenix Mountain Park, then up 44th through lovely Paradise Valley, and zip! into the parking lot.

Almost sounds sane, doesn’t it?

Eastbound on Lincoln at 24th street, the main road that disgorges central- and central/east traffic onto Lincoln, some nitwit has contrived to have a fender-bender in the fast lane. Traffic in all three lanes comes to a stop as the very pretty young woman driver gets out to try to cope…and is swarmed by Heroic Gentlemen charging to her rescue.

This would have some charm if it weren’t 111 degrees outside just then. In the shade.

So the Damsel in Distress and all of her many Knights have the traffic dead stopped. I’ve been around this block before, though, and so am wily enough to dart left into the entrance of a (spectacularly ritzy) gated community, where I can hang a U-ie and head back in the direction I came from.

Now I am westbound when I need to go east.

But on the way, I think WTF, I’ll just fly into the Macy’s at Biltmore Fashion Square. At this time of year, they’re bound to be having a white sale.

And yea verily, that they are!. Have you ever noticed that when a major department store puts stuff on sale, it’s because said stuff is junk, serious junk, that NO ONE in their right mind would buy? Today, this is true in spades. You would NOT believe the crappiness of the hilariously dreadful crap on offer.

Onto the freeway. Northerly northerly northerly and OFF on Cactus, eastbound.

Easterly easterly easterly, past the Fry’s. If I had any sense I’d derail this trip to go in there and buy a set of cheapie junk sheets, but…

a) I have no sense; and
b) I figure that kinda cheap junk may last through three launderings, if we’re lucky.

Hang a left on Tatum. Northerly northerly northerly…FINALLY reach the Costco. They will have sheets. They always have sheets. Right? And they’re excellent quality sheets, the kind of thing you can hand down to the next generation as heirlooms.

Well.

No.

I frikkin cannot BELIEVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Costco does not have regular-size twin sheets! The only twin sheets they have are for extra-long mattresses.

Stalk out into the parking lot. Eyeball the Penney’s next door. They’re closing that Penney’s, because they’re about to tear down the shopping center and replace it with an apartment development. Whooo knows? Maybe they’ll have sheets. Maybe even sheets on sale!

Hike across the broiling asphalt, dodge into the Penney’s.

They’ve shut down the escalators. You can’t even GET to the bedding department. And noooo, I’m not getting onto a crowded stuffy stinky elevator in Time of Plague.

Make my way upstairs and find, in the bedding department, one of the most superbly certifiably stupid CSR’s I’ve ever met, in 55 years of department-store shopping. OOOOhhh this one is dumb. I cannot make her understand that no, I do not want something that does not fit, and noooo I do not want something with a weird busy little pattern that looks a lot like E. coli organisms under a microscope. All I want is a set of twin-size sheets in a plain boring color. Gray would do. White would do. Beige would do. No, bright pink will NOT do. And absolutely positively the Escherchia coli germs will not do, no way no how.

😀

Back in the car.

On the way out of the shopping center, stop at the Target. Why the hell not? Couldn’t be any worse than what we’ve already seen, eh?

There I meet the cutest li’l gay guy, who also is shopping for bedding. He is similarly disgusted. But he does point out a few sets that…uhm…do not offend too much.

Grab one of these and fly out the door. Price is around 80 bucks. Yes. For a set of freakin’ Target sheets!!!!!!!!!

Stumble back out. Dodge a few fellow homicidal drivers in the parking lot (would those be “homicidal parkers”?), make it back onto Cactus, and start driving. Westerly westerly ever westerly. Migawd, it’s STILL hot!

No. Make that “even hotter.”

Here at the Funny Farm:

  • It’s 81 in the master bedroom. It’s 84 here in the family room.
  • It’s 80 in the bedroom where I propose to install this fine new bed, but for some reason it feels a lot cooler.

That’s with the thermostat set at 79, as low as I figure I can push it without risking bankruptcy.

And as I sit here scribbling, in comes an email from one Priscilla Castro of the dermatologist’s office, wanting to discuss the results of the latest effing biopsy, one she made of a mole that has resided on the side of my nose for as long as I can remember. They’ve decided the thing is malignant. This, of course, means ANOTHER endless trip to the far west side for MORE surgery. Hot diggety dawg.

I call back instantly. “She’s not at her desk,” says the airhead who answers the phone. Odd. She was there 30 seconds ago when she emailed me.

Airhead says she’ll call me back. I explain, for the 89 berjillionth time, that they CAN NOT REACH ME BY PHONE because I block all incoming calls from area code 623 because I get rafts of nuisance calls from telephone solicitors EVERY DAY spoofing the 623 area code. As usual, the phone kid doesn’t even faintly understand what I’m saying. Sheeeeeee-ut!

By now I’m tired, I’m beyond hot, and I simply have no more patience for stupid.

I’m also kinda scared. One of the things they took off was on the side of my nose. It’s been there for years, to the point where I objected that it couldn’t be much or it would have made trouble by now. Stephanie (derma-tech) said it was “vascularizing,” whatever the hell that means. I think I would’ve noticed if it had changed, since I paint my face almost every day, and that entails hiding blemishes under layers of paint. But if she found cancer in it, they’ll be chopping up my nose. And that will require plastic surgery to repair. And THAT will entail endless trips the west side, disfiguring butchery, and several unpleasant procedures to fix. Email “Priscilla” to clue her that unless she can call me from a phone that doesn’t have a 623 area code, she’ll need to email me.

Shortly, Priscilla calls. She says I need to come in, let them cut the roots of this thing off my nose, and then they will repair the (considerable!) damage with plastic surgery.

I have a friend who’s had a quasi-malignant thing removed from his nose, followed by plastic surgery. “Repair” is not quite the word. Though he doesn’t look terrible, nevertheless you can tell that something pretty drastic happened there. I do NOT want my face cut up and then patched back together, not unless it’s absolutely, positively, unavoidably necessary.

A night passes. Daylight dawns. And I snap out of that little panic long enough to remember my Medical Motto: ALWAYS GET A SECOND OPINION!

At the Mayo, I’ve been assigned a dermatologist, for reasons neither he nor I could grasp. A week or so ago, I traipsed out there and met with him. Liked him. We were both puzzled. I left, thinking “huh!”

Sooo….what could be a better source of a second opinion than the Mayo Clinic, eh?

Yesterday — Saturday, natcherly — I emailed him through the Mayo’s annoying DIY Web “portal” lashup and asked if we could make an appointment, and may I have the Avondale dermatologist send him the results of the biopsy. Of course, I haven’t heard back. I do hope to hear from him tomorrow, and sincerely DO hope he’ll agree to review this little fiasco.

Meanwhile, we still have the Rat Situation.

This, if anything, is getting worse. Over the past couple of days, I’ve stuffed piles and piles of steel wool into the crevices and openings around the side yard deck, of which there are a-plenty. These have become little doorways to Rattie’s nest under there.

Ruby has developed chasing poor Rattie into an Olympic sport. This morning the little dog was standing patiently by the back door.

Human opens door.

Dog ambles quietly out to river of rocks (a decorated drainage ditch, now home to Rattie since we blocked off her entrances to the side deck).

Rattie, alarmed, leaps up.

Dog launches into the chase!

Rattie shoots across the yard, just under the speed of light.

Ruby flashes after her.

Rattie dodges into the cat’s-claw vines.

Ruby saunters back to the door, expecting a Doggy Treat for having orchestrated that spectacle.

This, while entertaining in a predator-ish way, is not really a good thing. Roof rats carry a wide variety of exceptionally malign diseases, which they can  transmit to dogs as well as to humans: murine typhus, leptospirosis, salmonellosis, rat-bite fever, and plague.

{sigh} I’m awfully afraid the only way to get rid of Rattie, short of poison, is going to be to pull out the cat’s claw hedge. And of course, that will mean every bum who wanders up the alley can peer into my yard. And into my pool, where he’s likely to get an eyeful of the local scenery.

So, later this morning I obtained the name of an exterminator from one of the neighbors on the ’Hood’s Facebook page. Will call him the first thing tomorrow morning — Monday.

In passing, she remarked that she preferred to communicate by email than over the FB page, because some of the neighbors work themselves into a state of high moral dudgeon over the prospect of killing our cute little rats. She remarked – confirming my own observation – that the neighborhood is now overrun with rats.

As these shenanigans are en train, I happen to venture into the front yard, where I notice…hmmmm…what?? The mound of gravel-covered dirt that was piled over the stump of the dead ash tree I had cut down, lo! these many years ago, has been pushed aside and dug up. There are little holes around in there.

WTF?

Rats?

That’s what I suspect. But…on closer observation, I see several holes in the depression where the stump has pretty much disintegrated. These are larger than the holes Rattie typically digs. Gopher?

Hm. Yes, we do get the occasional gopher here in the ‘Hood.

A-a-a-n-d…my scheme to block Rattie out of her nest under the deck has failed. Just this minute I hear Ruby YAP and thump against the Arcadia door: her signal for the Presence of the Rat.

dayum!  Leap up, RUN with Ruby to the garage’s side door, and let her rip!

She shoots out like a rocket, patrols the base of the deck…but Rattie is long gone. However, she finds a new hole: Rattie has managed to burrow out of (or into) her nest under the deck.

That, I’m afraid, tore it: now I know I’m going to HAVE to get a professional exterminator. Tomorrow I’ll call the neighbor’s guy.

This, of course, is going to mean Ruby will have to go somewhere else. We can’t have dead and dying poisoned rats laying around the yard, nor can we have poison bait laying around where Ruby holds sway over the backyard. I guess I’ll have to put her up with M’hijito, or else board her somewhere (expensively).

Ohhhhhh gawwwd…pleeeze don’t hurt our little ratties! Aughhh! How do people who are that stupid ever learn to put their pants on, much less acquire a $500,000 to $1 million shack???????

Ain’t a-goin’ nowhere, lady!!!

Bizarrer and Bizarrer

Rain, lightning, and thunder…. This, after a 118-degree day!

Even for Arizona, that is weird.

The sky alternated between sprinkling and pouring all morning. Seriously: I’ve never seen weather like this here. Upwards of 118 for a whole day; then the next morning we wake up to overcast skies, then rain by about 9 a.m. Temps in the upper 70s. And now? It’s pouring.

It hasn’t rained like this in a good year, maybe more.

That nothwithstanding, Gerardo’s crew shoveled out most of the debris, and Gerardo himself reprogrammed the watering system, in hopes of cutting the bill below $275. That remains to be seen, o’course, but at least we made a swipe at it.

So while they’re outdoors banging around, I’m sitting in the house and cripes!

Something falls down the chimney!

Rattie? Another bird? It quit scrabbling around, so I suspect it is Rattie, who can climb up the brickwork with her agile little paws. Bird could be too terrorized, though to keep kickin’, though. Ohhhh moan! Just ONE moment of peace, pleeeze!}

So now, with 118 degrees on the way, all the windows & doors are open, the flu open, the fireplace screen open….ohhhh gawd. That’s going to jack up the AC bill into the stratosphere.

This reminds me, by the light of dawn, that I’ve got to call the city and demand an explanation for the $275 water bill. They, of course, will give me a runaround. I asked Gerardo to check the irrigation system, but rather little seems to have come of that. He thinks the problem is that we have the system set to come on too often. Could be…except we haven’t changed it in several years, and I’ve never been presented with a TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE-DOLLAR water bill.

The irrigation system IS pricey, but it’s probably better than turning on a sprinkler and then wandering off and forgetting it. The main reason mine is so high is that I have a lot of potted plants. These, in the summertime, have to be watered EVERY day: and that’s non-negotiable. Forget once — just once — and any plant in a pot is stone dead.

No sound from the chimney critter. Godlmighty, it’s too hot to have doors hanging open!

Hmmmm…. I figure if a bird had gotten caught in the flu when I opened it to try to get her out, she’d be flapping around. Hmmmm… What to do, what to do? Think I’ll close the doors back up, since she doesn’t seem inclined to avail her self. If she comes out, then I’ll open the place back up. It is just TOOOOO hot for this bidness.

The fires, speaking of the (soon to be former) wildlife, continue to rage across the state. One of them is closing in on a pretty cabin built by my now late friends, Jean and Jerry. The house, which they built shortly before Jerry retired, overlooks a meadow but backs right onto the forest. I remember their remarking that if there was ever a fire, it would be the end of that place.

They’re both gone now. I assume the kids inherited it, and surely at least one of their twin boys must be living there.

Gerardo’s crew showed up at the Funny Farm shortly after Pool Dude left.

Good thing I flang myself in the drink and did the water exercises for the arm as soon as I rolled out of the sack this morning!

But yeah: get the pool all cleaned up, and here’s our boys blowering dirt and palm-tree blossoms all around. 😀

§ § §

Finally got a call back from the Contrapest folks — this is the outfit marketing birth control drugs as rat control. As feared, what they really want to do is sell you a regular service, for some spectacular fee.

Not so much, fellas…

Here we find, at Wildlife Research (a scientific journal), the following utterance: “The challenge for effective fertility control of small rodents in the field is the wide-scale delivery of an antifertility treatment to founders at the beginning of the breeding season and to fertile immigrants that are recruited into the population, which otherwise contribute to the reproductive output at the population level. Future research efforts should focus on species-specific techniques and on agents that can be effectively delivered via bait.”

Uh huh. This appears to mean “You have toi put a whole bunch of the contraceptive product out, and you have to put it out at the beginning of the animals’ breeding season and keep it out throughout the season.” Okayyyy… A roof rat’s lifespan is about a year (during which time she can easily spawn 40 pups…). So presumably you’d have to keep putting this stuff out for…how long? Looks suspiciously like “forever” to me.

Y’know what I think?

Yeah. I think there’s a better way, and that better way is spelled M-A-N-X  C-A-T.

Now to get said cat. Train it not to wipe a corgi off the face of the planet (and train the corgi not to try to eat the cat). And set it up in luxurious digs in the backyard. Hmmm… Apparently the critters can be trained to coexist with your dog. Alas, however, a certain dawg has been trained to chase off cats. Hm. I’d have to figure out how to get the dog acclimated to the cat, and vice versa.

Another variety that’s apparently Hell on Rats is the Savannah cat. It’s a half-wild breed, though…and illegal to own in some parts.

§ § §

Eventually it develops that our critter in the chimney is (mercifully!) NOT a rat, but a little dove. A terrorized little bird.

FINALLY get her out by turning off the air-conditioning (that was nice, in 118-degree heat), opening all the doors (no windows in that part of the house), opening up the fireplace screen, and laying low. It takes her awhile, but eventually the solution dawns on her little bird brain, and she makes her way to the back door, where she hunkers down on the stoop. There I set a jar lid with some water in it (in fact, birds don’t drink a lot of water: they get most of their H2O needs in the food they ingest), scatter a handful of seed across the back patio, and got the Hell out of her way. And it works: eventually she recovered enough to return to her backyard haunt.

Poor li’l bird!

§ § §

Yes, I do need to get a screen thing up there on the top of the chimney. Asked Gerardo if he would put one up there. He agreed, but reluctantly. I think today I’ll call and see if I can find a chimney guy to install one.

Pool Dude shoots in and out. The chlorine shortage is causing quite a problem for folks who are in the pool maintenance bidness. A lot of stores just don’t have it, and those that do are charging piratical rates. Not surprisingly…but still…

Part of Pool Dude’s problem is that he’s too damn nice. Case in point: He’s got some broad who owes him SIX HUNDRED BUCKS (!!!!). Has he raised Hell and put a block under it? Ohhhhh noooo…. Holy sh!t.

A$k, and ye shall re¢eive.

Grrrrrrrrr! Stop the freakin’ world….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huh?

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

Can.

Not.

For.

The.

Life of me…

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

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

Which as you can imagine looks spectacularly fashionable.

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

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

Gone.

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

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

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

So. Back to the hair:

Seems to me I have two choices.

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

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

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

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