Coffee heat rising

North Central: Neighborhood from Hell

An entertaining discussion appeared this morning in the neighborhood Facebook page:
(I give up trying to format this thing! Sorry for the glitches…Facebook content just does NOT carry over into blog format with any consistency. Gaaaaah!)

Fernando M.
Top contributor
What’s going on with all of the cops and chopper?
Victoria H.
Top contributor
F’r cryin’ out loud. Fountain Hills looks better and better
Lily F.
Top Contributer
Listening in on the police scanner and it seems it was a break in/home invasion of some sort and they were trying to locate the suspect. He’s in custody now and we can all rest tonight ◡
Fernando M:

Top contributor They got him.

Beth M:
Fernando M. any details where they nabbed him?

Fernando M:
Beth M: at the third house in on 15th Ave and Harmont.

Fernando M.
Which house?!? We are on Harmont and 15th Drive!

Andrea R. A.:
Squad was parked at 17dr/Griswald. Squad car just flew past my house, heli is low. Squad car just down the street near neighbors house

Michelle B-I:
Andrea R.A. are they at the dead end near my moms?

Andrea R A
Michelle B-I yes they were now at Royal Palm

Aimey O B:
Andrea R. A.  there was one parked down here at 16th & Griswold also, for abiut 1/2 hr. Then we heard he was in the yard under a tree on royal palms, ‘3rd house west of 16dr red roof’ that’s when the helicopter left so assuming that’s where they apprehended him.

Andrea R.A:
Aimey Odom Bussing thanks for the update

Laura Rodriguez:
Thank you all for the updates! Woke up to the helicopters and knew I could count on our neighbors looking out for the neighborhood. Great to have neighbors with police scanners. Might need to get one.

Emily G.:
Laura R.  there’s an app, Scanner Radio

Fernando M:
They have a dog out now

Fernando M:
I’m listening to the police scanner and they are trying to surround someone. Preparing for “him” to jump the wall

Noël D:
Fernando M: did you hear them say it was from a break in/home invasion? I read from somewhere else it was someone running from a traffic stop

Emily W:
Top contributor
I hope everyone is ok. I’m glad they caught the person but it sounds like they did some harm first.

Emily W:
Top contributor
There’s a cop on the corner of 15th ave and royal palm. Not sure what’s going on though

Sonya V.
Been going on a VERY long time flying low, spotlights from helicopter in our yard, voices from helicopter but can’t understand what they are saying. 16th ave and las palmaritas. Any news yet on what’s going on?

Eric T:
I guess no sleep tonight going to be a long day tomorrow

Fernando M:
Royal palm and harmony alley

Fernando M:
I’m someone’s yard jumping to the alley

Fernando M:
He is in the church parking lot

Jessica L. G.:
Heard two loud bangs that woke us up about 30min ago, cops have surrounded the park since, husband saw someone across the street picking up something off the sidewalk on the park side, then ran north on 15th ave just before cops got here

Fernando M:
They just came over the speaker and said you are surrounded!

Aimey O.B.:
I was sitting at the kitchen table working (everyone else was asleep) & all of a sudden our entire backyard was lit up like daylight!! (16th dr & griswold) For several seconds! Freaked me out!! I woke up my fiancé & we watched as cops searched the alley rt behind our house w k-9 & followed them on the scanner!! Wont be falling off to sleep anytime soon after all that!!

Beth M:
I don’t know, I heard voices that sounded like it was from the copter and my backyard keeps getting lit up.

Gail G.O.:
Doesn’t sound like they had them surrounded.

Patti C:
There’s a police car on 17th drive and Harmont. Copter had been circling over my house with lights. I assumed it was something with the apartments or light rail but must be more than that

Andre W:
Top contributor
That glass of wine, didn’t realize anything strange was happening last night.

Jeanne D:
Wow that’s crazy

Ahhh yes. Business as usual here in our beautiful home…

Every time I think about moving to Fountain Hills (or the South of France), I’m reminded of the cop who chatted with me after the Great Home Invasion episode. I remarked to him that maybe I should move to Scottsdale or some such. He said — these are his words, indeed — “Don’t do that! We go to these things all over the Valley. It doesn’t matter where you live. This stuff happens all the time.”

And yea verily, even in stodgy, muffled Sun City, a year or two ago a couple of thugs invaded a home out there. They herded the homeowner’s male house guest into a bedroom and shot him in the head.

Unlikely they could have known the guy. The house guests would have been from out of town. He probably mouthed off to them.

What a place!

Twenty-First Century as Gigantic Rip-off

Those of us who are decrepit enough to remember life in the late 1900s can surely attest that there were plenty of ripoffs on the float, back then in the “good” ole days. But jeez…

Every which way from Sunday, here’s somebody trying to siphon your money out of your wallet. I swear ta gawd!

Today I had to register the Dog Chariot. Every year or two (depending on how much you’re willing to pay at any one time), you have to trot your car into a state facility to get an emissions test, for which you have to pay about 20 bucks.

Once you pay, they give you a sheet of paper that you have to use to re-register your car. This year: the tab is $227 and change. In other words, it’s going to cost almost $250 to register a nine-year-old car. For one year.

I find this passing infuriating. Yes, I know: we need to pay to maintain the roads and hire highway patrolmen. But we already pay an exorbitant state income tax. And stiff sales taxes on everything that passes a cash register.

But evidently there’s nothing one can do about it.

For a change, though, this year’s ritual was not the unpleasant production of the past. Used to be, you’d drive in and find a dozen lanes, any one of them with ten or fifteen cars ahead of you. So you get in line and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you…

…and you don’t have much choice of which line you get into. And this is August. The hottest month of the year in Arizona. (Understand: it was 112 here today…and that was actually a fairly balmy day.)

To my surprise, this time there were not very many cars and trucks ahead of me.

A worker motioned me to a line that had only one vehicle, and it was already inside the drive-thru.

So, incredibly, I didn’t have to wait long at all — only a few minutes.

Get in there…and usually they make you get out of the car and wait inside an uncomfortable booth: hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic.

This year, though, they seem to have done away with those. He didn’t even make me get out of the car!

And…it only took him a few minutes to do the job — not a quarter-hour or more. Forthwith he came back, handed me the paperwork, and said I was good to go!

Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! No hassles??????


Then you look at the paperwork.

The fee to register that nine-year-old vehicle is $227.77.

Can you imagine?

Two hundred and thirty bucks to drive a car I should have traded in four years ago?

Dayum. What do you suppose it costs to register a brand-new Venza? If they even still make them….

I don’t drive that car much. Now that I don’t have to schlep to jobs in Tempe or in Glendale, I rarely have any reason to bucket around the roads. Yeah: I drive to the grocery store, the Costco, and the occasional doctor’s or veterinarian’s office, but that’s about it.

If we had decent public transit here, I probably wouldn’t even own a car.

But we don’t, so I do.

There’s good reason not to feel safe on the city’s buses and trains. Mainly, the transients ride them for free (partly because on the train, no one is taking tickets, and partly because various organizations hand out free bus passes. And o’course, because they’re air-conditioned). Most of those folks are harmless. But some are…not. Many are ex-convicts. Most are drug users. Some are out of their heads with mental illness or the effects of street drugs. So…no. They’re not strangers you want to spend a lot of time with, in elbow-to-elbow seating. Or standing.

And that’s specifically why I don’t ride lovely Phoenix’s buses and vaunted trains.

So here we are in a city — and a state — where public transit is neither very practical nor very pleasant, and those of us who have to drive (that includes almost everyone) gets gouged for the privilege of putting our cars on the road. Don’t forget: this is not the only tax we pay. Gasoline is taxed liberally. Most retail products are taxed at the checkout counter (and points along the way thereto…). Power is taxed. Water is taxed. On and on it goes.

Not that one doesn’t want to support government and public services. But maybe the funds should be used intelligently?

Lordie! One extreme idea after another!


What. A. Place!

A-n-n-d…it’s 7:30 in the morning. Ruby and I are back from our regular one- to two-mile peregrination. Temp on the back porch has chilled down to a crisp 89 degrees. Brrr!

One nice thing about the present heat wave: we didn’t have to navigate around many other dogs. Usually it’s a zoo out there: everybody and her little brother, sister, and mother-in-law are out walking their livestock before time to leave for work. We encountered just one dog-wrangler…and that was just as we hit the road: one of the gay guys down the street, walking their two cute little pooches.

It’s overcast and extremely muggy. Surely we’ll get rain today…maybe even this morning. That is much to be hoped.

Wildfires are still raging around Rio Verde, a sub-suburb next to Fountain Hills. Back when I was working on the ASU Main campus, I seriously considered buying a place out there. It’s remote and very quiet (uh…well…except they don’t tell you that it’s right under the path of commercial flights coming in to Sky Harbor…), and yet despite the apparent countrified remoteness, it’s a straight shot down to Tempe.

Heh! Sure am glad I’m not out there now. Neither is anybody else: they’ve evacuated the area that I coveted…if I’d bought the house I admired at the time, I’d be writing this post from some motel room!

If we get rain this weekend — as it appears we will — that should break the heat wave, at least for awhile. August is always a bear in Arizona’s low desert, and we’re not even there yet. But even a few days’ relief will make the rest the summer more tolerable.


Half-past noon.

A noise emits from…where? A whack or a clonk.

Ruby goes on alert.

Understand: a corgi is basically a short German shepherd. Always on the lookout for threats to its flock: to wit, its humans.

She’s off the bed and headed for the back door like a furry rocket.

I grab the phone and a kitchen knife (GOT to get a functioning pistol!) and let her out.

She flies around the back yard, completing a circuit in a matter of seconds. Whatever or Whoever made the noise seems not to be out there. I call her into the house. Lock the door. Figure the most likely culprit is the endlessly noisy refrigerator.

Though I thought the damn thing had quieted down. WhatEVER. Don’t know who or what went clunk in the afternoon. But do wish Ruby weighed about 50 pounds more than she does.


Holy God!

Sometimes reading the news is counterproductive. It’s SO horrifying that it leaves you wanting not to be more informed but less informed.

This poor woman…she’s got her family up at Lake Pleasant, a local artificial pond and recreational attraction. They’re wake-boarding and swimming, great fun in this heat.

At one point, the family was partying around. These people were experienced boat operators. The mom fires up the boat to pull one of the kids up on a wakeboard…and, God help her, she runs over her other child, a six-year-old. The kid was in the water because she had just been wakeboarding.

No emergency services responded to phone calls. Nearby witnesses helped get the child out of the drink, but she died before they could get her to a hospital.

What a horror! Poor baby…poor mother!

In less exotic realms, a bit after midnight this morning, one of our fellow homicidal drivers (you think that’s a joke, don’t you?) crashed head-on into a city bus, driving the wrong way up the road. Needless to say, he was despatched to his Maker.

The I-17 freeway northbound out of the Valley was closed for hours, thanks to not one, not two, but three wrecks. Lovely. That was part of a series of crashes that occurred within a few hours.

Once you’re on the 17, you’re pretty much stuck: you can’t get away until you come to an off-ramp, and those are pretty far-between. So a whole lot of people spent a whole lot of time twiddling their thumbs and grinding their teeth.

In another fairly routine road-rage episode, not one but two women got into it with a motorcycle rider; one of the women shot the guy and killed him.

Even in staid and boring Sun City: a golf cart collided with an SUV and shut down a major thoroughfare serving that normally motionless berg.

What a place!!

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.

A Balmy Evening…

…for the balmy, that is…  At 7:10 p.m. the thermometer on the back porch reads 109 degrees.

Hey! Ya can’t shovel heat!

Nary a sign of the summer rainstorms known in these parts as “monsoons.”

But it’s still a bit early for them. I think of monsoon as an August phenomenon. F’rhevvinsake, it’s only July 17.

These are the times that make the humans think 12 months of swimming-pool expenses are soooooo worth it! 😀 Into the drink this afternoon. Hop out. Shampoo hair in the hose. Return to the shack’s interior, where the AC system labors to hold the temp (in the coolest part of the house: the hallway) down to 80.

What a day!

Started with Ruby flushing Ratty out of the marjoram bed. Dayum! She almost caught the poor critter!

Later on: the Great Termite Project.

Exterminator came by. He didn’t think the infestation was too bad…yet. He sprayed the little gals where they were evident, and then laid down one helluva barrier all around the house’s foundation. I decided we should have him come back at regular intervals to harass the critters. Whenever the weather cools some, I’ll try to get him up into the attic (you’d have to be suicidal to go up there in this heat!). He didn’t think the girls have invaded there yet…he did show me where he believes them to be, and provided a pretty convincing argument to that effect.

We didn’t see the much-beloved Pool Dude this morning — Monday is his day to come around. We probably missed him while we were indulging in the dawn doggy-walk. The pool is positively pristine this evening, which it assuredly would NOT be, in this heat, had he not surfaced at some point today.

Wait, I know how to tell: did he retrieve the new pump pot filter basket I bought?


Whoa!!! He did NOT!

Holee mackerel! That means His Cuteness never surfaced here today!

He must have had car trouble. Or the world collapsed on his head.

Fortunately, he’s done such a killer job on maintenance over the past few months that the damn thing looks clear and clean. So from a selfish point of view, that’s good. But..gosh…  I hope he’s OK…

Back to the subject of infestation: The roof rats are back.

One of them was actually brave enough this morning to shoot right across in front of me.

Cute little fellas. Too bad they carry such nasty diseases. Too bad they do rather more damage than one would like to cope with.

So I set out the traps. When last checked, they were no more successful than they’ve been in the past. But…that was checking their daytime performance. We shall see, come morning, how they worked during our little tenants’ night-time maneuvers.

Awwwww crapola: Cop copters buzzing around overhead.

Check that all the doors are locked. And…hooleee shee-ut! The front screen was NOT locked.

Ohhh well. Now we’re barricaded in: two deadbolts engaged on every exterior door.

Four-legged rats. Two-legged rats. Six-legged rats. What a place we live in!

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.