Coffee heat rising

No Cure for Stupid

LOL!!! There’s a BIG SIGN attached to the front gate reading




Well…or something to that effect, only slightly more polite.


Apparently “polite” is not operative on “stupid.” Once again a UPS moron delivered a package for Josie, who’s holed up behind a wall of weeds and refuses to answer doorbells. So I had to traipse this thing over to her and leave it outside her locked security gates. She’s attached a new interior screen to the things, so you can no longer toss a misdelivered package into her entryway. But it doesn’t matter. The weeds and the jungle are now so thick no porch pirates can spot anything left at the door. 😀

Honestly. Neighbors you wish would move away….

The renters at the Perp‘s house, across the street, also fall into that category. Their ragweeds are up to your fanny. And they’re bikers. They like to roll their motorcycles out to the driveway and sit there revving up the unmuffled engines.

So how are y’all doing in the Great Pandemic Terror? I see they’ve locked down California and locked down Texas (whateverthef**k that means), but so far have refrained from applying prison technology to the inhabitants of lovely Arizona. We have closed all the schools, though; we’re told there’s some possibility that the public schools will remain closed for the rest of the semester.

Local parents have found a way to defeat that public-health measure, though: They’re banding together in neighborhood collectives to lodge the kids with a stay-at-home parent while all the worker bees go on in to the office.

This has some charm, despite its obvious untreatable stupidity: yesterday afternoon walking the dog was like a lovely Sunday afternoon, with all the little cutie-pies out playing up and down the streets. These beautiful children do add a great deal of charm and joy to an aging central neighborhood. But one hopes they’re not carrying anything to cut short one’s own plans for aging…

Frankly, I find myself wondering if a bunch of parents won’t decide that home-schooling isn’t such an eccentric quirk after all, once they discover that a home-schooled kid can get through a whole day of public-school content in about 90 minutes to two hours, at the dining-room table. If they figure out that they can hire on retirees and stay-at-home residents to watch the kidlets in play groups or take them on field trips while the working parents are at the jobsite, home-schooling may begin to look one helluva lot more attractive.

Once again, Ruby was attacked by some moron’s off-the-lead dog yesterday. When I started hollering at this pair — a young(ish) man and wife — to keep their F**KIN’ DOG on a leash, dammit! — they just didn’t get it. The dog did have a leash on. They just weren’t holding the other end.

Yes! They were letting their dog roam around their unfenced front yard dragging a leash behind it. See? “Dogs must be on leash”? Our dog IS on a leash. Right?

Neighbors we wish would move away…

Haven’t had much to say here because I’ve been paddling frantically to keep my head above a tsunami of incoming work. Sent off edits for a huge study in business management to the expectant authors. It’s an amazing thing, one that has taken a decade of research. Very, very interesting.

Literally had no time to take a deep breath when in came a book-length project. This is a historical study of Burma, Vietnam and waypoints  — again, extremely interesting. The author is a native speaker of Chinese teaching at a prestigious US university. I’m excited to read it…this is going to be a significant contribution to her field and quite a privilege to work on.

Made a run on AJs to pick up a crucial supply I’d forgotten to hoard: wine. {gasp!} What would one do if one ran out???

The shelves — all of them — ranged from empty to half-empty. Staff said the place had been going crazy for the past week — though my observation, a few days ago, was that AJ’s was pretty calm compared to Safeway, which literally was a mob scene. Most of the good cheap wine was sold out, but fortunately, I’m an aficionado of fine wines in the $8 to $9 range…and so is my pal, the AJ’s wine concierge. So managed to find an Oyster Bay Sauvignon blanc (!!! I thought they didn’t carry it! Walmart’s finest vintage!) and four superb bottles of…uhm…red stuff. This should last for a few days. I hope.

My son has been ordered to work at home. Even though he seems to prefer that when it’s his choice, when the boss says get-the-hell-outa-here, it’s a different tale. “I’m bored!” quoth he. He was reduced to cleaning out the kitchen drawers.

Yes. When you work at home you get a lot more work done a lot more efficiently than you do at an office…same as when you study at home. 😀

Speaking of work…it’s onward to Burma for me…

And the Evening Not to Be Outdone by the Day…

So I come rolling in to the ‘Hood from choir along about 9:30 p.m. and see, buzzing over the southwestern precincts, a low-flying and very angry-looking cop helicopter. He’s in hot pursuit of someone, apparently fleeing down Conduit of Blight Boulevard. But he’s not alone. To the north and also to the west, another cop copter is hovering over my old house, scanning the intersection of Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s Way.

By the time I get the car stashed in the garage and the pooch out in the side yard to pee, the dragonfly to the south is circling Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South, and the one to the north is over the crummy apartments and the senior-citizen trailer park above Gangbanger’s. Wring out the dog to the lovely serenade of buzzing helicopter engines, fly back inside, and lock the doors.


Welcome home!

It’s never boring around this place.

One Damnfool Thing after Another

It’s 9 a..m. sharp. Cox’s internet (and consquently its phone service) has been down since 10 p.m. That’s right: last night.

Uh huh. If you’ve got business to do or calls to make, f’get it!

At 1 a.m., I woke up with pain in…something. Chest? Belly? Whaaa? Did I need to go to the Mayo’s effing ER again??? Decided maybe I was going to be forced to take those blood pressure meds the last ER doc prescribed. But when you read the package insert, you find they say you must proceed with caution if you have a sulfa allergy.

Allergy? Are they kidding? As a toddler I had a monster reaction when my mother’s cat scratched my face and a doctor gave me a sulfa drug to fight off “cat fever,” whateverthehell that was supposed to be. At the intensive care ward, a doctor told my mother I would not live through the night.

So…ohhhkay…. Tried to get online to check out the sulfa connection: nope. Picked up the phone to check for a dial tone: busy signal. Reset the modem: nope.

The same holds forth just now.

Luckily, I seem not to have died of a heart attack. At 7:30 in the morning, I neurotically take my blood pressure: 117/79. Whatever ails me, apparently it’s not a near-death experience.

Morning having dawned with Cox’s internet system still not working, I figure I’ll have to drive to The Little Guy’s coffee shop and buy some token product so as to get online. But right at 10 a.m., the service (and phone) came back on.

In the phone department, I’m slowly getting used to the new Panasonic landline. It’s really a pretty nice production, as those things go. To my astonishment, its built-in call blocker works – only three or four calls have gotten through since I installed it. That is at least as good as the CPR V5000’s performance; possibly better. My attempt to block “Name Unavailable” calls failed, but otherwise it apparently detects and blocks most robocalls.

Far as I know, nothing like that exists for cell phones. Which is one of several reasons I do not want to go out and blow a jillion bucks on an iPhone.

We’re told, though, that Apple is about to promulgate a low-rent iPhone. When that happens, I may get one. In that case, will discontinue Cox’s overpriced VoIP service. Since I got the phone at Costco, I can take it back if I decide to get rid of the fake landline.

At 9:30, I figure I’d better start to fly, so as to get dressed and start batting from pillar to post.

Before the outage, Costco did get through to report the repaired glasses were ready to pick up, so willy-nilly I had to schlep across the city to retrieve those.

Stopped by the Home Depot on the way.  I’ve let the side yard go wayyy too long, so want to pick up some plants to replace a number of very tired critters that did not survive the period over the summer when the watering system quit working (it only takes a day or two without water to kill a potted plant here).

Looks like those dwarf bougainvillea I put in front are going to croak over. Annoying. It may be that they’re just suffering from the cold…but it hasn’t been that cold. We haven’t had a hard frost this winter. I’m thinking I may pull them out and replace them with roses, which I know do well in that exposure. But it frosts my cookies…speaking of frost.

The huge rubber plant in a vast pot on the side deck is dying. Why, I do not know, but it’s just as well because those things do tend to get out of control. I figure a ficus or a scheffleria (sp?) would do well in that spot. A bunch of smaller pots need new plants. Plus I’m determined to get the coveted rose food.


But alas. The Depot has neither a ficus benjamina nor Bayer rose food.

Apparently ficus has gone out of style as a house plant.

I mean…really???

I guess it’s obvious to normal humans: of course there are styles in houseplants, evolving tastes, even a strong non-taste for plants that have to be watered couple days or even just a couple times a week. But…dayum! Ficus????

As for the rose food, apparently the product or the company has been acquired. The maker is now called “Bio.” Same blue bottle. Same size bottle. Same shape bottle. Except instead of Bayer Rose and Flower Care, now it’s Bio Rose and Flower Care. The Home Depot dude was…nonplussed. He looked it up on his smartphone and found that yea verily: Bayer has been taken over by something called “Bio.”

WhatEVER. Grab!

From there it was on to Lowe’s, a straight shot across T-Bird, in search of a ficus plant.

Not without, however, having grabbed some spectacularly gorgeous orange poppies (ostentatiously labeled with a cancer warning, for those of you who hope to distill them into something…ahem…usable).

Lowe’s had three, count’em, three little Ficus benjamina. Two were ratty and tatty. One was in OK shape. Grab!

By now I’ve driven miles and miles and fuckin miles to pick up three, count’em, three items.

Back at the Funny Farm, the MacMail is still out of whack.


This means a call to Apple Support.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Apple’s support staff. They are wonderful. They are endlessly patient, and they are freakin’ geniuses. They can solve problems that God Herself could not figure out (or would prefer not to expend Her infinity on). But ohhhh…God in Hevvin….

Two hours later We have MacMail operating, and we have finally figured out why I get nuisance pop-up after nuisance pop-up after nuisance pop-up, all day long and all night long, informing me that my iCloud sign-in is…well, out of whack.

These annoying messages are stimulated by a fuckup among Apple Geniuses. Last time I dragged the MacBook to Scottsdale to be fixed, some moron…uhm. sorry, Genius took it upon him/herself to change the iCloud password for the MacBook. It did not register with this person that I own another Mac computer…but then, forgodsake, why should it.

Well, it develops that if one personoid ends up with two Apple ID, havoc is sown. And that explains the puzzling panoply of hassles.

Both computers have to have the same iCloud password, quoth this young(-sounding) fella. The way to do this is to arrange something arcane that I do not understand no matter how clearly he explains it (and the guy is a master of clarity). All I understand is that I will get a phone call that will announce a four-hour window in which I have to be available and ready to rise to this challenge.

Don’t call them. They’ll call me.

I explain that I have…you know…a life.

He explains that the life will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Holy ess aitch ai.

At any rate, he seems to have the mail program running adequately for the nonce. But experience shows that with Apple, “for the nonce” most decidedly does not mean “forever and ever, amen.”

Ohhh dear God.


Now, right along in here, after I get off the phone from this worthy, somehow it crosses my mind that I do not have the old pair of glasses that the new swell pair of glasses replace. Where TF are they?

Well, the optical department folk gave them to me in a strange little three-dimensional case, which one of them tossed in the bottom of the cart I was pushing around. From the optical dept I made my way through the store to pick up four or five items on my list. Then rolled the cart out to the parking lot and packed the debris into the back of the Venza.

Was the glasses case amongst the debris?

I do not remember.

Ohhhh cripes. That was a $400 pair of glasses, which I planned to use as a back-up for the new $150 pair of (not as stylish but functionally better…) Costco glasses.

Where TF were those elegantly, expensively stylish old glasses?

Gone, that’s where they were.

Now I call the Paradise Valley Costco and ask if they’ve been turned in to Lost & Found. And lo! They have. The guy says it looks like the case was run over by a cart, but the glasses themselves are fine.

Holy ess aitch ai, indeed!

It’s now 4 p.m.

I’ve had nothing to eat since 6 in the morning. It’s been one hassle and one frustration after another. But I need those damn glasses.

Soooo… back into the car and off to the East Side.

Well. Sort of east. Closer to Richistan than the ‘Hood, anyway.

Bat my way through the rush-hour traffic.

Yes. They do have the honored vintage glasses. They are undamaged. Collect these and head back to the Funny Farm through now even thicker rush-hour traffic.

This is a sixteen-mile round trip. Times 2? That would be 32 miles of junketing back and forth between the Funny Farm and the Paradise Valley Costco.

Running low on gas, but cannot contemplate either paying a premium to refill in a rapacious gas station nearer my house or schlepping to the mid-town (lowest prices in the city!) Costco and standing in line there until the Northern Star traverses its nightly path.

Make into the ‘Hood. Ghosting across the neighborhood lane that leads toward the Funny Farm, I come across a gaggle of young children playing on the sidewalks, in the front yards, riding bicycles and assorted contraptions.

Thank the Good Goddess and All Her Minions that I slow down — a lot — to enjoy the sight of these beautiful young creatures playing. Because…

One of them, a lovely, heedless little girl, decides to veer into the street and then make a U-turn on her bike…right in front of my car.

Hm. Well, we now can say something good about the hated Venza: its brakes work.

At least, they work very well, indeed, at excruciatingly slow speeds.

The beast managed to stop just as the child swerved straight out in front of me.

omigod omigod omigod

The child appeared not even to register how close she came to ending her life at about the age of seven.

But you may be quite sure the Fatlady registered it. Holeee shit!

What. A. Day!


Another Day, Another New Year.

New Year’s is my least favorite holiday. Honestly, I think maybe next year I’ll try to rent a place in Yarnell so I can get the hell out of this zoo!

Last night the plan was to go over to the  WonderAccountants’  for a light dinner and to introduce Ruby the Corgi to Chloe the Cockapoo, who recently came to live with Mr. & Mrs WonderAccountant.

This made for an overall pleasant evening — they’re exceptionally nice people. The neurotic Chloe, still getting used to her new digs, didn’t get on well with the hyperdominant Ruby, but on reflection I think it was a mistake to bring Ruby into the poor little pooch’s new territory. A better way to have introduced them would have been a doggy-walk around the park after the day warmed up.

Back to the house by 9 and wanting to go to bed.

Ruby is terrorized by the firecracker racket, and I have to say, it annoys me too. Last night every nitwit in the city was shooting off fireworks and guns, way on after midnight. And the clowns who have rented Pretty Daughter’s house across the street…honestly, I wish one of their colleagues would come pick those two off. One of the jerks has an unmuffled motorcycle. He got on that thing and revved it up as LOUD AS IT WOULD GO, just ear-splitting even inside the house, and roared up and down the street at 11:00 at night. By the time you could call a cop, he was gone, of course.

It sure as hell was maddening. But it could have been worse…

A three-year-old was collateral damage from gunfire in lovely West Phoenix/Glendale.

A guy standing at a bus stop around the corner from the university’s west campus (also in beautiful Glendale) was shot and killed. I was near that spot just the day before yesterday.

An aged guy ran a signal at the intersection of Gangbanger’s Way and the freeway access road. He died; the 19-year-old passenger was OK, as was the 28-year-old occupant in the other car.

A passenger in an airport parking shuttle van was killed when a truck ran into the van. Truck driver was drunk.

Another drunk driver slammed into a power pole but, undaunted, soldiered on to bash nine other cars. Quite an impressive accomplishment!

A crash at Feeder Street N/S and Virginia (mid-town, a distance south of here) put six people in the hospital, four of them in critical condition.

Some hiker died on a trail in Tucson; a pair of mountain lions found the corpse and proceeded to dine on it. Caught in the act, the lions were murdered by Arizona Game & Fish.

A 16-year-old girl died when the intoxicated driver of the vehicle she and five or six other people were riding in clipped another car and lost control. Unrestrained by any encumbrance such as a seatbelt, the girl was ejected from the car and died at the scene.

None o’ that stuff allowed!

So…New Year’s Eve here amounts to a night of mayhem, racket, and scofflawing. The city had a no-burn order going, because the air pollution is really bad at this time of year. When I walked in the house after dinner at the neighbors’, the stink of burning firewood was so strong indoors, I thought briefly that the house itself might have a fire going somewhere. So had to go out and inspect the premises, just what I love to do in 40-degree temps. Decided one of the idiot neighbors had a firepit or fireplace going.

Oh, well. Thank goodness it’s only one night a year! 😀

You Can’t Escape from Stupid

Apparently can’t escape the neighbor’s dog, either…

😀 People are stupid. No matter which direction you look or how you look at them, people are plug-stupid.

Oneself included, of course…all too often.

Today, we have proof of both.

So…the ongoing bug is taking its toll on me. I’m effin’ exhausted. Meanwhile, the wounded hand hurt ALL. NIGHT. LONG  And was all swollen up come the dawn.

It’s normally been a little swollen, but this was beyond the pale. Bound an ice pack to it and wrapped it up in elastic bandage.


But meanwhile, after two months of coughing and gagging and fever and misery, the bronchitis I picked up (probably at the Mayo’s ER) healed up…only to be followed a couple days later by a new epizootic — this one apparently just a garden-variety cold.

I don’t do very well with garden-variety colds. For me there’s no such thing as “just a cold.” These things make me effin’ miserable, and they go on and on and freaking on. Like, for weeks. So now I’m coughing up gunk and sneezing and snorking and struggling for air through a blocked nose…and on and on. Yes. Always on and on.

Annoyed — this means still more time off choir, more time feeling awful, more time low on food because I can’t face the thought of doing battle with Christmas crowds to buy basic groceries, more…whatEVER — I start treating the stuff as per usual: generic Afrin to clear up the nose, and generic Robitussin to stifle the frantic coughing. This is working okay.

Meanwhile, the Mayo gets on the phone to discuss upcoming X-rays and wtf is the matter with my busted-up hand. Their nurse practitioner now catches wind of this new ailment. She is not pleased and starts asking the usual questions, to which I respond with the usual answers. I mention the antibiotic I was given for the UTI, which is known to cause lung problems — some of them life-threatening — in older women. She allows as to how it might be a good idea to add a chest X-ray to the upcoming paw X-rays. “Had any chest pain?” asks she. “Uhhh….no,” say I, with some degree of honesty.

Fine. Now I spend the next few hours mostly loafing and reading, after consuming a breakfast (coffee, fruit, rye bread, nuts, cheese) so outrageously late that it qualifies as lunch. I medicate myself so as to be able to breathe and not to be able to cough my lungs out.

While I’m reading a particularly interesting new book, suddenly I get a sharp little pain in the middle of the chest. Sometimes this is scar pain. But I think…no…probably gas. And in fact, a burp or two come up. But this subtle jab recurs. And recurs again.

Holy sh!t i must be having a heart attack! This is IT, dear Lord!

Should I call 911? What’ll I do with the dog? Should I try to drive the 15 miles to the Mayo? What if I don’t make it…who will I kill on the road? Am I doooomed?

Well…after a moment it becomes apparent that I’m not dying. Maybe I’m having some sort of heart thing. Maybe not. It passes.

I get up, go in the other room, and take my blood pressure. Elevated. But not extremely so. As I take and average the usual four or five measurements that comprise an effort to get an accurate reading, the numbers drop by 15 points. Looks this is one more thing that’s not going to kill me.

Realize I’ve gotten exactly zero exercise all day long. Decide to do a short, calming yoga routine. After a few easy poses, I try the blood pressure routine again: first reading is down 22 points off the previous set’s initial reading.

And it’s off to the Internet — aka The Hypochondriac’s Treasure Chest — whereinat we learn that Afrin (nose spray) can raise one’s blood pressure, and Robitussin can cause “dangerously high blood pressure” and chest pain.

Uh huh. Name a drug, any drug, List its side effects. And invariably I will have the weirdest, most far-fetched, and most alarming manifestation possible.

So there’s stupid stuff No. 1. I probably should have called the doctors, but out of stupid orneriness I did not and am not going to because I have bloody well had enough of doctors, and because this little flap now looks not very alarming.

Moving on… While I’m not getting any exercise, Ruby the Corgi is not getting any exercise. I haven’t taken the poor little pooch out all day. And the skies are clabbering up. It’s supposed to rain off and on tonight and tomorrow, and then pour all day on Christmas.

Decide to take her for a Doggy Walk. So, along about 3:30, we set out.

It’s a nice afternoon, under gray skies. We socialize with various wandering neighbors, children, dogs. Marching through Lower Richistan toward Upper Richistan, by golly, what do we encounter but those astonishingly stupid people with the dog that keeps trying to plunge through their front picture window. The old man is outside standing around the sidewalk, with this dog once again wandering around off the lead.

Annoyed, I make a quick about-face and head back toward the ‘Hood. At Feeder Street N.S., I realize that this guy’s house is a half-block east of Richistan Way, so that if we take the next neighborhood lane to the north of him, we can circumvent him and his pooch and get where we want to go. So that’s what we do: head west on the next little street. Get about two-thirds of the way to Upper Richistan, and there the jerk is! Standing there with his massive dog.

Yes. He has walked east to Richistan Drive, north to this little road, and west a half-block in our direction, where he’s now standing around waiting for us to confront his fuckin’ dog.

Well, that’s probably not how his train of thought, such as it is, actually goes. But it’s the upshot. He simply does not grasp the possibility that his dog has been living and breathing for the opportunity to take out my annoying little corgi.

So now I have to do another about-face and walk back into the ‘Hood, curtailing our walk significantly.

The last time this idiot and his pea-brained wife saw me coming and noticed me turning in another direction, they called after me in their best ninny voices, Ohhhhh don’t worry! He won’t hurt anybody!

That’s fine, but how’s about you obey the leash laws, you morons? And how’s about we don’t tempt fate?

This is the dog that takes up a position on a shelf or table that these two have installed in their front picture window. It dozes all day in this window. Every time the critter sees me and Ruby walk by the house, it flies into a freaking berserker RAGE. It roars and barks and growls and, more to the point. throws itself against the window over and over, banging the window so hard it rattles and groans.

Eventually that window is going to break. When it does, the dog will come flying out through piles of glass shards and, if it doesn’t disable itself by getting mortally slashed, will come right straight after me and my pipsqueak dog.

These people are retirees, so it’s hard to believe the fools don’t notice their 90-pound beast is bashing itself full-force against a plate glass window. They couldn’t possibly miss it. That means they’re simply too fuckin’ stupid to surmise the obvious consequences.

They’re the folks who feed the coyotes.

Yeah. That’s why that street and the alley up behind their house are home to Coyote and all his wives, pups, and cousins. At night they put out two or three dishes of food for the feral cats (which they love dearly), thereby calling the coyotes to their driveway to consume the food. Being Belaganas, they’re none too bright about Coyote and appear not to understand that a fed coyote is a dead coyote. Or rather: incapable of understanding that concept. They have been told and asked and told again and asked again not to leave food out for stray animals, time and time and time again. But these idiots seem to think common sense doesn’t apply to them.

Stupid: it’s an epidemic.

An Aging-in-Place Solution?

Yesterday, while idling away some time by ogling real estate ads, I stumbled across an amazing factoid: An apartment in the very elegant highrise where three of my friends reside costs, astonishingly, no more than what I could net on sale of my house!

WTF? These are very nice apartments in a very stylish part of town. Friends’ place overlooks the Phoenix Country Club. The lightrail cruises right past on Central, inviting you to ride up to AJ’s (my favorite gourmet chow line) or down to the Heard Museum or the Phoenix Art Museum or the Civic Center or the East Valley.

The place looks spectacularly expensive, and in fact I recall a friend speculating that one couple we know must have spent an arm and a leg to move in there.

Maybe. Maybe not. One ad shows a two-bedroom palace identical in layout to our friends’ place for right about what my house is worth. These are very pleasant apartments with spectacular views in a choice urban locale.

As I gazed at the photos of this dwelling, it occurred to me that the place is larger, brighter, and far more liveable than the two-bedroom apartment my elderly friends retired to at the Beatitudes, a life-care community. And it ain’t costing its occupants $7,000 a month to live there!

Of course, neither does it provide nursing home insurance for two aged adults. But…but… Think about that. If you were to put 7 grand a month aside, in short order you would have more than enough to cover even a fairly lengthy stay in a nursing home.

The average cost for a two-person room in an Arizona nursing home is $171 a day; for a private room, $212. So, hmmmm….. $212 a day comes to a tab of $6572 for ONE month in a nursing home, for ONE person. That’s less than my friends at the life-care community are spending per month — but for two people. In other words, between the two of them, in 60 days they spend enough to put each of them up in a nursing home for a month.

Hm. The average stay in a nursing home is 835 days, we’re told (by a not altogether unbiased source…). That’s  about 27 months. Clearly, a hefty monthly set-aside will cover nothing like the amount of time you’ll be warehoused. That doesn’t include the care you would need at home; apparently many people receive several months of this kind of assistance. Fidelity estimates a couple will spend $245,000 on healthcare ABOVE AND BEYOND nursing care. Holy shit.

On the other hand, these figures are not the only ones out there. A 2009 study showed the median length of stay for those who did not die in the nursing home was 5 months.

The median length of stay was only 5 months (IQR 1-20). The majority of residents had short lengths of stay, 65% of decedents had lengths of stay of less than one year, and over 53% died within 6 months of admission.

At $6572/month for each of my two friends in the old-folkerie, a 27-month stay would cost just ONE of them  $177,444. Meanwhile, to live on the campus in a two-bedroom apartment, in the run-up (we might say) to the nursing-home stay, my friends are presumably paying $3500 apiece: we’re told the tab is 7 grand for the two of them. Each of them is effectively being charged $3500 a month to stay in a tiny two-bedroom apartment until such time as they need the nursing home (IF they need the nursing home).

Okay. $6572 for each person for nursing home care, right? The buy-in at this old-folkerie is $350,000±. If one of them keels over today, that $350,000 would cover 53.3 months of nursing-home care: twice as long as the exaggerated median stay cited by companies who want you to buy nursing-home insurance or buy into a life-care community (i.e., just about enough to cover a median stay for each of them, if you believe those figures). It’s ten times as long as the median stay reported by an unbiased research study. If they both keel over today, their buy-in would cover each of them for about 26 months.

But the buy-in isn’t all. Even after ponying up the entire sale price of their home just to get in the door, they’re still paying $7,000/month in rent on their cramped apartment: $3500 apiece from now until they croak over. And…for each month that they spend that $3,500 apiece, they pony up the cost of almost two months in the nursing home.

Fifty-three months of coverage for the buy-in price alone? Yes. That does add up to ten times the median nursing home stay, as calculated by research that is not dedicated to scaring the bedoodles out of old folks.  But okay, that 7 grand is for two people: only slightly more than the median cost of a month’s nursing home stay, per partner.


So, if you were to take your $350,000 and park yourself in 1 Lexington Avenue, deep in the heart of Phoenix’s endlessly gentrifying North Central corridor, in comparison with what you would get for $350,000 at the old-folkerie, you would have…

  • A significantly larger and nicer apartment…
  • …in a vibrant part of the city that is NOT adjacent to the meth-ridden, crime-infested Conduit of Blight Boulevard, as is the case for the old-folkerie in question
  • A concierge parked in the lobby
  • The lightrail within steps of the front door
  • $7,000 a month in your pocket, which would buy a WHOLE lot of in-home care for the two of you, or, should the occasion arise, two months of nursing home care per one month of $7,000 set-aside
  • Entertainment, cultural events, restaurants, and a very fancy grocery store along that light-rail line
  • Freedom from surveillance by hired nannies
  • A private residential environment (albeit in an apartment building), as opposed to an institutional environment

The more I think about this, the more I think…wow! That’s the answer!

The one and only thing gives me pause about moving into one of those places right now: the dog.

I can’t imagine what I would do with Ruby. Schlepping her up and down a tower in an elevator several times a day so she can be marched around until she does her business does not seem even faintly practical. It would be out of the question if I happened to be as sick as I have been over the past three months, what with a case of bronchitis and then a fall that has spavined a hand and a leg. Unless you lived on the ground floor, you simply couldn’t have a dog…and there are no ground-floor apartments in that place.

If I moved in there now — which as a practical matter might be advisable — I’d have to find another home for Ruby. And I don’t wanna.

Ruby is about five years old now. The median life-span for corgis is 12.5 years, though some have been known to go as long as 16 or 18 years. Assuming she’s typical, she should live another seven years. In seven years, I’ll be 82.

That’s not an unreasonable age to move to an old-folkerie. However, this house is costing me significantly more, when you count in details such as property tax and homeowner’s insurance and the cost of the pool and the yard, than one of those apartments would cost, even with the $333/month property tax and the $716/month HOA fees and the $88/month homeowner’s insurance. I think.


It looks a great deal as though the monthly costs there would be much higher than they are here, primarily because the property tax is much higher here and because I pay no HOA fees, exorbitant or otherwise. My homeowner’s insurance is significantly higher, but not THAT much higher.

By way of comparison, if you add the property tax, the HOA fee, and the homeowner’s insurance, you get a base cost per month of $1,137 to live in that place. That, of course, doesn’t include water, electric, and whatever they charge you to park in their garage. If you add up my present property tax, homeowner’s insurance, Gerardo’s bill, and the pool guy’s bill, you get $460 a month. [Of course, that doesn’t include the occasional but inevitable hits like roof repair, air-conditioning and plumbing repair, or the breath-taking water and power bills…but stlll…it’s nigh enough unto apples-to-apples.]


That’s a far cry from $1137 a month. And from the 7 grand a month we’re told our friends are paying over at the old-folkerie.

What do you get, compared to the Funny Farm, for that $1137/month?

  • Greater security
  • A concierge
  • Proximity to a credible (though not ideal) hospital
  • Public transit right out the front door
  • Cultural attractions, restaurants, and shopping within walking distance
  • Less space to have to take care of
  • A stunning view of the entire East Valley
  • A prestigious address
  • If you like to travel, a place where you can just lock the door and take off whenever you please
  • And probably lots fewer burglaries, cop helicopter fly-overs, and drug-addicted bums

What do you NOT get? Ahhh…there’s the rub! You don’t get…

  • Two Arizona sweets and a Myer lemon that are laden with fruit just now
  • A pool where you can skinny-dip every day of the spring, summer, and fall
  • Goodly distance between you and the closest neighbor
  • Ruby the Corgi
  • A shady neighborhood of million-dollar homes through which to walk the corgi
  • A neighborhood park
  • Young upwardly mobile neighbors moving in with their cute little kids
  • A Sprouts within walking distance (not that one would walk down Conduit of Blight Blvd to get there…but still…)
  • A Walmart Neighborhood Grocery (a bigger asset than we of the snooty upper middle class would like to admit) within a five-minute drive
  • Friendly neighbors in a politically active neighborhood association
  • Cops regularly watching the place from helicopters
  • A garage in which to park your car right outside your kitchen door

So it goes.

Just now, it looks to me like the pro’s of staying in a house that’s much larger than I need, located next to a dangerous meth slum, outweigh the pro’s of moving into a (very nice!) mid-town apartment that’s half the size of the Funny Farm. For less money but at the cost of having to stay alert to what’s going on around me, I get more space, a private pool and yard, great neighbors, and Ruby the Corgi.