Coffee heat rising

Dispatches from Hell…

Day after day after day after day has been yet another Day from Hell, lo! these several weeks. Why don’t things get better? Why does everything break, bust, explode, crash, or die? Finally figured out the explanation. These are not days from Hell. We are actually in Hell. Hence: these are not blog posts. These are Dispatches from Hell.

Case in point: The least of today’s hassles, only because it’s a hassle left over from a week ago…I’ve tried twice to re-up my subscription to The New York Review of Books, one of my favorite broadsides. First time was my fault: I used the credit union’s bill-pay function, but paid for it from my personal account (which, oddly, did have the the NYRofB’s listed as a previous payee). Of late I’ve been making the S-corp pay for it.

That payment bounced. Why, I do not understand: what do they care which account pays for it? Ohhkay… Eventually they sent a desperate “Don’t Leave Us” ad in the snailmail. I replied to that by filling out the form and entering the S-corp’s AMEX account number. This no doubt would have worked if I hadn’t indulged in a moment of stupidity.

As you know, the ‘Hood is not the best of all possible neighborhoods. We’re inundated with drug-addicted transients, who support their habits with petty theft. Including mail theft.

The payment envelope in hand, I raced out the door to run a bunch of errands and get someplace on time. In a hurry, I really did NOT want to drive to the Post Office to deposit the thing in one of their mailboxes. That would entail waiting half my lifetime for the blightrail signal at the interesection of Conduit of Blight and Feeder Street E-W to turn green, then waiting the rest of my lifetime to get back across the damn blightrail tracks to get to my various destinations. So instead of traipsing to the PO for this one small item, I stuck it in the outgoing slot of the Fort Knox Mailbox and flipped up the red flag.

Bad move. Very stupid indeed.

Two or three days later, I went out to get the mail (it’s almost all advertising now, so there’s no hurry to pick it up) and noticed the red flag was still up. Whaaa? Did the mailman not come by? (He often doesn’t….)

Check to see if he’s failed to pick up the outgoing: no envelope in there. Days go by. A couple weeks go by. No payment at NYRofB’s.

Shit. That means someone has stolen the thing and now has my name, the name of my business, its address, and its AMEX credit card number. I wait a few more days to see if the payment goes through. Today I call NYRofB’s phone reps and they say they never heard of it. I need to pay the thing on my corporate AMEX card over the phone. Then I need to cancel the card and order a new one, ASAP.

But ASAP ain’t very AS…because I’m waiting on the PostalPerson to deliver a new personal AMEX card. Yes. Somehow I managed to LOSE a whole cardholder full of cards!!!! The personal AMEX card, the Safeway card, the new Medicare card with a new Medicare number on it (the one that doesn’t work at the pharmacy), the old Medicare card bearing my Social Security number….GONE, every one of them.

I believe they’re somewhere in the house, because I paid the AC guy to fix the thermostat and the leaking roof with my personal card, and I did not leave the house between the time he drove off down the road and the time I realized I couldn’t find that cardholder. Since I’ve habituated that locksmith for a good 12 or 15 years and Steven (locksmith dude) has worked for them for 7 years and he’s a fine upstanding workingman, I don’t believe he walked off with it. Without a doubt, I set it down in the house somewhere and managed to lose it…same as the pair of prescription glasses that got tangled up in a knitted bed throw and disappeared for three months.

Fortunately I have photocopies of the Medicare cards. And fortunately, I had the sense to black out the SS number on the old Medicare card. The AMEX card has been canceled and a new one is on the way, but the weekend coming up, I don’t expect “tomorrow” (no kidding: that is what she said!) to arrive much before Monday. And fortunately, my debit card, corporate AMEX card, and Costco cash cards are in a different card holder. Which is not, after all, lost. Yet.

So what other dispatches from Hell since I had to pay $40 out of pocket for a flu shot?

  • The dog got better off the fluconazole, then worse.
  • Dog continuing incontinent, I ask the new vet if they’ll test her urine for a UTI.
  • Wednesday after volunteer receptionist duty, I race the refrigerated pee up to 40th Street and Thunderbird and drop it off there. I drive up there through the rush-hour traffic, drive back in even worse traffic. Changing lanes to maneuver into place to turn right into the ‘Hood, I misjudge the length of a flatbed trailer being towed behind a pickup in the lane next to me and clip the goddamn thing. The driver doesn’t even blink. He doesn’t slow down, he most certainly doesn’t stop…I think he may not even have noticed that I bumped his trailer. My car sure did, though. Pulled over to find the front bumper was half pulled off, scratched and gouged, flying in the breeze. Shee-ut!
  • Back here, I walk in the door and find…NO Charley! He’s freaking GONE! A worker has been here in the afternoon; I’ve left strict orders not to let that dog slip out the back gate. But he can go in and out the dog door…dollars to donuts that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s old, he’s sick, and now he’s LOST. Try to reach said worker: no answer. Totally, utterly panicked. My son is supposedly in Colorado, which is why his dog is here. I think maybe he got back while I was out and picked up his dog, but he won’t answer his phone, either. Neighbor texts him (I have no cell phone). No answer. I am in utter despair. After a bit I calm down enough to notice that even though the dog’s food is still sitting on the kitchen counter, the dog’s leash and collar are gone. SOMEONE took the dog on purpose…at least he’s not roaming around the neighborhood and ambling across Conduit of Blight Boulevard.
  • Eventually the kid calls and says yeah, he picked up the dog but was too tired from driving in from southern Colorado to bother to leave me a “thanks for keeping my dog” note.
  • Now late for choir, I feed the dogs and fly out the door without any dinner of my own.
  • Get home about 9:15 p.m. and go to enter the (locked) office.
  • It’s been raining for a day and a half. The solid-core door is swollen tight. The key goes in but I can’t turn it. I get a wrench, try to open the thing, and…SHEAR THE KEY OFF level. with the fucking deadbolt! All my computers, all my financial stuff, all my credit cards, all my cash, even my cheesy little clamshell phone are locked behind that door.
  • Call the locksmith’s emergency line. He says he’s sure he can fix it. For a hundred bucks he’ll do it right now (pushing 10 p.m.). I say if he’s sure it can be opened, I’ll be able to sleep at night and so can wait till tomorrow. Otherwise I’ll be wanting to break the front window and climb in to get my computer, which I’d druther not do.
  • Next day have real difficulty getting them to come over — but because I’m an old customer who’s spent a lot of dollars at their shop, they squeeze me in.
  • Steven comes over, takes a screwdriver to the thing, flips out the stump of the key: takes him all of 30 seconds. I’m in love. This love affair costs me 70 bucks. And now I have to go take the fancy key over to the shop to get a new one made. That’ll be another 20 bucks. Later. But not much later.
  • Somewhere in here I lose my credit-card holder. I search from pillar to post, empty out the trash cans, go through drawers, look under the furniture: no luck. I’m sure it’s in the house, probably, but when I can’t find it the next day figure to be safe I’d better cancel the AMEX card. Two or three days without a personal charge card. Yeah.
  • Insurance guy says I’m in luck. Because he bought me a “prime” policy, I have a one-accident-no-fault deal: get out of jail free. AND because I haven’t tried to kill any of my fellow homicidal drivers lately, I also have a zero deductible. He asks me to get estimates from a body shop but suggests that if it doesn’t cost much it may be better to foot the bill and not let the company know about this little fender bender. My son, also an insurance guy, recommends taking the money and running: he thinks I should go to the best body shop in town (which is 20 miles from my house) and have them do a decent job fixing it.
  • The vet’s office calls to say something’s out of whack with Cassie’s pee and they want me to bring her in Saturday morning. I say “wrong”? Like what? Well, like it might be a UTI. Ooookayyyy…
  • I take the car to my mechanic to check for damage under the hood. They find no structural or engine damage, AND they manage to wrest the bumper back into place and secure it with the car’s clips and a few extra bolts. It now looks dead normal except for a scrape on one side, as though maybe I got too close to a guard wall. The men of Chuck’s Auto also opine that it would be best to hide this incident from the insuror. However, they do find a nick in the tire’s sidewall and recommend replacing the tire soon.
  • I call my insurance guy with this report and with the advice from my son. He reiterates that his thinking coincides with the mechanics’ but he will support me whatever I decide to do. (He’s not a sales agent: he’s a broker.)
  • Cassie seems to be getting better. By yesterday I observe that she’s about back to normal and surmise I must have been right that she didn’t have Valley fever.
  • At 3:30 this morning she wakes up and pees in the bed before I can set her on the floor. In doing so, she manages to miss the double layer of pee pads I’ve laid down on the bed: three more loads of laundry!
  • In a flash I haul off the sheets, the bed pad, the blanket, and the dog blanket. Fortunately this five-layer barrier keeps the dog pee off the mattress. Dazed with exhaustion, I toss the sheets and blanket into the washer and start the thing running.
  • Cannot sleep, so go back to reading 8000 words of Korean-accented scholarly writing.
  • Somewhere in here it dawns on me: this lesion that developed on my hand, the one on the same arm that got the ferocious Shingrix shot, is not a zoster pox. Noooo….Y’know what that is? THAT little fucker is ringworm. Look it up and find ringworm image after ringworm image that looks just like it. And ringworm being not a parasite but a fungal infection, y’know what the treatment is? Ohhhh yes! Fluconozale, the same damn stuff that made my dog so sick I thought she was going to die! TWICE!
  • Shit. Well, you can get a topical treatment over the counter. The standard course of treatment, if you believe the Internet (yeah!), is first to try to get rid of it with an OTC ointment. If that doesn’t work, then you move on to poisoning yourself.
  • Eventually I go out to move the bedding from the washer to the dryer and…can you guess? Somehow I’ve missed two of the pee pads! The inside of the washer is now chuckablock full of shredded, wet puffed-up paper stuffing crap! HOLY shit!!!!!!!!!
  • I go inside to finish reading the client’s paper.
  • Eventually go back out to the garage. Realize I can’t put this stuff in the dryer. Haul each piece out into the driveway and shake, shake, shake, shake, snap, shake, snap, SHAKE, shake, shake. This covers the driveway with snow-like stuff but doesn’t get all the crud off the bedding. Hang the sheets, blanket, and mattress pad on the clotheslines, hoping most of the rest of the stuff will shake off when it’s dry.
  • Clean out the washer. Yeah, right.
  • Take the shop-vac to the washer. This clogs the shop-vac but apparently gets most of the crud out of the washer, except for the stuff I have to dig out with a coat-hanger wire. Use the rest of the vacuum’s capacity to pick up the white snow off the driveway and the garage floor.
  • Haul the vacuum tub and two baskets of garbage out to the alley trash bin. On the way, pick up a bum’s fast-food cup out of my yard. On the way, observe that the mess the city water guys made of my front landscaping is pretty well fixed, after I shoveled and broomed gravel back in place. Hope they didn’t fuck up the plumbing under there. But don’t have much hope.
  • Brush out and wash the shop-vac’s clogged filter; set it aside to dry.
  • Finish the Korean professor’s paper. Interesting guy, interesting subject. Learn a lot about international law on freedom of expression and journalistic privilege. That’s good, anyway. Run it past a prospective intern, am impressed with the kid’s response. Ship the edits & clean copy back to the client.
  • Decide I cannot bring myself to do the Costco run that was planned for today.
  • Realize that isn’t gonna do me any good, because I still have to go out to a Walgreen’s and try to find the anti-fungus stuff (miconozale) to treat the frantically itchy lesion on my hand.

And so, away. Let’s see what I can do to my fellow homicidal drivers on the way…