Coffee heat rising


Good grief.

Oh, look! Alliteration! G…G…G…Gaaaahhh


Yesterday (was it only yesterday?) I had to refill a couple of propane tanks for the barbecue. We have three of them, which I usually get filled at Costco, where the price is right (uhm, well…) and the service excellent. But Costco is a drive from here, and I did not feel like traipsing halfway to Flagstaff or halfway to Payson for the privilege of saving a buck or two. So, like an idiot I decided to just zip up Main Drag West to a local tire shop that dispenses propane as a sideline.

Bad move!

They charged an arm and a leg for one (count it: 1) tank of gas. And when I got home, I found there was no propane in the damn tank. WTF?

Exceptionally annoyed, I decided not to go back and argue with those idiots. After all, I couldn’t prove the empty tank I would have to schlep back there wasn’t just another tank out of my backyard.

So I loaded the damn tank into the back of the Dog Chariot and took off across the city. Driving…driving…driving…

God, but I’ve come to hate driving in this city. The Southern-California-style ambience plus the Southern-California-style moron drivers really do make driving here an unpleasant experience.

Anyway: got up to Costco, refilled the tank, and paid a fraction of what the crooks up the street charged.

Annoyed as hell: felt even more ripped off by the local crooks than I did at the outset.

Seriously: I don’t mind paying a bit more for convenience and proximity…but this was ridiculous.

So much for buying local.

You wonder how places like that stay in business at all. My guess is that location matters: This particular vendor is in darkest Sunnyslope, a dire slum. A lot of folks there probably can’t afford to pay Costco a membership fee for the privilege of spending more money inside the store. And the local joint is convenient — Costco is a drive from here, over roads best described as cut-throat.

As Phoenix gets more and more Los-Angelized, it gets less and less pleasant as a place to live. The packed roads, the traffic roar, the crooked vendors, the smog, the mile-on-mile of ticky-tacky: ugh!

If my son weren’t here, I would be sooooo gone.

At any rate, if the place just up the road provided decent customer service (no, I did not get my money back…), I would be willing, if not happy, to pay a few bucks more to forego driving halfway to Flagstaff.


In other less-than-sylvan vales, a friend of mine moved to Sun City and ran head-on into a b-i-i-i-g mistake. When he said, over breakfast some weeks ago, that he was going to sell his place in Mesa and go out there, I should have said to him DUDE! DON’T DO THAT!

But in the first place, I didn’t feel like it was any of my business. And in the second, a white broad telling a black dude not to move to a staunchly middle-class housing development…it just seemed tacky. And probably, from his point of view, not very credible.

Alas, my unspoken fear for him was…dead right. Last week, he e-mailed our group and reported that he forthwith sold the Sun City house and moved back to the East Valley. He slammed head-on into so much prejudice and so much open hostility…older Americans don’t even  bother to hide their hate.

Seriously: the whiteyness of Sun City was one of the major reasons my parents moved there, wayyy back in the early 1960s. Apparently things haven’t changed.

So I felt terrible for him.

Speaking of less-than-sylvan vales, Tony the Romanian Landlord put the house across the street from mine up for rent. Apparently he didn’t do real well in the Juvenile Delinquent business. The neighbors complained constantly, he vandalized their pools same as he did mine (by throwing a gallon of used motor oil over the back wall from the alley), the cops showed up frequently, the authorities noticed the house was out of code… {sigh} Pore fella.

So now he’s got a renter in there: probably several renters, since the house has four bedrooms. Dunno how much he’s getting for it, but he was asking — hang onto your hat! — THIRTY-FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS A MONTH!

Heeeeeeeee!  CAN you imagine?

I figure he expected to park a passel of unruly college students in the place, with which to annoy the neighbors. People on that side of the street (it’s across the street from my place) complained to the authorities about the late, great delinquents, and the cops who visited after the kid who was whacked in the face showed up at  my house noted that his little institution was out of code every which way from Sunday. Surely, he must have figured, a half-dozen hard-partying junior-college kids would annoy the neighbors even more than an off-the-cuff reform school. 😀

Another great idea gone astray…

Only one car is parked in the driveway (could be a couple more in the closed garage, but I don’t think so). The For Rent sign is down. So that suggests he either got a single party who could afford that preposterous rent (migrating Southern Californians, maybe?) or he allowed himself to be bargained down.


Cruising around town yesterday, I drove through the neighborhood where a long-gone friend grew up. Friend and now-ex wife have since moved on…and on…and on…  When last heard from, she was in Portland (Oregon) and he was in Idaho.

It’s a nice little neighborhood of modest but attractive houses. Unfortunately our brilliant City Fathers chose to drive the horrid State Route 51 freeway right through the middle of it, pretty  much destroying it as a peaceful place to live. But it’s still reasonably well kept up, the sort of place I would consider moving if it didn’t have a freeway in the backyard.

What do you suppose is the matter with city planners that they deliberately choose to trash healthy, close-in neighborhoods?




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