Coffee heat rising

Hassle after hassle after hassle

It just goes on and on and on and on…

So in addition to wrenching my back and spraining my hand, which will require a visit later this week to a doctor whose offices are on the south edge of freaking Sun City, halfway to Yuma, now ANOTHER actinic keratosis springs up, practically identical to the one suspected to be a squamous cell carcinoma, which required three trips to the dermatologist for biopsy and removal.

I had a standing appointment next week, not at the office halfway to Yuma but at another office, halfway to Las Vegas! It will take a good hour to drive out there. When this new itchy/hurty thing appeared, I called and asked if we should accelerate that appointment. She said she’d squeeze me in this afternoon. But no, not at the office I’m used to going to, which at least is right off the freeway, but at the halfway-to-Vegas office, which entails trudging mile after mile after mile after ENDLESS mile across Bell Road, through some of the most congested parts of the West Valley. If that weren’t enough, this morning I found another of the precancerous pits on my back.

It hurts to drive the car with this damn back pain. To reach the pedals & the steering wheel, I have to sit with my knees elevated above my hips, which as far as I can tell is the single most uncomfortable position to assume when your back is ripped up. So believe me: I’m not looking forward to two hours of that.

Then PayPal is demanding a series of actions or else they’ll close the bidness account. Tina and I haven’t used the thing since last October, so we decided to just let it go, since I haven’t seen any action from China since last October and she hasn’t extracted any work of her own. So of course, the instant that decision is made, in come 18 typest pages of abstruse math whose author wishes to have it turned into impeccable English. Great.

So I try to open a new PayPal account with a different email. PayPal jams. I can’t open a new account, apparently. And they demand that I link a credit card or debit card with it. NOT a freaking chance on God’s Green Earth! Almost all the most egregious complaints about PayPal entail PP reaching out and charging a user’s credit card — no appeal, fuckyouverymuch — and so you absolutely positively do NOT want a credit card “linked” with that outfit. In fact, I don’t think I want to do business with PayPal at all.

Sooo…on the way back from traipsing halfway to Las Vegas, I’ll have to make a detour to visit the credit union (assuming I can get there before it closes) and ask for advice on alternatives to PayPal.

WonderAccountant says she uses a Wells Fargo account so as to have access to a SWIFT number — the credit union is too small to have such a thing. This, she advises, would facilitate at least some funds transfers. However, where Wells Fargo is concerned: been there, done that, don’t wanna do that again. Nor do I want to do business with any large bank, because I have no desire to pay them so they can have my deposits to invest.

Western Union does business in China, but I think that would inflict an undue nuisance on my clients…to say nothing of “on me”: you have to find and traipse to a Western Union office to collect your money, then traipse to the credit union to deposit it. Wayyy more trouble than it’s worth; wayyyy more opportunity for fuck-up than I want to enjoy.


So I drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and drive. Leave at 1:12, walk in the doctor’s door at 2:04.

And…well…the little burg of Surprise now really is a surprise.

When I first came here and lived, off and on, with my parents in the original build-out of Sun City, Surprise was a raggedy wide spot in the road on the way to California. It wasn’t a town, exactly; it was a settlement for farm laborers. There was, in a word, nothin’ there but workin’ folks who didn’t speak English.

Now? It’s a vast carpet of late-model sprawl. Mile on mile after mile on mile of look-alike stick-and-styrofoam houses and mile on mile of look-alike strip shopping centers filled with clone restaurants and stores. Southern California on steroids.

Inside the office: A uniracial clientele. Three notably white patients wander out from back offices into the waiting room as I’m sitting here. They check out. One of them, at least, is fairly affluent: the receptionist tries to book an appointment six months hence – August – and he says nooo way, he’ll be up north out of the heat all summer.

Uh huh.

But…the houses are of later vintage, not pushing 50 years old, as my aluminum-wired shaque is. They’re all well maintained – grâce à the ubiquitous HOAs that have been inflicted on homebuyers here for lo! these many years.

It occurs to me to wonder what the crime rate is, out in those parts.

Not freaking bad, apparently: per 100,000 residents, a mere 89 violent crimes per annum, compared to 508 in lovely Arizona and 383 nationwide. Burglary: 168.5 (how do you get half a burglary? Catch the poor little perp in the act and chase him off?), vs. Arizona’s 536.3 and the nation’s 434.4 (4/10 of a burglary? Really? Picture it: Yes, officer, I was trying to burgle this shack, but just LOOK at the damn place! There’s nothin’ here to steal!) Vehicle theft: 129.3 vs Arizona’s 271.6.

That latter is probably explained by the fact that for several decades no one built enclosed garages: with no snow, all that was required was a shade structure. Believe it or not, once upon a time (oh! so folkloric!) Arizona was a fairly safe place to live. So vehicles in older neighborhoods are more vulnerable to break-in and theft than those parked inside the garages that have become standard in newer parts of town.


Despite the extreme whiteyness (which I find a bit disturbing) and the dreary sameness of the strip shopping malls that line the main drags, I wonder: should I consider moving here? Would it be better not to have to live behind hardened locks, not to listen to the merry buzz of ghetto birds overhead day and night?



I think probably not. All the tidy elbow-to-elbow-to-elbow houses look the same. Inside and out. And something there is about elevated ceilings that exist for no other reason than to trick the eye – to make the occupant feel the dinky rooms are bigger than they are. Something there is about all-electric kitchens with hateful glass stovetops. Something there is about “plant shelves” that exist to break the boredom of the fake high ceilings and openings that evade having to use so much drywall. Something there is about noisy, ugly vertical blinds. Something there is about a solid gravel unlandscaped backyard and a dinky little nook that’s supposed to pass for a patio, ten feet from the wall between your house and the neighbor’s… Something there is that gives me the creeps. I hate that kind of design and building. Just can’t stand it.

No wonder the’hood is gentrifying. No wonder some fix-and-flipper figures he can get 750 grand for his latest 2700-square-foot-magnum opus, despite the bums and the commerce desert and the crime rate and the idiotic lightrail and the Section 8 apartments across the main drag. He probably can.

Jeez. The thing isn’t even in Lower Richistan.

At the credit union? The manager doesn’t know what alternative we might have to PayPal. He allows that he doesn’t like PayPal, thinks they’re none too ethical, and has the impression that of late they’ve been getting worse. He says he’ll have someone from the cash flow department call. Well. I don’t expect to hear from them.

My sense about this is that we’re probably going to have to deep-six the Chinese phase of The Copyeditor’s Desk. And since most of our custom now comes from China, that will mean, most likely, closing the business altogether.

Too bad. But frankly…even adjunct teaching would replace its income. With a lot more aggravation, of course. I should probably look for part-time work at Costco…

2 thoughts on “Hassle after hassle after hassle”

  1. I wouldn’t use Wells Fargo either. They have had a few one & two page ads in the Los Angeles Times lately. But I still don’t trust them. Why not try going to a smaller bank or a local one that isn’t too small. Smaller banks used to give better service when I was in business.

    • Problem is that smaller institutions don’t have SWIFT numbers. To do business overseas, you’re pretty much forced to do business with one of the large international banks. It looks, however, like a possible solution may be Stripe.

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