Coffee heat rising

ARE you kidding me???

HOLEE mackerel! How do vendors get away with this stuff?

This morning I went over to Amazon to buy a new bread knife. I dropped  my venerable old serrated bread slicer on the floor, and wouldncha know…it broke apart. And in such a way that I couldn’t glue it back together.

No problem, thought I: that Walmart up in Sunnyslop surely will have them!

Well. No.

Ohhhkayyy… Then of course the Albertson’s, which carries every doodad known to personkind, will have it — just means I have to brave walking through hordes of panhandlers to get in the door.

Pleasantly surprised to find the Albertson’s has hired a security guard to lurk outside the door. Get inside without incident. And…get back outside without incident — and without bread knife.

Whaaa??? A MEGA-supermarket replete with car parts and pots and pans and magazines and books and make-up and allergy pills and whatnot doesn’t carry one single freaking bread knife?

I bought this knife, I think — it was a LONG time ago — at a department store (the Broadway??) or at Williams-Sonoma in Biltmore Fashion Square.

Department stores are pretty much defunct in these parts. The Biltmore is way off my beaten path. The vast shopping mall called Metrocenter, practically within walking distance of my house, closed down completely a few years ago, in the process killing the Broadway, Dillard’s, and every other store that used to hold forth there.

Dayum! This means I’ll have to wait a day or two to get the thing delivered from Amazon and, more to the point, I won’t be able to look at it and handle it before deciding whether to buy it.

Okay, okay…over to Amazon. Thereinat we find this fine device: $169.

A hundred and sixty-nine bucks??? For a bread knife? You’ve gotta be kidding me!!!

Well, you get the kewl Chinese character…I guess that’s worth something.

Wusthof, about the best brand you can buy, has this excellent-looking model, for a mere $150:

Most of my knives are of this ilk, purchased back in the day when I was married to the corporate lawyer and could afford to pay no attention to what things cost. But even then, I can assure you, I would not have paid $150 for a kitchen knife, let alone $169.

Move on: finally I found this thing by Mercer:

That looks a great deal like the deceased, except mine had a nice wooden handle (hold the plastic, please!). Twenty bucks. Actually, less than that: $18.58.

Ohhhkayyy…. That’s more like it. Probably too little to pay, even: it suggests the thing is junk and will last about ten days. Still…it has 301 ratings, adding up to a five-star score. Can’t be all that bad.

Can you imagine? Who pays $150+ for a freaking serrated bread knife?

What a brave new world we live in…

Fridge Fiasco Update….

Ohhhkayyyyy…. It keeps getting better. :-D, not to say 😮

The refrigerator repairman, who appeared to measure his IQ in the negative numbers, accomplished exactly nothing. The delinquent refrigerator continued to roar and bang and squeal and carry on. The racket it emanates is SO loud, Ruby and I have no chance of getting to sleep unless we barricade ourselves in the back bedroom behind a closed door.

I call around and rassle around and get essentially nowhere, which is about where I expected to get.

Eventually American Express, which has thrown itself into the fray, calls to announce that they’ve canceled the charge. Unclear to me whether this has already happened, so I call to confirm. It appears that probably they have done so. Meanwhile, I still have the refrigerator, which keeps me awake all night with its lovely rattling, whining, roaring serenade.

This afternoon I applied my li’l-ole-lady handyperson skills to the damn thing and discovered that…lo! It was out of level. The jerk that delivered it installed it cattywampus. Fooled around and fiddled around…got it pretty well on the level, but there’s a limit to what a little old lady with no tools can accomplish.

It now buzzes for a half-minute or so when it cycles on, and then runs fairly quietly. Giving it a whap upside its mechanical head shuts it up for quite a while.

So where are we now? (Are we out of the Twilight Zone yet???)


9:05 a.m. Found a receipt saying I canceled purchase of the HD fridge I was admiring. Called American Express. They said that yes, we DID cancel it. The AMEX rep says I have an $800 credit from the bastards at B&B Appliances. This could be applied to a new refrigerator’s purchase.

1:05 p.m.: The machine is now running almost silently! The motor/fan sound is audible, but not much more so than a normal refrigerator’s. Why???

Is it possible that whapping it a couple of times might have shaken something loose or jiggled something into place so that it runs OK now?

At this point, I was just about to launch on my way up to Home Depot to buy another unit. But….

1:45 p.m.: When in doubt, don’t. Fridge was off; just came back on. It’s rattling, but more quietly than before.

Still…as I sit my butt down to write this note (I figure I’d better take pretty close notes on what’s happening), the damn thing continues to buzz/rattle: again, more quietly than before. It seems to quiet a little as it runs, and now is operating like a normal fridge: just the serenade of a fan, no sound of grinding motor.

At 1:53 p.m., the thing is running as quietly as it gets: motor and fan noise audible, but no rattling or roaring.

* I can’t hear it in the bedroom.

* It seems pretty loud here in the family room/dining room/kitchen, but it’s not audible in the back of the house. If you were like most Americans and had a TV or stereo babbling away all the time, you’d hardly notice it.

What to do???

This runaround has been quite the little nightmare. There’s really no excuse for a retailer to sell a total piece of junk, at least not without explaining to the mark what to expect: If I’d been told that the machine would make a lot of noise for the first week or so of operation, I would not have gotten myself into this uproar.

On the other hand…

  1. If it is now working normally, I can’t really justify not paying for the damn thing, no matter how much of a runaround the incompetents at B&B gave me.
  2. If this intermittent peace is maybe the way it’s supposed to work but it in fact has something wrong with it that causes it to rattle and run noisy off and on, I should get my money back so I can buy a competent machine at HD.
  3. Its apparently “normal” fan noise is pretty loud.
  4. My level says the thing is only very slightly out of level, and so it’s hard to believe that’s the issue. The floor itself measures as perfectly dead level.

If I go back and do battle with B&B, even with AMEX behind me, it’s going to be another monumental, headachey hassle. If the machine will work quietly enough not to be heard in the back of the house (we shall see tonight!!), then the path of least resistance will be to just let it go.


What to do about the money AMEX is withholding from B&B?

My sense is to wait and see what they do. This cannot be the first such episode that’s ever occurred in the history of American consumerism. American Express will know how to proceed and when to proceed. Probably the best course of action is to wait for direction from AMEX, and if and when they get in touch, do as they advise. If they say nothing, B&B says nothing, and I say nothing, then maybe I should just hang onto the refrigerator, which at that point I may glom for free.

That seems unethical, but the weeks-long hoopla and hassle I’ve been through – which could have been ameliorated if they had told me what to expect or had just responded to me when I complained – has consumed a great deal of my $60/hour time and caused a great deal of worry and anxiety. Maybe B&B deserves to pay me for the uproar their incompetence has caused.

And speaking of unethical, as I wrestle with the thing and fiddle with the thing and adjust the thing, I find two places where it has some small but distinct dents. Whaddaya bet its problem is that it’s been beaten about down at B&B’s shop, or in transit to the Funny Farm? Matter of fact, I see a place under the front end where they’ve glued a thin piece of Styrofoam, apparently trying to fix some kind of damage or defect. Like…what, pray tell?

I find it hard to believe that all refrigerators make a noise like a wrecking yard when they’re new. This is NOT the first refrigerator I’ve bought – we got one in the Encanto house, and I believe we bought another one at the North Central house. I would remember a circus like this! Therefore it’s reasonable to think there’s an issue here that should have been addressed, either by warning me at the outset or by responding competently to my complaints.

2:17 p.m. Fridge switched on with loud buzzing; buzz shut off in less than a minute – possibly less than half a minute. It’s now running not quietly but not raucously.

I go over and mess with the freezer.. This makes the noise louder. I whap it on the side (away from the wall: its right side) and that cuts the volume of the noise. It still rattles, but more softly.

Push against the machine’s right side, giving it two or four shoves. The noise has now completely stopped except for the sound of the fan running!

Suspect the thing is rattling/buzzing because it or some component inside it is slightly out of level. That’s why there’s some sort of dap and stuff on the bottom of the cabinet: they must have tried to level it so they could unload it on an unsuspecting customer.

I’m going to ask AMEX to return my payment because I believe B&B ripped me off: they knew they were foisting a damaged or substandard product on me. This is evidenced by the obvious jury-rigged repair job at the unit’s base.

What to do next?
Persist with trying to get my money back via AMEX, since it appears likely – even evident – that B&B knew the unit was not running up to par. Keep it for about a year, if possible; then go to Costco or Lowe’s to replace it with a new refrigerator.

Moral of the story: NEVER buy local!!!!  Always buy from nationally known, nationally respected vendors.

Life in Refrigerator Hell

8:30 a.m.  Pour a last cup of coffee. Sit down. Put feet up. Lift computer onto lap…and



It’s the newly discovered refrigerator repairman. Now that he’s on his way over, I’ve got to get up and heave around.

The endlessly annoying contraption  has stopped making its buzzing noise. I will say that its motor runs pretty loud, far more so than any previous fridge in living memory. It’s probably supposed to make the roaring noise it’s presently emitting. But… that is different from the rattling and the buzzing.

Okay, here he is: dog is barking him up the front sidewalk…


You know the outcome, right?

The minute he walked in the door, the damn thing quit buzzing!!!!

He must think I’m a nut case.


Betcha know what happened next, eh?

The minute he drove off down the street:  BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ



What to do, what to do? 

Welp…  I walked up to the thing and gave it a SHOVE!  And forthwith it stopped vibrating.

No kidding.

Well, on the bright side: the repairman was about the cutest young fella I’ve ever seen. That was delightful. 😀

On the “meanwhile” side… Arrrghhhhhhh!

I guess what to do is wait another two or three days and see if it eventually quits vibrating. Then, if the noise continues, schlep up to Home Depot — where they DO stand by their goods — and buy another fridge in some other brand.

Since no one will take this thing as a donation, the options for dealing with it are..

a) to move the table holding the washday gear and assorted junk out of the garage, put the rattler in that space, and use it as a storage bin; or…

b) to have Gerardo haul the thing off to the dump.

In either event, I’ll have to pony up another thousand bucks for another fridge.

Can you believe this?

Life in the 20th Century: ain’t it grand?

So where was I, in my infinitely more worrisome rumination?  Yes: my son, and his buddy. And…the asbestos issue…

My son has a lifelong pal with whom he has remained in touch over all these years. They went to grade school and high school together; then off to different colleges. Eventually pal married a lovely young woman, and they moved back to the Midwest — Michigan, I believe — where her mother and extended family still live.

Everyone here missed them, of course. But so be it: life in Today’s Modern Times. They’ve been living back there for several years, raising a lovely family and generally living the Good Life.

However. Recently the pal was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a spectacularly deadly visceral cancer. And, interestingly, it’s caused by exposure to asbestos, which was used in structures built in the 1950s and 60s around here. And…they both went to the same schools, built in that time period. And they both lived in the same type of housing, built in North Central Phoenix during…yes!…the same time period.

You realize what that means… If Best Buddy developed a cancer resulting from environmental conditions, M’hijito is at risk of developing the same cancer. Or one like it.

Wondrous: something new to worry about! Don’t we all need some more o’that?

Unstuck in Time!

My Lord, but life in the 21st Century is a PITA. One of its least charming aspects — which effectively dominates anything you try to do — is The Endless Runaround.

The endless computer runaround. The endless phone runaround. WhatEVER it is that you need to get done, you can’t reach a person to explain what’s up and get them to fix it. Instead you hassle and you wait and you hassle and you wait and you  hassle and you wait and you repeat REPRESENTATIVE!!!!! over and over and over again, until after about five or ten minutes of steadily increasing infuriation, you finally reach a human. First, though, you get put on hold listening to ads or annoying, redundant messages.

I can remember when a human answered right away after you dialed a number. She would promptly direct you to the party who could help you with your issue. Yes: it was usually a “she” because the jobs were low-paying and women in the Good Ole Day were almost wholly consigned to low-paying jobs.

And no, that was not a good thing.  But it was what it was.

But in the “not a good thing” department, neither is FOR BLAH BLAH BLAH, CLICK 9… FOR BLAH BLAH BLAH, CLICK 8… FOR BLAH BLAH BLAH…..  uh huh. Click 8 and get stuck on hold for some interminable wait, during which you’re entertained with annoying ads or annoying Muzak.

I bought a refrigerator from a local vendor. It was junk: it makes loud noises:


So I arranged for Gerardo take it back to the ba*tards, and I bought another refrigerator from Home Depot.

Aside: Never buy local just to make yourself feel righteous. That’s a recipe for disaster. Always buy from major corporations that have competent customer service and return policies.

I called AMEX and explained the situation telling them that I will need to buy a new fridge and don’t know what to do with the noisemaker in my kitchen. They said have no fear and charged into battle.

AMEX voided the $1376 charge to the crooks, even though said crooks refused to take the machine back.

So I figured to donate this thing to a charity (not so much: nary a charity in sight will accept a refrigerator!!!) and buy a new fridge at Home Depot.

After I had arranged to buy a Home Depot refrigerator, the noise emanating from the clunk slacked off. And…lo! What do I find online but a page remarking that sometimes refrigerators buzz and rattle when they’re new, but that effect goes away. Hm.

Since the local crooks told AMEX they would not take a return or refund my money, I decided I should cancel the HD fridge. (Bad idea, BTW).

So now I get an email from AMEX going on about how I will owe them $1400 for the refrigerator. That’s fine, as long as it’s going to work.

And it does work: noisily.

BUT…in addition to that, they’ve also got the charge pending for the Home Depot refrigerator!


So yesterday I had to drive up there and argue with HD about that. They supposedly canceled the charge.

This morning I get an email from Home Depot billing me $1400 for a new refrigerator.

GAAAWWWDAMMIT!!!  On the phone to American Express.

Calling AMEX involves a brain-banging run-around. You can’t get a person on the phone for love nor money. After what feels like half an hour of punching buttons and uttering words — I’ve found that SCREAMING REPRESENTATIVE!!!!!!! INTO THE PHONE does speed this process along, BTW — I get a person and explain the story. Their rep, who seems sane (how???), agrees that the charge will be voided.

So now here I am, sitting here in the family room listening to this fucking GE refrigerator humming to itself, occasionally still buzzing. If you go over and smack it, the noise stops — well, not the motor humming, but the damned crazy-making buzz.

And as if I didn’t have enough aggravation to fill the day, no doubt I really should go back up to HD and confirm that the refrigerator purchase really was voided.

Probably should have gone ahead with eating the $1400 bill for this thing, throwing it in the alley, and buying a new one. But…well…DAYUM!

Even when it’s not buzzing, it runs quite loud. In fact, I’d say I’ve never had a fridge whose motor noise was this loud. As for the buzzing…well…I’m thinking I’ll call a refrigerator repairman (if such creatures still exist) and pay him a trip charge to come look at this thing and see if it can be made to run quietly and skip the rattling episodes. If not, maybe he can recommend a replacement brand.


ohhhhh and just to make the day perfect: apparently my ad-blocking software has failed. Now I’m getting BLITZED with effing ads on every website. arrrerrghhhhhh!!!!!


Ahhh, The Good Ole Days….

My daddy’s dream car…

I have a friend who likes to send out emails of the forwarded-forwarded-forwarded variety. Most of them are sappy…but this one takes the cake. “No idea who put this together,” sez he, “but it is Fantastic!” It really set me off, I’m afraid:

1950’s version of an E-Mail

Long ago and far away, in a land that time forgot,
Before the days of Dylan , or the dawn of Camelot.

There lived a race of innocents, and they were you and me,

For Ike was in the White House in that land where we were born,
Where navels were for oranges, and Peyton Place was porn.

We longed for love and romance, and waited for our Prince,
Eddie Fisher married Liz, and no one’s seen him since.

We danced to ‘Little Darlin,’ and sang to ‘Stagger Lee’
And cried for Buddy Holly in the Land That Made Me, Me.

Only girls wore earrings then, and 3 was one too many,
And only boys wore flat-top cuts, except for Jean McKinney.

And Oprah couldn’t talk yet, in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had our share of heroes, we never thought they’d go,
At least not Bobby Darin, or Marilyn Monroe.
For youth was still eternal, and life was yet to be,
And Elvis was forever in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never seen the rock band that was Grateful to be Dead,
And Airplanes weren’t named Jefferson , and Zeppelins were not Led.

And Beatles lived in gardens then, and Monkees lived in trees,
Madonna was Mary in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We’d never heard of microwaves, or telephones in cars,
And babies might be bottle-fed, but they were not grown in jars.

And pumping iron got wrinkles out, and ‘gay’ meant fancy-free,
And dorms were never co-Ed in the Land That Made Me, Me.

We hadn’t seen enough of jets to talk about the lag,
And microchips were what was left at the bottom of the bag.

And hardware was a box of nails, and bytes came from a flea,
And rocket ships were fiction in the Land That Made Me, Me.

T-Birds came with portholes, and side shows came with freaks,
And bathing suits came big enough to cover both your cheeks.

And Coke came just in bottles, and skirts below the knee,
And Castro came to power near the Land That Made Me, Me.

We had no Crest with Fluoride, we had no Hill Street Blues,
We had no patterned pantyhose or Lipton herbal tea
Or prime-time ads for those dysfunctions in the Land That Made Me, Me.

There were no golden arches, no Perrier to chill,
And fish were not called Wanda, and cats were not called Bill

And middle-aged was 35 and old was forty-three,

And ancient were our parents in the Land That Made Me, Me.

But all things have a season, or so we’ve heard them say,
And now instead of Maybelline we swear by Retin-A.
They send us invitations to join AARP,
We’ve come a long way, baby, from the Land That Made Me, Me.

So now we face a brave new world in slightly larger jeans,
And wonder why they’re using smaller print in magazines.
And we tell our children’s children of the way it used to be,
Long ago and far away in the Land That Made Me, Me.

If you didn’t grow up in the fifties,
You missed the greatest time in history,
Hope you enjoyed this read as much as I did.
If So, PLEASE FORWARD this note to
someone who will appreciate these memories…

Hm. Actually the 1950s were pretty dreadful, as I recall.

  • Constant threat of nuclear warfare; weekly air-raid drills, school evacuation plans based on the likelihood that we would never see our parents again — whee! what fun!
  • Hatred of anyone whose skin was a different color from yours or who spoke a different language from yours.
  • Mediocrity: celebrated as the norm.
  • No real job opportunities for women. College women couldn’t major in the sciences or business management; if they contrived to weasel into a program, they couldn’t get a job with their degree. All girls were forced to take a year of home ec in K-12, and nevvermind if you needed geometry, algebra 2,, or trig to get into a decent university.  Why would anyone want to spend money sending a girl to university anyway, since all she was going to do is spawn and raise children?
  • Ohhh what fun it was. Mediocrity celebrated. Air raid shelters well stocked. A big, bloated car that was unsafe at any speed. Smog so thick you couldn’t see across your high-school campus. My father kept a crate of canned water in the back of the car, just in case we managed to escape down the Peninsula and get outside the blast zone before the bombs fell.

If anything had happened to him, my mother and I would have gone hungry until she could land another man — as a female, she couldn’t get a job that would support us and put food on our table.

Uh huh. Them’s were the good ole days…

A New Day from Hell: Four in the Morning

How come…???

How come every step along the way has to be a fight?
How come you can’t even sleep through the night?

(oh! it’s a poem!)

Craparoonies! It’s 4:00 a.m. No…actually, coming on to 5:00 a.m. now. Already I’ve been awake over an hour.

  • My stomach hurts from the aspirin I took because the pain from the gimpy hip woke me up.
  • I’ve flown into a high screaming rage because I droppped the Costco-size bottle of aspirin on the kitchen floor and the goddamn pills exploded all across the kitchen floor.
  • The damn computer died because I didn’t notice it was unplugged.

But on the brighter side, no data was lost in the crash. Leastwise not that I’ve noticed.

  • The damn computer has decided that a lower-case i should be appear with a strange little checkmark in place of the dot over the i.
  • But when I elected to bellyache about that here, the phenomenon disappeared, leaving me to look like the idiot I no doubt am.
  • The dog is terrorized because I flew into a high rage when the entire bottleful of aspirin scattered across the kitchen floor, much of it rolling under the nonfunctional fridge.

But on the brighter side, it’s quiet over at Tony the Romanian Landlord’s Home for Juvenile Delinquents.

But on the dimmer side, that would be because he’s got some guy over there deconstructing and rebuilding the place, no doubt to accommodate new nuisances.

Speaking of Tony’s Nuisances, last night some jerk in a TOTALLY UNMUFFLED vehicle putzed up to that house and sat there pumping the gas pedal: roar roar roar ROAR ROAR!!!!!  Eventually he toddled on up to Gangbanger’s Way, where you could hear him roaring back and forth in the drag races up there.

Where ARE the cops when you need them?

I need to move out of this neighborhood. My son, who is too busy to register just what actually is going on here, is dead set against it. Fighting him is beyond my energy level right now. I may just quietly sell the place without his knowledge and send him a change-of-address card whenever I get ensconced somewhere else. Because…

This fukkin’ stuff has GOT to stop. I can’t continue to live with the Tony situation.

  • Meanwhile, the fukkin’ rip-off refrigerator continues to rattle and buzz and clunk away. No word from AMEX on getting my money back from B&B Appliances, the crooks who sold me the damn thing.
  • Best Buy has decided nothing will do but what they have to send some lady over here to negotiate over the fridge I propose to buy there.

What exactly I’m supposed to do with the clunk delivered by the B&B thieves, I do not know.  Maybe just have Gerardo dump it out in the alley? If I could find someone who wanted a refrigerator for, say, a car repair garage or a school or a charity — where no one is trying to sleep at night to the sound of its unending serenade, I would donate it. But you CAN’T donate large items anymore. Goodwill no longer picks stuff up. So that thing is just going to have to get dumped in the alley for the metal scavengers…assuming I can find someone to haul it out to the alley.

But waitwait! It appears that the Salvation Army, unlike Goodwill, still DOES come by your place…  Hallelujah, brothers and sisters!

It being 5 in the morning, I can’t call and confirm that. But at least there’s some hope for dealing with one of the unending series of hassles and headaches. If I can donate the damn thing, I should be able to take the $750 rip off my taxes.

Eating? Who needs to eat? We don’t need to steenking eating! Just let ′em take the money…and forget the food.