Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

November 1, 2019
by funny

Updates: Bleach and Bugs

Item: The no-chlorine, oxygen laundry bleach.

Holy mackerel. Since the stuff seems to have disappeared from the nearby grocery stores’ shelves and I couldn’t even get it from Amazon, I dropped by a Fry’s Marketplace (Kroger’s) on the way home from an appointment with Young Dr. Kildare. And yes: I did find it there. Try to guess the price…

SIXTEEN BUCKS for 88 ounces! That’s 16 cents an ounce….

So pretty clearly this is a product that’s being taken off the market. I was going to buy two bottles of it, but thought I really couldn’t afford that.

I’ve already looked at Target — they don’t have the stuff, in any brand.

Tomorrow morning I’ll go over to the Walmart — the full-service Walmart, not the grocery-store version, which we already know doesn’t carry it. Failing that, I may drive back halfway to the White Tanks to grab another bottle of it at the astonishing price. Which is, we may say in glorious understatement, not what I want to do just now.

Once the stuff is no longer available, though, it looks like you can use plain hydrogen peroxide in its place. And in the glorious tradition of the great Trent Hamm, the grand-daddy of all personal finance bloggers, you could combine the H2O2 with washing soda, fifty-fifty, to make your own DIY knockoff.

Personally, I feel washing soda is, as chemicals go, a little harsher than I want to use on my clothing and sheets, especially in the new-fangled washers that don’t do a very good job of rinsing the laundry. So I think once actual laundry-quality O2 bleach is gone, I’ll be using just plain hydrogen peroxide, available in gay abandon from Costco.

At any rate…it’s annoying. Personally, I’m damn tired of seeing every product that works taken out of our sticky little hands.

Item: Pounding on Death’s Door

The bastards still aren’t letting me in!

Source: Merck Manual

Schlepped across the Valley to see Young Dr. Kildare, with whom I had a long-standing appointment. He was less than thrilled with some of my reports from the battle scene at the Mayo.

To start with, he reviewed the contents of this year’s annual physical from the Mayo and was surprised that my assigned doc there did not flag what he believes to be unacceptably high cholesterol levels. That, I think, is arguable: some might say they’re marginally high but do not yet need medication. He would put me on a med right now.

We compromised: I agreed to lay off the booze (pretty easy, since I haven’t even been able to look at a bottle of beer or wine since this damn bug set in), and he agreed to stand by for four months. Silently, I also decided to replace my regular breakfast fare of several pieces of high-quality cheese with something a little less…rich. He doesn’t know about the roquefort, the cheddar, and the assorted other spectacular dairy products with which I regularly start my days, and he ain’t about to know. 😉

Nor was he pleased to learn that the Mayo had scheduled no follow-up testing for the UTI. He felt I should head for a lab in a few weeks for another urinalysis, to be sure the E. coli in question is really, truly GONE gone.

Although this is somewhat questionable, given my age and the fact that the antibiotic made me so sick I couldn’t take an entire course uninterrupted, it made sense to me. And one good thing about doing this through his office is that he uses labs that are close to my house, as opposed to demanding that I schlep 15 miles across the Valley to use the Mayo’s facilities.

As for the present respiratory ailment that still has me barking like a sea lion, he characterized that not as a “cold” (Mayo’s diagnosis) but as bronchitis, no doubt viral. When I said I’d never had a stuffy nose with the thing, that was what elicited his present opinion. He wants to keep an eye on that, too.

Well, I think the respiratory thing is on the way out, though I’m still so exhausted that at this very moment I can barely type these words. The cough and the fatigue will, if prior experience speaks truth, continue for another four to six weeks, at which point the whole mess should start to pass.

I hope.

October 31, 2019
by funny

So Much for Amazon…

LOL! If this tale weren’t so pathetic, it would be hilarious. Wait…maybe it is hilarious!

You’ll recall that a week or so ago I discovered that the latest casualty to the Third-Worldization of America is non-chlorine laundry bleach. To my astonishment, I couldn’t find a bottle of it for love nor money, not even at the Albertson’s — a large purveyor of grocery and household goods.

So what do I do? Naturally, order it up from Amazon. Not only can I get my hands on this newly endangered species, I don’t even have to drive around the city in search of it. Yay! Especially since I’m too freaking sick to drive around the city. 😀

Okay. Couple days go by and I get a message that this fine product is to be delivered to my doorstep on thus & such a day…by 9 p.m.

Say what? You’re planning to deliver this thing after freaking DARK, here in Porch Pirate Central? Seriously? Well…yeah. As the appointed delivery draws nigh, the “track your package” function indicates the delivery dude will be along, sometime around 9 p.m.

As you’ll recall, I’m at Death’s Door here. Visited the ER four times over the past week. And absolutely positively am NOT of a mind to lurk by the front door till nine o’clock at night. Or later.

Certainly not for a delivery guy who can’t tell north from south. And who has yet to figure out that Erewhon LANE is not the same as Erewhon WAY, or that odd-numbered properties are on the south side of the streets in Phoenix and even-numbered houses are on the north side. That latter probably wouldn’t help, since the poor soul doesn’t know which way is north.

This is the guy who keeps leaving my neighbors’ stuff on my doorstep. DIFFERENT neighbors’ stuff. Sometimes it’s Josie’s stuff. Sometimes it’s Melissa’s stuff. What the heck: they both live on the next street to the north of me. How hard is this to figure out?

It must be said, in fairness to the hapless underpaid overworked delivery guy (What kind of company makes its workers run around the city until freaking NINE O’CLOCK AT NIGHT?), that the local porch pirates watch for Amazon and UPS guys, actually tail them around the neighborhood, and when a package is delivered to someone’s door, they drive right up to the front sidewalk, stroll up to the house, grab the package, toss it in the back of their car, and continue on in pursuit of the delivery guy. One of our neighbors, a techie by trade and by hobby, has rigged his entire front yard and street with a security camera system…every now and again, he’ll post a video showing exactly that M.O.

But that notwithstanding: having your employee deliver merchandise at 9:00 at night? Hiring drivers who can’t tell north from south and Avenue from Street or Lane from Way? Not even in broad daylight, to say nothing of by the dark of night… What is wrong with that picture?

So this fine product never shows up, not surprisingly.

I get an Amazon CSR on the phone — a very nice lady who lives in Jamaica — and explain that I would like not to be billed for a package that never showed up.

Ohhh, noo, says she. We can fix that! So she arranges for another bottle of Oxi-Clean to be delivered post-haste. She is exceptionally charming, and it’s hard to stay miffed with Amazon after chatting with this lovely person.

Now I get more messages of the track-your-package variety. This one says — incredibly! — that they plan to deliver it by 9 p.m. tonight. That’s NINE P.M. ON HALLOWE’EN NIGHT!

😀 😮 😀 😮 😀 😮 😀 😮 😀 😮

Ha haaaahhh! I have to ask: how hilarious is it possible to get?

Well, I’ll be perched in the neighbor’s driveway most of the evening tonight (it being Hallowe’en), partying and handing out Costco candy to the kiddies. So if I see the Amazon guy cruise up, I can grab the package before anyone else does. With any luck.

This assumes the Amazon guy can find my house, for a change.

So I’m sitting here coughing, when along comes this amazing email:

Hi, Funny–

We won’t be able to deliver your package as it’s been damaged.

The package is now being returned. We’re very sorry for the inconvenience.

A full refund will be processed within the next 24 hours and should appear on your bank account within 3-5 business days. * We will notify you when your refund has been processed. If you don’t receive a notification about your refund, please contact us.

Now I ask you: how ludicrous is that?

What on earth do you suppose this absurd message means? How do you “damage” a plastic gallon of non-chlorine laundry bleach, packed in a sturdy cardboard box? Run over it with your truck? 😀 And how do they propose to work a “full refund” when a refund was already issued for the first effort to deliver this package?

It’s disappointing. Amazon’s delivery service has been a big help to me as I’ve become busier and also more reluctant to navigate the city’s increasingly insane traffic, and so I’d begun ordering more and more incidental items. But evidently, that is not a good idea. One would do much better to resign oneself to driving from pillar to post to find products that are going off the market (to some degree, no doubt, because of competitive pressure from Amazon) than to be run through a silly circus like this.

BTW, next time I have to deliver my neighbor’s packages that were misdelivered to my front door, I’m going to charge Amazon for my time: $60/hour.

October 30, 2019
by funny

Coff! Coff! Coff!

So now for the usual two to four weeks of nagging, barking cough, the inevitable follow-on when one of these ailments afflicts me. Cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough cough…. I can’t go out in public because the frantic nonstop coughing scares the locals. And of course, I’m afraid I’m infecting some poor innocent wretch passing by in a store or a parking lot.

The cough med — 30% dextromethorphan — works for an hour or two. BUT…ah yes, always a “but,” eh? It leaves my mouth so parched it feels like someone stuck a hair dryer in there and turned it on “high.” The dry mouth that results from a couple doses of that stuff is so extreme it actually hurts. Thanks, but I’ll take the nonstop coughing.

Outdoors, a cold wind howled through the night: 20 mph and gusting. Majorly gusting. Whenever they get Santa Ana‘s in Southern California, we get a wind very much like it, only cold instead of hot. Last night it was pretty extreme, though: made such a racket it actually scared Ruby the Corgi — and she is decidedly not a scaredy dog. She huddled on the bed and whined in fear…a first for this hound.

So at any rate, another night passed without much sleep.

The pool guy surfaced around 8 or 8:30. What a mess! Mighty nice to have someone on the payroll to deal with that fine job. Nevertheless, by dawn’s early light I did haul Harvey out of the drink before he could choke on the debris that settled to the bottom during the night and switched out the new-fangled skimmer gadget for the old-fashioned basket that I wisely refrained from throwing out. Pool dude cleaned the pods and leaves and palm-tree debris off the bottom and got the system working again. How long that will last remains to be seen…probably about eight hours, unless this weather settles down real fast.

Trying to figure out if I actually paid the current AMEX bill. I can’t remember, between being harassed and then being sick as a dog. Apparently I did make a payment in October. But…forgodsake. There’s only $6,000 left in checking. That’s barely enough to cover another three months. I may have to take another drawdown in January…let’s just hope the stock market is up by then. If they impeach that asshole Trump, you can be sure it won’t be up.

In any event, it’s penny-pinching time again…no doubt of that.

So, so, SOOOOO magnificently sick. And soooooo goddamn tired! What an excellent opportunity to practice my whining skills…

October 28, 2019
by funny

Whinge, Continued…

😀 It got even better this afternoon, in the bizarro department.

Along about mid-day, I decide I need more of the generic Albertson’s dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrup, having discovered that the Mucinex I’d bought at AJ’s in hope of avoiding any more driving around and standing in line than absolutely necessary was too vile to gag down. So I stumble in and grab two bottles of generic cough goop off the shelf.

After a not very good snack passing for lunch, I decided I really need to go to bed. I need to go to sleep. If I can get two or three hours of sleep in, maybe I’ll feel better.


Oh, sure.

Just about then, up comes Gerardo. He blocks my driveway with his gigantic truck and sets his dudes to work, blowering and raking and cleaning and, oh yeah: while he’s at it, he decides to repair the broken plumbing in front.

So they bang around and bang around. Eventually it becomes clear that I’m not going to get any sleep. So go to open one of the bottles of cough medicine and find, lo! It’s not DXM 30%. The goddamn stuff is generic Mucinex!

Ohhhhh ugh!

There’s about one dose of DXM 30% left.

So I wait and wait while Gerardo and the boys throw themselves around. They are, as usual, working like horses. But… I. Need. That. Cough. Medicine.

Finally ask him to please move the truck, which he kindly does.

Traipse back down to Albertson’s. Return the Mucinex knockoff. Find a bottle of the plain DXM 30%, but not in the generic, so one bottle costs about 12 bucks. Get one (1) bottle. This requires standing in line and standing in line and then standing in line again.

Dodge a bum going into the store. Dodge the same bum going out. Evade a panhandling pounce — I”m getting good at this.

Return to the Funny Farm. By now the men have the entire front flowerbed dug up. They’ve succeeded in getting one watering zone to run, but the one that serves that flowerbed — with the brand-new bougainvillea planted in it — ain’t working.

Back in the house: I remember that I set the parts of the steamer (“humidifier”) to soaking in vinegar, in hopes of getting the thing to work again. These are sitting in the garage sink.

Scrub this stuff down with a brush and run water through all the parts.

Fill the contraption up with water, drag it back to the bedroom, and plug it back in… And LO! It works!


Meanwhile, I’m still awake. Gerardo and crew are still banging around. The boss has to go buy a cable to repair a break, which he does while his guys are heaving around.

I cook an artichoke and eat most of it. Not as delicious as expected. Stomach is upset. But at least now I have the cough medicine.

By the time the repair project is done — the guys get the system working better than it has in a couple of years — it’s way too late for napping.

They leave. I climb on the bed with the dog and waste some time playing with the computer.

Phone rings: church friend. A lengthy chat ensues. That’s very nice and cheering. And it passes time.

Dog demands to get down. I get off the phone, levitate the hound off the mattress, let her outside.

Forthwith a cop helicopter starts to buzz the ‘Hood. Naturally.

Hie the (unhappy!!) dog back in the house. Feed her dinner as a bribe. Cook up some pasta for myself…also tasteless. Food in general seems to have lost all flavor.

By now I’ve come out on the other side of so-tired-I-can’t-hold-my head-up.

Watch Mike Pence try to bully Judy Woodruff on PBS News, going on about how the American people don’t care about the impeachment proceedings.

Great distraction, this al-Baghdadi coup, isn’t it? Are we really supposed to ignore the extraordinary timing? Oh, God. Rome burns and the fiddles play.

We’ve fallen through a wormhole and crawled out on some other planet. I’m sure of it.

October 28, 2019
by funny

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me…

Still pounding at Death’s Door. The bastards won’t let me in.

Having consumed another whole bottle of Albertson’s cough medicine, I had to drag down to the store again this morning. Bought two jars of the stuff this time, hoping to forestall at least one journey into that (crummy) shopping center. At ten bucks a hit, I’ve now spent $40 on cough syrup alone. Oh, wait, no: not counting the Mucinex I bought at AJ’s yesterday.

Along about two in the morning, I tried to gag down a dose of that. EEEEYUUUCHHHHH! The stuff is so vile I literally could not force it down. Ended up spitting it out in the kitchen sink.

So I guess we’re pretty close to $50, actually.

Noticed my old steamer — more eruditely called a “humidifier” these days — is barely working. Can’t see that it’s caked up with hard-water deposits. Prob’ly worn out, I think.

So I go to order a new one from Amazon.


Apparently they no longer make warm-air humidifiers! Or if they do, they’re pathetic little jokes. The only ones you can get that look even remotely like they might work are those cold-air things, which turn your bedroom into a clammy cave. How comforting!

So now the steamer parts are soaking in vinegar. That’ll take all day, if it works at all. If it doesn’t eat up the innards of the damn thing.

While I was at the Albertson’s, I went up the laundry aisle in search of a bottle of oxygen bleach. You know, the stuff that doesn’t contain chlorine? This stuff has myriad uses, not just whitening your laundry without eating holes in it. One of the things I like to do is pour a little of it over a wooden breadboard to bleach out food stains without harming the surface.

Seems like an ordinary enough product, right?


Not. One. Brand of the stuff! When I asked an employee about it, he didn’t even know what I was talking about.

Can you imagine? WTF? Young pups don’t use O2 bleach anymore? Are you not allowed to put the stuff in the wonderful new washers that don’t wash clothes, is that it?

So I had to order that from Amazon.

Amazon is convenient, that’s true. But having to order things from Amazon gets real old, real fast. Now I have to wait until tomorrow night to get a product that should be on the laundry-products shelf of every grocery store, Target, and Ace Hardware in the goddamn city. I should not have to drive from pillar to post to find it, then give up, come home, fire up a computer, and order the damn stuff off the Internet.

Ugh! What a brave new world. I feel like I’ve fallen into some kind of space warp and come out on another planet.

October 26, 2019
by funny

Crawling Out from Under the Rock

Fell asleep last night along about 6:30…woke up this morning at 7:30. And today felt marginally better.

Even felt like eating, though not like slamming around to fix much. Running slap up against deadline, I managed to finish edits on the client’s last chapter and send it off to him along about 4 p.m.

Hope it’s at least reasonably coherent. That thing has now been edited in ER waiting rooms, edited in ER examining rooms, edited in the Mayo Clinic’s doctors’ waiting room, edited inside doctors’ offices, edited in bed, edited on the back patio…gestaltlich, we might say.

Meanwhile, this afternoon I had to report a nut case on Quora who emitted some threatening rhetoric. Dunno if the guy is around here, but it doesn’t matter…it would be very easy to track me down, if you’re crazy enough. Which, speaking of rhetoric, reminds me that I need to buy a long gun and some ammo for it and for the other armaments. And I really need to get off my duff, go up to the range, and practice. I’d like to take their safety course over again, too — it’s been a long time since I’ve even thought about those things.

But what with Trump’s Loonies carrying on about civil war should their hero be impeached, one ought to be prepared. At this point, there’s almost no question he will be impeached. The question is, what then?

Let us hope the U.S. military is capable of containing a guerilla uprising within the borders of our country. I’m fairly certain they are: they have their own guerilla training, plus they have the advantage of some very sophisticated hardware and software that a bunch of bumpkin revolutionaries can only daydream of. Nay, not even revolutionaries backed by the occasional billionaire.

Interesting, isn’t it? How can you be so smart as to make that much money and still be so stupid? Or…maybe one just doesn’t have to be real bright to make that much money. 😀

Arrrgh! What times we live in! Times that are getting late: gotta go scarf down some more cough medicine and fall into the sack.