Coffee heat rising

Thank you, Amazon…

Shopping at Amazon can be pricey. But if you attach a dollar value to your time (something I could justify a lot better when I was getting paid for more of my time…), it is very much worth it. Especially, I imagine, if you live in a city like Phoenix, where you put your life on the line every time you venture out into the homicidal traffic.

My venerable kitchen-sink scrub brush broke apart the last time the Cleaning Lady from Heaven was here. I need one of those…all the time. But hafta say…trudging off to a grocery store that carries them has NOT been what I want to do. AJ’s, my favorite venue for fresh produce and incidental groceries, does not carry hardware-store types of products. This is largely true of Sprouts, too. Costco has some of that kind of stuff, but decidedly not kitchen scrub-brushes. Albertson’s no doubt has them, but risking life and limb to walk across that store’s parking lot is counterproductive. Do I really want to make a special trip to a Safeway, a Fry’s, or an Albertson’s in a better part of town to buy…what? A plastic brush?

Well. No.

So I’ve put it off, largely because I tend to forget about it when I’m not standing at the sink. And of course because I feel uninclined to schlep all over the city for the sake of one, count it (1) cheesy item.

But lo! Have no fear! Amazon carries the things, in gay profusion.

Got two of those gadgets in the picture for seven bucks. I kinda doubt that Albertson’s will be selling them for much less than three or four bucks apiece.

Nay verily! At Albertson’s an identical model is $4.59 apiece!!

Between Amazon and Instacart, delivery services have saved me so much mileage that the monthly cost of gasoline here at the Funny Farm has gone way down. I hardly ever buy gas anymore — maybe once every two or three months. The only trips that consume much gas anymore are the endless jaunts to doctors, of which I am mightily sick&tired. If I didn’t have to run to a doctor or a dentist every time I turn around, I would hardly be buying any gasoline at all.

And that savings more than makes up for the extra cost of ordering something online and paying to have someone deliver it to your door.

Interestingly, too…the change of habits occasioned by the Plague and its lockdowns has cut back my driving habits to the point that it probably would make some sense to buy an electric vehicle. Before this, it would have made no sense at all…because I was driving hither, thither, and yon constantly through traffic and over roads that demand the vigor of a six-banger. I went out in the car almost every day. Now, though, I hardly ever drive. If I didn’t have to run to these damn doctors every time I turn around — and traipse to the physical therapist three times a week — I might not be taking that car out of the garage more than two or three times a month. If it were safe to walk down Conduit of Blight to the Sprouts and the Albertson’s (it decidedly is not!), the truth is that I could get by comfortably without a car.

The trick would be to rent a vehicle when one is necessary. Or use Uber, if one were so inclined.

DXH and I had neighbors who liked to visit Las Vegas with another couple. Two or three times a year they’d all pile into a car and drive up there. But to our initial amazement, they didn’t pile into one of their cars. They always rented a vehicle to drive across the desert.

This made a great deal of sense. For one thing, if you got in an accident, you didn’t crash your own car, thereby eliciting the enormous hassles and expenses so entailed. For another, they weren’t racking up mileage gratuitously on their own vehicles…and that, you no doubt have noticed, helps to keep your car insurance rates down. And for the third: our houses had carports, not garages equipped with doors that closed behind your car. So if you drove off in your car for a weekend in Nevada, that would be spectacularly obvious to the local burglars, who would quickly understand that you weren’t home and weren’t likely to be home anytime soon.

Whaddaya think? Do we really need these expensive gas-guzzlers anymore?

There Is a [Pot] House in New Orleans…

…They callllll the Risin’ Sun.
It’s been the ruin
Of many a poor girl,
And Lawd, I know I’m one!

Yup. I’m ruint. No question of it.

Thursday’s gawdawful test for nerve function was nowhere near as gawdawful as I feared. Yes, they do stick electrified needles into your hide. But the things have about the diameter of a hair — you can barely even feel them poking you.

All of which was pretty futile. Well: yes futile, no futile.

We did not come up with a cause of the peripheral neuropathy, the buzzin’ and the tinglin’ in all four paws, enough to make you crave a long dive off the North Rim. But we did rule out some fairly horrifying candidates: the Parkinson’s disease, the Guillain-Barré syndrome…the Lou Gehrig’s disease… at least on a preliminary basis. But here’s a study that indicates the test they did on me — widely known as EMG — does not rule out Guillain-Barré. Indeed, there may be some sporadic evidence of a connection between the Pfizer covid-19 vaccination (which I took a few weeks ago) and the advent of Guillain-Barré. That is what we’d call “a real bad sign.” Also nervous-making: there’s documented evidence of a connection between covid-19 and GBS. Indeed, if I’d read this article a couple months ago, I would have thought twice and thrice about taking that shot.

Meanwhile, in the run-up to this drama, I came across a bunch of research and reports suggesting that one of the most effective remedies known for this ailment is…oh yes…wait for it…yep: cannabis.

Think o’ that…

So my friend VickyC and I got together for lunch and shopping yesterday. VickyC happens to know a surprising amount about pot and the uses thereof. And she has a “medical marijuana” card, a pricey bit of bureaucraciana that allows you to buy dope from local dispensaries. You get this by going to a (heh!) “doctor” who, whether he has an MD or whateverthell, has managed to acquire the documentation to allow him to emit an opinion that yes, yes you DO need the therapeutic wonders of Mary Jane.

One of these happens to reside in the Home Depot shopping center right up the road.

So I call this outfit today. The lady who answers says you don’t need a card to buy “edibles” or to get the stuff to put in a vape pen. Well, VickyC gave me a vape pen yesterday, while we were plotting the destruction of all common decency in the land. And we bought a little bag of 10 “gummies” while we were gadding around the seamier side of town. 😀

I have never, ever done dope in my life (other than the prescriptions various docs have foisted on me). Never has pot passed into my dainty nervous system. But given this current ailment, if the stuff will help, I am sooooo not above it!

These multicolored gumballs contain 150 mcg of THC.

I decide that’s a little much, especially for a first voyage. So last night I cut one in half and ingest that.

The candies that you swallow take 45 to 90 minutes to take effect. And yeah, I’d say it was 30 to 40 minutes before it started to kick in, with a fine sensation of vertigo. Dizzy, as in knocked for a loop…

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice
When she’s ten feet tall

Slept until midnight. Woke for about 10 minutes, long enough to grab another aspirin. Uncharacteristically, fell right back to sleep.

Slept until 4:30 a.m. Dropped another aspirin. Fell right back to sleep again. (Usually the pre-dawn wake-up call entails a wait of at least two hours to get back to sleep…though usually “back to sleep” is sometime around 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. that night.)

So in this respect, VickyC was at least partially correct: the stuff does help you to sleep one helluva lot better. Normally I’m lucky to get six hours of sleep, but often have to navigate around on four hours’ worth. Even with interruptions, I’ll take 8 or 10 hours over 4 to 6 hours of sleep, any night!

Awake at 8 a.m. to find the tingling and redness in the palms and feet much reduced.

Decide to try 1/2 gummie to see if the stuff might possibly stave off the PN for the rest of the day. Or even for part of the day, for godsake…

And the answer is, yup, it sure does. But unfortunately it also elicits dizziness and a sense of disorientation. These were tolerable last night, because I was in bed and soon went to sleep. But by light of day: not so tolerable. Walking around the house was so vertiginous that it seemed unsafe. Driving would be totally out of the question. And really, even walking around where there are steps and the like: unwise.

Actually, I’d intended this dose to be 1/4 of a gumdrop but, in my senility, forgot that little vow and gulped down half. So tomorrow morning I’ll have to see if a smaller amount will also keep the buzzing under control, but without making me high.

So there we are. We don’t know what the problem is. But we’ve found something that works  That something is not especially desirable.

But at least it’s…something.

Adventures in Medical Science…again…

So this morning it’s out to the Mayo Clinic…again! Be there by 10 a.m. Along about 10 p.m. last night, I realized my car is low on gas. I’ll have to stop someplace to fill up on the way out there. That will add another ten or fifteen minutes to the trek, depending on how many people are in line.

Unless, of course, I get up off my duff and go buy gasoline right this instant.

This proposed test terrorizes me. Not because it sounds so horrible (well, yes. Yes, it does: not so much because it entails jabbing needles into your muscles and running electric jolts into them, by way of measuring how your nerves respond), but because when you look it up you realize that what they’re looking for is MS, Parkinson’s, or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). All of those are truly terrifying.

My grandfather died of Hodgkin’s disease, in upstate New York during the 1920s. How exactly this disease is spread escapes me — apparently it’s caused by a genetic mutation. Or not: could have something to do with the Epstein-Barr virus, and yes, I have (supposedly…) had mono. WhatEVER: those represent two risk categories, both of which I happen to partake.

One of D-XH’s partner’s wives developed MS. One of her kids almost died when he got into her purse, found a vial of medication for it, and ate the stuff.

My college roommate died of Parkinson’s, after a lifetime blighted by suffering. A dear college friend’s fiancé came down with it, canceling their planned marriage and his planned career, for which he had just been accepted to medical school. One of my colleagues at the Great Desert University came down with it, too. He quit his job and went back to the Rez, whence he had escaped half a lifetime earlier. I, however, have no legal tribal affiliation, so I ain’t a-goin’ to some oasis of peace and quiet in the middle of nowhere. Besides, Oklahoma would not be my thing, anyway. Kayenta, maybe. The White Mountains: absolutely — great place to die! But Oklahoma? Not so much.

So we awoke with dire cosmic worries to contemplate this morning…it’s…oh yeah…back to earth! I forgot to fill up with gas yesterday. It’s a 40-minute drive out to the Mayo — longer than that at this time of day. And I’ve got all of a quarter-tank of gas in the car. So another decision begs to be made?

a. Leave the house ten minutes early and get gas on the way; or
b. Get up off my duff right now, race out, stand in line stand in line stand in line stand in line, and get gas before setting out.

Neither of these appeals one helluva lot more than the proposed test appeals.

Nor does driving through the rush-hour traffic in a fog of exhaustion. Last time I looked at the clock during the night it was 1 in the morning. Finally got to sleep sometime after that. Slept in this morning until almost 6 a.m. So I’ve had about 5 hours of sleep. My eyes feel like they have dust in them — a phenomenon that must have given rise to the “Mr. Sandman” image, hm?

Ohhh well. The coffee’s gone. I’d better get up and start slamming around.

Life as a Splinter in the Foot…

LOL! How’s this for a metaphor: Life is a splinter in your toe.


Why not?

This morning I managed to drug myself with Benadryl so as to sleep all the way through until 5:30 and yet wake up without that Benadryl Feeling of  being locked inside a wad of cotton. The trick: break the pill in two and swallow the smallest piece.

So that’s refreshing…given that I’ve been waking up at three or four in the morning every goddamn day, no matter what time I go to bed. Actually got eight hours of sleep last night, for the first time in longer than I can remember.

But — nothing ever working properly these days, after all — the first thing I discover (well…after being reminded that the busted shoulder still hurts like Hell) is a tiny splinter stuck in the bottom of a big toe. It’s one of those hairlike things that’s so tiny you can’t see it…but not so tiny that it doesn’t sting. Found about where it is, reached for the tweezers, and…yeah… You know the outcome of that.

No tweezers.

Oh well. It wouldn’t matter anyway, because the thing is so tiny I can’t see it.


Honestly. Life has become a whole series of splinters in the toe.

The busted shoulder is more like a log in the toe, come to think of it. That one throws off a cloud of splinters, not the least of which is having to traipse to the physical therapist’s gymnasium every other day (literally!), and on the off-days having to kill an hour in DYI exercises. The PT is appreciated, nevertheless, because those guys have managed to at least return some mobility to the crippled arm. I’m not having to dictate this post, for example — instilling an error in every third frustrating, tooth-grinding word. Even though it’s ever so slightly painful, both hands will now rest upon the keyboard.

This means that late last night I finally finished the client’s 72-page-long Chapter 4, replete with 249(!!!) footnotes. Speaking of splinters in your toe… 😀

That project has caused me to decide that when this book is over, I’m closing the editorial business. Even though it’s an interesting subject, a scholarly study of just about anything will, by its nature, take the “interest” out of the most interesting anything. I am done sitting here for hour after hour after eye-glazing hour plowing through academic disquisitions, no matter what their subject  and no matter what their authors’ grasp of the English language. It’s challenging enough when all is well, but when you hurt so much you can barely think, it’s ridiculous.

And one thing that has become obvious: I just don’t have that many hours, days, weeks, months, or years left in which to plod along relatively pain-free. Indeed, it is entirely possible that I will never be pain-free again.

Yesterday I asked the physical therapist if all this agonizing treatment will work — if there’s any real reason to believe that the shoulder will heal to the extent that it will not hurt all the time. He assured me that yes, sure, right, of course it will.

But…what would one expect him to say, hm?

To get better, I need to get more exercise. But exercising hurts. So…that’s somewhat counterproductive.

Taking the dog for a walk of a mile or two, normally a favorite way to get some mild exercise, is also becoming counterproductive. Really, I need two hands to wrangle the corgi, especially if some other clown comes along with another out-of-control dog.

Last night we went out after dark, because in the present 100-degree temps the hot pavement will burn Ruby’s feet. We’re entering Lower Richistan, walking up the lane that goes into the parklike realms of Upper Richistan, when we see a car parked on our side of the street — the wrong side — with its headlights blasting into our eyes.


So I cross the street to get away from the a$$hole’s high beams.

So he starts his car, crosses over the road to our side of the street, and bears down on us.

No kidding. On the sidewalk.

So I grab the dog and haul her across the neighbor’s lawn, into the middle of the yard.

We miss getting hit, but this little terror kicks off a dramatic reverse-sneezing episode in the dog. She’s horking and horking and gasping for air as this a$$hole drives past, barely missing us. At least he doesn’t actually come up on the lawn.

But now the dog is in bad straits. I consider ringing a neighbor’s doorbell but figure there’s nothing anyone else can do. The dog will either get over it or pass out. If she can’t breathe, she’ll either catch her breath or she’ll die.

I pick up the horking dog — yes, busted shoulder and all — and carry her back up the street toward our house.

By the time we reach Feeder Street N/W, the poor little dog settles down and begins to breathe normally.

We continue our stroll, only through our part of town: the low-rent district.

For a change, no cop helicopters buzz us. That’s something. I guess. The racket from the drag-racing on Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s Way is annoying. Supposedly the city has a noise ordinance that bans unmuffled cars and motorcycles. This is most honored in the ignoring of it, by the cops. The cops ignore the drag-racing, too. When one of the bastard hotrod drivers blasted through the fence of a big lot up on Gangbanger’s that houses a small herd of prize cattle, the homeowner noted that the cop apparently knew the (drunk) driver — and just let him go!

So, no: we don’t walk up in that direction.


My son’s phone rang busy into the night. Since this is unlikely, it means one of two things: either his phone is on the fritz or something has happened to him. This morning I’ll have to try to call him again, probably to no avail. At that point I won’t be able to stand it and so will drive down to his house, which no doubt will annoy him no end.

But I can’t do that this morning because I have the dermatologist today: almost an hour-long traipse out to the west side. That will soak up the entire middle part of the day, plus a quarter-tank of gasoline. Speaking of splinters in your toe.

Oh well. Maybe they’ll have some kind of magnifying glass that can find the real-life splinter.


I’m supposed to traipse out to the Mayo on Friday to be subjected to some HORRIFIC ninety-minute test that entails jabbing needles into your muscles and setting off little electric shocks to see how your nervous system responds.

The drive out there, one way, is 40 minutes on a good day. So in toto we’re talking a total of 40 + 40 + 90 = 170 minutes of torture — given that driving across the homicidal roads here is itself a species of torture. How I’m supposed to drive home from the Mayo, with a busted shoulder, after this new Adventure in Medical Science escapes me. And in fact I’m thinking today I will call and cancel that appointment.

There is, after all, a fukkin’ limit!

The hour grows late. The dog is unfed. And so…away. I guess.

Costco Jeans Redux

Okay, so this morning I traipsed up to the Paradise Valley Costco to return the annoying Buffalo Jeans that did not fit…unlike the identical pair of the same brand and the same size in a different color. As usual, no argument was made.

Checked the women’s clothing department in hopes that MAYBE this branch of the store would still have Gloria Vanderbilts. But no. Of course not.

Asked an employee in the clothing aisle. She said she thought they were discontinued.

Yesterday I did ascertain that you can buy Gloria’s from Amazon — at significantly more than Costco has been charging for the same jeans. Also, many of the styles shown there are not available in all sizes. Annoying.

So I guess after this, it’s off to the country/western store to buy Wranglers. They never fit as well, but at least they’re not stupid stretchy gym tights. Ugh!

Can’t really blame Costco for deciding to change up its stock. After all, I’ve been buying Glorias there for a good 20 years. Maybe more! They can’t carry the same stuff forever. I guess.

Seems like they at least coulda waited till after I shuffle off this mortal coil…

Shopping Adventure in the Absence of Instacart…

In the “How Dumb Can You Get?” department, today I believe I scored a gold medal for Olympic how-dumbness.

This morning I decided nothing would do but what I must drive up to Costco so as to purchase, among other things, two pair of size 12 blue jeans in my favorite brand: Gloria Vanderbilts. My usual size 8s and 10s no longer fit, after the extended period of sedentary solitude occasioned by covid confinement and then by the broken shoulder.

I had tried to put an order through Instacart to achieve this purchase, but ran into an Olympic-sized snafu, and a chucklehead who barely spoke English as their excuse for customer service. After this jerk put me on hold with obnoxious Muzak blasting into my ear at high decibels, I hung up and went on about my way.

Now, if you had been here, you would’ve reminded me that today is Good Friday. And yes, that would be the Friday before Easter, the first big holiday we’ve had in over a year for which large numbers of people imagine that it’s probably-sort-of-kind-of safe to get together with their families. Right?

Pissed as hell with Instacart — whose employee has now become aware that I have checked out and has begun to harass me with nuisance telephone calls — I clamber into the dog chariot and head on up toward Costco, over Phoenix’s homicidal surface streets.

There must’ve been a thousand people inside that store along about 11 AM. I exaggerate not. This store has an enormous parking lot and almost every space was filled. I parked next to a sporting goods store that occupies the pad just to the north of the Costco’s. Under the best circumstances, any given Costco is crowded and hectic. But when the stores are really crowded, they morph into Sites of Nightmare.

So there I am inside this concrete cave trying to get from point A to point B through churning mobs of people, each one of whom believes that she or he is the only person in the place  and navigates accordingly.

Turns out that it was a good thing the scheme to deploy an Instacart runner was foiled. If any such soul  had been sent forth into the fray to try to find a pair of Glorias, they would’ve been flummoxed. Apparently, Costco has decided to quit carrying Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, one of the very few brands that accommodates the rear ends of aging women. All that was left were the sad dregs of their last shipment, clearly meant to be the LAST shipment.

Hell and damnation!

Eventually I decided to experiment with a couple pairs of Buffalo jeans by David Bitton. These are made of stretchy tencel — no, not the desired denim, but the stretch might give them an outside chance of sorta-maybe-kinda fitting. I buy denim jeans for a simple reason: I do not want to live in stretchy athletic tights! I like saggy baggy comfortable jeans. That is why I like Gloria Vanderbilt jeans.


An hour of banging from one wall to the next wall to the next wall to the next wall inside the Costco eventually elicits the dog’s treats, a roast chicken, no make-up of any interest whatsoever, a bottle of cheap Portuguese wine, a box of grapes, a box of Campari tomatoes, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a chunk of blue cheese, a box of blueberries, and…some other stuff, I’m sure. A lengthy stand in line transfers ownership of these items to me and finally I am out the door.

Escape into one’s vehicle is most surely not escape from the madding hordes — this is being, after all, lovely Phoenix: capitol of the lunatic Arizona driver.

I’m making my way home by surface streets, electing not to risk my fellow homicidal drivers’ lives with a one-handed jaunt down the freeway. Incredibly, the southbound I -17 has been detoured onto Conduit of Blight Boulevard! No kidding: four lanes of 70-mile-an hour-traffic is pouring onto a surface street best described as “annoying” during its better moments.  Conduit of Blight is aptly named in the map of my personal geography. It passes through some of the dreariest agèd ticky-tacky in the city. Naturally, the residents are out and about, and — typically– one of them is tooling along blasting everyone around him with his boombox. Literally, the bastard has got the thing blasting so loud that even with all the windows in my car closed, each THUMP from his bass speaker causes my rear-view mirror mirror to vibrate!

This lovely serenade follows me all the way down to Gangbanger’s Way, where I hang a left, dodge away from the bastard, and whip into the ‘Hood. This, need I remind you, is why I do not carry a pistol in my car.

What a place!