Funny about Money

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

February 8, 2020
by funny
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The Key to My…

…Continued Business! 😀

So here’s a nice small miracle:

When I came in the door to the garage the other day, the deadbolt jammed and my key got stuck in the lock. After some struggle, I managed to get the key out, then go ’round to the front door to get in. This, three or four weeks after an Anderson Locksmiths guy had come over and supposedly fixed the damn thing.

So I figured it was just worn out — we installed that lock when I moved in, back in two thousand and aught four. So the thing is 16 years old…and that’s the door I pass in and out of all the time. Up to the Depot; buy a new lock. Manage to find another Kwikset just like it!!!!! 

Call Anderson and tell them to come install the lock.

When they show up — two new guys, not the fella who surfaced the last time — they’re floored that I bought a new lock. They say they can fix it.

So they fiddle with the thing a bit, mess with the strike plate, have a good time chatting, and…damned if they don’t have that fine device working like a greased chicken feather! It didn’t work this well when it was new.  A-A-A-A-A-N-D because they discovered the trip was a “re-call” because the thing went back on the fritz after the first guy tried to fix it, they charged me exactly…NOTHING!!!!!!!

They suggested I take the new lock back to the Depot.

But…I’m thinkin’ maybe not. Truly, I was flabbergasted to find one that matched the rather expensive set(s) throughout the house. O’course, I had a job when I moved in here (remember those?), so I could afford to buy Kwikset’s better-than-builder-grade hardware. But how long are they likely to keep on making that line? The lock was pricey. However, if I keep it, I’ll have one on hand if the suspect lock craps out or if another one does.

There are three deadbolts in the house. Two — the ones in the kitchen — are identical. The one on the front door came as part of a fancy front-door set. It’s slightly more elaborate on the part that fits the outside of the door, but the same on the inside. I’m sure I can touch up the door’s paint if I have to replace that lock with this one. If I do stay here until I croak over, one day I may be happy to have this lock.

February 3, 2020
by funny

Jack Frost Is y-Cumin’ In

The Weather Service tells us it’s COLD out there! We noticed, already… 😀 Temps are supposed to go down to 35 tonight and 33 tomorrow night. They’ve revised Wednesday’s 32-degree forecast upward, to a balmy 33. That optimism notwithstanding, they’ve issued a frost warning.

I engineered this change in our weather fortunes singlehandedly: by purchasing a Ficus benjamina and planting it in the pot recently vacated by the sickly rubber plant. Ficus, as you may know, is frost-sensitive. But I’d already subjected it to potentially killing stress a couple days ago…really, it’ll be an amazing surprise if that thing lives to see the middle of March.

Well, to get this new ornamental house-tree into the gigantic pot I wanted to put it in, I needed Gerardo the Wonder Lawn Dude’s help. The rubber plant reached up to the roof, and I figured it would be too large and heavy for me to manage. The plan was to ask him to pull out that plant whenever he next came around.

Meanwhile, SDXB called and invited himself over, craving company and some kind of time-killing junket. Couple days ago, he surfaced at 9 a.m. sharp, ready to roll.

Naturally, Gerardo and his boys showed up  just as SDXB did. I asked them not only to extirpate the moribund rubber plant but also to install the newly purchased ficus in its huge ceramic pot. This was, we could justly say, a mistake. What is the matter with me?

Was there some reason I could not have figured out, beforehand, that Gerardo is a landscape maintenance dude, not a nurseryman? Why would I imagine he would know anything about how to pot a plant? Or how to transplant a potted plant from Pot 1 to Pot 2? Whaaa?

In the first place, they  busted the rolling stand the thing perches on. So he took the wheels off it, placed the remains of the top on the ground, and plopped the pot on top of it. On the deck, where it belongs? Where it’s sheltered by the patio roof? Hell, no: they left it on the surface next to the deck, where the plant would get the full blast of sun and frost.

With the dirt, the plant, and water in it, I could not even budge the pot, much less lift it six inches and leverage it into place on the deck.  The thing was so heavy, I couldn’t even scoot it onto the dolly so as to try to leverage it up on that thing. Need we be reminded that ficus is frost-sensitive?

Come Wednesday, that plant promises  to be a dead ficus.

Its only hope was for me to pull it out of the pot. dig the dirt out of the pot , then lift the pot onto the deck. Then refill the pot and replant the ficus.

To do that, though, I had to drive way to hell and gone up to Home Depot and buy a new rolling plant stand thingie to replace the deceased. That of course consumed an hour of the day.

And the rest of the day? Fully cannibalized by the replanting project.

I had to dig the soggy, wet dirt out from around the plant’s root ball, dump it into the wheelbarrow, lift out the plant and set it aside, then dig out the rest of the even soggier, wetter dirt and deposit that in the barrow. Then and only then was the huge blue ceramic pot “light” (hah!) enough for me to lift.

In the process, I found Gerardo’s guys had recycled the dirt from the rubber plant, dumping it back into the pot. And lo! What should I find dwelling in the stuff but nice, big, fat paloverde beetle grubs. Three of ’em. Shee-ut!

Welp, that’s three fewer paloverde beetles to depredate the land. And it explains what ailed the rubber plant — the things eat the roots of plants growing where Mom lays her eggs.

Next, I needed to apply some of the insecticide that is believed to at least make a small dent on this creature’s ever-growing population. But, too tired at the end of the day to continue, decided to put that chore off.

Til today, for example?

The frost is about to be on the palm!

Not so much. With hysterical FROST WARNINGS emanating from the government and the media, I figured I’d better drag the smaller potted plants inside and then cover the larger ones — including the twice-transplanted ficus — with drop cloths.

This, it developed, turned into one bitch of an all-day project.

To start with, several of the shop lights I use to warm the air around the potted plants that have to be left outside on cold nights had gone missing. I needed two more. Plus lightbulbs to go in them. Plus some other bits and pieces of junk. Sooo…it was back to Home Depot…again.

Came away with those and some 100-watt incandescents (these new damned LED lights not only fail to emit light that doesn’t hurt your eyes, they fail to emit warmth). Every time I spot incandescent bulbs, I grab a bunch to add to my stash. In-fuckin’-furiating!

Oh well.

I also bought a new Kwikset deadbolt to replace the one the locksmith claimed was jamming because the key was worn out. Galloping Bull Shit, that: the lock jammed again yesterday. And the other two locks, which also work with the same key, operate with no problem. So now I’ve got to get a locksmith over here to install that, to my annoyance. Later.

Back at the Funny Farm… I had forgotten how much work it is to hang all those frost covers. Seven or eight of them, most of which have to be tied up or tied down, with the help of a ladder, a hammer, a box of nails, and a bag of curtain rings. It’s been quite awhile since we’ve had a hard frost here — five or six years, at least. And during that time I’ve grown, well…commensurately older. Dragging that ladder and all those old sheets around and climbing up and down and up and down and up and down and zip-tying and hooking and farting around is a great deal more tiring in 2020 than it was the last time I did it.

None of these tergiversations were  helped by cold gusts of wind, which came up in the afternoon. Every time I’d get a length of cloth in place, the wind would pick it up before I could tie it or weight it down with a rock. So, many a haul and a stretch and a throw had to be done two or three times.

I’m afraid I’m finally beginning to feel my age. Which is, we might say, considerable.

February 2, 2020
by funny

Ruby to the Rescue!

So we’re strolling along a sidewalk in Lower Richistan. It’s after noon, Ruby having had to wait until the Human got back from church to extract a DoggyWalk. As we approach the border of Upper Richistan, we spot a black cat up ahead. It’s messing with something on the sidewalk, presumably some prey it’s killed.

Ruby is more interested in wallowing in the neighbors’ lawns — her favorite pastime, since most yards in the po’ folks’ part of the ‘Hood are desert-landscaped, grass being something that is put out of the hoi polloi’s reach by the cost of water here. So I suggest, “Ruby! Lookit that cat. Git that cat!”

Of course she can’t get it, because she’s stuck on a leash. If I didn’t think she’d chase the thing to Yuma, I’d unhook her. But she can’t be trusted not to run out in front of a car or to follow the cat to Timbuktu. However, the cat hears me and so notices our approach, and it runs away.

I expect to find a dead bird or rat on the sidewalk. But…nay!

It’s a freaking tortoise! A little desert tortoise (endangered species!) about six or eight inches long and around five inches wide. It peeks its head out from its shell to see what the heck.

I ask a kid biking around on a neighbor’s front yard if he knows who belongs to the tortoise. He pretends not to hear me. He’s only about 10, but already his parents have trained him to recognize WT and not respond. Snobsville, and we ain’t even in Snottsdale. Hm.

Not wanting to leave the critter to amble across the roads, I pick it up.

Tortoise recoils inside his shell. Then sticks his head out, realizes he’s in the air, and sticks out his fiercely clawed little feet, which he now uses to try to force the human to unhand him.

I’m trying to figure out how to get a grip on him that’ll last long enough to carry him home, when voilà! Hustling up the sidewalk comes a tribe of dithering humans, led by a visibly distressed female.

“Have you seen a tortoise?” asks the chieftain. She’s so upset she’s almost in tears, and the males she has in tow are not in much better shape.

“You mean this one?”

They practically genuflected on the sidewalk, they were so thrilled and relieved to find their…uhm…pet.

The desert tortoise is protected by law. Fish & Game has a program where you can “adopt” a tortoise and keep it in your yard, registered and checked-on by AZ F&G. They have all sorts of regulations whereby you must house the beast. And no doubt they figured they were about to get in big trouble with Big Brother, to say nothing of losing their beloved baby.


So. Ruby saved the tortoise. And saved the day.


January 29, 2020
by funny

And the Evening Not to Be Outdone by the Day…

So I come rolling in to the ‘Hood from choir along about 9:30 p.m. and see, buzzing over the southwestern precincts, a low-flying and very angry-looking cop helicopter. He’s in hot pursuit of someone, apparently fleeing down Conduit of Blight Boulevard. But he’s not alone. To the north and also to the west, another cop copter is hovering over my old house, scanning the intersection of Conduit of Blight and Gangbanger’s Way.

By the time I get the car stashed in the garage and the pooch out in the side yard to pee, the dragonfly to the south is circling Conduit of Blight and Main Drag South, and the one to the north is over the crummy apartments and the senior-citizen trailer park above Gangbanger’s. Wring out the dog to the lovely serenade of buzzing helicopter engines, fly back inside, and lock the doors.


Welcome home!

It’s never boring around this place.

January 29, 2020
by funny

Dear Credit Union: What ARE you thinking?

This morning I finally bestirred myself to open the stacks and stacks of not-quite-junk-mail, pesty notices, Important Tax Information, and statements and bills that have to be attended to, sooner or later. And what should pop out of an envelope from the credit union but not one, not two, but THREE negotiable (-looking) blank checks in my name, with my  credit union account number them, along with an invite to hurry right out and cash them.


Turns out they’re an offer to fork over chunks of cash from my line of credit.

Yes. I have an old, unused line of credit with that august institution, one I took out when I was doing some renovations to my previous house…from which I moved some 16 years ago. I haven’t borrowed on that account in a good 20 years, but apparently it’s still very much alive. And the worthies of the credit union very much wish I would please rack up some more interest on a nice fat loan.

The things looked just like checks for an ordinary checking account. The sales pitch: fill these out in the amount you want, take it in, and cash it. Soooo simple!

HOLY ess-aitch-ai! You sent that to the mail thieves and the trash scavengers, dear Credit Union?

They may not be truly negotiable. But they sure look like they are. All it would take is a smart trash scavenger (or his boss) to engineer some fake ID with my name and address on it, hand it to his girlfriend, and send her in with a five- or ten-thousand-dollar check to manufacture a real nasty surprise for me.

Honest to God. What possesses people?

So I had to take a break from ripping open envelopes, filing, and trashing to send a written request to those chuckleheads: please do not mail me anything that looks even faintly like a negotiable instrument.

Into the shredder the things went. But…what an annoyance!

January 26, 2020
by funny

It’s the Little Things That Count…

Ever feel like the dopiest little things make you feel as gratified as the occasional major triumph? Maybe more so?

Case in point: the blue jeans ironing-fest.

Thanks to Costco’s bargains, I live in jeans. Hardly ever wear anything else. For years, I’ve pressed these fine garments every time they were washed. Because…well…because. Not until a young fellow choir member gasped, as she was climbing behind me up the stairs to the loft, “You iron your jeans??” did it strike me that this was weird behavior. They’re cotton. They wrinkle when you wash them. They’re tacky. They look less tacky when they’re pressed. So I press them.

Admittedly, though, it’s a bit of a tedious job.

Tiring of tedious jobs and feeling liberated by her surprise at the very thought of ironed jeans, over time I quietly gave up pressing denim. Nobody seemed to notice.

Nobody but me, that is…

This evening as I lifted three pairs of jeans off the rack by the washer by way of hauling back to the closet, I reflected that these things just look scruffy! I hate unironed jeans. It also occurred to me that the other three pair I’d just pulled out of the washer and hung up to dry would probably dry looking pressed if I ironed them right that minute, while they were wet. Hmmm…

Looked like that would work. Sooo…while the iron was hot, out came the rest of the baggy jeans from the closet. By the time Rachel Maddow had finished holding forth, I’d ironed ten pairs of jeans, each with nice straight creases running up the legs.

Hot diggety!

Speaking of Costco, by yesterday the Venza was about out of gas. So along about mid-morning I capitulated and traipsed down to the store by the Bum’s Park, which often has the cheapest gas in town.

That, as you might guess, means it has the longest lines in town. {cringe!} Saturday morning: I expected to sit there and sit there and sit there. But resigned myself to that fate, because I’d kept the gasoline wolf from the door a few days earlier by buying a couple gallons from the rapacious QT up by the canal and did not wish to endure another emergency rip-off so soon.

So it was down to the Costco. Long line turning left off Bethany Home onto 15th…and of course every car turned right onto Montebello, headed for the store’s entrance. One guy cruised straight on through the intersection behind the store. Gone! But another guy crossed into the intersection from the left, coming from the rather dire apartments that border Bum’s Park.

But WHOA! He didn’t glide into the gas station’s lot — a miracle. He just proceeded straight for the parking lot. The truck right in front of me, though, did dodge into the station. How many gallons does a pickup hold? Eighty??

Mirabilis! The guy didn’t realize or didn’t care that Costco’s gas tank hoses are extra-long, so that you don’t have to park your vehicle with the gas tank lid next to the pump to fill up. Poor guy plodded over to join a line that would put his gas tank as close to the pump as possible. A long line.

And then another miracle: here’s a pair of pumps with only one car parked in their lane. And the woman hogging both pumps has just put the pump handle back, collected her receipt, and climbed into her car. I nuzzle up behind her. She dawdles but eventually starts her engine and putters away. HOLY mackerel! I’ve gotten to a pump in a matter of seconds! And without anyone barging in front of me to cut me off.

So I got in there and out in just a few minutes, rather than the 10 or 15 minutes I expected. A-N-N-N-D…I paid 22 cents a gallon less than the QT charged!

Definite major minor triumph. Ohhh the smugness!

Doesn’t take much to make some people’s day, does it? 😀