Coffee heat rising

b-a-a-a-d human!

Okay, I done dood it. Weaseled out of something that I’m too lazy to be bothered with today, and did it by virtue of a…uhm…prevarication.

I am soooooo sick of the brain-numbing thrice-weekly physical therapy sessions. Not that they’re not helping — to the contrary, I believe they’re speeding things right along. Not that the staff isn’t awesome and great — also to the contrary. They’re totally wonderful.

But…

First off, every session eats up, in effect, the entire goddamn morning. True, they don’t start till 10:30. But by and large I’ve got to go out the door by 10. Which means I’ve got to be bathed and hairwashed (a trick when one arm is almost nonfunctional), fed, painted, and dressed, activities that will absorb upwards of 45 minutes to an hour. And that means I’ve got to get started no later than 9:30. Which means that if I have the temerity to walk the dog before it gets hot, I don’t get much else done between breakfast and exit time. And it’s 11:30 before I get out of the place. Sooo…one could argue that the whole morning is dominated by these repetitive, nothing-new sessions.

And since what they have me doing is the same damn thing, Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday Monday Wednesday Friday into eternity, I fail to see why I can’t do those exercises here, without killing 30 minutes in driving time.

Which is what I intend to do today. Sometime.

Called them and claimed my car’s battery died and I’m waiting on the mechanic to come fix it. 😀

Well. It’s a likely story. And they seem to have fallen for it.

Now that that time-suck is dispensed with:

  • Drive up to the head shop on the way to the university and pick up some THC gummies
  • Proceed from there to the credit union, on the GDU West campus; deposit a thousand bucks worth of CE Desk checks
  • Cruise on from there to Costco; buy the things that an Instacart person cannot be relied upon to choose correctly
  • Return to the Funny Farm; get online to Instacart and order up 50# of birdseed from Costco, plus enough other junk to plump up the required bottom line to $35 so as to get one of their excellent runners to traipse over there, pick up the birdseed, tote it back there, and dump it into the bird-seed barrel (The issue being that I cannot pick up a 50-pound sack, nor am I in any shape to transfer 50 pounds of birdseed into the barrel, one shovelful at a time.)
  • Continue on about my business, which today seems to be perfecting laziness skills

Yes. It entered my furry little head that the store where we bought the marijuana plants might have other products…and yea verily: Look the place up online and discover it functions as a regular head shop.

Very convenient! It’s directly on my beaten path: up the freeway to T-bird (the shopping center is just to the west of the I-17), into the Lowe’s as needed (fortuitously, they’ve installed this dive right in the parking lot with the Lowe’s!), onward to the university to deposit clients’ checks, and straight up 35th Avenue to the Costco. Amazing!

Cheaper by far…

…to get wherever you’re going by riding Ol’ Paint. Whatever hay costs, it can’t be as much as gasoline!

No kidding: yesterday morning on the way to a dermatologist’s appointment, I darted into the new QT gas station that they stuck on the site where a landmark old gringo-Mexican restaurant had stood for many a year. The cheapest gas on offer was $2.95 a gallon!!

Augh! Makes driving all the way across the city to fill up at a Costco begin to make sense.

Maryvale: once a brave new world…

Had to buy gas because the junket to the dermatologist’s office is endless — halfway to freakin’ Yuma. There IS a Costco on the route home — marketing to business customers, not us hoi polloi — and it does have a gas station. Fortunately, I have a business membership. But…wasn’t absolutely sure I could make it all the way to hellandgone to Avondale and then about 2/3 of the way back into Phoenix on the amount of gas still in the tank. And believe me: you do NOT wanna be stuck in lovely Maryvale, hands-down the most threatening slum in the state.

Anyhow, the car is now stocked with a tank of low-test, which should suffice for another two or three weeks.

Think o’that: your basic three bucks a gallon for the lowest-octane stuff.

Eighty bucks to replace the CO/smoke detector that gave up the ghost. That was ducky, too.

No wonder i imagine i should have recourse to psychedelic drugs….arrrghhhh!

Speaking of the which, I found a peddler closer to home!

This joint (heh!) is right across the freeway, in a defunct shopping center. But that notwithstanding, heaven help us: the place delivers! Woo hoo! I’ve arrived in Junkie Nirvana!

****

Flew in through the doctor’s door as the clock rang 1 p.m.  My God what a horror show it is, driving in this freaking city! On the way out, as is not uncommon in Our Fine City, we all wound our way past a crash in a major intersection: two vehicles utterly totaled.

Red lights, you understand, do not apply to Arizona drivers. 😉

Derm didn’t seem to think the new lesions were anything to worry about. Froze them off. Et voilà: half the day blown away! Ain’t that ducky…Ain’t old age grand?

On the way back, I went into Metrocenter, where the cannabis dispensary mentioned above supposedly resides. Nary a sign of it. Turns out — I discovered after I got home and called to ask where they are — that they’re not IN Metrocenter: they’re on an outer fringe road ringing Metrocenter, next to the old Discount Tire.

Was that a strange experience!

Metrocenter is a ghost shopping center — a huge one. If I recall correctly, when it was built it was the largest enclosed mall in the country. That record didn’t stand long, of course…but still…it is a huge structure with dozens and dozens of stores and several large anchor tenants — Sears and Penney’s and Diamond’s (Dillard’s) and Goldwater’s and The Broadway. Two storeys, an ice-skating rink, a movie theater — it was quite a big deal. And it was a vibrant place: everybody went there to shop and to socialize. Now it’s just vacant, except for a bloated Walmart store.

It was kinda creepy to drive around in there. And sad. I wish they’d tear it down and build some other development in its place.

They’re going to run the light-rail boondoggle into the now mostly vacant parking lot, where presumably the bums will be made to get off…that being the future new end of the line. Said train riders come into our neighborhood to loaf and steal because the end of the line is now at the intersection of Conduit of Blight Blvd. and Gangbanger’s Way. If the bums are allowed to ride another few miles — across the freeway and into Metrocenter — then of course they’ll all swarm into the neighborhoods over there and lurk around the businesses in that area.

Once you’re in the area west of the I-17, you’re in a vast sprawl long neglected and indeed reviled by our City Parents, most of whom hail from affluent parts of town…far far away from the Great Unwashed of the West Side. Our August Leaders do not care about the property values and the well-being of the po’ folk who live west of Conduit of Blight…those tracts form a kind of a dust-bin for more affluent parts of the city. So I expect the bums will be given free run of the whole area.

If that’s what they’re going to do, then it would make sense to convert the vast, empty mall into housing, treatment facilities, and care for the homeless. The mall would be perfect for the purpose: dozens and dozens of little stores that could easily be converted into SROs; a built-in chow line; large spaces to use for meetings, job training, drug dry-out, or church proselytization; and office space to house social workers, psychologists, and cops. It’s the stupidest thing…why do city governments never seem to do obvious things that make obvious sense?

Ohhh well. When I got back into the ’Hood, some kind of weirdness was going on. On the east end of the alley, someone had left a vehicle in the middle of the street, midway between my house and the house behind me. No one was around. No one seemed to be in the alley. The car was just sitting there in the road. Cop helicopters were just arriving on the scene, buzzing the neighborhood in general.

Called the dog to the garage door, grabbed a shilelagh, walked through and inspected the house — no sign of entry. Chatted with WonderAccountant: she agreed that the car in the middle of the road was odd, but had seen nothing else out of the ordinary.

Eventually some guy came out of a house across the street, jumped in the oddly parked car, and trundled off.

In the Land of Pot…

Well, that was an interesting experience.

VickyC, her son D, and I made a run on the marijuana dispensary that has sprung up in the Lowe’s parking lot, just down the road from the Great Desert University’s west campus. Though I’ve been in a number of stores in the hippy-dippy mode, I’ve never visited a real, dyed-in-the-wool, hard-core head shop. Man!

They had that place zipped up, down, backward and forward with security. As soon as you walk in the door, they grab your driver’s license and enter all its details into their computer. You do have the option of refusing to give them your phone number, but that is it. Also, these outfits take cash only. No paper trail as to who bought what, when…

The customers, all of them male, looked like normal enough persons. No hippy-dippy aspirations to “style” — they looked mostly like ordinary office workers. But they all spoke the jargon, which is extensive enough that when those for whom it is mutually intelligible take up the subject of cannabis they sound a lot like they’re speaking a foreign language.

We each got a potted…uhm, pot plant. They were not cheap: $20 or $30 apiece. However, VickyC estimates you get about $100 worth of the product off of a single plant. So…it will be interesting to see how that works out.

As we were driving around, our fellow homicidal drivers, a.k.a. The Morons, were out in force. On the way back toward the ’Hood, one fruitcake on a motorcycle swerved into D’s lane right on his front bumper. The clown missed being churned into clown butter by about eight inches. THEN…he did it again!!!!! After Dustin laid on the horn…

Another guy, this one in a car (at least he had some armor around him) also damn near hit us. He was smoking up as he drove, clearly stoned out of his head. Lovely.

Both these incidents occurred on Conduit of Blight Blvd, a fine thoroughfare to avoid at all costs.

At any rate, the little plant, which apparently belongs to a variety called “Banana,” is still in its pot, sitting on the side deck. The wind was really wailing when we got back here, and I didn’t much feel like wrestling with potting soil and water and whatnot in a gale. By sunset, the weather had settled some, but I still didn’t much feel like potting the thing and trying to figure out where to put it. Today…well…

This morning bright & early I have to traipse out to the Mayo…a return visit to the orthopod. Not happy about this: I’m really not feeling at all well…the pain, I guess, is just wearing me down. And I expect a major, MAJOR hassle. Getting parked out there with all the ongoing construction is a gawdawful headache. That’s after driving way to hell and gone up there, which as you can imagine from my description of yesterday’s road antics, is never a fun experience.

The shoulder hurts all the time, and I’m extraordinarily tired of hurting all the time. The joint is now mostly pretty mobile…if you call a stab of pain when you reach your arm up to comb  your hair or take a coffee cup out of a cabinet “mobility.”

To complicate matters, La Maya is in town and wants to get together for lunch. I very much doubt if I’ll be back here much before noon…or even by noon. So just now we’re circling round and round about that. {sigh}

But if she’s here and wanting to trot out to some restaurant, it will delay the pot potting escapade that much more.

Heh heh…I have had exactly nothing to say to my son about said escapade. You may be sure that when he sees that thing in the yard, he will have a sh!t-f!t of Olympean proportions… Conveniently, Gerardo showed up here earlier in the day, so I won’t have to listen to his commentary on my criminal career for at least another month. 😀

Time to turn out of the sack and start getting ready for the day’s hassles…

Soooo…how’s that pot workin’ out for ya?

Good, thankee. Very, very good.

Well…“well,” to be grammatically precise.

As some will recall, a few days ago I took it into my furry little head that I should try a little MaryJane to treat the endless goddamn insomnia and the crazy-making tingling in the hands and feet — the latter a condition known as peripheral neuropathy, whose possible causes range from the benign to the horrific. We now know, after still more time thrown annoyingly into the Bottomless Pit of Medical Science, that I do not have Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, or multiple sclerosis. Still could have Guillaine-Barré syndrome. Still could have a type of leukemia. And we have no idea whether the whole mess could be a reaction to the titanium post that was driven into my upper jaw.

So I’ve tried “edible” cannabis items — cannabis-laced gumdrops known in the trade, cleverly, as “gummies,” but I have chosen not to ingest the CBD oil that I use to relieve the frantic tingling. Apparently you can…but…hmmm. Not to say eewwww!

The gummies take about 45 to 90 minutes before they kick in — so we’re told. I have not found that to be altogether true: they seem to work fairly quickly.

They do take the edge off the pain. When I’m not aggravating things by typing, they cut the hand & foot tingle by about 90% to 95%. Banging on the keyboard, as I’m doing now, brings it right back, but if I would just stay away from the computer, the PN in the hands would be pretty much under control.

Do they help you sleep? Do they help to stifle the Old-Folks’-Wee-Hours Jamboree?

mmmmhhh…. Maybe.

At this point, I’d guess it helps about 80%, give or take. It sure doesn’t keep you asleep all night long.

Normally I wake up at 2:30, toss and turn for an hour or more, then wake up again about 4:00 or 4:30 and am awake for the duration. This means that no matter what time you go to bed, you are NOT gonna feel rested in the morning. Even if you manage to force yourself to go to sleep at, say, 9 p.m., at 2:30 you’ve had all of five and a half hours’ sleep.

The first night I tried fine weed product, a week ago, I slept a good eight or nine hours. Awoke briefly about 3:30 but fell right back to sleep. Nevertheless, I still felt exhausted most of the day, so tired that all I wanted to do was crawl back in the sack. That, however, was out of the question. In addition to fatigue, I also found the old-lady memory issue was much aggravated. I couldn’t remember physical therapy routines, and things the PT said to me would literally go in one ear and out the other…at about the speed of light.

So that was alarming, to say the least.

Then I found that I did seem to be sleeping a little better — once, even eight hours during the night! That hasn’t happened in the recent memory of humankind…

So, with a brief preliminary experience, I’d say that for symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, topical application of products such as CBD oil, CBD cream, and Vick’s Vaporub works considerably better than ingesting small amounts of CBD. It’s not perfect — often the neuropathy overwhelms the calming effect, especially if the fingers dare to dance across a computer’s keyboard.

One study I found reported that patients’ peripheral neuropathy was helped better by vaping a cannabis product than by eating it or by smoking it. My friend VickyC did give me a vape pen. But I haven’t quite figured out to use it. And….well…no.

No, don’t think so.

My mother died — hideously — of lung cancer brought on by smoking tobacco. Seems to me that it doesn’t much matter what you’re smoking; it’s THAT you’re smoking. How does it escape a person that sucking foreign particles into your lungs cannot be good for you? To my mind it doesn’t matter what product you’re puffing in: it’s that you’re puffing in. Same applies to vaping: that London fog you puff out can’t be doing your innards any good.

At any rate, I managed to acquire some edible gummies, and also to peruse the marketing strategies of the local purveyers. Cannabis products are legal in Arizona, and so it’s possible to buy — legally — any number of “therapeutic” party products. And the stuff is sold at various levels: to buy some products, you have to show a medical marijuana card. But, irrationally, other items require nothing more than proof of age. The latter– the gummies, the topical oils, creams, and ointments and the liquid vape product — are available over the counter, no fake “prescription” card required.

So. I gaze upon this remarkable scene and think… uhmmmm…. WHY, again, am I paying you $28 for a bag of 15 cannabis-spiked gumballs?

No kidding! That bag of “ingestibles” contained fifteen small gumballs, to the tune of about two bucks a candy. I’ve been slicing them into halves or quarters and rationing them out, so the truth is, I have no idea what a full dose of the stuff would do.

So it goes…

Forthwith as I contemplate this state of affairs, it strikes me that when a person has a nice, sunny backyard with built-in irrigation and sprinklers on a timer, one has…well. Yes. A farm. If it appears that the stuff really works — and at this moment I think it may — then the desired strategy, obviously, is to grow one’s own!

Indeed. Thereby saving untold numbers of dollars and, to boot, having a real good grip on quality control…

So there’s a store over on the Westside that sells all sorts of innaresting stuff. Among this stuff is marijuana plants. These go on sale each Tuesday morning.

Unfortunately, they sell out within about two hours.

So next Tuesday VickyC and I will be at the establishment’s door when it opens. My plan is to buy at least one but maybe two or three marijuana plants, which will be extraordinarily happy in the Funny Farm’s back yard.

Heh! When we say “Funny Farm,” we ain’t kiddin’!

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.