Funny about Money

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

November 11, 2019
by funny

What WERE we thinking?

So I’m sitting here thinking about the ’Hood, about whether I should stay here, whether I should move. It really isn’t very safe. Over the past couple of weeks it’s been one damnfool thing after another:

  • Drunk driver swerves off Main Drag South up Feeder Street N/S, crashes across a resident’s front yard, and ends up rolled in the park.
  • Sh!theads recorded on Ring cameras serially raiding neighbors’ cars.
  • Sh!theads retrieve garage door opener from a car an idiot resident left parked overnight in their driveway, open garage door, rifle cars and contents of garage.
  • “. . .white Subaru WRX sedan with loud exhaust and no rear bumper racing up and down Neighborhoood Ln . . . . must have been going 50 mph zooming up and down the street a couple times. He nearly hit my six year old son.” (FB Nextdoor page)
  • “. . . 3 very loud bangs (like 5 mins ago)? Sounded like gun shots to me.” (Ibid.)
  • “Today a horrible thing happen to me outside of Target on 19ave and Bethanyhome a women tried to kidnap my girls! As I was walking out with Mila in the target cart and Ella in her car seat inside the target cart a women talking very loudly in the parking lot said oh she has beautiful eyes… I looked at the women about to say oh thank you but she shrugged at me and said oh I’m sorry so I assumed she was talking on her Bluetooth and not to us. as I start getting closer to the Jeep she comes up behind me and my mom and says that’s my daughter she has my eyes! In that moment I couldn’t believe what this crazy bitch was saying and she kept repeating it and getting louder and then I hear her say Travis! Hurry up the baby is right here come get the baby!!! In my mind I was freaking the duck out I grabbed Mila and told my mom stay right here with ella I’m gonna put Mila in the car. I strapped Mila in and locked the door just Incase that women tried and opened it. I came around and told my mom we need to go now! As I’m getting the car seat out the cart this crazy women is still yelling that’s my baby god is going to strike you dead! I turned to put Ella in the Jeep and she grabs me by the hair and pulled the car seat and all I remember is my mom pushed her and I frantically started hitting her in the face! This women ATTEMPTED to take my child!!!!! I was yelling at her I will KILL you!!!! As all this was happing people are coming out their cars recording me with their fuxking phone instead of helping! Like are you fuxking serious my kids are in danger and all you idiots are just there recording me!!! Only one person tried to help me and asked if I was ok! I had no problem beating that women up but the only thing I could think of was who is this Travis she’s calling for??? What if he comes and hits us and takes my girls!!!! I finally got all of us in the Jeep and god knows I could careless if I ran her over! She took off but I did call the police and they arrested this crazy bitch!!!! She will be charged with assault and attempted kidnapping! Please please don’t ever ever look away not for one second! I was gonna do everything in my power to prevent her from even touching my babies.” (Ibid)  (She’s talking about the Costco shopping center that serves the North Central district…the one where we’re told the company will close the store when the lease runs out…)
  • “Be on the lookout for a grey car (possible Chevy Malibu) with a busted out back window. The driver stole lawn equipment about 30 minutes ago from our landscaper’s trailer. My husband opened the garage door and the guy took off, but had already loaded several things in the car. So bold in broad daylight and heavy traffic! And terribly frustrating for someone who works hard for a living.” (lbid)
  • ” I came home from work tonight (5:15 pm) and discovered my truck had been ransacked today. Definitely today since it was fine when I left for work this morning. They stole a couple of small items, pepper spray and a multi-tool.” (lbid)
  • “Person walking our neighborhood checking mailboxes and then got in this vehicle. [Photo of nondescript pickup posted.] Keep an eye out! Non emergency called with description.” (lbid)
  • Number of drug rehab outfits in our zip code: 7. Number in next zip code directly to the east: 0 (AHCCCS, Annual Report: Substance Use Treatment Programs, State Fiscal Year 2018)

Claro que this area isn’t very safe, even though it’s hot with the young gentrifying set. If I were to unload this house and net, say, $325,000 on it, I could afford to buy in a number of much less drug-ridden, crime-ridden venues:

  • Sun City
  • Fountain Hills
  • Oro Valley (a Tucson suburb)
  • The vast tracts of elbow-to-elbow ticky-tacky north of the 101
  • Yarnell, by damn!

Trouble is, big-city headaches aside, I like my house. I like my yard, I like my pool, I like my neighbors. And for what I could get on a sale of the house, I could not buy anything comparable, anywhere.

Adding another layer of complexity to the issue: I’ve been here and done this before. The first house DXH and I bought was a beautiful old place in the historic Willo district of mid-town Phoenix. Like my present neighborhood, this area suddenly became a favorite of the young, the affluent, and the upwardly mobile. We all flocked in there, bought the pretty old 1920s and ’30s houses, madly fixed them up, inflated their value, and created a HOT gentrified district. To give you an idea: that house, which we bought for $33,000 and sold about 15 years later for $130,000, was recently on the market for one million dollars.

The Willo area and its adjacent, more upscale Palmcroft district were indeed dangerous, especially to a woman who didn’t happen to have a German shepherd or a man watching over her 24/7. Like the ’Hood, the area was overrun with homeless drug addicts and (in those days) alcoholics. Per capita drug use in our zip code was the highest in the city. How dangerous was it?

Well, let’s see…

  • In the first week we lived there, we were awakened in the wee hours by cops swarming around our yard, glaring flashlights and spotlights shining in our bedroom window.

“Should I call the cops?” I asked Hubby, reaching for the bedside phone.

“No,” said he, “I think it is the cops.”

Yea verily, they were soon at the front door, demanding to search the house. Their crew was pursuing a cat burglar/rapist who was on the run from one of the neighbors’ houses. This fella’s MO was to slip into a darkened house, make himself to home for awhile, then pounce the sleeping residents, tie up the man, and rape the woman in front of him. Poor fella had been caught in the middle of a midnight snack by an awakened occupant, and he ran off before he got to the main act.

After the excitement subsided, we went back to bed.

Right at dawn, we heard a strange noise: S-c-c-r-a-a-a-a-p-e rumble rumble rumble…THUMP whack whack whackety whack WHACK!

Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’ in dry garden with Euphorbia myrsinites, Lavandula and Gaillardia

Turned out the perp had indeed run into our backyard, as the cops suspected. But when he got there he found an old, rotten wooden ladder that DXH had propped up against the back side of the house (the walls were about 20 feet high) in a failed effort to figure out how to turn the rooftop heater on. He’d left it there for the service guy he planned to call the next day…and forgot about it. When the poor schmuck tried to climb down, a rung broke under his weight and he fell all the way down to the ground, narrowly missing a Spanish dagger agave.

  • Then there was the time I was sitting on the floor typing a seminar paper in front of the TV set, while DXH was at a firm meeting. It was well after dark — he usually didn’t get home until after 10 p.m. I keep hearing this “rustle-rustle-rustle” sound from the service porch, which I think is the cats (we had several) scratching around in their sandbox. I reach a stopping point in the research paper I’m typing and get up to see what the cats are doing out there. When I walk into the laundry room, I see the latch on the side door wiggling up and down.

Holy shit.

This was before there were wireless phone extensions, and LONG before cell phones. It was also before we inherited the neighbor’s German shepherd. I run through the house to front door, fling it open to the screened front courtyard, and scream FIRE!  FIRE! FIRE! CALL THE FIRE DEPARTMENT! HELP! F-I-I-R-E!!!!!!

This brings out the neighbors, who no matter how reluctant they may be to rescue you from an assault will cheerfully come out to watch your house burn down. It also spooks the would-be rapist — a couple of the neighbors watch him jump on his bike and take off down the alley.

That was interesting.

  • And the time my friend Retha and I were hanging out at another neighbor’s house. Those folks were out of town, and they’d asked me to keep an eye on the place and said we could use their pool as desired. So Retha and I were loafing at the pool.

We heard a lot of sirens down the street, cops carrying on. But we didn’t think anything about it. Police activity was commonplace, and with a fire station around the corner, sirens roared around all the time.

Yes. We didn’t think anything of it until the evening news came on. That was when we learned that the elderly lady who lived at the end of the street had come home from the beauty parlor, parked her car in her garage, strolled inside, and encountered a hopped-up burglar. He attacked her, grabbed an axe from inside the garage, and chopped her to death!


Retha and her husband Ron moved out of the neighborhood shortly after that. Huh. Wonder why?

  • Then there was the night that DXH and I came home late one evening. He crashed in bed and fell straight to sleep, which meant I couldn’t get to sleep, because he would snore so exuberantly that if I didn’t get to sleep before him, I wasn’t going to get to sleep. Sooo…I got up and went into the living room to sleep — in the altogether — on the sofa.

By this time we had inherited the neighbors’ German shepherd, who, thank God, came to us when those two divorced and moved away.

So I’m sleeping there, not very well, when I wake up and see a flashlight flickering around in the kitchen.

Here’s what goes through a young mother’s mind when she is awakened at three in the morning:

ooooohhh! The power must have gone out and John must have gotten up to get the baby a bottle.

I hear the Greta, the German shepherd — now quite aged and half deaf — go “boof?” from outside the bedroom door, off a hall on the other side of the house from the kitchen.

Still imagining the flashlight wielder in the kitchen is my husband, I go “John?”

When Greta hears my voice, she EXPLODES! She ROARS into the kitchen and goes after the poor schmuck whose flashlight beam is now soaring around as he frantically seeks a way out. The dog is between him and the door he came in, and she is about to send him back to his Maker. Instants before this re-introduction, he finds the side door (the one the would-be rapist had tried to enter, some years previously), yanks it open, flies out through it, and slams it shut in the dog’s face.

Still completely ignorant, I walk into the kitchen and find my husband standing there.

“Who was that man?” he asked.

“What man?”

Yeah. Well. I came rather too close to finding out, hm?

Still, we persisted in living in that house, living in that highly questionable neighborhood. Like the present ’Hood, Encanto was bordered on the south by a decrepit area (since much gentrified) and by slums on the west side, extending westward ever westward. The ’Hood, today, is bounded on the north side and on the west side by meth slums. The west side of Phoenix is, shall we say, low-income all the way out to Sun City, mile on mile on mile of seedy development that was cheaply built when new and is falling apart today. Falling apart, and crime-infested.

Retha and her husband Ron moved out. The divorcing friends across the street moved out. The neighbors with the pool moved out. Property values continued to increase. So did the crime rate. It was unsafe to let our son play outside unless the neighbor’s housekeeper was there with her employer’s little boy and would stand out there watching them every instant. We could, of course, not put him in the local public school — all of the lawyers’ and doctors’ kids in the area went to expensive private schools.

Finally, we threw in the towel and moved, too. I think what persuaded us was the transient who walked into a dirty-shirt law office on McDowell, the main drag just to the south of us, and caught the office’s legal secretary in the act of fixing coffee before her employers came in. God told him she was the Devil, so he murdered her on the spot.

  • Not very long after we moved out one of our former neighbors called to chat and reported that something had happened at Retha and Ron’s former house — right next door to the home of one of the women who used to babysit our son. The new residents were an affluent young professional couple. He traveled for work a lot, and was often out of town.

Ron and Retha had installed an elaborate burglar alarm system in that house, which was a large and sprawling place. The only window that was not alarmed was one of those tiny little bathroom windows, the kind of thing that slides open about 18 inches, just enough to allow air to ventilate the room after a shower.

The guy had been watching the wife for months, and he’d been studying the house. He knew where all the alarmed doors and windows were, and he had observed that this window was not alarmed. He also knew when her husband was out of town.

So one evening he entered the house through this window. Surprised the woman, captured her, and spent the entire night raping and beating her. How she survived, I do not know, and nor do I know what possessed him to leave without killing her. Maybe he thought he had killed her.

I really disliked our new neighborhood. It was full of snobs who wouldn’t have anything to do with White Trash like me, and the houses were 1950s look-alike ranchers, pretty boring by and large. What friends I had were all at the university, which was even further from North Central than from Encanto. For me, it was an unhappy place to live. But at least it felt safer.

Probably because by then we not only had the German shepherd, we had another big dog, too.

But really, the question is what possessed us to stay in Encanto as long as we did? We did love the house, which was spectacularly beautiful. We did have nice neighbors, though the older ones were dying off and the ones our age were moving away. It was close to DXH’s office and relatively close to the university. But…resident drug-addicted bums sleeping in your yard and any car you forgot to lock? Rapists? Ax murderers? What WERE we thinking????

So…{sigh}. Today I find myself in the same predicament: Great neighbors. Central location. Lovely home. Beautiful yard. And…constant cop flyovers, wackshit incidents every week, none of the inner-city medical facilities are adequate to the kind of emergency I’m likely to experience, and…hey! Listen to that! Here comes a siren wailing up Conduit of Blight Blvd, even as we scribble…

Among the several discouraging issues…

  • First, it’s an expensive godawful hassle to move. I really don’t wanna do that again.
  • I don’t know how much longer I’ll live, but I figure not more than another ten to fifteen years. Do I really want to make myself crazy moving to some other house for that brief a period? Can I really not hold out, pistol in hand, for a few more years?
  • Newer housing is just flat not as desirable as houses built on lots with some elbow room between the neighbors and with walls made of WALLS, not plasterboard and styrofoam.
  • The “safer” middle-class areas, while priced about the same as this part of the ’Hood, are mile on mile on endless look-alike mile of ticky-tacky. You may want to live in a house that looks just like your neighbor’s and your next neighbor’s and your next neighbor’s, but I sure as hell don’t.

So…what am I thinking? What on earth to do?

I dunno. What we have here are a lot of small to medium-size plusses and one HUGE negative (in the form of nearby crime- and drug-ridden slums). Or, we could say, a huge negative in the form of a society that does nothing to deal with its exploding problem of mentally ill drug addicts…possibly because no one has found any consistently successful way to do that.

Far as I can see, there are two potential solutions:

  • One is to stay here and hope for the best. I have a noisy little dog and I am armed to the teeth. And it’s never too late, I suppose, to adopt another German shepherd.
  • The other is to move.

Neither of those strikes me as ideal.

When in doubt, I suppose…don’t.

November 8, 2019
by funny
1 Comment

Found: Lost Gadget. Found: Food!

As suspected, simply waiting for enough time to pass caused the missing two-cup Pyrex measuring cup to reappear. To say that nascent senility is much like gazing into a Magic 8-ball is…well, no exaggeration. Things go missing. They disappear into the air. They stay gone for awhile. And then one day they surface, as if by magic, in some perfectly reasonable spot where, no doubt, they have been residing all along.

So where was the damn thing?

Where else? In the dish drainer, in the kitchen sink. Exactly where anyone who had recently filled a measuring cup with water would place it to drip dry.

Why could I not find it? NO idea. I must have looked right at it at least four times while thrashing around searching for the damn thing.

In defense of my idiot self, I will say that it was sitting beneath a sieve-type colander made of steel mesh. One could argue that this object was a bit of a distraction. After all, I was looking for a glass container, not a screen bowl. But still…it’s not what you’d call “opaque.”

All that thrashing around for… what?

Ohhh well.

To my delight, I discovered that the recovered glass measure is indeed the OLD version, made in the USofA, not the cheesey Chinese product that is pawned off on US consumers today. That is, if you believe the remarks of Amazon customer reviewers, who claim that the original Pyrex can be recognized by the type font used for the painted on brand name. The genuine original was marked PYREX — in all caps. The knock-off is marked in lower-case type, as the one in the image above: pyrex. Yes! Mine IS all caps. 😀

Also found this morning: breakfast.

Lightheaded with hunger, as dawn cracks I stumble into the kitchen behind the dog. I’m fuckin’ starved…and realize i have got to eat! must have FOOD!

None of the rather vile and flavorless items I’ve decided to substitute for the cheese and fruit that I usually eat in the morning is working. I just can’t gag that stuff down — I mean, the various fine dishes I’ve imagined might take the place of my favorite chow. Let us be honest: if it doesn’t have cholesterol in it, it just freaking doesn’t taste very good!

The result is, I go hungry all day because I feel awful from the bronchitis, and because I’m not eating I’m getting sicker and sicker. By noon I can hardly drag myself out of bed, and I certainly don’t feel like fixing a full meal. Or any meal.

So this morning I decided it doesn’t much matter whether I die of a heart attack or of malnutrition. Fuck it! And broke out a slab of fine Leicestershire cheese.

Breakfast, then:

  • Suicidal cheese
  • Toast
  • An apple
  • Coffee

Interestingly, I haven’t died yet. Felt noticeably better most of the day — even managed to walk the dog about 3/4 of our usual route (she hasn’t been out more than twice since this fiasco started four weeks ago!). Still spent many, many hours in bed, but felt like I might live to one day clean house again.

A day or two ago, I bought a package of free-range chicken thighs. Put those on the grill this afternoon, along with some asparagus and a package of rice to reheat. Not too inedible. This little feast is still sitting on my stomach like a rock…but at least I’m not hungry, for a change.

My poor little pooch must think the globe has stopped rotating on its axis and revolving around the sun. About the only exercise she’s getting entails luring the Human out of bed and out to the treat jar in the kitchen. This, of course, is making her fat. The Human’s not exactly getting skinny, either, come to think of it.

November 7, 2019
by funny

How much longer, dear Lord?

“Probably at least four more weeks, wimpy Human…”


So I picked this bug up on the 15th from the Mayo’s ER. That was about three weeks ago. Not all that long ago, but yes, God is (as usual) right: I am a wimp. Videlicet: I am damn tired of being sick!

The last time I enjoyed a comparable bug, it took four months to get over it. This would suggest we have another three months or so to listen to me whine…assuming a bolt of lightning doesn’t shut me up before then.

Maybe that’s what the recent blast from the clouds was all about? A divine comment, on the order of “Please shut up!”

Ruby the Corgi is no more pleased with the whiny Human than is God Herself. Most offensive: the dog walks have come to an abrupt halt. We’ve managed two strolls with the dog over the past three weeks, one of which ended when I couldn’t get enough air into my chest to keep going. My enthusiasm for being dragged through Upper Richistan, it must be allowed, has fallen to exactly nil.

Worse yet, the Human keeps climbing into the bed and parking there. Not wanting to be rousted out of a snooze by a dog campaigning to get onto the bed, the critter insists on lifting the Dog up there, too…willy nilly. In the Dog’s case, the sentiment is more nil than will.

This predicament elicits the gratifyingly terrifying Llama Drama from the Dog. She perches on the edge of the bed’s footboard and leans precariously over, peering down into the void as though she were contemplating plunging from the top of the Andes’ highest peak. This is part of an elaborate dance whose ultimate purpose is to extract a doggy treat.

The Human, alarmed lest the Dog decided to throw itself onto the tile floor — thereby creating an elaborate veterinary bill, to say nothing of two or three hours of frenzy — now has to get up and gently lift the Dog off the bed. Result? The ever-effective Doggy Treat Dance, in which the Dog does a joyful whirling dervish thing, up the hallway and out to the kitchen.

No, she does not want to go out. (Are you kidding? It’s dark out there!) She wants a doggy treat, and she will not give up until she gets one.

Very effective. The Human goes back to bed. The Dog, munching, retires to her nest beneath the toilet.


I’ve lost my beloved two-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Where it could be, I cannot imagine. One of the less charming functions of old age is the habit of setting things down and then forgetting where you put it. Hours may go by, days may go by, yea verily even weeks may go by, and the beloved object is GONE.

Eventually, you may find it…but…not until you have replaced it.

Alas, though, this particular item cannot be replaced, except by a piece of Chinese junk. The only way I’ll be able to find one like it will be to find one in an antique store someplace.

Goodie. Just what I feel like doing when I’m at Death’s Door: stumbling from Goodwill to St. Vincent de Paul to the Mormons’ second-hand store searching for a piece of real Pyrex.

It couldn’t have gone far. Either I set it down carelessly and can’t remember where or the cleaning lady put it “away,” in which case I’ll never find it. Another possibility: I could have dropped it in the trash. But fortunately, I haven’t taken the trash out to the alley in days. So…tomorrow I’ll have the pleasure of fishing through the two trashcans in the garage, one piece at a time. The likelihood that it’s in the garbage is almost nil…but…I can’t afford to take that chance.

Ohhh gawd, i am soooo sick! The last thing I feel like doing is driving from pillar to post trying to replace that thing in a thrift shop. Let’s hope it resurfaces soon, like a dim message in the inky Magic Eight-Ball of my life.

November 6, 2019
by funny
1 Comment

HOLY Good Morning, America!!

Dog and I were rousted out, along about 6 a.m., by a mighty blast of lightning. Holy mackerel! Because it was prefaced by an ominous rumble, I thought it was an explosion at first. Another meth lab bites the dust? But quick enough you could see the blue flashes of lightning flickering through the draperies.

Will, our neighborhood town cryer, noted it on the ’Hood’s Facebook page. A whole slew of followers commented. One woman thought a plane had hit the house. Another brilliant soul went outside to check it out (forgodsake — why not wear a TV  antenna attached to the beanie on your head, too?)

Covered the BBQ, but the kite-like wicker chairs on the side porch were still outside, so I had to race out and drag those in the house. Not much wind came up, though, and just a spattering of rain. Wunderground reports a 60% chance of rain today, dropping off tomorrow, and then back to a noticeable level over the weekend. Should be innaresting.

And the pool dude just came and went…yay!  That gent has turned out to be a large success. Very, very nice man — and pleasantly chatty, which is nice when the person is only around for 20 minutes or so. Even though I haven’t lifted a finger since he started working here, the pool looks gorgeous — ALL the time, not just for the 10 minutes after it was cleaned. Dunno how he’s doing that, but I think he’s worth every penny he charges.

Now I’m going to be forced to get up off my duff and drive to the grocery store, it being after 9 a.m. so I can turn left out of the ’Hood. The bronchitis seems to be letting up, just a bit, and so I’m hoping it will be about gone in another week or two. Even after two 15-hour nights of sleep, plus another 9 hours last night before this morning’s little freshet, I still feel so tired I can barely stumble around. Driving the car seems contraindicated, but there’s no other way to get food. Soooo…

The low-cholesterol diet regime is, IMHO, just about as obnoxious as the bronchial infection. It’s darned hard to think of anything to eat for breakfast that I want to eat, that is low in fats, and that tastes good. The guacamole scheme was a FAIL, as of course is anything spread on bread, which makes me blow up like a balloon. A couple pieces of grilled fish reside in fridge, but…yuch. A chunk of cold halibut is not what I want to greet the day with.

While I’m out today, I’ll have to drive down to the big Sprouts downtown to look for free-range, air-cooled chicken. I really dislike factory-raised, saltwater-infused chicken — just vile! — and so I don’t eat it, because I have to go way, wayyyy out of my way to get unadulterated poultry.

Ultimately what I may have to do is just take a chance that getting rid of the daily cheese-laden breakfasts will do the trick. But…honestly, I really don’t want to argue with YDK the next time I drag in there to be pestered with this stuff. Nor do I care to drop dead of a heart attack or stroke anytime soon…

November 4, 2019
by funny
1 Comment

This is gunna kill me…

…isn’t it?

Still sicker than sick. Coughing till I’m blue in the face. Too tired to eat.

This last, despite sleeping 15 hours last night and the previous night. And if the cleaning lady weren’t holding forth I’d be asleep right now, too.

Hm. I hear she has a cough, too. I hope it’s not some different bug. Not needed just now: ANOTHER disease on top of the UTI and the bronchitis. Holy sh!t.

Please. Please please please PLEASE stay the fu!k at home when you’re sick! Just because you throw off every little virus as though it were nothing doesn’t mean everyone else does the same. For some of us, there’s no goddamn such thing as “just a little cold.” Keep your bug to yourself. Please.

The last time I was this sick was when I picked up a bug at a publishing conference at Stanford University. The magazine — Arizona Highways — had picked up the tab to send me to this three-week shindig, and it was one BIG fuckin deal. It was an incredible privilege, a fantastic opportunity, and a gigantic day-glo gold star on my résumé.

Or so it appeared. About three days after I got there, I came down with this…THING. One of the worst respiratory illnesses I’ve enjoyed since…oh, about the last three weeks. I had to pack up and come home, and then I was down and out for a good month. It took four months to recover from it.

That was an expensive bug. If I’d managed to go all the way through that course and come out with its certification, I would have ended up as the magazine’s editor after my boss retired. My immediate supervisor, then the managing editor, wasn’t interested in the editorship — he was just marking time until he could retire. If I’d had that Stanford publishing course, the Ph.D. and the years of magazine editorial experience and the two books in print (one of them on magazine journalism) would have made me a shoo-in for the senior editor’s job.

So…basically what happened there was some fool’s “just a little cold” deep-sixed my career.

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.