Coffee heat rising

How Much Is That…Thingie…in the Window?

Cover of the first issue, with the figure of dandy Eustace Tilley, created by Rea Irvin. Source: Wikipedia.

I like to work The New Yorker’s online jigsaw puzzles, which derived from the magazine’s covers dating back to the 1920s. Over the months of time wastery, I’ve kind of marveled at the differences in the cover prices on this magazine. DXH and I used to subscribe to it, throughout the time we were married — along with a bunch of other middle- to high-brow periodicals. Contemplating the completed jigsaw covers, it struck me that the price of the thing has gone up an enormous amount over the years, presumably because of inflation — so much so that today I wouldn’t even think of subscribing. But, wonder I, is that correct? Or am I imagining some sort of Inflationary Chimera? Welp…check this out:Can we track the progress of these price increases?

To look at it another way, today the magazine costs SIX TIMES as much as it cost in 1925.

Is it six times better? Personally, I kinda doubt it. When was the last time you saw a John McPhee article in that rag? Or anything on a par with McPhee’s work? Today when you open it, what you find is something more like a standard city magazine than a middle-brow boulevardier’s journal. It starts out with restaurant reviews and then tells you all about the local entertainment. But reportage raised to the level of art? Not so much.

At nine bucks an issue, I just couldn’t afford the thing. It would be SO much cheaper to drive over to the library once a month and read the latest copies—or to subscribe to the library’s online magazine service—that it would be absurd to pay for it, even if I could afford it.

By way of comparison, in 1921, the cost of a sirloin strip steak was 21 cents a pound. Today the price is $12.99 to $14.99.

Hmmm: $12.99/$.21 = 61.86. Am I right in thinking that means a piece of steak costs almost 62 times as much today as it did in 19 and aught 21?

That would make the magazine a bargain. Still can’t afford it, though.

Where were we?

Or, one could ask, where are we?

Damned if I know.

Past few weeks, I’ve been too comatose to write much for Funny about Money. When I’m not running from pillar to post between doctors, orthodontists, and physical therapists, I’m so tired I can’t move.

Nothing much, though, is new here in the Valley of the We-Do-Mean-Sun. The weather is starting to warm up, though more gradually than normal. By the end of May, it should be hotter than a two-dollar cookstove, but in fact temperatures are fairly moderate. I haven’t been back to choir, partly because I’m just too damn scared to be exposed to The Disease — vaccine or no vaccine — and mostly because I’m so distracted by all the niggling little harassments I don’t even know what day of the week it is. Sunday could be Wednesday, Wednesday could be Monday…who knows?

Oh, indeed, LO! It is Wednesday: here’s Pool Dude.

Who’d’ve thunk it?

About every second day I’m trotting to a doctor or a dentist. Today I have to waste the afternoon at the orthodontist’s office. He wants to check the progress of the treatment he inflicted, which is supposed to kill off the infection that caused my regular dentist and orthodontist to want to pull the tooth. This is next to the tooth that has already been pulled and mightily f*cked up and that hurts all the time.

Complicating that matter, my beloved common-sense dentist looks like he’s about to quit his practice. He had some surgery that screwed up his body, and it appears that he’s just not going to be able to continue working. That is extremely bad news on several fronts: on his, obviously; but also on mine, because it is extremely difficult to score an excellent dentist in this city. There’s lots of dentistoids…every one of whom wants to carve up your mouth to the tune of God only knows how many gerzillions of dollars. About 99.6% of this suggested work turns out to be unnecessary when you go ask a second doc about it.

Always. Get. A. Second. Opinion.

Which of course doubles the number of traipses to doctors’ and dentists’ offices…

Still generally feeling miserable. The tooth hurts, but so much less so than the busted shoulder and the bunged wrist and elbow as to be almost unnoticeable. The shoulder, after thousands of dollars’ worth of physical therapy (most of it covered by Medicare/Medigap), is verrreeeee slowly getting better.

A friend down at the church — actually, the church’s financial officer — did a similar job on herself, only with more skill: she actually snapped the femur in two. Not bad, eh?

She said her doctor told her it would take eight to twelve months to heal as much as it’s gonna heal. Mayo Orthopod says mine will take eight to twelve weeks…but I believe it’s been about that long already. Unclear whether this is something that can even be expected to heal: it may be as good as it’s gonna get right now. If that’s the case, “as good” ain’t “very” good!

Latest discovery in micro-medical science: the daily multiple doses of aspirin have been making me sick. I’ve been dropping three or four aspirins a day, with the result that one well-known side effect — shortness of breath, a horrifying sense that you can’t get enough air into your lungs to sustain life — has kicked right in.

The cannabis dispensed through gumdrops does not seem to do that. They do cut the pain considerably, but…if I take enough to really work, they make me too sleepy to drive. And if you live in Phoenix, you drive or you don’t survive. A quarter of a candy will do the job, but I would really, seriously hesitate to get behind a steering wheel with a quarter of one of those things in my system. A half will keep me asleep through the usual 3 a.m. wake-up call, a bit of a Godsend. But of course, that suggests that a whole cannabis-laced gumdrop would send you straight to La-La-Land.

Meanwhile, we now suspect that the screaming crazy-making buzz and tingle in the lips and gums is peripheral neuropathy occasioned by the metal implant we put in the busted tooth, which has never been crowned. The dentist is hammering at Death’s Door, and that tooth has hurt me enough that I haven’t wanted to complicate matters with a crown that I suspect will have to be removed. Plus there’s an infection in the tooth right next to it.

So by and large, that’s how my days have been going: day of general misery followed by night of general misery followed by day of general misery followed by… It’s getting mighty tedious.

There doesn’t seem to be much to be done about it, either.

I finally talked MayoDoc into ordering tests for metallosis — sensitivity to implanted metals such as the titanium in the goddamned dental implant. That occurs at the end of this month. If we are all surprised and this test comes back positive, THEN the next step will be to have the orthodontist or an oral surgeon remove the implant. Doesn’t THAT sound fun?

Well, no: it sounds like another day of acute misery followed by another week or ten days of dragged-out misery. But if it works to stop this neuropathy horror, it’ll be worth it. But it’s a long shot: MayoDoc does not think the PN is caused by metal sensitivity. She thinks I’m a lush and that that the neuropathy is caused by drinking. I argue that one or at the outside maybe two glasses of wine with the large meal of the day (which is a lot of food!) alcoholism does not make. But of course she thinks that because I must be an alcoholic, my reports that I do not drink that much and I never drink without food are just excuses I’m making up.

If she’s right — that the neuropathy is caused by long-term alcohol abuse — then there’s not a thing we can do about it. That is a permanent condition caused by damage to nerves that will not grow back. I don’t happen to think she is right — because if she were, every Frenchwoman on the Continent would be spending her nights tingling and burning — but I’m not a doctor. Nor did I grow up in a household of Christian Scientists, as MayoDoc did…

Still, I persist in hoping that the neuropathy, which started suspiciously at about the time of the dental work, is a reaction to the metal implant.

Ironically enough, the condition that is forcing my beloved Old Dentist out of practice is exactly that: a reaction to a metal hip implant. And that reaction is…? Yep: peripheral neuropathy. He can barely walk for the buzzing and tingling in his legs and feet. When they diagnosed this, first he asked why the hell didn’t you warn me about this, and of course received no sensible answer. To what are we gonna do about it? he was told that the treatment is to remove the metal implant and replace it with a ceramic implant…which will require three more major surgeries!!!!!

He said thank you very much, but no thanks.

So now he’s crippled, nonfunctional, miserable, and is about to lose his livelihood.

One can only ask: Why the fuck didn’t they check for metal sensitivities before they stuck a metal hip replacement in his body???

How hard is this?

Not very, it develops: you get patch tests that will determine whether you’re likely to have a negative reaction. Given that they have such a thing as ceramic implants, wouldn’t you think they would run those tests routinely before ever doing any kind of bone replacement implant?

Why, indeed?

Clearly, if such a thing as “metallosis” or sensitivity to metal implants exists at all, they should be testing EVERYONE for that kind of sensitivity before they insert titanium. stainless steel, or cobalt/chromium alloys. How hard is this?

Certainly no harder than having to perform three(!!) extra surgeries to remove a fake hip and replace it with some other product. Certainly no harder than having to figure out what is causing some weird symptom, blaming the patient, and finally getting around to testing for an allergy. A chore that will absorb an entire day this week…

Wherever we are, it sure as hell isn’t Kansas, Toto!

 

Movin’ on Up…

No freakin’ way do I remember what I intended to write for the next FaM post, working title “The Anchorite’s Story”…ohhhh yeah, you can imagine, right? WhateverTF, times have changed.

Times change by the hour these days. Have you noticed that?

Down to the Church this morning and afternoon, for a get-together and lunch and plans for what on Earth are we gonna do? Volunteered to go back to help staff the Front Desk: seem to be assigned Thursday afternoons. Could not be more perfect, dear Boss! <3

So we sang a bit, hunkered together in the Sanctuary, toward the back. Our spectacularly talented music/choir director played spectacular music on the organ and then showed up at lunch and asked us to come on back, come on back. And of course, none of us could stand it: OUTTA OUR WAY! We’re comin’ on back!!

 

So how’s that pot workin’…?

Interestingly.

In the first place, the handsome young pot plant has taken up residence by the gate to the swimming pool. This caused a visible double-take for poor old Gerardo, who was no doubt shocked. And it also got the attention of Pool Dude, who’s a pretty mellow guy and not easily stunned by the presence of a mere plant. 😀

The new gummies I got at the store called Yilo, a head shop recently installed across the parking lot from the Lowe’s, are far superior to the first batch that we bought in the mid-town shop. They’re not very pleasant to get down, unless you melt them in some hot tea — when they say “gummy” about these things, they’re not kidding! The ones from the mid-town store were more like ordinary candy gum drops. These things are tough and gooey; they take some doing to choff up and melt in your mouth. However, they work much, much better. The tingling from the peripheral neuropathy is noticeably improved — at times even “gone” — and these chewies actually do keep me asleep until around 4 a.m., consistently.

The first variant, from the mid-town shop, did nothing to stop the 2 a.m. wake-up call. Half or three-quarters of one of the new things, though, does seem to work in the insomnia department: a 4 a.m. wake-up call is one helluva lot better than the 2 a.m. internal alarm. I find about 1/4 of one of these gummies beats back the tingling and also seems to dull the pain in the injured shoulder. And that amount does not cause sleepiness or any other sensation of doped-uppitude.

A larger amount — 1/2 to 3/4 of a gum-drop — does cause sleepiness, and I would not even consider driving after ingesting one of the things. But 1/4 of one of the things has little noticeable effect on alertness and competence. By morning I feel reasonably rested, having managed to snare six or seven hours of uninterrupted snooze time.

The stuff does not make the tingling in the hands and feet go away altogether, but it does help significantly. If I would refrain from pounding on a computer keyboard, I’d have little or no electrified buzzing in the fingers and hands. The feet also are aggravated by a mile-long doggie-walk. However, rubbing some CBD oil into the palms and soles does seem to cut the discomfort a great deal.

Ain’t old age grand? 😀

Image: By Sarah Stierch from Sonoma, CA, USA – PLUS, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=83463800

 

Grrrrrrrrr! Stop the freakin’ world….

So I go to cancel this morning’s physical therapy misery so as to spend the full day coping with the various crises that have come up, only to find that somehow it’s gotten moved from 10:30 in the morning to 1:45 in the afternoon.

Why? I’m sure I should recall, but I most decidedly do not. Because I can’t remember much of anything anymore…

Have ALL of the appointments been moved to the start of naptime? WHY???

Oh well. We can deal with that later. Much later.

Slept all the way through till 4 a.m. and so should not feel quite so zombified this morning. But just now all I want to do is go back to bed.

  • Not cope with the cleaning lady underfoot all day.
  • Not hassle with the weirdly busted computer, entailing an hour or more on the phone with the Apple techs
  • Not drive to the locksmith and order up a wildly expensive replacement for the security lock key the cleaning lady has lost…

No kidding: wildly expensive is it. Those things cost $15 or $20 to replace. So as you can imagine, I start the day feeling a little aggravated. The slope looks steeply downhill from here…

At least (claims she), the keys didn’t have my address attached to them (let’s hope to god she’s telling the truth!). Otherwise, I’d have to have the locks themselves replaced. One of these Medeco locks runs about $160….not including the cost of having the locksmith come to the house and install it.

The computer’s gone whacko, apparently because of a keyboard command I unwittingly entered. Normally you can click through from one window or page to another. But there’s a stupid setting whose appeal utterly escapes me that causes the thing to “sweep” from one window to the next with an effect like an old Kodak slide projector.

I find the effect annoying to the point of being grating. And I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make it stop, because I don’t know what cutesie appellation Apple has chosen to call it so I can’t look it up in the support documentation. So now I have to get on the phone to Apple and fart around, fart around, and fart around some more. Just what I want to do to fill up the morning.

The locksmith’s shop is to hell and gone in Glendale. Not that far, but still…one more PITA. I’ll have to wait til the C.L. gets here before I can leave, because of course in this neighborhood I can’t go off and leave the door unlocked.

This accursed LA-style city…ugh! Have I said how much I hate driving around this place? It just gets worse and worse, the more they build, they more they gentrify, the more they “improve.” Every change inflicts some new confusion…and every damn day seems to bring some new change.

Really, I should go up to Prescott and look at real estate. This place is driving me crazy.

But first, speaking of driving me crazy, I have to find a new hair stylist.

The other day I drove out to Shane’s to get the annoying new short hairstyle trimmed. That would be the one I was forced to get because I couldn’t comb my nearly waist-length hair with a broken shoulder in the way. Shane is a great stylist…but he charges 60 bucks a hit. So as you can imagine, having to cut my hair off in a cute little pixie was NOT what I want to do. Oh well.

He’s in Scottsdale. Has been for the past several years. So I start driving driving… Come to the touristy 5th Avenue section, find his street (3rd Avenue) and…and…and… The salon is not there.

Huh?

I drive around and around and around and AROUND old-town Scottsdale and

Can.

Not.

For.

The.

Life of me…

…find Shane’s place. Finally I give up and come home.

This damn hairstyle he created is yes, very curly and very cute…and it has a forelock that falls RIGHT INTO MY EYE. I can NOT make it stay out of my face — the only way to keep it from fukkin’ blinding me is to take a plastic hair roller clip thing and pin it up on my head.

Which as you can imagine looks spectacularly fashionable.

Drove back into town to make an appointment at the salon in the AJ’s shopping center, which…of course…you had to ask? Is not there anymore.

Tried to find my old stylist’s salon up by the west-side university campus.

Gone.

So now I have to start completely anew and find a stylist, by guess and by God. And by God, am I pissed about that.

Moving on, I decide to cut the physical therapy this morning so I can traipse to the locksmith’s shop whenever CL fnally shows up. Call there and find my appointment isn’t at 10:30: it’s at 1:45. We cut the number of sessions from three a week to two, and I think we must have changed the hour from morning to afternoon.

Which is NOT when I want to be flailing my arms and legs in the air, dammit! About 1:45 in the afternoon is about when I run out of gas and wanna lay down for an hour or two — especially after a night that has ended at 1:30 or 2:00 in the morning. I am effin’ TIRED by early afternoon and mostly just wanna go back to bed.  So this is an annoying development.

So. Back to the hair:

Seems to me I have two choices.

  • Find a stylist who can trim the forelock out of my eyes. Or…
  • Let it grow back out. And grow…and grow…and grow…

It will take three or four years for the hair to grow long again. Three or four years of shaggy awfulness. Or maybe four or five years… Plus of course there’s always the “what’s she trying to prove?” question. The truth is, I’m way too old to wear my hair down around my shoulders. By the time it gets there, for godsake, I’ll be 80 years old!

For godsake, it’s 9:30. Where IS that woman?

Welp! There’s an easy way to cause her to show up: Pick up the phone and get an Apple tech on the line…

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!