Coffee heat rising

Is It Just Me…or Is It Just Chaos?

Beer! God’s greatest gift to Personkind…

Amazingly, I slept past my usual 3 a.m. wake-up call. Didn’t roll out of the sack until 7:30 in the morning. That’s a lot of sleep for an old cave woman. If we’d still been living in little tribes on the veldt, the entire clan would have been consumed by a sabre-toothed tiger around 3 :00, while the elder slept through the mayhem.

Fortunately, the only carnivore in evidence was a corgi, who also slept through till sunrise.

This has been one of those days. Nay, one of those weeks. You know: the “whatever can go wrong” variety?

When I came home the ’tother night from the Thanksgiving feast, fed and significantly refreshed, my attention was again drawn to the strange streaks on the bedroom walls I’d noticed before but, having no strength to fart with whatever that was, decided to ignore. About halfway in (I’d guess) to recovery from the present bronchitic episode, I explored.

Yes. Well. Those streaks looked wet because they were wet. As in…you know…water.

And that’s what they were: condensation from the two steamers that have been running in that room just about nonstop for the past six weeks.  The walls were coated with vertical puddles of water! These mixed with the ambient dust to form mud puddles.

Fortunately I have a lifetime supply of those Mr. Clean wall scrubber sponges, purchased from Costco in enough quantity to accommodate the cleaning lady until death do us part.

Equally fortunate: the water had condensed only on the room’s two exterior walls. This, presumably, because of the temperature differential between the outside air and the heated interior.

As it was, it took an hour to pull out the bed and scrub those two walls down from ceiling to floor. Jolly fun! In the middle of the night.

Laptop developed a wackshit quirk late last week, disconnecting it (so we’re told…but maybe not so much???) from iCloud. Now I have to traipse it to Scottsdale tomorrow…oboyoboy, i can hardly wait.

But that’s only part of the problem. It’s also hanging the cursor — totally disabling it so that I have to force-quit the computer and crash all the programs that are open in order to get the machine back to where it will function. This appears to be associated with a Washington Post game I like to play, but why that would be is profoundly unclear.

A-n-n-d Word just hung when I tried to reopen a file that was crashed in the most recent force-quit. So now I have to crash out of that.

The mail program crashes at random, for no discernible reason. And I keep getting a nagging pop-up message demanding that I sign in to iCloud — even though I am signed in to iCloud. And…none of the present and past passwords I have for iCloud seems to work, nor does there seem to be a way to reset the password in any way that makes any kind of sense. Or that works.

Apple’s formerly superb customer service has gone down the sewer. Until just the past few weeks, they’ve had THE most amazing phone techs, who could solve anything and fix anything over the phone. The last three times I’ve called, though, the people on the other end have been, shall we say, dumb as posts. How the Hell they got hired escapes me. They not only don’t identify the problem or come anywhere close to fixing it, the last nitwit actually made it worse.

So…that’s disapppointing. Interestingly, they’ve quit sending “how’d we do?” emails…presumably, then, Apple is fully aware of this.

Now I have to spend half the day Monday schlepping the MacBook to the Apple Geniuses, way to hell and gone in Scottsdale (since Apple kindly closed the central Phoenix store) and probably will end up having to ship the thing off. This will entail the usual endless arguments over my antique Word and Excel system. And of course, yet another endless trip to the recently dystopiified Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Really, I need to download LibreOffice and learn to use its word processor and spreadsheet software. But I cringe: I am SOOOO done with the electronic learning curve.

Speaking of the marvels our Our Technological Age, some strange email purporting to be from FeedBurner came in…go to site, fix this, fix that. WTF? Guru Grayson suspects it’s phishing, but in any event, FeedBurner was installed long before he took over wrangling the site. He advises that I should go over to FeedBurner’s website, sign in, and see if they really are bellyaching at me. Of course, it wants a password.

Well. That thing was installed by a previous web wrangler. If I ever had a password (which I highly doubt), I don’t have it anymore.

Back to Grayson. “The program is junk and no one is using it anymore,” says he. So it goes. One of us will deal with that later. Much later.

Still coughing. It’s s-l-o-w-l-y getting better, but at this rate it’ll be weeks — probably several months — before the hack goes away.

To frost the cake, I screwed up the Call-Blocker. Accidentally blocked the dermatologist’s number — is there a reason their robocall nuisance called on a Saturday night(!!!!!!!) to pester-remind me about next Tuesday’s appointment? Can’t unblock it following their instruction booklet. Now I have to get their techs on the phone — they’re not in on Sundays — and figure out how to undo that mess.

Amazon Prime video has hung up. So I guess not only may I not play an idle video game, neither can I watch one of the very few videos there that appear to be worth wasting one’s idle moments on. End up with an old John Wayne clunker. Thrill-a-minute… 😀

Oh, god. I’ve seen this thing. Soooooo long ago it was, and yet I still remember the opening scene.

Here Comes the Sun…

Into the third day of a passing storm. It’s supposed to clear tomorrow…today the sun peeked through for several hours, but then the sky clabbered up again and more rain fell with abandon.

Think (hope!) the bronchitis may be starting to clear up. too. In the morning it feels almost like an ordinary cold. But of course, that’s after I’ve been sequestered inside a closed-up bedroom with two hot steamers running for 10 or 12 hours.

In fact, this morning it seemed improved enough to assay a doggy walk. For day after day, poor little Ruby has been trapped in the house by the rain and by the Human’s ailment. Alas, by the time we got to the outskirts of Upper Richistan, the threat of more rain had escalated to a promise. So we had to cut our expedition short and hurry home — just reached the front door when more rain began to pour down.

Thought we’d try again as the weather cleared but then decided I’d druther go back to bed. Plus as I was peering out the front door to check on the downpour status, I spotted a shady pair trotting past the house, transparently stealing and garbage scavenging, almost surely homeless (read “drug addicts” in these parts). On the way home we saw another sketchy fellow going through a garbage bin in the alley behind Josie’s house. In the rain. Uh huh: N.G.

Back at the Funny Farm: yesterday’s extra CPR Call Blocker coding seemed to have had an effect. The number of nuisance calls dropped to two. I thought I’d found the key to blocking nuisance calls from “Name Unavailable,” but another got through. Called CPR’s excellent customer service; the guy there says blocking “Name Unavailable” doesn’t block “Unavailable” calls, each of which has to be separately, manually blocked. Now I’m thinking the only way to deal with this constant harassment is to tell everyone who needs to reach me that the only way to get in touch is by email, and then unplug the phones. Or cancel the service.

As the day passes, the apparent improvement in the epizoõtic backtracks, and by mid-afternoon it again feels like I can’t draw enough air into the lungs to sustain life. So it was back to bed in the confines of the closed bedroom filled with steam.

This is the kind of sh!t that makes you doubt the entire premise of “Aging in Place.” Really? I’m on the far end of being able to drive around the city when I don’t feel well. What is gonna happen when I’m 80 and I come down with this kind of crud? Or something worse? How will I get food? How will I care for myself? Will I die on the floor with no one to notice till my skeleton has been cleaned by the ants?

I see My Beloved Employer, the Great Desert University, whose administrators are always on the lookout for a way to generate another million bucks, are building an old-folkerie for self-styled intellectuals, to house the aged on the campus. Lots of stuff to do. And you even get to go to classes on the campus!

Whoop de doo.

Well, so let’s look at that with the least jaundiced eye we can manage.

Okay. In theory it looks like a good idea. A lot of stuff is going on at the campus. You would be surrounded by young adults, and if you were ambitious enough and influential enough, you might even be able to engineer some activities that would allow you to interact with the critters. Usually a healthy enterprise, this.

However…truth to tell, Tempe is Chez Pitz. Despite the presence of the university, it’s a bedroom community that doesn’t even faintly appeal to me as a place to live. “Old” is the New N*, particularly among the Millennial set: your chance of engaging with the (mostly commuter) students on the Great Desert University campus is almost nil.

Lovely Tempe

However-ever, one would be to some degree — nay, to a large degree — insulated from the overall Southern California-style ticky-tacky of the East Valley suburban lifestyle.


Yes. But. You would be housed in a multi-story apartment building: a rabbit warren.  No yard. No privacy to speak of. No distance between you and your fellow inmates. And not just any apartment building, but a storage bin for old folks.

What would I do with my little dog in a place like that?

Well. You know exactly what I would have to do with my little dog: find some other home for her. And I would never be able to get a dog again.

Sorry. but a goldfish a substitute for a dog does not make. Life is not life without the companionship of a dog. That is fact.

Thus, quite possibly, a life proctored by protectors who will be there to call 911 if you fall and you can’t get up may not be a life at all.

Tomorrow the weather in lovely uptown Phoenix is expected to be “sunny along with a few clouds.” Let’s hope that’s true. And let’s hope it applies to Life, the Universe, and All That…

Under Frikkin’ Petty Siege…

Ever feel like you’re under siege from all directions? In a petty way, I mean.

There is, of course, under siege, Main Edition:

  • Your car deliberately drives itself into a utility pole.
  • Your cat croaks over.
  • Your roof leaks and melts the ceiling drywall.
  • Your house burns down, flood from the leaky roof notwithstanding.

Petty siege is not that kind of assault from the Fates.

Petty siege is the one-little-annoyance-after-another variant. An act of petty siege does not entail major catastrophe or heart-rending tragedy or budget-busting surprise expense. No. Petty siege is when every stupid little thing that can go wrong or that can make you crazy occurs, one after another.

9:00 p.m. For the second time, the MacBook barfs up an error message claiming I can’t get into iCloud and must enter a password. It won’t accept any of the several word/number combos I hope to be the password. I spend an hour or more on the phone with an Apple customer service tech, who is uncharacteristically stupid. We go around and around and around and around in circles and get nowhere. Finally iCloud starts working again — at random, not by virtue of anything we’ve done — and we conclude it must be a problem with Cox’s connectivity. This, not before I’ve fucked up my passwords, leaving me pretty much in the dark as to what combination of letters and numbers applies where. I give up, frustrated and angry.

10:00 p.m.: In comes an email from Amazon demanding that I pay $8 for the OxiClean that was never delivered.

3 a.m.: Wake up and can’t get back to sleep.

5 a.m.: Give up trying to sleep; decide to pass time on the Internet. Get the “you can’t get into iCloud message” again. This time before calling Apple, I send myself an email. It goes through, eventually. I go to iCloud and open a document. The MacBook forthwith delivers the document. I decide to forego another hour of frustration on the phone. Wander off, the mystery unresolved.

6 a.m.: Rain dripping off the roof is hitting a plastic drain cover, making a weird drumming sound. Dog is alarmed.

6:10 a.m.: Try to get the dog to go outside to do her business, which she declined to do in the rain late last night. Not a chance, Human! quoth she. She doesn’t want to get wet. Have to go outside into the middle of the yard, bare-footed in the rain, and call her to follow me. Then wait until she decides she can manage to do the job in spite of water falling on her head.

6:30 a.m.: Wipe the mud off the kitchen floor. Lay down one of the late Cassie’s pee pads in front of the back door. These things make efficient mud-catchers, BTW.

7:00 a.m.: Get an Amazon CSR on the phone (mirabilis!!!). She says the bill was sent in error and claims it is hereby canceled. Yeah, Right. We’ll see about that.

8 a.m.: Pool guy shows up, just as the heavens split open. He’s at the front door, in a downpour. I invite him in, of course. He treks through the house to the back door, Ruby excitedly dancing along. So much for Luz’s shiny clean floors, rendered that way less than 48 hours ago…

9 a.m.: The nuisance phone calls start up again. Despite the CPR 5000 Call Blocker, which has been a marvel, more and more nuisance callers have been getting through, most of them by spoofing local numbers. By 10 or 10:30, I’d been interrupted four times by these pests.

10 a.m.: My beloved, rustic, eccentric-old-lady electric heater — an old-fashioned “heat dish” — throws a hissy fit. Its alarm goes off in a buzzy blast, the kind of noise it makes if someone picks it up or moves it or tips it over while it’s on. It’s on, all right, at Day-Glo blast because it’s cold and damp in here. But it hasn’t been touched or jiggled in any way…unless we had an earthquake that I failed to notice. Unplug that.

10:40 a.m.: Stumble across my second, back-up eccentric-old-lady electric heater, stashed upside down in the back of a closet where a more organized search failed to unearth it earlier. Plug it in: seems to be working. Decide against driving through the rain to buy a new space heater. Ugh.

11:00 a.m.: More and more e-mail spam comes in through a blog contact page. Earlier this morning I disabled the Contact Page at The Copyeditor’s Desk by way of circumventing the bastards. So they go over to Funny about Money and send their BS through its contact page. Now I have to get into that site and delete that Contact form.

11:30 a.m.: Another goddamn nuisance phone call. Traipse back to the office, intent on calling CPR 5000’s customer service to ask after workarounds. First, though, I go so far as to read the instructions. (Isn’t THAT quaint!) Discover that I can enter codes to block “Name Unavailable” callers, VoIP Rogue callers, and “Withheld/Private” callers. Jump through the hoops to accomplish that.

12:08 p.m. Another nuisance phone call, this one from area code 213. Can I block all incoming from (213)? Yeah, I can…but that could be problematic. Though I have no friends who would call me from that area code, I could occasionally do business with clients in Southern California. This is, I think, the sixth nuisance call and we’re not even halfway through the day’s waking hours…

The problem with blocking each number as it comes in — well, there are several problems. In the first place, to block a number you have to pick up the receiver and then punch in a code. When someone picks up the receiver, of course, that alerts the robocaller that someone is on the other end of the line, which triggers an avalanche of further calls. And in the second place: virtually all of the numbers you see on Caller ID are spoofed. And the robocaller is programmed to generate literally an infinite number of phone number spoofs, something made possible by the fact that telephone numbers contain 10 numbers now.

12:32 p.m. A mighty deluge of water is pouring out of the sky. The back patio floods. So far it hasn’t reached the back door’s threshold, thanks to Gerardo’s guys having removed the plastic covering over the shade structure, which prevents a back-up by allowing water flowing off the roof to disperse evenly. That’s something. I guess.

12:41 p.m.: Another nuisance call from my area code. And of course, blocking one’s own area code is contraindicated. So is blocking most of the exchanges within your area code: who knows when someone will call from such an exchange?

12:47 p.m.: Discover, deep in the complicated instructions the Call Blocker, that to block a call with the “#2” code from a cordless extension, that extension has to be plugged into the call blocker! Holeee shit! But no.., not so! Here online, the how-to-block instructions say “answer the call from a DECT 6.0 wireless handset then press the # key then the 2 key…” Yes, my handsets are DECT 6.0. Okay, guess that’s been working, anyway. For all the good it’s doing me…

12:53 p.m. I’m hungry. I want a beer. And I want a nap. The roof is rattling to the approaching thunder squall.