Coffee heat rising

Of dogs and cops and copters…

Ruby the Corgi has been under the doggy-weather for several days. She has the collywobbles, and this morning she barfed. That will mean an expensive and stressful trip to the vet…especially since veterinarians here are not letting the hoi polloi even step into their waiting rooms. You have to wait in the parking lot until they come out and collect your animal.

Picturing the terror that will inspire, I’ve already put off getting Ruby’s teeth cleaned. And I do NOT want to drag the poor beast in over an upset stomach.

Sometimes the doggywobbles will clear on its own, just as human collywobbles will eventually go away. Sometimes…not. And we have those damn rats out there…the question is, could she have picked up a bug from one of those fine disease-carriers?

Complicating matters, something made me really sick in the same department. I suspect it was some shrimp I bought at Sprouts… It didn’t seem to be spoiled, but when I opened the bag the thought crossed my mind that those tired-looking things had been frozen for an awful long time. It seems to me I let her lick the plate after I’d eaten that meal…something I normally don’t do. But I recall that one evening, in an unusually mellow moment, I set an empty plate down for her. And this was within the time frame — if the shrimp made me sick, it could’ve made her sick, too.

I still have some imodium purchased while it was legal to sell it. Apparently, you can give it to a dog. But who knows how much would be the right amount? She only weighs 23 pounds. If one tiny pill will plug up an adult human, how many shavings off one of those pills is right for a dawg? You also can give a dog Pepto-Bismol, but liquid gunk is one helluva lot harder and messier to get down a dog’s throat than a pill coated in butter or hamburger is.

Speaking of the imodium protect-you-from-yourself gambit, I see the stuff is still for sale on Amazon. How exactly that can be escapes me. It’s supposedly illegal to sell the stuff in our parts. Apparently some morons use the stuff to get high. Therefore all the rest of us must be punished.

***

Argha! Cop helicopter just roared in and started circling a couple blocks north and east. God, how I hate the constant cop helicopter buzz-overs. This is the main reason I daydream of moving to Prescott or Yarnell or Patagonia…places where they can’t afford to buy helicopters for the local law enforcers. Most of the time, all the doors and windows are locked — and all the exterior doors now include steel security doors with hardened deadbolts. So frankly…I’d just as soon not know when a perp is frolicking around the ’Hood.

Down at my son’s house it’s even worse…the cops are constantly overhead hollering down at perps or telling people to go inside and lock the doors.

Phoenix… What a place this is! Especially when you consider how many people move here because they think it’s going to be better than California. Six o’ one, half-a-dozen of the other, folks!

Well, I might as well go drown out the serenade of the helicopter blades with the song of the vacuum cleaner. And so, away...

Life in the ‘Hood: Never a Dull Moment

Just got in the door from a lovely, quiet evening doggy walk, along about 9:30 when along comes the roar of a cop copter. They’re buzzing the corner where SDXB used to live and the street where I used to live — about three houses up the way from the present Funny Farm.

At least, so it appears: but folks commenting on the neighborhood Facebook page say the scene of activity seems to be up on Gangbanger’s Way. Whatever: evidently they’re chasing somebody.

Tiresome. There’s always some damnfool thing going on around here. Of course, that’s what we call Life in the Big City. Okay, I get that. But sometimes I wonder if it’s not time to move away from the Big City. KJG and Mr. KJG have moved to Payson. It’s nice and quiet and foresty up there.

And…it snows in the winter.

Never snows in Sun City, of course. But I don’t suppose this latest frolic inclines me to covet living in a ghetto for old folks.

Rarely snows in Fountain Hills. But it’s as far away from everything in my life as Sun City is. Not as far as Payson, though. But too far to drive into town is…when you come right down to it…too far to drive into town. Doesn’t much matter how much too far.

Bunch of brilliant neighbors — teenagers, probably — are partying in the street up on the next road to the north. “Who, us? IQ points? We don’t need no steenking IQ!”

WhatEVER.

The Small Joys of Life in the Desert

Mwa ha ha! Just pressed “BLOCK” on a spoofed robocall number…the first nuisance call that’s gotten through in days. Literally, the nuisance call rate has dropped from a dozen a day (or more) to one a day (or less). woo-HOOO!

Out the door with Ruby the Corgi at a few minutes after 5:00 this morning. Gorgeous morning…and there was nobody out there!

Yes: just a few minutes earlier than usual, the hordes of dog-walkers haven’t stumbled out their doors. Nary once were we lunged at by massive, just-vaguely-under-control guard dogs — the cost of living on the margin of a high-crime “neighbor”hood. On our entire mile-and-a-half route, we ran into just one other dog person: the guy who has the herd of corgis! So of course we had to hang out for a minute or two and chat, he and his dogs being eminently civilized. 😀

Believe it or not, yesterday — June 2nd — was the first day of serious swimming here at the Funny Farm. First time I was able to get into the pool, stay in it, and actually swim around for awhile. The water is still cool, but not so crisp as to raise goose-bumps.

Normally, summer begins around the first week of May. The snowbirds leave town in April, so scared are they of temps in the 90s. NG usually heads for her Denver digs early in April, while IMHO it’s still passing balmy here. So this whole extra month of sweater weather at doggy-walk time and — best of all — no air-conditioning(!!!!!) at any time has been quite the little Godsend. Last month my power bill was $134, some sort of all-time record low for this time of year.

So that’s pretty surprising.

The chard seeds I planted in the pots where their predecessors lived for a good four years, through frost and scorcher, have already sprouted. So, before long I’ll have fresh greens to go with the various dinner menus, rather than frozen spinach.

But speaking of large, threatening dogs populating the local byways, one is always reminded (if by nothing else, by the constant roar of helicopters overhead) that we are gentrifying a neighborhood bounded on two sides by high-crime areas. The corner of Gangbanger’s Way and Conduit of Blight, about a half-mile from the Funny Farm, regularly scores the highest arrest rates in the city. A perfectly acceptable and invitingly shoppable Sprouts resides .8 miles from my house, door to door. I could easily walk down there to shop, adding some exercise and saving, over time, a whole lotta gasoline. But…noooo way! It simply is not safe to walk on Conduit of Blight. Even if you were carrying heat, it wouldn’t be safe.

This means that even to go down to the corner market, I have to travel in a locked car, putting two layers of steel between myself and my…uhm…neighbors. It also means that as a practical matter, I shop at the corner market a whole lot less than anyone should have to. Today, for example, I need to restock because I’ll be spending most of the day tomorrow volunteering at the church and getting stitches pulled out of my gums. To do that, I will get in my car and drive to the AJ’s at Central and Camelback, a 10-mile round trip rather than a 1.6-mile stroll.

I find that deeply annoying.

It happens because the City has neither the will nor the resources to keep vagrancy and crime under control. Things like this happen, for example…all. the. freakin’. time. The sh!thead who set this fire, which incinerated a dozen apartment-house renters’ cars, lived in the apartment’s parking lot, where he was sleeping in his van. Residents complained repeatedly about the guy, but were (they claim) ignored. The apartment building, which once was a fairly nice place, is now owned by the City of Phoenix and is, shall we say, not recommended by Google reviewers who have had the misfortune of living there. It is smack in the middle of one of the most hotly gentrifying districts in the city.

As we scribble, the itinerant perp is under indictment for murdering his father. Why exactly he’s free to wander around and set fire to parking garages remains unclear. Well, no, it doesn’t. We know the reason: the City of Phoenix and State of Arizona do not give one thin damn about the safety of law-abiding, tax-paying residents and so neither entity does a thing to preserve said residents’ safety and property.

The presence of wandering sh!theads and the prevalence of crime petty and major come under the heading of “life in the big city.”

Which brings us to the question of why on earth do I stay in this place?

This morning, with that perennial concern in mind, I was looking at real estate in Fountain Hills, a middle-class suburban redoubt on the far side of Scottsdale. For what I can net on this house, I could buy a more or less comparable place over there. Quite a few such shacks are on the market just now.

Problem is, though…I don’t want to live in Fountain Hills.

Because…

a) It’s too damn far away from where I go and what I do.
b) The houses are cheaply built, even the ones that cost somewhat more than an arm and a leg. Views are gorgeous, but the architecture is junque.
c) Apparently there’s no gas service out there. So every house has ultra-expensive electric air-conditioning, and no house has a gas stove.
d) Scottsdale (where you’d have to shop for just about everything) is just not this Walmart Girl’s style.

If I’m going to move away from all my friends, from my son, and from everything I do here, I might as well live in Prescott.

But…I don’t want to live in Prescott.

a) It snows in Prescott. I like my swimming pool and I ain’t leavin’ it behind.
b) I know no one in Prescott and have no desire to build new networks of friends and business acquaintances.
c) If it costs an arm & a leg to air-condition a shack in Phoenix, you do not even want to know how much it costs to heat a place up there!

I could afford to live on the far west side of Phoenix, in one of the Sun Cities. These have exceptionally low crime rates and are, shall we say, quiet. As in the quiet of the mortuary.

But…I don’t want to live in Phoenix’s crowded, tacky, Southern-California-style suburbs.

a) That area has everything you could possibly want now…but it is just mobbed. Awful, crowded, hectic streets and shopping centers everywhere you go outside of the mausoleum-like Sun Cities.
b) I’ve lived in Sun City and am not doing that again, either.
c) Like Fountain Hills, the far west side (on the California side of the slums that spread outward from Maryvale, the kernel of west-side blight in this city) is too damn far away from where I go and what I do.

Beyond the SoCal ticky-tacky (by an hour’s drive or so) is Wickenburg, the West’s Most Western Tourist Trap. Now…I could stand to live in this place. Absolutely. And I could afford it. Except…

a) Out there in the borderlands of the boondocks, that gorgeous yard is going to attract rattlesnakes and coyotes. Ruby the Corgi couldn’t be allowed to walk around out there unattended. Not and live long, anyway.
b) If Fountain Hills and Sun City are too far away, Wickenburg is on the far side of the galaxy.
c) I cannot live without a Costco.

It’s hard to imagine how I could find a place comparable to this one, which has everything I like in a dwelling and few things (other than the resident drug-popping transients) I don’t like, in an area that is safer, centrally located, and reasonably affordable.

So, as they say, il faut cultiver notre jardin.

Life on the West Side…

Lest you think I’m crazy because I drive across the city to do my grocery shopping…

This incident happened where the closest Costco resides. There’s also a Walmart and a Target in that shopping center. I feel distinctly unsafe in that parking lot, although the Costco gas station seems OK — because Costco hires a guy to stand out there and keep watch. The area around the Target does not. Wouldn’t get out of my car on the Walmart side, not on a bet.

That shopping center is on Conduit of Blight Blvd, a ribbon of slum running from the downtown area all the way up to North Phoenix, many, many miles. That garden parkway is flanked by blight, decay, and slum from where it starts, near the state capitol, all the way up to the 101 freeway in the North Valley. This Circle K, scene of a milder incident, is within the Conduit of Blight corridor — about 5 blocks from CoB itself.

Why anyone would go into any convenience store — be it a Circle K or a QT or whatever — escapes me. Those places seem to be perennial targets, no matter where they’re located. There sure are plenty of them along Conduit of Blight, though. Here in the ’Hood, a few weeks ago we had an incident where a guy shot a transient for stumbling into a Circle K women’s room after the guy’s daughter. Killed him dead. The transient, that is.

Moving to the Pointe Tapatio by way of adding distance from Conduit of Blight may not solve the problem. The entire city is pretty crime-ridden. Here’s a fine adventure that happened in Litchfield Park, a far-flung suburb where middle-class folk move specifically to get away from this sh!t.

The solution, if there is one, may be to move out of this overcrowded and still bloating city. If you don’t want to live with criminals, stay out of the fifth-largest city in the country.