Coffee heat rising

Summertime, and the Livin’ Is…Keeriminey!!!

Okay, so…one good thing: Out the door with the dog at 4:30 this morning.

This meant we dodged the wee-hours dog-walker rush — in 112-degree weather, everybody and their little brother, sister, dogs, and puppies swarm the neighborhood streets and the park at 5:00 a.m. Not that I don’t love my fellow humans and their dogs, but…well…yeah: their out-of-control dogs when combined with my out-of-control dog add up to a damned nuisance and an annoying start to the day.

Yesterday I thought maybe I could avoid some of that by walking around the park twice (a one-mile circuit: I’m trying to get in two miles a day), on the far side of the road. The park is overrun at dawn, with people who think our neighborhood park is their private dog park. And no…across the street is not so great. There was some stupid woman in there with TWO big dogs off the leash, chasing around like rockets on high-test fuel after toys she was joyfully tossing for them. And here and there, other dog-lovers letting their “fur-babies” run around loose.

By circumnavigating the park, I hoped to avoid the elderly lady who has invaded my favorite circuit around Upper and Lower Richistan. She’s very sweet and I’d like to get to know her, but not around two nuisancey little dogs — hers and mine. She has an ill-tempered Shi-Tsu that goes batshit when it sees Ruby coming up the street and starts barking and lunging and yanking around. The old gal, who said she was 93 years old, has braces on both legs and limps along with not one but two canes while trying to control her fractious pooch. Of course, when Ruby sees this hound coming at her, she tries to lunge into battle, too, so now I have to struggle and fight to keep her under control. All the while worrying that the sweet old lady is going to be yanked off her feet and thrown on the pavement!


Well, the park route proved not to be such a great idea, because of the chronic law-breakers over there. (It is against the law — city, county, and state — to let your dog run around off the leash.) (And no, I don’t need anymore dog fights: three is enough, for this pooch.) Which is why I started walking through the Richistans in the first place.

Guess I’m not the only one who had that idea. 😀

At any rate, hitting the road a half-hour earlier this morning seems to have resolved the problem. We didn’t encounter the Shi-Tsu lady, nor did we meet many other dog-lovers. We passed the lady with the gigantic Bernese mountain dog — what a critter! He, despite his vastness, is well behaved and quiet. We passed the guy with the lab-like Heinz-57: ditto…a well-behaved and quiet dog. We came up behind the big, hefty-looking gay guy with the two wee little toy poochie things, always an amazing sight. But that was it. A cat tried to follow us home from Lower Richistan, but gave up when it noticed we were drifting into the slums.

It is hotter than the hubs of Hades here. AC is pounding away most of the time. My son is getting $500 power bills in that leaky old house of his. I suggested he bring his dog and camp out here until the end of August, but of course (being sane) he’s having none of that noise.

The pool, which tends to haze, looked clear when I got up this morning but by the time I’d finished breakfast was full of London Fog again, despite my having poured in about 8 or 10 ounces of granulated chlorine as dawn cracked this morning.

Dumped in another pound of chlorine; Cl level is now back up to around 4 ppm, fairly high. This will drop quickly, because chlorine degrades in sunlight.

…some things, you don’t wanna know…

NEVER have I had so much trouble with the chemical balance in this pool — and I’ve been tending it for 16 years. I’ve about come to the conclusion that I need to have the damned Pebblesheen jackhammered off and replaced with old-fashioned white plaster, which IMHO looks better and which is one helluva lot easier to maintain.

You cannot get it clean to save your life. Because the surface is coarse — like fine gravel in asphalt — it eats up a pool brush if you try to brush the walls and floors. Literally pulls the plastic bristles out, which then get into the pool cleaner and break the damn thing. That’s OK, because the surface itself will soon destroy Harvey, and I’ll have to replace him with a new $400 cleaner that has wheels on it — which, we’re told, will break quickly under the strain of running over this stuff. Algae settles into the coarse surface’s billions of pores, so brushing is futile, anyway: the only way to dislodge it is by scouring it down with a hard spray of water from the hose. That’s not practical in the winter:  to clean the walls & steps with water spray, you have to get into the water. Result: haze and algae curtains. So you’re constantly dumping chlorine into the drink, which BLEACHES the damn blue Pebblesheen! So now that expensive new surface is not blue: it’s blotchy yellow (bleached spots) and green (algae) and blue (Pebblesheen waiting to be bleached).

I suspect there’s something about the chemical composition of the surface that bollixes up the water chemistry. I cannot keep the chlorine levels up to save my life. Last night after dark, I poured in a dose of chlorine — the dose I’d administered in the morning having burned out in the 112-degree sunlight. This morning I dumped 3/4 pound of granulated Cl in there — which should have sufficed nicely for the day. That was around 6:30 a.m. By 9 a.m, a test kit  registered ZERO chlorine in there. Actually, that’s with two different brands of test kit. (Yeah: it did occur to me that maybe something was off with HD’s kits, so I bought one from Leslie’s y’day). (No, nothing is wrong with the Home Depot kit…)

Two and a half hours later, and ALL the chlorine is gone????? Huh uh. Something is seriously wrong there

On reflection, it occurs to me that the Swimming Pool Service & Repair guy may have failed to apply chlorine stabilizer when he did the start-up after the pool was refilled. Seems unlikely — this IS their business and they’ve been doing it for years. How could you forget that little detail?

But…it would explain why the chemicals go haywire within a few hours after application.

Whenever I get my act together today, I need to return the wimpy test kit Leslie’s sold me (I found a better one on Amazon, same price, more options, better vials, better chemicals). While I’m there I’ll ask them about the stabilizer issue. It would be good if they had a liquid form (stabilizer is basically cyanuric acid). Some brands of pool chlorine incorporate CYA — particularly chlorine tablets. These were pushing up the acid levels so high that the Leslie’s guy recommended using granulated Cl — which may be the problem right there. If the granulated product doesn’t contain CYA, then…duh! No wonder the water’s clouding up.

I personally prefer the granulated product, which you simply broadcast over the surface occasionally. It seems less nuisancey to me than keeping track of the damned floating pool tab holders and wrestling with alarming potentially explosive tablets every time you turn around. But…hm. But. If the tabs will hold down the haze, that may be the first recourse in a series of strategic steps:

  1. Try the tablets again;
  2. Pounce Leslie’s affable manager and interrogate him about the stabilizer issue;
  3. Possibly buy and add stabilizer…

Which I sure would ‘druther not be hassled with.

Speaking of hassle, on Monday I go in to get yet another goddamn actinic keratosis frozen off my hide.

This has gotten very old, indeed…. A forty-minute drive each way, a fun doctor’s visit, and then a wound to have to care for over the next week or two.

Yesterday, to my horror and amazement, I learned that the current thinking among researchers is that actinic keratoses are not discrete phenomena. Instead, they represent what is called a “field disease,” especially where they crop up repeatedly in the same patch of skin. The theory is that they represent a larger area of diseased tissue. And the suggestion? Treat that area with a chemical, as well as freezing off each flare-up. “The management of multiple AKs is a long-term prospect, with no clear cure,” we’re told. “The best approach is the sequential treatment with a lesion-directed and a field-directed therapy.”

This, quite frankly, does not sound very pleasant. It entails applying a topical gel that singes your skin and can elicit some interesting allergic reactions. Monday I’ll have to take a printout of the article to the doc’s office and ask them if they don’t think they should prescribe one of the recommended drugs. Which, no, I would rather not use. But…besides the hassle and discomfort of these goddamn things (each one itches and hurts at the same time), the fact is they can convert to squamous cell carcinoma in short order. And that stuff will kill you just as dead as malignant melanoma will.

In other precincts: this heat is making me freaking comatose. I have not gotten anything done. Have not posted another section of Fire-Rider. Have not tried to get back to writing Ella. Have not done much house maintenance other than struggle with the pool (many other projects await the human’s attention). Have done little else but eat and sleep. And clean the pool. 😀