Coffee heat rising

A Touch of Heaven in a Day from Hell

OKAY, this one is as amazing as it gets…

So Apple shipped off my MacBook to its repair shop in Tennessee, where the thing has been for the better part of a week. But before very long, they finish and ship it back. Supposed to arrive between 8 and 10 a.m. today.

Sent off a chapter to one client. Read another client’s chapter and sent that off to him.

Come 11 a.m., no sign of it. I call Apple. Their rep gets ahold of Fedex, who say their guy tried to deliver it but no one was home. Of course I was home. And Gerardo was here with four of his guys, too! I expect the guy delivered it to Josie’s house: same number as my house, same street name except “Lane,” not “Way.” Apple CSR  gets the various numbers for me to try to track this down.  I call FedEx and get a robo-phone runaround, so I figure I’ll drive up to the Fedex office on Meth Lover’s Lane in person.

I’m cruising across SubFeeder Street headed for Conduit of Blight — NOT my usual route, because I hate turning left at the signal at CofB and GangBanger’s Way (because of the Fucking Train), so I normally backtrack around Robin Hood’s Barn to avoid it. The intersection of CofB & Meth Lover’s is impassible with construction, so you have to drive to 23rd on Gangbanger’s Way, go north to Meth Lover’s, then right on Meth Lover’s and left on 21st. And 21st is jammed with frustrated drivers trying to get around the roadblock at CofB and Meth Lover’s. Wheeeee!

As I cross Local Lane West, I see a Fedex Truck headed in my direction. Hot DAYUM!

I lay on the horn, jump out of the car, and flag him down.

And believe it or not, HE HAS THE COMPUTER and…another believe-it-or-not… he FORKS IT OVER.

Holy mackerel. He swears he’s been here and left a notice.

Check when I get home, and by golly, he’s right: the doorbell button on the gate doesn’t ring. Must have run out of battery juice or gotten wet in the rain and ruint.

But…can you imagine? Actually encountering the guy on the way out of the ‘hood?????? Wow!

As expected, I spent the entire afternoon wrestling with the computer, trying to get it back online. It goes, but it goes slow.

Tomorrow I’ll have to spend half a day wrestling with DropBox, which seemed to be cooperating up to the point where it supposedly synced itself with the newly refurbished (i.e., key tools erased or up-gefucked) machine. After making me jump through a thousand hoops and forcing me to dream up a new goddamn password and seemingly starting the 24-hour process to sync the zillions of gigabytes worth of files I have stored in DropBox’s precincts, hours after the process has started they send me an email with some new numeric code, which they demand that I enter to “finish signing in to DropBox.” But…they don’t tell me WHERE to enter it.

So that process, which should have been about 2/3 done by tomorrow morning, is now stopped, and now I’ll have the pleasure of trying to roust a human at DB (good luck with that!) and trying to get him to explain WTF and where the hell I’m supposed to enter this magical number, and then…yes…it will be another 24 hours before my files are synced.

Yeah.

Y’know what?

I. want. my. Smith-Corona. back.

Crazy Driver Season

The theory that one in every ten drivers on the Arizona road is a moron may need revision. Possibly closer to the truth: one in every five. My gawd, were they out in force yesterday!

Several gas stations in Our Beloved City have run out of gasoline. In half-baked Play-Nooz stories, we’re told it’s because fuel supply lines “may” have been disrupted by the weather in the Midwest, another way of saying “we dunno.” Personally, I suspect our country’s present mis-leadership, but that’s another story. Whatever the cause, gas prices have risen by about 30 cents a gallon. Today I have to drive my agèd friends to Costco, but would rather not ask them to sit in the car through the Costco’s long lines and then sit some more while I pump gas. Tomorrow I have to schlep to Paradise Valley Mall and then turn around and traipse way to Hell and gone out to Sun City.

The car had about a third of a tank of fuel, which under normal circumstances would last another week or ten days.

However…if Costco runs out of gas, too…if Costco and QT run out of gas…hmmm….  So, I decided to make a single trip yesterday, just to Costco to fill up the tank.

Sounds easy, eh? And it would be, if we were talking about any normal place.

On the way down, I pass one of the usual road-blocks, on the other side of the street. Every route in the city is dug up. Wherever you’re goin’, you can’t get there from here. Seeing the line of stalled cars stretching westward from 7th Avenue on Bethany, I realize I can’t get home that way. So decide to go up 15th Avenue, a slower route but usually unclogged.

Two morons get in front of me on the way to the Costco, but they’re pretty harmless. Just the usual “don’t know where I’m going” and “texting on the phone” set.

Get filled up, head out, and turn left onto lovely 15th Avenue without incident.

Fifteenth, a major feeder street that runs from Gangbanger’s Way, mostly through neighborhoods, all the way down to the State Capitol area, has been adorned with traffic-harassing nuisances in the form of stupid roundabouts and speed humps. Most people ignore these: in time you learn that you really don’t have to slow down for them. The other day I saw a guy shoot down that road at about 50 mph, navigating the nuisance circles and bumps without a hitch. Most people drive about 35 with no problem.

But…yes. Or rather no. Naturally, I got a Moron of the First Water in front of me.

First hint was that the Moron slowed wayyyyyyy down as soon as it got north of Bethany Home. Then when the Moron came to a speed circle, it STOPPED.

Yes. This idiot slows so far down as to stop before entering the roundabout nuisance and then C-R-R-R-A-A-A-A-W-L-S around it, barely idling foward. About one mile per hour, I’d guess.

No, that is not an exaggeration. The chucklehead is barely moving.

Moron speeds back up to about 30, then as soon as a speed bump pops up, DOES IT AGAIN. This idiot actually STOPS and then, barely moving, C-L-I-I-I-I-I-M-B-S over the thing. Then speeds up to almost 25 mph.

This is why I don’t carry a gun in the car. I’d have blown out the clown’s tires.

Seriously: it’s NO WONDER people shoot at these fools.

We finally get to Maryland, the next east-west road, where the Moron inches into the intersection on the green. I squeeze around him, veer right, leaning on the horn as I leave the nitwit behind. This adds an extra mile to my drive: a half-mile over to 7th Avenue and another half-mile back through the ’Hood.

I think people do this kind of thing on purpose. It’s a game for some folks. And really: it’s a miracle more of them don’t get shot.

Life in Outer Dystopia

So yesterday (is it today already?) I spent OVER FIVE HOURS traipsing miserably from pillar to post, accomplishing…what?

No WAY can you get there from here…

The MacBook, upon which I depend for almost all things computerese, croaked over. So, Apple having closed its store within reasonable driving distance of my house, I had to drive way to Hell and Gone to a tony shopping center called Scottsdale Quarter: 14.5 miles. Add to that the 3+ miles in the other direction, over to the north side of the Metrocenter ghost mall, and you get about 30 miles round trip through the city’s wacksh!t traffic, in which approximately one in every ten drivers is crazy as a loon or dumb as a post.

Before heading east for Scottsdale, I had to drop by the FedEx store at Metrocenter — on the far side of the I-17 — by way of sending a paper(!) manuscript back to a client. This annoyance, because the lines at the post office are so long you’ll stand there for 20 or 30 minutes to get a package weighed, buy stamps, and drop it in the outgoing mail. You actually save time by driving out of your way to go to a store that will sell you the postage. This junket, then, took me six miles out of my way.

Wherever you’re going in the dystopic Valley of the Sun, you can’t get there from here. During this endless junket, I ran into eight roadblocks. If the drive weren’t long enough, it stretches toward eternity while you grind your way through traffic jam after traffic jam. The roads, thanks to all these afterthought asphalt-digging programs and lowest-bidder asphalt-laying, are potholed and ridged every inch of the way. To any drive you choose to make — near or far — you have to add about 10 minutes to your projected driving time, because somewhere along the way you will come to a stop and sit. And sit. And sit.

This time I had enough sense not to park my car in Scottsdale Quarter’s underground labyrinth. Instead left the car across the street in Kierland Commons’ parking lot.

Scottsdale Quarter — to say nothing of the glass box that is the Apple store there, with its ear-splitting ambient noise echoing off the glass and metal walls — is not a pleasant place to spend your time. It is crowded, and not crowded with nice people: the inhabitants by and large are snobbish parvenus, rude and obnoxious. Even outside, the noise level is headache-inducing. Lest any of the customers be disturbed by a moment of introspection, SQ’s designers have kindly lined the sidewalks with fake rocks from which blare a peculiarly annoying type of faceless Muzak. Everywhere you turn, the racket is brain-banging.

Finally, though, I reach the Apple store. And yeah: naturally, they had done exactly what I told them NOT to do: erased the operating system and updated it with the latest and greatest. And by the way deleted the connection to DropBox, which they refuse to deal with because they want you to store your data to iCloud, not to their competition.

My resident Word program will not run on an OS later than Sierra. I went around and around and around with the tech explaining this to him, and explaining that because I am a crazy old lady I do not want my clients’ work in Microsoft’s Cloud, nor am I going to pay Microsoft an expensive subscription for the privilege of having to work in their Cloud. So, when I showed up there after a second nightmarish drive and found they had done exactly what I had asked them not to do, I threw one of my more colorful shitfits, a phenomenon that I am capable of generating with élan.

They agreed to restore the system, but…but…did I have a backup? Of course, they thought I did not. But luckily, I hadn’t taken the external drive that contained the most recent Macbook back-up out of my car, and so yes, it was sitting in the parking lot across the street, in the Kierland Commons shopping center.

Retrieving it required me to walk a quarter mile and cross Scottsdale Road, a huge and hectic thoroughfare, at signals that do not stay green long enough for a rabbit to get from one side to the other at a dead run. But to their amazement I traipsed out, snabbed the thing from the car, and resurfaced in their glass box bearing a two-day-old back up.

So supposedly they have now recovered my system. Tomorrow I have to traipse out there again and pick it up. And you may be sure — because it never fails — that the thing will be totally, utterly, irretrievably fucked up. And you may be sure I will have to spend at least an hour, possibly much longer, trying to get reconnected to DropBox, a chore that is likely to be a horror show of the first water.

Because I still have an antique iMac running, a device I use as a TV substitute, Time Machine has made current backups of all my data. And I can reach DropBox from the iMac. But I don’t do my work on the iMac: my old bones ache so much that it hurts to sit in an office chair in front of a desk for hour on hour. Or, come to think of it, for minute on minute. I have the MacBook so that I can sit in a chair that doesn’t cripple me while I perform the endless work I do for my clients.

Okay, so there’s that.

Meanwhile, when I fell face-first on the concrete pavement the other night, I scratched my expensive pair of glasses. So…oh goodie! Now I get to buy a new lens.

I had gone to Costco a few days ago to pick up a copy of the new prescription I had made there last November. Meanwhile, the fancy optometry shop that dispensed these fancy glasses was priced out of the AJ’s shopping center where it resided for many years and has moved around the corner on Camelback, where you have to navigate around the damned train tracks and where a restaurant reserves most of the parking spaces with posted threats to tow your car if you leave it there.

So I decided to go to the expensive store La Maya frequents for her glasses, which lies tangentially on my homeward-bound way.

Drive and drive and drive and drive and drive and dodge construction and dodge homicidal drivers and jerk left across freeway-sized thoroughfares and finally arrive at this glasses place. Get into the cramped parking lot, find several empty parking spaces in front, park, jump out, prance up to the front door…which is LOCKED. They’re closed. On Monday, at midday.

So I and drive and drive and drive and drive some more and dodge construction and dodge homicidal drivers some more and jerk left across freeway-sized thoroughfares some more and finally arrive at the new venue of my old glasses place. Trot in, show the scratched lens and the prescription to the guy, and ask if they’ll replace the lenses.

Sure, says he. That’ll be $395.

Got that? Three hundred and ninety-five dollars for a pair of plastic lenses. No, that doesn’t include the frames.

Holy sh!t, said I. So it’s back to Costco!

By then I was too tired to make the 11-mile return trip to Costco to order up a pair of dowdy glasses from their optometry department. But I will have to stop there on the way home, tomorrow, from what I expect will be an upsetting trip to pick up the MacBook, which we are told is ready to go.

Right.

Imagine. $395 for a pair of fuckin’ plastic lenses, and they don’t even have to write the prescription.

I may stop by Sassy Glasses — La Maya’s favorite joint — to see if they’ll make the lenses for something within reason. The frames were wildly expensive and they’re my favorite glasses of all time. I really, really don’t want to have to throw them away. But obviously I can’t afford four hundred bucks to replace the lenses. Costco does not make lenses for this kind of specialty glasses, and so if Sassy Glasses can’t do the job for a reasonable price, then it’s back to the ugly old, clunky old plastic glasses from Costco.

Life in beautiful uptown Phoenix. Life in Dystopia.

Cassie: Still Extant…

…as far as I can tell.

Cassie-off-leashWhen I left the house this morning, Cassie the Corgi was very sick, indeed. Worse than before, by far. Coughing and choking and gasping for air and actually wheezing.

In the absence of a doggy thermometer, it’s impossible to confirm or de-confirm whether she has a fever, but her schnozz certainly felt very hot. I mopped her head with cold water — an effective way to address impending heat exhaustion in a dog, BTW. Works better with dogs than with humans because of the difference in the way the brain circulates blood.

She seemed unimproved.

Comes time to leave for choir, the thought crosses my mind: Lady, this dog is not going to be alive when you get back here…

Really, I thought she wouldn’t make it another three hours. She couldn’t walk a few feet across the floor without gasping for air.

But…I was supposed to be down at the church, so off I went, misgivings or no.

So after cruising southerly two or three miles, I go to turn left from Main Drag NS onto Least Annoying Main Drag EW to get onto Main Drag Leafy Parkway, whereinat resides desired House of God. Traffic clears, I make my turn, and

POP! There’s some clown on a bicycle in front of me, on the WRONG SIDE OF THE ROAD, flying through the intersection in the crosswalk.

That is, he’s not traveling on the righthand side of the roadway, as is the law here in our garden state. He’s on the lefthand side, riding on a sidewalk. He’s  in the crosswalk  legally — we both have the light, of course. But he’s not where a motorist would expect to find him, because he’s riding on the shoulder against the traffic.

I jam on my brakes. He jams on his brakes and in his alarm very nearly falls on the pavement. By now cars that were wayyy on down the road are upon us — traffic flows at 45 to 50 mph on that street. He looks confused and scared. I holler GO GO GO!!!! and he jumps back on and dodges out of the way in the nick of time.

Holy cripes. What is the matter with people?

Stumbling across the church parking lot, I think THIS is a towel that I need to throw in. Unnerved by the biker episode and really worried about the dog, I announce that I can’t stay, turn around, and come home.

Not over yet, though:

When I climb back into the car to leave the church parking lot, I notice the statement the vet’s office-lady gave me. I would swear she said the bill was $45. No. They engrossed FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIVE BUCKS from my checking account!

Holy mackerel! And that’s just to try to figure out what’s wrong with her! He gave me the pills for free, which was mighty kind of him ’cause it turns out that drug goes for — hang onto your hat — $200 a bottle!!!!!!!

I fly back to the house. From inside the garage I can hear Cassie barking merrily. WTF? She could barely drag herself across the floor 30 minutes earlier.

Fling open the door: they’re both doing the welcome home Odysseus how was the Trojan war? dance. They streak out the side door, as usual, like rockets. Cassie doesn’t get far, but she does manage to work herself up to a dead run. Briefly.

Which is better than what I expected: just plain dead.

Well, we’ll find out tomorrow whether the dog’s lung inflammation is really Valley fever, or if she has some other kind of infection. He said he was sure it wasn’t cancer, so I guess that for $485, we can discard that notion.

There are two similar drugs on the market that are cheaper than fluconazole. In fact, this stuff is for the disseminated state of VF. If it’s just in her lungs so far, then we could probably switch to one of the other drugs, which are a lot cheaper. Dr. Vet and I are going to have to have a little chat about this…

Makes “let nature take its course” look depressingly like good advice, doesn’t it? I guess if I have to put her to sleep because I can’t afford exorbitant amounts of money to get her over this thing…well…