Coffee heat rising

General quotidian miseries

{grump!} It’s not like I didn’t have enough screwing around to have to do…

Apparently the Post Office lost an envelope sent to the credit union containing three checks, one for my personal account and two for the Copyeditor’s Desk account. It was a printed envelope from the credit union, so the address was correct, and I distinctly remember checking to be sure each item in the the fistful of mail I stuffed in the mailbox had a stamp on it. So I guess all those checks are just gone. Today I’ll have to call the issuers and tell them to stop payment and send me new checks.

Problem is, one of them came from Google Adsense, where it is dead impossible to reach a human being. The only way to make Google reissue a check will be to go to a particularly annoying, frustrating website and claim never to have seen the thing. Doing that will mean

a) I’ll have to lie, because I most certainly have seen and endorsed the damn thing, and
b) it will be another two months before I get another payment.

Problem with using the Google web annoyance is that if I claim not to have received the check and then it arrives at the CU and gets deposited, then it will look like I’m trying to steal from Adsense. Google is notoriously inclined to simply cut off customers it thinks aren’t dealing straight with Adsense. So, I guess the better part of valor is just to eat the $157.

Damn it. The specific reason I did this was that it is a freaking hassle to drive way to hell and gone to the West campus just to deposit a couple of checks. It consumes gas unnecessarily, and it expends pretty close to an hour of my time. The West campus stands in the middle of a down-at-the-heels bedroom community with no commerce where I might get any other errands done while I’m over there. I take that back: there’s a Costco in that general direction, but it’s an extra stretch and more wasted gasoline up the freeway, and a Lowe’s and a Home Depot at the freeway intersection. Not that I shop at either of those places much anymore.

So, to avoid hassle I’ve brought a basketful of extra hassle down on my head.

But the big concern about this is that when I drove over to the nearby post office and dropped that envelope in the mailbox, I also mailed my tax returns. Yesh. Both the personal and the corporate returns. For both the state and the feds. And I sent Tax Lady her payment in the same outgoing mail drop.

It looks like TL cashed at least one of her checks, the one I wrote on the corporate checking account; the second was written on a Fidelity money market account, along with the check to cover the federal tax. So if she got her envelope, presumably the Post Office didn’t lose everything I tried to send that day. I’ll have to get into the Fidelity account online—another fine little hassle—to see if the feds have cashed the check for their pound of flesh.

Where the PO is concerned, I’m afraid I can’t call any kettles black. I add my own extravagant incompetence to everyone else’s. It’s a wonder the human race gets anywhere at all.

Yesterday in my senility I utterly FORGOT that the 101 students were supposed to be at the library hearing a talk from our most accomplished and lively librarian! We blew away an hour and a half chatting about research methods in the classroom, and none of  us, not a one, remembered that we were supposed to be elsewhere. That was because…

a) I had totally spaced any memory of this appointment; and
b) When I posted an announcement to the young things in BlackBoard, I forgot to hit “e-mail to all recipients,” and, as usual, none of them checked the class announcements board.

So, this truly wonderful librarian showed up in the computer classroom and stood around for half an hour wondering where the hell we were.


Yesterday, too, I had such a blinding headache I began to wonder if I was having a stroke. It actually made me dizzy…felt like I was listing to the right as I was trying to drive and walk. Wasn’t, though; it just felt that way.

And of course in this general state of misery I had a meeting before classes and then had to drive from North Phoenix to South Scottsdale after spending four hours in front of classrooms full of late-stage adolescents. There Poisoned Pen Press gratefully accepted the novel I’d just finished editing but had no new work for me.

Fortunately I have some paying work to do today…though I will say, I don’t feel like doing any work, much less of the paying variety.

Driving from pillar to post yesterday, I was regaled by Tony Judt’s unholy tale of his trials with ALS on NPR’s Fresh Air. It’s a gut-wrenching story. You’d like to say you can’t even imagine what it would be like to live through such a horror and then die of it. But you can: Judt describes it with vivid clarity.

It’s one of those moments that brings to mind one’s own mortality. Please, God, let me drive my car off a cliff, let me die in a plane crash, let me drop dead of a heart attack. I think if I received a diagnosis like that, the first thing I’d do is pick up my father’s pistol and blow my brains out. Judt at least has his family around him and apparently has the resources to hire in-home nursing care. I have no one but my son, who has to work and could not devote three to ten years to caring for a dying woman. He would have to leave me to waste away alone in a nursing home.

Having chosen not to exit pursued by a bear, Judt—an eminent historian—has written a new book addressed largely to young people, Ill Fares the Land. The NPR site features an interesting out-take from its introduction. Says he:

Something is profoundly wrong with the way we live today. For thirty years we have made a virtue out of the pursuit of material self-interest: indeed, this very pursuit now constitutes whatever remains of our sense of collective purpose. We know what things cost but have no idea what they are worth. We no longer ask of a judicial ruling or a legislative act: is it good? Is it fair? Is it just? Is it right? Will it help bring about a better society or a better world? Those used to be the political questions, even if they invited no easy answers. We must learn once again to pose them.

The materialistic and selfish quality of contemporary life is not inherent in the human condition. Much of what appears ‘natural’ today dates from the 1980s: the obsession with wealth creation, the cult of privatization and the private sector, the growing disparities of rich and poor. And above all, the rhetoric which accompanies these: uncritical admiration for unfettered markets, disdain for the public sector, the delusion of endless growth.

We cannot go on living like this. The little crash of 2008 was a reminder that unregulated capitalism is its own worst enemy: sooner or later it must fall prey to its own excesses and turn again to the state for rescue. But if we do no more than pick up the pieces and carry on as before, we can look forward to greater upheavals in years to come.

Just so.

The news of the day continued with reports of crazed right-wingers planning to murder police officers and foment a rebellion against the federal government. That, to my mind, is far scarier than anything our enemies among the fundamentalist Moslems can do. IMHO, unless something is done about the growing schism in this country, within 20 to 50 years we will be looking at civil war.

To top it all off, I got a truly nasty e-mail from someone on the choir informing me she doesn’t know who I am and does not care to hear anything from me. F*** you very much.

Sometimes I get out of patience with life.

Beelzebub Central

Great Zot! What have I done to tick off Lady Karma?

Last night I encountered a vast fly infestation in the house. Thought I’d killed them all off-something over a dozen. Disinfected the kitchen countertops with Mr. Clean, I product I just loathe for its vile perfume, and so went to bed with the whole house stinking of that stuff.

This morning: MORE flies! The place was just swarming with them! After swatting and swatting and swatting and SWATTING, I finally gave up and got out the spray. I hate that stuff far more than I hate Mr. Clean, and I really, really don’t want to use it in the house-especially with a famously sick dog at hand. But there really was no choice. Flies quickly learn to avoid a fly swatter, and my hand-eye coordination and speed are no match for the little guys.

So I sprayed around the arcadia doors and then opened them up with the screens shut. This didn’t come anywhere near killing all the critters, but at least slowed them down so I could hit them. Did in about three dozen flies.

I found more of them clinging to the security door in the garage. Spraying in there is highly problematic, because of the gas heater, but the door is a distance from the heater. So I sprayed the security screen and then slammed the wood door shut on it.

Off for the morning walk. When I got back: MORE FLIES. More inside the house, and another gigantic swarm inside the garage, clustered in a great buggy mob on the closed wooden door.

I guess the spray in the garage had stunned the survivors enough that I could whack them: I killed over two dozen in there.

So I’ve done in about seven dozen flies, all told. . .and counting.

But WHERE are they coming from? The dog mounds are picked up outside and stay picked up. There’s no garbage inside the house. The trash in the garage, yes, was a little ripe (yesterday, it was 109 degrees outdoors, hotter in the uninsulated garage, whose big door operates as a radiator), but there’s a screen door between the garbage and the outside, and I don’t leave the door between the kitchen and the garage open. ????

Dragged the garbage out, along with a few dried-out flowers, to find an enormous stench in the communal garbage can in the alley. The neighbor behind me uses adult diapers, and her companion dumps them in the garbage. And of course there were plenty of flies there. I doubt if they’re breeding there, though: Sally wraps everything up tight in plastic bags. At any rate, I sprayed the rim and lid of the giant garbage can.

It’s almost as if they’re breeding inside the house. There just aren’t that many flies in the yard for seven dozen of them to get in while the dog is wandering in and out the door. I wonder if they could be breeding in one of the plant pots? Guess I’ll have to haul those outside and inspect them.

Meanwhile, it was hotter than the hubs of Hades when we went for our walk. I haven’t been able to get in the pool (which needs some tending, too) because of the fly fiasco.

I had to disinfect the countertops and dishes in the drainer all over again.

Then I put my back out-again!-wrestling with the dog while trying to medicate her nether parts. She threatened to bite-again!-so I had to muzzle her-again!-and personhandle her down to the floor. That was jolly fun. Dang! My back was almost better. Now for another week or ten days of that…what fun.

Guess I’d better drag the plants onto the patio before breakfast. If the flies are coming from a plant pot, the sooner it’s outdoors the better. It’s already close to 100 out there, and the house plants won’t tolerate much of that. So…better get moving.

Then I have to clean all the windows where I smashed flies, vacuum up some more corpses, and take the fly-splattered curtains down and wash them.

<<Chortle!>> Woe woe pore li’l me!

Well…it’ll be a good excuse to have a beer this afternoon, eh? By 3:00 or 4:00 p.m., I’ll have earned it. :-))))