Coffee heat rising

State of the Chaos

A little quieter here today… let’s hope it’s not the calm before the next storm. Let’s see how the various crises are doing:

1. In the department of Funny’s Money: I have no idea. I don’t even want to know, it’s such a chaotic disaster. This month I never got an untrammeled moment when I wasn’t too exhausted to sit down and work on the budget, so I’ve just been spending left and right. Financial manager sent over enough to cover the down payment on the pool rehab, which starts Monday. I reset the checking-to-emergency savings automatic transfer to move less than half of what I originally thought I could manage, so that (at least) will leave a little more basic survival money in checking.

2. Hand cancer: still waiting on the biopsy. But I’m calling the doc’s office on Monday to ask if we can accelerate the process. I want this damn thing OFF. Where they shaved off enough to send to the lab, it’s growing back with élan. Whatever it is, it’s very fast-growing and so presumably aggressive. And at times it really hurts. Hurts and itches. Turns out pain and itching are defining characteristics of squamous cell cancer. Why exactly we have to wait for biopsy results until the cows come home to cut the thing out escapes me.

3. Dog decedence*: No credible sign of croaking over yet! Matter of fact, this dog is getting much better. Just now she remembered the chicken jerky treats that reside in a jar on the kitchen counter and decided to do the Dance of the Manipulated Human, thereby eliciting a chew treat for herself and for Ruby. The cough seemed to come back a little: it had subsided to the point where she coughed only when she slurped up a lot of water (which she’s always done…corgis do that). She had stopped coughing when she barks and stopped coughing when I lifted her off the bed. So I cut back the Benadryl from 1/2 tab in the morning and 1/2 tab in the evening to just 1/2 tab at night. A-n-n-d…the cough started to come back. This morning I gave her a dose at doggy breakfast, and lo! No coughing.

*Yes, yes, I did invent that word. Why do you ask? Etym: Late Modern English, from decedent (a deceased person)

4. Car: It seems to have survived its brush with the flatbed trailer with no very serious damage. The gouged tire is still rolling. It hasn’t blown, at least not so far…and yeah, it has been on a freeway or two. I’m trying to stay off the freeways, because I don’t trust the thing. But to get out to the new dermatologist’s office sometime before the end of my life expectancy, I pretty much have to ride the 101 for a number of miles. So far, so good.

5. Cord-cutting Cox escape: Last night La Maya and La Bethulia invited me over for dinner. In the course of conversation, I remarked that I need to get rid of the fake “land line” (Cox’s new version is really VoIP, and not very good VoIP at that), replace my extensions with cheap clamshells and get an iPhone.

“I have two old iPhones that I’m not using!” says La Bethulia. “Want one?”

Do I want one???? Grab!  Well, she quite reasonably wanted to delete all her data on the thing before I trot it over to the Apple store to get it set up. And they’ve forgotten the password for the thing. But it turns out it’s not hard to reboot the thing all by your little self. So…I may try to do that with my son’s help, or just hire an Apple tech to do it. Paying someone a hundred bucks or so would be a lot cheaper than buying a new iPhone! 🙂

6. MacMail fiasco: Still not fixed. Right now the only way I can get to my email is through the Web interface, which is less than ideal. It does allow me to access incoming mail, but all my carefully designed preferences have been screwed up. Not erased — which would have been far preferable — but all jumbled around. So it’s a mess. And I guess I’m going to end up either having to pay Cox for an email account, the bastards, or start using Gmail, which I really really REALLY do not want to do. This, I will figure out later.

7. Other little dramas: Have yet to decide whether I’m going back to choir. The associate director has kindly put me on the women’s chant choir, which I love.  She urged me to come to choir on Sunday despite having turned on my heel and marched back to my car and gone home after last Wednesday evening’s unpleasant exchange at the door (not with her but with a woman who makes no secret of her dislike of me).

I don’t know. I’d pretty well decided to quit — just never go back, that’s how disgusted I am. And besides…

Really, the only thing that keeps me from feeling a great deal more serious about moving out of Crime Central is the choir. I can’t afford any other close-in district — this neighborhood is cheap because Conduit of Blight Blvd, Gangbanger’s Way, the Blightrail, the meth clinic, and the population of bums keep the property values way down. Comparable homes anywhere else are at least a hundred grand higher, and these days more like two hundred grand.

Abandoning the choir and the church would open two housing options: Fountain Hills, wayyy on the east side of the Valley, and Sun City, wayyyy on the west side. Both have the advantages of low crime rates and pretty decent nearby shopping. They’re both quiet and peaceful, and there’s no way any politicians and their greed-driven backers are going to build a boondoggle through the middle of either one. Sun City is a ghetto for old folks, which I really do not like. Fountain Hills is one helluva long way from everything but the Mayo Clinic, a distance that I also do not like. I don’t know anyone in Fountain Hills and, because I don’t make friends easily, this would make me feel isolated and unhappy. But Fountain Hills has pretty scenery and it is close to upscale shopping and to my favorite second-hand store, My Sister’s Closet. Sun City has the advantages that it’s very cheap to live there, and that I do know some people there and so would start with a kernel of a social life. Which would be good. I guess. And the writer’s group I favor meets way on the west side, so it would be easy to cultivate more friends there. I guess.

Well, if I’m going to snab that phone, I need to get up and do it now…La Maya’s relatives are about to descend on the house. And so, away!

…from Worse to Hilarious?

DATELINE: CHURCH FRONT OFFICE. Okay, okay. I give up whinging about the endless stream of bad luck, minor hassles, major headaches, and downright disasters that have infected every damn day here for the past six weeks or so.

This is no longer terrible, horrible, and downright deplorable. It has evolved into…



Nay, uproarious!

Just when you think nothing more could possibly go wrong…the ENTIRE CITY goes offline.

So we’re told, anyway. The Apple techs and the Cox tech who spent four hours trying to help get my email working were swimming against the stream. Little did they know…even the Cox tech!…that Cox is down over the whole City!

Apparently the degree of down-ness varies by district. From my house, I could at least get Firefox to cruise the Internet. And the phone was working.

I get down to the church, where I cool my heels for four hours once a week, and find that EVERYTHING is down:

The wireless
The outdgoing and incoming phone lines
The in-house phones

Holee ess aitch ai!

The pastor has gone home in frustration, after having tried for quite some time to accomplish his work on his smart phone and about put his eyes out for his trouble.

Other staff are hanging around, filling time with various small manual tasks, except for the musicians, who are giving lessons or practicing.

Hilariously, the Cox tech I spoke with for something over an hour this morning had no idea there was a Cox outage here. And given that some are saying it covers the entire city, that’s quite the little secret to keep from your customer service employees, isn’t it?

Apparently, the extent of the outage varies by district. At my house, MacMail would come on, in a spotty way, though it was operating so slowly that some functions simply wouldn’t work. Yet I had no problem opening web pages, and indeed wrote and published a post for Funny about Money this morning. I thought what was out was the Apple Mail function.

Here, the office is offline, but one of the priests just came in and said she was online at the school, and so was the teacher whose classroom she was working in.

That notwithstanding…the phones and the computers are absolutely positively not working over here, a hundred yards away.

Chortle! I wonder if this is an attack…the Russians strike again. Or the Koreans? The Saudis?

Hmmmm… Will the burglar alarm system here be online? With no phone system operative, how will ADT get the message if the Burglar decides to stroll in and make himself to home?

At any rate, Korean sabotage or not, I’ve about had it with Cox. If they can’t even let their CSRs know about a major service outage, they are not worth the price!

My plan now is to get an iPhone – though one of the staff here was telling me about something called Great Call, designed for old folks who can’t figure out these contraptions. Apparently it has a mode that’s pretty simple to use. But it operates with Samsung. The last time I tried to use one of those types of cell phones, I never could figure out how to work it. Finally just gave up.

Apple is giving classes at its stores. Get an iPhone, and you can go over there and take lessons until you finally get it into your head how to work the damn thing. This is likely to take awhile, because I really don’t want to know how to work such a thing. My head is full of ENOUGH clutter, dammit. But I guess I can’t put it off any longer.

The advantage of an Apple device is that it connects seamlessly with other Apple products – notably MacMail. And I’m told it’s relatively easy for old people to learn to use, which sure isn’t the case for Android devices. Also, they apparently have a highly entertaining robocall blocker, which spoofs a human and makes a live caller truly miserable. That concept, I like.

Get phone

Either from TracFone or from a more conventional provider.
Compare costs.
Also, can you use TracFone to connect the iPad?

Learn to use phone. Ask at Apple store if you can get some lessons before you sign on and transfer the phone number. Or check on Internet for simple lessons on how to use the thing.

I think they’ll let you use a floor model or an extra to sit in on the classes and learn how to operate things.

Sign up and transfer my number to the phone.

Practice a lot at using it. Decide what functions are needed

Call blocker app
Access to Web
Access to Mail
Camera would be nice

Call Cox and cancel the landline

Confirm that it REALLY is true you can call 911 from a cell phone if it doesn’t have minutes or a connection that you’re paying for.

Buy 6 clamshell phones, charge them up, and have them around the house

Remember to recharge the car phone, too.

Look into Earthlink and Great Call.

How reliable are they?
Do they have customer service?
What does it cost?

Sooooo… My VoIP-ish phones were working when I left the Funny Farm. But if the system is by now as thoroughly down there as it is here, when I get home I, too, may have no phone service. I do have a clamshell phone in my car. And a couple of old phones whose recharging cords I’ve lost… 😀 So if I bring the phone into the house at least I’ll have something to use in an emergency.

An hour and a half to go. With no client work to do, I tend to count the minutes when I’m here. Which is weird…was never a clock-watcher when I had a real job. It’s just that…well…it’s awfully quiet here. And really, there’s nothing to do.

And, I think, the computer and other fine features of Our Modern Dystopia infuse a kind of gestalt into everyday life. You don’t sit and just do a single task or series of tasks from beginning to end anymore. You’re either interrupted constantly or you interrupt yourself with the Internet (out of restlessness or curiosity), so that you become accustomed to doing things in tiny, staccato intervals.

Plus it must be admitted that I failed to appreciate just how inconvenient it would be to have a four-hour slab sliced out of my life every week. I did tell them that I didn’t want to do this gig on the same day as choir practice…but ended up here on practice day anyway. So I have to race home, tend to the dogs – one of whom is still pretty sick – grab some food for myself, bolt down dinner, and then turn around and come right back down here.

True it is that I knew this schedule would be a PITA. But…the hectic turnaround really isn’t the issue. The issue is the four hours taken out of the day – and the week. Which is odd: I really didn’t think I had all that much to do. But apparently I do.

Cassie the Corgi seems somewhat better, actually. I suspect she’s about as much better as she’s going to get…and chances are, that itself is a temporary state of affairs. She still coughs occasionally – Valley fever? cancer? But she can bark again (this dog is nothing if she can’t bark!), and she’s eating cheerfully. Haven’t tried to take her for a walk since all this horror story came down – nor has Ruby had a walk. This means their claws are getting so long they can barely dodder…which tells you something about how long our little horror story has been going on. Tonight, of course, I won’t be able to take them out. So…maybe tomorrow morning? Probably not: some workman is supposed to show up at the crack of dawn tomorrow.

An hour and seven minutes to go. {sigh}

The longer I’m not at home, the longer some crazy new thing can’t happen to me! 😀