Coffee heat rising


And so it was off into the rising sun…

With a printout of a candidate glass lampshade from the Lamps Plus manager, along about midmorning I set out for Phoenix Lamps, a venerable shop that has occupied the same hole-in-the-wall on east Indian School Road for years. Nay, decades.

This is not a place to which I would normally avail myself, because years ago — yea verily, decades ago — their staff was unforgivably rude to me. Never have I returned, and never did I intend to return. But the Hinkley’s lady and the Lamps Plus lady assured me that the joint has changed hands, and the new proprietors were capable of behaving themselves as if they cared whether customers ever came back.

Welp…they’re right. Staff there were visibly human, and they managed to be very nice to me, despite the crankiness of my quest.

Traffic, though? Not so much. I dawdled until around 11 a.m. before dragging unhappily out the door. That was a mistake. Traffic in all directions, on all routes was just effing fierce. What are all these clowns doing out on the roads in the middle of the effing morning?

Phoenix Lamps is parking-lot challenged. They have only a cramped space behind their strip-mall slot for customers to stash their cars. No doubt under ordinary circumstances, this would have been fine. Today, though, was not an ordinary circumstances day.

The store was busy — several parties perusing every item in the store. This would explain why the slot I hogged was the only parking spot left behind the place. But despite the demands on his time and attention, the guy I met up with was very kind and very knowledgeable.

Upon inspecting the wounded Restoration Hardware lamp, he agreed that the proposed replacement glass thing suggested by the Lamps Plus manager was probably the best bet. That notwithstanding, he hauled out a gigantic Sears-Catalogue of the lamp industry and searched. And came up with the same choice. But, he allowed, this thing was not a-gonna fit in the RH lamp: it probably would be too short and too loose. However, his crew could fix that: they could build up the base for the thing and adjust it so the proposed shade would sit there with an adequate degree of stability.

So, he suggested, I should order this thing online, bring it and the crippled lamp in to the shop, and they would make it all work.

Holy mackerel. If the gods aren’t snickering, they surely are smiling.

From there, it was off to the Trader Joe in Town and Country (20th Street & Camelback)…after a lengthy wait until the disabled lady who kindly blocked the entrance and exit to the Phoenix Lamps parking lot with her van reached a point where she felt inclined to move the thing. Staff were not inclined to demand that she get off the dime, so this took awhile. Didn’t bother me — I had nothing else to do — but some customers were a shade miffed. That notwithstanding, staff steadfastly demurred to the lady in the walker.


Town & Country hosts the snootiest and the snobbiest of the Biltmore nouveau-riche set, and by the time I got there — the lunch hour — the twits were out in force. Parking-lot challenged? Lemme tellya… Fortunately, I prefer to walk a ways (exercise, ya know) and I am…well…assertive. No. Of course I’m not aggressive. Who, me? 😉 I manage to shove the mini-SUV into a spot and hike in to the annoying Trader Joe’s.

Really. Was there some reason I didn’t go to Sprouts, where low-brow types like myself belong? Oh, yeah: the insufficient parking lot. Ohhh well…

The place was simply mobbed. Riots of shoppers, fighting kicking and biting to get at the desired products. Some poor lady was there who had a toddler that…well, the child had simply effing had enough of this bullshit and, trapped in a shopping cart’s kiddie seat, was SHRIEKING HER FRAZZLED LITTLE HEAD OFF.

Poor baby.

Poor mom.

Poor Trader Joe’s shoppers.

I grab the stuff I need, one item I don’t need, and learn that no, of COURSE no self-respecting TJ’s carries anything so déclassé as chocolate chips. Pay. Out the door. Back across the hectic parking lot. Into the car.

And there have to do to-the-death battle with the young, the rich, and the overprivileged just to get out of the fucking parking space.

No joke. Between the parking space and the lot’s exit, three different privileged goddamn wretches deliberately cut me off.

God, but I hate rich people.

Having been a rich person for a significant slab of my life, I can say that. F*ck you all, Rich Wretches!….

Westward on Camelback toward the poor folks’ district. Stop off at Total Wine to pick up a bottle of Everclear, which is damn-near pure ethanol.

Don’t drink this stuff, please. It’s grain alcohol and very much of it will make you plenty sick, if it doesn’t kill you. What it kills even more effectively, though, is microbes. Back a few months ago, I learned (purely by serendipity) that it’s about the most efficient killer of MRSA bugs that you, I, or our doctors can get ahold of. I want some more of it, to use as an antiseptic.

The plonk acquired with surprisingly little hassle, it’s back on the road, headed for AJ’s. My GOD the traffic! Bumper to angry bumper to frustrated bumper to lunatic bumper.

Because I stay off the roads during the rush hours and the lunch hour, I haven’t seen mobs of cars like that in years. And hope not to see them again, unless some taxicab or Uber driver is doing battle with them.

Finally crawl into the AJ’s parking lot. Park a good hike away from the door. This, too, is a purveyor of goods favored by the Rich and the Rude, so navigating their parking lot when it’s full is…well…an adventure. Grab a few goodies and lunch, fly out the door…and find myself once again jousting with The Entitled. One sh!thead cuts me off at the exit, so I veer around him to the other exit and get onto the road before the SOB can. Mwa ha ha!

Driving in Phoenix: a competitive sport.

On Central, too — northward into an upscale residential district — the road was just packed. Managed to veer over to 7th Avenue, which for reasons incomprehensible was much neglected, and shoot up north to the ‘Hood, relatively unmolested.

Finally, home!

Yea verily, back at the Funny Farm. Lampshade thing ordered. Chow scarfed down. A third of a bottle of white wine swilled. And now…enough, already! The dog and I are falling into the sack for a nap.

Adventures in Antiquity

…or is it superannuation?

Sorta like this, but a lot nicer…

Yesterday I pushed back in a chair from a desk and bumped a beautiful old floor lamp I’d bought at Restoration Hardware 25 or 30 years ago (!!!!! Really???? Yesterday was 30 years ago?). It tipped over, bashed against a wall, and its handsome milky glass shade thing broke into six or eight pieces.


So now I go to Restoration’s website to see if I can get a replacement glass thing.

Ohhhhhh my goodness! If you want to see ugleee, go over to Restoration Hardware and look at the lamps. Holy mackerel. This stuff exceeds ugly. How on earth do they manage to sell that crap? Ikea design at Tiffany prices!

It has been, admittedly, a long time since I bought the furnishings for my house. I’ve been in this house 16 years and was in the other house (when I bought this stuff, when I had…you remember…a job) about as long. So presumably this thing is around 30 years old. How times have changed.

I just hate  the ugly, uglee interior design that’s the style now. Penitentiary gray on every surface. And industrial furnishings that look like they belong on a factory floor. Or in a prison, to go with the lovely walls. The stuff is so hideous! HOW do they get young people to buy it? And the COST! You simply would not believe what Restoration Hardware is charging for the ugliest floor lamps you can imagine.

Or can’t imagine…who would dream this stuff up?

So I call Lamps Plus on the phone and learn they may be able to get a glass shade thingie to replace the deceased.

This looks a LOT like it… If you have to ask, no, you can’t afford it.

They closed the Lamps Plus near the ’Hood, that outlet having been located in what is now a Ghost Mall. The nearest outlet is almost to Sun City — a good forty-minute drive from here.

And you can tell that they cater to the Sun City set, because they still carry a few lamps that are not uglier than sin. They do have lamps that are very similar to the antique(!!) RH model, and it is remotely possible that a shade for one of those will fit the deceased. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised but what whoever was manufacturing the old RH lamps simply took their custom over to Lamps Plus. They have a similar lamp for around $120, a far cry from the $450++++ RH is gouging its customers.

My concern is that if I have to buy another lamp, it will come with a socket that works only with the horrid new LED lighbulbs. I simply abominate the quality of the light those damn things emit, and I have a large stockpile of incandescent lights which I hope will last until the end of my life. Home Depot still sells them, though you can’t get them in three-way switch design.

The bulb didn’t break, so I took it out and set it aside.

But… Like any retailer, Lamps Plus doesn’t open until 10 a.m.

This looks just like it! Only without the ungainly lamp… Walmart, $89.40 for the whole contraption. If only it weren’t out of stock…

I had to be back in North Central by 12:30 to show up down at the church for Front Desk duty. Eighty minutes of traffic-trekking plus God only knows how much palavering would be cutting it very close, especially if I imagined I’m going to get anything resembling lunch.

If I arrive at their door at 10 a.m., spend half an hour yapping with them, then fly back into town without incident (good luck with that: wherever you’re goin’ in the Valley, you can’t get there from here…), I figured get back to the Funny Farm by 11:30 or noon. Barring the usual road work, wrecky-poos, gun battles, and whatnot. {sigh}

Just what I needed to make my day!

Along about 9:30 I start the trek westward journey. After a 45-minute trek through crazy-making traffic, I arrive at this place, the nearest Lamps Plus.

They didn’t have a clue. But the manager, I hafta hand it to her, tried everything she could think of to come up with SOMEPLACE to find a new glass lampshade thingie. Basically, that amounted to perusing the same websites I’d already looked at.

She did, however, tell me a replacement has to have a kind of a “collar” on it to fit into the fixture: it can’t be shaped like a shallow dog dish.

She suggested Phoenix Lamps — 30 minutes on the OTHER side of town.

Phoenix Lamps caters to the antiques connoisseur set. Last time I went in there, prices were blinding and deafening, both. On the other hand…I guess a 25- or 30-year-old light IS an antique. Forgodsake.

We have Hinkley’s, also very expensive. But at least it’s close: just down the road from AJs. Actually, I figure could take the thing by there after I escape from the church office this afternoon… Since by now I’ve missed lunch, this will mean a nice late dinner, too. I’ll be faint by the time I get back home.

French’s Electric mostly caters to the trade — electricians, I mean. But…they do have some interesting fixtures in their shop. And they’re real pro’s. If there’s an answer to be had, they either already know it or can find it forthwith. Couldn’t hurt to ask those guys, I guess.

And finally, there’s the Wizard of Odz, a little repair shop way to hell & gone back up on Bell Road, founded many a year ago by an eccentric fella who just plain loved lights and old lamps. He used to be, truly, a wizard — could fix anything. But that place changed hands, and more recent Yelp reviews are far from positive… And lo! A web search to see if negativity still holds forth reveals the place has  closed down. Too bad…

Welp, my inclination is to make a run on French’s or Hinkley’s this afternoon — I get off at 4 p.m. and both emporia are open till 5:30. French’s is a drive, westbound toward the suburbs just as rush hour hits its height. However, if they can either order a new one that looks OK or rejigger the lamp so it can take a fabric shade, they’ll be a whole lot cheaper than Hinkley’s.

Godlmighty, this has turned into a fiasco. A new, even vaguely comparable lamp will cost around $260 to $300. Well. Except for the one Walmart is peddling for $89.40…you can imagine about how long that thing will last. 😀

Seems like a lamp repair dude ought to be able to take out the socket and replace it with a socket array that holds a lampshade harp, thereby allowing me to use a fabric shade. Not as nice, for sure, but at least the lamp would survive.

It’s enraging. I mean, really: a lamp purchased in your own lifetime — when you were solidly ensconced in middle age, for godsake — is an “antique”? Seriously?