Coffee heat rising

Lampquest!

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.

{chortle!}

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.

Ruby to the Rescue!

So we’re strolling along a sidewalk in Lower Richistan. It’s after noon, Ruby having had to wait until the Human got back from church to extract a DoggyWalk. As we approach the border of Upper Richistan, we spot a black cat up ahead. It’s messing with something on the sidewalk, presumably some prey it’s killed.

Ruby is more interested in wallowing in the neighbors’ lawns — her favorite pastime, since most yards in the po’ folks’ part of the ‘Hood are desert-landscaped, grass being something that is put out of the hoi polloi’s reach by the cost of water here. So I suggest, “Ruby! Lookit that cat. Git that cat!”

Of course she can’t get it, because she’s stuck on a leash. If I didn’t think she’d chase the thing to Yuma, I’d unhook her. But she can’t be trusted not to run out in front of a car or to follow the cat to Timbuktu. However, the cat hears me and so notices our approach, and it runs away.

I expect to find a dead bird or rat on the sidewalk. But…nay!

It’s a freaking tortoise! A little desert tortoise (endangered species!) about six or eight inches long and around five inches wide. It peeks its head out from its shell to see what the heck.

I ask a kid biking around on a neighbor’s front yard if he knows who belongs to the tortoise. He pretends not to hear me. He’s only about 10, but already his parents have trained him to recognize WT and not respond. Snobsville, and we ain’t even in Snottsdale. Hm.

Not wanting to leave the critter to amble across the roads, I pick it up.

Tortoise recoils inside his shell. Then sticks his head out, realizes he’s in the air, and sticks out his fiercely clawed little feet, which he now uses to try to force the human to unhand him.

I’m trying to figure out how to get a grip on him that’ll last long enough to carry him home, when voilà! Hustling up the sidewalk comes a tribe of dithering humans, led by a visibly distressed female.

“Have you seen a tortoise?” asks the chieftain. She’s so upset she’s almost in tears, and the males she has in tow are not in much better shape.

“You mean this one?”

They practically genuflected on the sidewalk, they were so thrilled and relieved to find their…uhm…pet.

The desert tortoise is protected by law. Fish & Game has a program where you can “adopt” a tortoise and keep it in your yard, registered and checked-on by AZ F&G. They have all sorts of regulations whereby you must house the beast. And no doubt they figured they were about to get in big trouble with Big Brother, to say nothing of losing their beloved baby.

🙂

So. Ruby saved the tortoise. And saved the day.

 

Another Day, Another New Year.

New Year’s is my least favorite holiday. Honestly, I think maybe next year I’ll try to rent a place in Yarnell so I can get the hell out of this zoo!

Last night the plan was to go over to the  WonderAccountants’  for a light dinner and to introduce Ruby the Corgi to Chloe the Cockapoo, who recently came to live with Mr. & Mrs WonderAccountant.

This made for an overall pleasant evening — they’re exceptionally nice people. The neurotic Chloe, still getting used to her new digs, didn’t get on well with the hyperdominant Ruby, but on reflection I think it was a mistake to bring Ruby into the poor little pooch’s new territory. A better way to have introduced them would have been a doggy-walk around the park after the day warmed up.

Back to the house by 9 and wanting to go to bed.

Ruby is terrorized by the firecracker racket, and I have to say, it annoys me too. Last night every nitwit in the city was shooting off fireworks and guns, way on after midnight. And the clowns who have rented Pretty Daughter’s house across the street…honestly, I wish one of their colleagues would come pick those two off. One of the jerks has an unmuffled motorcycle. He got on that thing and revved it up as LOUD AS IT WOULD GO, just ear-splitting even inside the house, and roared up and down the street at 11:00 at night. By the time you could call a cop, he was gone, of course.

It sure as hell was maddening. But it could have been worse…

A three-year-old was collateral damage from gunfire in lovely West Phoenix/Glendale.

A guy standing at a bus stop around the corner from the university’s west campus (also in beautiful Glendale) was shot and killed. I was near that spot just the day before yesterday.

An aged guy ran a signal at the intersection of Gangbanger’s Way and the freeway access road. He died; the 19-year-old passenger was OK, as was the 28-year-old occupant in the other car.

A passenger in an airport parking shuttle van was killed when a truck ran into the van. Truck driver was drunk.

Another drunk driver slammed into a power pole but, undaunted, soldiered on to bash nine other cars. Quite an impressive accomplishment!

A crash at Feeder Street N/S and Virginia (mid-town, a distance south of here) put six people in the hospital, four of them in critical condition.

Some hiker died on a trail in Tucson; a pair of mountain lions found the corpse and proceeded to dine on it. Caught in the act, the lions were murdered by Arizona Game & Fish.

A 16-year-old girl died when the intoxicated driver of the vehicle she and five or six other people were riding in clipped another car and lost control. Unrestrained by any encumbrance such as a seatbelt, the girl was ejected from the car and died at the scene.

None o’ that stuff allowed!

So…New Year’s Eve here amounts to a night of mayhem, racket, and scofflawing. The city had a no-burn order going, because the air pollution is really bad at this time of year. When I walked in the house after dinner at the neighbors’, the stink of burning firewood was so strong indoors, I thought briefly that the house itself might have a fire going somewhere. So had to go out and inspect the premises, just what I love to do in 40-degree temps. Decided one of the idiot neighbors had a firepit or fireplace going.

Oh, well. Thank goodness it’s only one night a year! 😀

Down at the HQ

So… Trying to get out of the Funny Farm to drive down to the Religious HQ for today’s volunteer stint at the front desk, whereinat I now reside. Finally…

LORDIE, what a hassle.

To start with, I hurt from top to bottom. Even though the injured paw is slowly healing (I think) it’s very slow. The wrenched knee also hurts. If I get into the bathtub, I can’t get out through any normal contortions and so have to scrabble around to try to get on my feet without slipping and braining myself.

Not that it would make much difference these days.

A normal person would take a shower, not get herself trapped in a tubful of hot water, right? Yes. But first, I’m far from normal. And second — more to the point — soaking in hot water seems to be about all that eases the present tumble-induced aches and pains.

Next, the deadbolt on the door between the kitchen & the garage has jammed. Soonest I could get a locksmith out to the house was tomorrow. Fortunately, there’s a drill-proof Schlage lock on the garage’s side door, and prizing open the garage door itself…well…that’s not very hard, but it would be a little conspicuous for a burglar’s tastes.

But…I tend to mindlessly drive away from the house without closing the garage door. Invariably I think of this as I get about halfway up the block, so feel honor-bound to turn around, go back, and check to be sure it’s shut. This noon when I pull a U-ie…well, naturally, my computer slides off the passenger seat and tumbles onto the floor. Shee-ut!

It doesn’t seem to have broken. Otherwise, obviously, this wouldn’t be getting written.

To add to the kitchen-door issue, the lock on one of the Arcadia doors won’t work. Turns out for some reason the door isn’t closing tightly enough to force the little button that makes it possible for the latch to shift into place. These doors are supposedly warranteed for life, but taking advantage of that will entail digging out the paperwork from files that date back 15 years…won’t THAT be fun? And then hoping the manufacturer is still in business.

To add to the computer issue, the MacBook has developed a slowly worsening quirk: its cursor randomly jumps backward up the file as I’m typing, and since I type very fast even with one paw wounded, it inserts a series of letters into some random place in the file. This, I find extremely annoying.

I also find it’s a known issue. And probably will clinch the requirement that I buy a new computer, which I really do not want to do.

One reason I don’t want to is that I haven’t been paid the $1300 owed by my most recent client. Contact his admin and find it’s because she failed to enter some tiny speck of data into the university’s excruciatingly complicated computer forms.

Soooooo….. Let’s hope this thing survives long enough for that payment to get here, so I can afford to buy another unit and jump through the involved set of hassles that will entail.

Further adding to the fun… Usually the Thursday afternoon front-desk gig is quiet as the tomb. Not so today. The phone has been jangling since I sat down. We’re doing a concert of Handel’s Messiah — people are calling with questions to which I do not now, never have, and probably never will know the answers.

At any rate, this is the kind of day that makes me question the state of my marbles. I can’t even get out the door without a fiasco, and when I finally get here — pushing late — I have no clue what I’m doing.

The front yard looks a lot clearer and tidier with all the brush that Gerardo and crew removed yesterday. But from the street you still can’t get a full view of what’s going on — if anything — inside the courtyard. So, what with that guy obviously casing the house the other day, I’m  not at all comfortable at leaving the place. Ever. Especially not for several hours at a time.

So we’re brought back to the question that arises these days every time I get in my car and drive away from the Funny Farm:

Why am I staying here?

Argha!

Main reason? I have no idea where else to go.

Not that I can afford, anyway. If you don’t want to live in  a suburb of eave-to-eave styrofoam-and-stucco ticky-tacky, there’s really not much you can afford in a safer area. Not around here, anyway. All of North Central — where I’ve lived all my adult life — is now outside my price range. Well, except for the strip that borders Conduit of Blight Boulevard, all of which suffers the same issue as we in the ‘Hood confront: our neighbor to the west is one huge meth slum. That’s why the ’Hood is relatively affordable.

The alternatives are Fountain Hills — an hour’s drive from everything I do, and also largely ticky-tacky construction, albeit on larger lots — and Sun City –also almost an hour away from my life, and a ghetto for old folks, to boot.

Prescott? Wickenburg? Oro Valley? I’d have to start my life completely over in any of those places. And y’know what? I’m just too damn lazy to feel like building whole new networks of friends, whole new networks of retailers, whole new networks of doctors and dentists and optometrists and hair stylists and car mechanics and cleaning ladies and yard dudes and locksmiths and AC repairmen and plumbers and bankers and veterinarians and accountants and computer gurus and…augh!! It’s more than one can contemplate.

Ugh…some woman just hung up on me because I have no idea where to buy size 3x men’s pajamas. WTF????

And…ohboy, two seconds later the wooden gadget someone made to hold the door open got busted. Now the door is permanently latched shut.

BUT…the amazingly resourceful Nanette forthwith walked in through the door, retrieved the busted device, and fixed it.

A parishioner wants to know at which the Christmas Eve service do we sing “Silent Night” in the dark. I say it must be the midnight service…because that’s when the choir sings and we always sing…etc. No, says she, it can’t be the midnight mass because they never go to that.

Huh? Well, then, sister, it must be the service you usually go to, no???

An hour to go before I can head home and pour a bourbon & water.

 

The Comeback Kid?

Amazingly, despite yesterday’s miseries (and my dire expectation of three to four weeks of Fun with Influenza), today the body decided to make a little comeback. Yesterday, apparently having picked up a case of the flu at the Mayo’s ER a couple of nights earlier, I was classically miserable: fever, sore throat, splitting headache, aches & pains all over the bod’. I had to cut choir practice, and I really was thinking oohhh shit! here it comes!

Normally it takes me weeks — even months — to get over a case of the flu. One curious doctor did a series of blood tests on me some years ago, which revealed that I have some small genetic flaw in my immune system that indeed does make me more susceptible to these damn viruses than most people and makes it harder to get over them. For that reason, I try to stay out of public places when they’re really crowded (Costco at Christmastime, heaven help us!) and also do not take communion because I will not share wine out of a communal cup, and no, I don’t care that someone thinks having the cup made of gold magically disinfects the rim on which the members of the congregation have rested their lips. These strategies usually fend off disease…but not so much when you spend six hours in an emergency room while the current strain of influenza is “widespread” in your parts.

Last night I managed to steal a few hours of sleep, and this morning the fever was down to a balmy 99. Still high, considering that “normal” for me is around 98 or even lower. But a helluva lot better than 100º+. The sore throat: better (still there, but at least I can swallow now). The headache: still there, but not racking.

It’s a miracle.

Seriously: you have no idea how long these damn things can hang on with me. And to complicate matters, allergies to aspirin, ibuprofen, and acetaminophen mean I can’t even wangle a little symptomatic relief. A noticeable improvement after just a couple of days is a real surprise. The only explanation I can think of is that the flu shot I had a week or ten days ago must have just started to kick in and so somehow is helping the bod’ to beat off the bug.

So now, for the first time in several days, I was hungry. And there was exactly NO food in the house. What I wanted was some of that decently prepared soup that comes in boxes, under the brand names “Pacific” and “Imagine.” These are carried at Sprouts. And conveniently, there’s a Sprouts right down the road from the Funny Farm. There’s also a Walgreen’s in that shopping center — I needed a new bottle of nose squirt, so figured to pick one up there.

Heh.

You have to understand, though…the “road” is Conduit of Blight Boulevard. And the environs that fine avenue skirts have their eccentricities.

First, into the Walgreen’s.

Oh, God! You can not go into that store without some strange new experience.

First off, I couldn’t find the damn Afrin (and associated knock-offs). Nor can I find a roaming employee except for this strange guy who is moving goods around with a freight cart and making WEIRD noises. At the top of his lungs: OH! OW! OOFFF! and on and on. He appears to be mentally challenged. Nice of Walgreen’s to give him a job, but not very helpful for the customer.

I traipse to the pharmacy counter to ask where the hell the nose squirt is. Get behind a woman who is receiving zero satisfaction and is told to come back some other time. This, it develops, is because they only have one employee back there. Guess their other staff are all out with the flu. I think fuck it! and decide I’ll have to go across the street to the Albertson’s to find the nostrum, another of the Hood’s gracious landmarks. Please, please, please waste some more of my time!

But on the way out I take another look in the stuffy-nose section and discover they’ve put the decongestant sprays all the way down on the very bottom shelf. Well, that’s good…at least I don’t have to traipse across the damn train tracks (sitting through at least one and probably two interminable red lights). Buy this and then walk over to the Sprouts.

Incredibly, the store is now not stocking even ONE actual soup by Pacific or Imagine! No joke! They have a pile of boxed chicken broth and boxed beef broth, but that is not what I want. I need a hearty soup that is going to give me some nourishment without making me sick(er).

Fu*k!!!!!!!

Defies belief.

So I get in the car and drive all the way down to the fancy new Sprouts at Osborn and Seventh Ave, now the heart of Millennial Country. Yes. There I find the actual soups for which Sprouts is famed. Grab an armload of these: potato leek, tomato (creamy!!), and butternut squash. While there I find a package of frozen warm-it-up in minutes mussels in tomato sauce. Hot damn! That, I’m going to eat whenever I finish this blog post.

So when I get up to the checkout, I ask the guy — who is, by the way a retired professor funding his cruise travels with part-time cashiering, and quite a kick — why on earth they’ve taken these soups out of the market in the ‘Hood. Poor people eat soup, too, y’know! This gets their attention.

They have to allow that they don’t know the answer to this conundrum, but yes, it probably does have to do with the demographics. (Let’s whack’em while they’re down!)

A fairly entertaining exchange with the two idle check-out clerks and a wandering manager now takes place. The professor and the other check-out clerk, a mature black woman, slender and sharp-looking, are both old-time Phoenicians. When I remark that the ex- and I were part of the first wave of gentrification in the Encanto district, a great flurry of reminiscence ensues.

“Do you remember the Basha’s that used to be in this parking lot?”

“Yes, and the Osco drugstore that went out of business and just sat there empty for years?”

“Did you ever go to the China Doll, right next door?”

The woman told me, to my astonishment, that she and her family used to live in the apartments that once were behind the present fancified shopping center. But for the longest time, she said, black people weren’t allowed to live there.

I said, “You’re kidding!” I knew there was a lot of discrimination — Arizona is fundamentally a Southern state, politically and culturally. But you can’t live in Central Phoenix? It wasn’t exactly Whiteyville at the time.

“Yes,” she said. “It’s true.”

“When was this?”

“It was in the late 50s and early 60s.”

“Wow! That pre-dates my time. If that had been going on when all the Yuppies were moving into Encanto, there would have been riots in the streets.”

She laughed.

So now I make my way home, circumventing the accursed goddamn train tracks, backtracking to Feeder Street Northwest (which actually is a minor main drag that goes all the way down to the capitol area), then back-backtracking to the speedier 7th Avenue once I reach a road that moves smoothly east and west. Ugh.

And fall into the sack, having no energy to heat any of the fine delicacies in hand.

What a place we live in. And have lived in…

One Don’t-Wanna DONE!

Admitted: I’ve let the Don’t-Wanna tasks pile up. You know: those little nagging chores that need to be done but can be put off. And put off. And put off some more…

The present case in point: a mound of Mexican primrose that has grown in the backyard for several years. Some there are who regard this plant as invasive, but in my experience it stays where you put it. Assuming, of course, that you put it in a flowerbed, not broadcast seeds over a hillside… 😀

Well, the primrose around the pool is very happy, but over the past year some kind of bug got into the backyard mound.  Because gardening is a laissez-faire proposition here at the Funny Farm, I never got around to doing battle with the critters. Think I sprayed them a couple times with dilute Dawn detergent — an effective insecticide, but you have to get it on the little beasts. And because the mound is kind of out of sight from the back porch and the pool area, it’s been out of mind, too.

Result: as spring is sproinging, those plants are nothing but sticks. Green sticks, promising a possible resurrection. But sticks. Meanwhile, the pool is alive with beautiful pink flowers, and some are even growing in the crevices between the flagstones. So it doesn’t look like the mound is going to come back this year.

So this morning being unduly cool, I trotted out there and pulled up or broke off all the denuded sticks. Presumably it will soon grow back — it’s hard to kill this stuff. And when it does revive, I’ll have to remember to mist it with Dawn every week or two.

A-n-n-n-n-d…what else remains to be done, having been put off interminably through all the tolerably cool winter months?

  • Trim back the plants along the east and west ends of the pool, which now block passage to all but the most intrepid of sherpas.
  • Pull out the primrose that’s gone a bit wild in its adopted home between the flagstones
  • Replace the now very agèd chard (it’s lasted a good four years!!) with new grown-from-seed babes
  • Clean out the flowerbed around the olive in front. That’ll take half a day.
  • Pull out dead plants in pots on west side; replant or else haul the pots away. Figure out why they’re not getting watered adequately.
  • Put Luis up to removing the overgrown Texas ranger in front. Get him to thin the trees.
  • Fertilize and deep-water the roses
  • Treat paloverde, Texas ebony, and desert willow with borer killer

None of these is very difficult. And in fact, despite a year of neglect and the rainiest winter on recent record, there just isn’t all that much that needs to be done.

This house is absurdly easy to take care of. But of course…I planned it that way.

It’s such a pretty little house now, I really don’t want to move: bum invasion, Conduit of Blight, Gangbanger’s Way, and outsized property taxes notwithstanding.

My friends who moved to the Beatitudes retirement home sicced that place’s marketing department on me. This morning a woman from their sales office called and asked if I wouldn’t like to take the grand tour and listen to her pitch.

Well. Sure. I’m willing to do that. They’re building a whole sub-campus of patio homes that look to me one helluva lot better than an apartment in a vertical hive. So yeah: I’m curious.

But…the fact still remains: I don’t wanna move out of here.

What I really would like is to live here until I die. Which is not at all out of the question, given how minimalist the maintenance tasks are. All that would be needed to keep me here into my full dotage will be a competent cleaning lady and a good yard dude. A decent handyman would be nice, too. And no matter how many people I have to hire to keep this place up and myself in food and clean clothes, the cost would be nothing compared to the cost of living in one of those old-folkeries.

And despite the Bum Express delivering drug-addicted derelicts to our front doorsteps, the fact is that this is one of the few even vaguely affordable in-town neighborhoods — if you think of $350,000+++ as “affordable.” Young people have discovered it. And they’re gentrifying in swarms. Just on Ruby’s short doggy-walk circuit, four houses are being renovated, big-time. One fix-&-flipper just sold for $729,000 — an outrageous amount that represented a shameless rip-off of an elderly single man, that’s true: but there it is. It still goes on the record as what these houses are “worth.” Even though that price is ridiculous, it nevertheless will push our values inexorably upward.

At this point, I could afford to move to Prescott, a sweet and scenic little burg where property values are inflated by incoming Californians. If my son didn’t live here, I probably would. But as long as he’s in these parts, I expect I will be, too.