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Still visiting my daughter and drinking the weird water of Phoenix. She and my son-in-law cope by using a reverse osmosis system to turn the hard H20 into something approaching potable agua.

Probably I’d get used to it if I lived here; for now, I cope by turning it into iced tea.

What I really resent, though, is the weirdly random stains the mineral-saturated water makes in the toilet bowls. I made it my mission to eliminate them.

And, as Abby noted in “The beauty of a clean toilet,” I succeeded. That’s because I had a secret weapon.

Oh, vinegar: Is there anything you can’t do?

 


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I’m not going to be with my sweetheart today, except in spirit (and by phone). That’s because I came back to Phoenix to lend a hand after my son-in-law broke one foot and badly sprained the other.

Since I won’t have a holiday of my own, I’m focusing on other people’s Feb. 14 follies. For example, did you know that some people buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets?

Not making that up. Couldn’t make that up.

 


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Found money in 2016.

I waited a little longer than usual to count my found money. For those unfamiliar with the concept: All year long I pick up coins from lots of places: stores, sidewalks, parks, the return bins of Coinstar machines.

Usually I add up my found money around Thanksgiving, then add some more and donate it to the Food Bank of Alaska. This year I decided that the holidays are when people most like to donate to food banks, so why not wait a while?

Here’s what I found this year:

 


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Those who follow my daughter’s blog already know what happened recently: Her husband broke one heel and sprained the other quite badly.

Tim is feeling extra-crummy about the way-preventable incident (see “The whole story” for details) and Abby’s feeling overwhelmed by needing to take on Tim’s share of household responsibilities in addition to her own, and to her full-time job.

For those who aren’t familiar with my daughter’s situation, both she and her husband have chronic health issues. Some days she has more spoons than others.

After she e-mailed me about what had happened I wrote an “oh noes!” sort of note in return. As a P.S., I said “let me know if you want me to use one of my buddy passes and come do a little heavy lifting.” She wrote back something along the lines of, “Were you serious about that? How soon can you get here?”

And that, Phoenix-area readers, is why I’m heading south once more.

 


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Yesterday I hand-wrote two thank-you notes. In doing so I was reminded that while decent penmanship is important, it’s also hard.

Very hard. Since I was 21 years old I’ve been making a living through typing; for about 20 of those years, as a newspaper reporter, I mixed keyboarding with furious note-taking.

The cumulative effect manifests as numbness, tingling and hands that tire/hurt quickly when holding a pen.

Then there’s the fact that I’m in my sixth decade of life. No machine runs for 59 years without some maintenance issues.

So why not just type those notes? Because they were being sent to people whose opinions matter to me, and I wanted to express my thanks the way Miss Manners would. Of course, she has a staff for that sort of thing.

 


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