Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 2791

I got my car safety inspected today. I called to see if I needed an appointment and my service guy said to come on up because they weren't very busy. I shouldn't have believed him. Instead of taking a few minutes as promised, the inspection kept me at the dealership for over two hours. I used to enjoy wasting time at the dealership. I would look at all the new cars and try to imagine what I'd be driving next. Now, looking at cars is depressing. The ones I like are all ridiculously expensive.

The dealership always asks me if I'd like them to wash my car while it's there. I usually tell them to go ahead because it's free and it saves me the trouble. Typically, the maintenance on my car takes so long that I get impatient and ask them to cancel the car wash so I can get back home a little sooner. That's what happened today. I knew that Dash was waiting for his dinner, but it's a shame I didn't have more time. The car was pretty dirty.

I got a reply from the roofer today. He told me that he didn't have time to send a crew to patch the defective spots this time, but that he would drop off a can of the elastomer coating and I could make the repairs myself. This seemed kind of rude, but I wasn't completely surprised. The roofer has made many trips to my house already. I think he's probably trying to cut his losses. It's too bad that so few flat roofs come with the kind of warranty you typically get with a shingle roof. I'm kind of at the roofer's mercy.

After my recent dog bite, I have become very nervous about walking Dash. The park is so popular now that people come from all parts of town to walk their dogs. There is almost always somebody who wants to walk their dog without a leash. Some of these dogs are well behaved, but many aren't. I try my best to avoid loose dogs at all costs, but it's getting harder and harder. I don't even trust dog parks anymore. We saw another loose dog today. Luckily, Dash and I made it home in one piece.

I was balancing my checkbook this afternoon and I couldn't figure out why there was a $300 difference between me and the bank. I'm usually pretty accurate with bookkeeping. I finally figured out that my supplemental medical insurance had gone up in cost earlier in the year and nobody had bothered to tell me. I have health insurance payments directly debited from my account because I don't want to lose coverage just because I forgot to pay a bill. You've got to keep looking at your bank statements though. It's surprising how often rates go up.

I guess I could go get my new vehicle registration sticker tomorrow. I still can't remember how the new rules work, but I think you just need to wait 24 hours for the safety inspection information to be recorded in the state's database. I was thinking that Texas eliminated the safety inspection requirement earlier this year, but apparently not. The bill was passed by the Texas Senate but rejected by the House. I think the legislature is still trying to eliminate safety inspections. It seems like it would be better to keep the safety inspections, but eliminate the registration sticker.

It looks like there might be quite a few clouds across the United States next Monday. I guess it doesn't matter to me since I won't be traveling to view the eclipse anyway. It would be a shame if the weather won't cooperate. So far it looks like Idaho has the best chance of clear skies. I hope you have clear skies wherever you plan on viewing the eclipse. These things don't happen all that often.

Freckles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 2790

I finally went back up on the roof today. What a mess. In addition to the usual two inches of standing water, there were twigs and small branches everywhere. The neighbor's pecan tree is starting to drop nuts as well. As soon as I got things cleaned up, I called the roofer again. There are at least half a dozen new places where the elastomer coating has deteriorated or torn. I am so tired of water problems. Over the years, the vast majority of problems we've had with the house have been water related. There have been roof leaks, underground plumbing leaks, shower pan leaks, dishwasher leaks, and toilet leaks. Water leaks are inevitably followed by mold and mildew. I'm sick of it all. I wish there was a way to buy a house that came with a 100 year guarantee against any form of water damage.

I was finally able to contact the watchmaker who has had three of my watches for almost five years now. I told him that I had given up on him and that I would come by and pick up the broken timepieces. He immediately apologized for the lengthy delay and said that if I could give him one more month, he would have all three repaired. I have actually heard this before, but what have I got to lose. I can't even remember what these watches look like anymore. I'll call him again at the end of the summer.

It was still raining this morning when we woke up and although Dash had slept like a baby during last night's rain, he immediately became frightened when he heard a distant thunderclap. This complicated our morning routine, because Dash won't eat when he is scared. I like Dash to eat his breakfast before I start fixing mine, because as soon as he sees me fixing something, he immediately loses interest in what is in his bowl. I fooled him this morning. I got out a bunch of pots and pans as if I was fixing my own breakfast and then fixed his instead. He eagerly ate his meal, took his morning pills, and then wanted to go on a walk. I ended up eating pretty late this morning, but at least I got Dash walked before it started raining again.

The shower stall still leaks a little, but I think I made a huge improvement. The problem is that if there is any leak whatsoever, my repairs will ultimately fail. Moisture will gradually seep under the ceramic tiles again and cause the silicon caulk to come loose. I don't even care if the repair lasts forever. If the musty smell starts to go away and I don't have to mop up small puddles after I take a shower, I'm happy. When the repair disintegrates, I'll just fix things again.

I've just about resolved all my computer upgrade problems, but I still can't print on DVD's. I don't know why this bothers me so much. I haven't had a need to  make a label for a CD or DVD in almost a year. Nobody even uses DVD's anymore. Losing this capability still frustrates me. I have a printer that lets you print directly on blank discs and I used to use it a lot. Upgrading to Sierra has made this printer obsolete.

I'm helping Janet find a new iPad. It's surprising how hard it is to just go to a store and buy one of these things. Most stores, including the Apple Store, want you to buy online and then they'll ship it directly to you later. Depending on the configuration you choose, delivery can take from three days to over three weeks. It's a shame that stores don't carry much inventory anymore. Shopping was so much easier when you could go to a store and know that they'd have everything you needed right in the store.

I'm pretty confident that I have everything I need at home tomorrow. Dash has plenty of food. There's still a good supply of fresh fruit for my smoothie. There are enough leftovers from tonight's dinner to feed me tomorrow. I'm good. If I get really bored, there's always Netflix.

Elliott is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 2789

I hope my shower repairs are successful. I spent a lot of time today cleaning and preparing the ceramic tile for the silicon caulk that will hopefully make the shower stall waterproof again. If I had three weeks to let everything dry properly, I would have used a Dremel Tool to remove all the old grout and then re-grouted the entire shower. Traditional grout takes so long to dry though. If you use the shower too soon, the grout just washes away. The silicon dries quickly, but unless the tile is absolutely clean, it doesn't stick to the surface very well. If the contractors had done a good job when we remodeled the bathrooms fifteen years ago, I wouldn't be having this problem. Contractors could care less what happens fifteen years later. They're long gone by then. I really need to have a new contractor re-do the entire bathroom, but I'm afraid that I'd find someone even worse than I did the last time. Sanded silicon caulk will have to do.

We really got a lot of rain last night. We did lose power for a few minutes, but luckily it came back on again quickly. Even momentary power outages are a nuisance. All the clocks need to be reset and for some reason the washer and dryer always turn themselves on automatically when the power returns. I have to remember to turn the air conditioner and any other power hungry appliances off if I am anticipating a power outage, so a surge won't knock the power out again when service is restored. In theory, my neighbors should be doing the same thing, but I doubt that they are.

Last any rate, the storm came and went without causing any damage. Dash got scared and spent about three hours cowering under my desk, but eventually he came back to bed. At least he didn't throw up. We've started giving him his evening meds a couple of hours earlier, just in case he has another episode. So far, so good. We've also started keeping a record of whenever he vomits or won't eat to see if we can detect any sort of pattern to this seemingly random behavior. I hope we can figure this out.

I was using the leaf blower this afternoon to clean up the back porch after the storm and all of the sudden I noticed that there were hundreds of small ants crawling all over me. The ants were coming out of the leaf blower. This was certainly a surprise. I was able to brush most of the ants away before they were able to bite me, but I did about a dozen ant bites. I was glad these weren't fire ants. The bites would have been much worse if they were. What makes thousands of ants take up residence inside a leaf blower? Who knows. The insects are definitely winning this summer. I'll probably have to take the leaf blower apart to completely get rid of the ant colony, but they aren't as much of a problem as the spiders. It wasn't that long ago that I removed all the spiders from around the house with the pressure washer. Now, they're back again. Nature is relentless. Ants of all sizes are everywhere. Spiders love to spin their webs on our windows. Roaches seem to use our underground HVAC ductwork as their own private subway system. I still don't like to use insecticides because of the dogs, so eliminating these pests is fairly hopeless.

I missed the Perseid meteor shower this year and will miss the upcoming solar eclipse as well. Janet has the final part of her reconstruction surgery that day and I didn't really have the money to travel anyway. With all I've been reading about the eclipse, I'm almost glad I'm not making plans to travel to the totality zone. A lot of hotels have been acused of  price gouging by raising room rates by several hundred percent on eclipse day. People are selling fake eclipse glasses online that don't provide any eye protection at all. Monumental traffic jams are still predicted in many parts of the country. And then there always a chance it will rain.

I can live without seeing the eclipse. I just want a shower that doesn't leak.

Emma is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 2788

Dash threw up again last night. It's always the same. He has a completely normal, uneventful day. He goes to bed at the usual time and then wakes up again an hour or two later with an upset stomach. Usually he goes outside and throws up and then goes back to sleep again. You'd think that if he was having digestive problems, they would show up after his morning meal as well. He eats exactly the same thing for breakfast as he does for dinner. Nothing really makes sense. Sometimes we think this periodic vomiting is related to his vestibular disease. Other times we thing he ate a June Bug. Since Dot vomited occasionally before we discovered that she had intestinal cancer, we worry about that too. Today we gave him his evening meds early, so that at least he won't throw up his phenobarbital if he vomits again tonight.

Today was busy. I decided that I really couldn't postpone fixing the leaking shower stall any longer. I got out the wet/dry vacuum and adapted an attachment so that I could suck out all the water that has seeped between the shower pan and the underside of the tile floor. It took several hours to extract about a quart of water through a crack in the tile. While the vacuum was running, I went to Home Depot and looked for some sanded silicon caulk that would match the tile grout. This won't last as long as completely re-grouting the shower, but it is much easier and if I can remove enough water from under the tiles, the repair should last at least a year. Hopefully, Janet and I will remember to not take a shower tomorrow morning, or then I will have to vacuum the water out all over again.

I woke up last night around 3 AM and though I'd go outside and look for meteors. This was supposed to be the ideal time to view the Perseid meteor shower. Surprisingly, the sky was mostly clear, but I didn't see any meteor trails. When I looked to the East where the meteors were supposed to be, all I saw were two very bright security lights on a house across the street. The combination of an almost full moon, the headlights from a stream of cars returning home after the bars had closed, and the glare from the security lights made seeing a meteor trail virtually impossible. After ten minutes of futile looking, I went back to bed.

We finally got that rain today. There was a pretty good downpour around mid-afternoon and It looks like we are going to get even more rain tonight. The last time I looked at the weather radar, it looked pretty ominous. I hope we don't lose power. It's always a pain to get this posted when there's a power outage. I hear thunder now, but at least Dash is sleeping soundly. The last thing I wasn't is to have him needing to go outside and throw up during a major thunderstorm.

Assuming that the roof doesn't leak and that we still have power in the morning, I'll probably go to the gym. Oh, wait. I need to finish caulking the shower stall before I go anywhere. Removing the water is only step one. The most important thing is making sure that the water doesn't seem back under the tiles again.


Ellis is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 2787

When I went to breakfast this morning, a waiter immediately came to my table and brought me a tall Diet Coke. When I told him that I didn't order a Diet Coke, he got kind of snippy and said "That's funny, you asked for one just a minute ago." I didn't feel like arguing. I had only arrived at the restaurant a few minutes earlier and the guy with the Coke was the first person to approach my table. I just told him that I'd prefer some coffee and left it at that. Was this guy stoned or just a jerk? I probably just sat on the wrong side of the restaurant. I usually sit on the empty side when I eat at this place. Today I sat on the side full of people. This was a mistake, I'll go back to the empty side next time and let the bartender serve me breakfast.

I was sure it was going to rain when I walked Dash this morning. There were ominous looking clouds in the sky all day, but it was always raining elsewhere. I was actually hoping for rain this morning to lower the water bill a bit. No such luck. When I got home from breakfast, I turned the sprinklers on and started my day.

Watching grass grow was about as exciting as it got today. I glued the tail back on a ceramic Dalmatian that sits on the coffee table in the living room. I don't know how long the tail had been broken, but fixing the broken figurine has been on my to-do list for the past several weeks. Since the repair job was a success, I thought I'd try to repair the band of one of my favorite watches. Rubber from the 70's must not have been very good, because almost everything from that era with any rubber in it has disintegrated. This repair wasn't quite as successful. The watch looks fine sitting in a case, but it would probably break again if I ever wore it anywhere.

I had a conversation today with the creative director of a company I've worked with for a long time. He indicated that the company was moving in a new direction. I don't know if this means I will have different responsibilities, or just gradually be phased out. I said that I have always enjoyed working with them and hoped I would be able to help them in the future. What else could I say? When a bunch of young people want to move in a different direction, it often doesn't include someone my age.

Dash is still eating well, but he is becoming very bossy. If he doesn't get his meals or even his pills at what he considers to be the appropriate time, he starts barking incessantly. He wants to eat his dinner earlier now and that means that he wants his evening meds earlier too. You can't really shift the meds around too much, since they need to be given at specific intervals, but Dash is definitely a force to be reckoned with. We are having to shift our entire day around just to keep him from barking.

Tonight is supposed to be the best time to view the Perseid meteor shower. They will be visible from midnight until just before dawn, but I don't know if there will be much to see. We saw some pretty impressive storm clouds rolling in when we were taking Dash on his evening walk. It looks like we still might get that rain they've been forecasting.

Hannah is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 2786

Little things can make a big difference. I always feel better when I get a haircut. It's a little symbolic gesture that lets me believe I am regaining control of my life. I've been going to the same stylist for decades. I don't have as much hair now and we are both getting older, but I still get a good haircut.

I used to always pay a visit to the Apple Store when I got a haircut. Now, I don't even bother. I think I have one of everything Apple makes. The stores used to have a huge array of interesting software. Now, there is almost nothing on the shelves. You're supposed to buy software at the App Store now.

When I got home I picked up the mail and discovered the check I've been waiting for hidden in a pile of junk mail. One more thing I can check off my list. I won't be getting any more checks from these folks because they fired me recently, but at least we ended things cleanly. Now, I need to find another client to replace them.

The haircut and the missing check would have been enough for one day, but I also figured out a way to get my old obsolete software to work again. The solution was so simple that I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner. I still had an external hard drive in the storage warehouse that had an old operating system on it. I hooked up this drive to my computer and made it the boot drive. When I restarted the computer, all the old software worked perfectly. Once I was satisfied with my solution, I put the drive away again. I won't need to use it very often, but it's good to know it's there. Now, I just need to remember to never erase the thing.

Dash is eating and sleeping well again. I wish I could figure out what his problem is. Intermittent problems are always hard to resolve. It's like when you take your car to a mechanic with a funny noise and the noise goes away as soon as it's in the shop. Whenever I take Dash to the vet he seems completely normal. I carefully explain the problem, but there is nothing to observe. The whole situation makes me nervous. I know he is going to throw up and quit eating again. I just don't know when.

I sent a revised proposal to the guy who wants a new website. He's going to start a paintball park. It's a mystery to me why people enjoy shooting each other with paint guns, but it will probably be an olympic sport soon. You can already have a paintball birthday parties for your kids and I've heard that there are corporate paintball team building exercises for business as well. If I get this job it won't be the oddest website I've built, but it would definitely be in the top ten.

This week has gone quickly. I've already hauled this week's trash out to the curb and I'm trying to decide what to have for breakfast tomorrow. I've been disappointed in my choice of restaurants for the past several weeks. I need to pick a winner tomorrow.

J-Lo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 2785

I didn't accomplish much today. At least Dash ate well. He finished both his breakfast and dinner with no hesitation at all. Will he throw up tonight? I've learned that anything can happen with Dash. Everything seems normal now, so that's a good sign. I did call his vet to ask if there is anything we might have overlooked, but haven't received an answer yet. Something is wrong, but I'm not sure if there is anything more we can check. Once every week or so, he just throws up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. On the days he throws up, there is usually no prior sign of an upset stomach. We watch him carefully now when he goes outside, so I don't think he's eating bugs either. It's frustrating.

I don't know why the grass is dying in the back yard either. There are no signs of grubs and the new grass has received plenty of water. I mowed today and now the grass looks even worse. There are lots of reason why we have to replace this grass frequently, but it should last at least a month or two. I'll call the landscaper, but somehow I feel that this problem will be as difficult to resolve as getting a refund on the fraudulent gift card.

When my client told me that he has put a check in the mail on Monday, I kind of expected to receive it on Tuesday. We're in the same zip code. I mean, how long could it take? Well, I didn't get the check today either. Maybe the guy was just thinking about putting the check in the mail. I'll wait until next Monday before I complain again. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but there is no reason to be this late with a payment.

I'm trying to think of something that didn't frustrate me today, but I'm coming up blank. I still can't get old Windows video files to play on my computer. The software that used to convert them isn't being updated anymore and probably won't be in the future. Nobody cares about old Windows video anymore. I don't even think Microsoft supports these files now. The price of progress is having to  abandon old habits and old routines. Upgrading to Sierra allowed me to continue using the important software I use in my business, but I lost a lot in the process. This happens every time I do a major upgrade. Eventually, I'll just forget about the old, obsolete stuff.

I made an appointment to get my hair cut tomorrow. At least this is one thing I won't be disappointed with. My hair is such a mess now that it couldn't possible look any worse. I probably should have made a vet appointment for Dash instead of getting a haircut, but it is much easier to get a haircut on short notice. I've already taken Dash to two different vets for this vomiting issue and nobody seems to have a solution. Give him a Pepsid. Change his food. Look for signs of a vestibular event. We've already tried all the obvious things.

I did get a response to the website proposal I sent out last week. The guy seems interested, but he wants a lot of complicated stuff that I know he doesn't have the budget for. I've either got to convince him to simplify his wish list or come up with more money. I'll put together a modified proposal tomorrow, but I'm not very confident that this project is ever going to happen.

I accidentally left out some ingredients in my smoothie this morning and it actually tasted better. Why did it take me three years to discover this?  I shouldn't have been surprised. I learn most things by accident.

Nautica is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Day 2784

I don't think I'll ever buy a gift card again. The gift card company keeps asking for more and more information. It's almost as if they think we're the perpetrators of a fraud rather than the victims of one. We keep providing all the information they ask for, but they don't seem that much closer to refunding our money. Why this investigation process should take ninety days is beyond me. I'm sure they know exactly what happened. There is an entire Consumer Reports website about gift card fraud. The sad truth is that this type of thing has become so commonplace that the company doesn't particularly care. Janet and I are just a statistic.

I like things to be predictable. That's a big reason why the gift card fraud is so frustrating. I've always thought of gift cards as a simple and convenient way to give someone money. If you have to worry about someone else gaining access to the card before you even use it, it suddenly isn't simple or convenient anymore. It's just one more giant hassle in a world full of giant hassles.

I wish Dash knew how much I want life to be predictable. He's driving me crazy by changing his food preference every day. Some days he likes the Hill's I/D that we used to feed Dot. Other days he won't touch the stuff and prefers the Hills I/D Low Fat that the vet wanted us to feed him when his triglycerides were through the roof. Usually, he wants a little wet food mixed in with the dry, but not always. It's really hard to predict what he's going to eat on any given day. Today, I split his dinner into two parts, because he wouldn't wait until 5 PM. He ate the first part of his dinner with gusto. An hour and a half later, he refused to touch exactly the same thing. I removed the food from his bowl, ate my own dinner, and then put Dash's dinner in a different type of bowl. I made sure he saw me stirring the bowl with a spoon and pretending to add new ingredients. This subterfuge did the trick. Dash finished his meal.

There was very little work to do today, so I used my time trying to find replacements for some of the software that refuses to work after I upgraded my operating system to Sierra. My computer used to be able to play Windows videos, but not anymore. Neither Apple of Microsoft seems to have any interest in being compatible with each other these days. It's a shame. Since most of my clients are still on Windows systems, I sometimes have a need to open and play Windows audio and video files. I did a Google search, downloaded a few open source Windows media players, but none of them worked. That's the trouble with Google. Something that got rave reviews in 2013 might not work at all in 2017.

At least computer problems aren't messy. I'm starting to think our shower is leaking again, and that is messy. We had a shower pan leak once before and we pretty much had to rip out the entire shower and re-tile everything to fix the problem. Maybe it isn't as bad this time, but there is a distinct musty smell in the bathroom that wasn't there before. I hate water problems because you can't ignore them. If you ignore a leak, it will eventually ruin everything.

The new grass is already starting to die. It's received plenty of water and it seems to be getting enough sunlight too. It definitely shouldn't be looking spotty and thin so soon. I'll call the landscaper to come take a look, but I doubt that he'll do anything. He'll just say that I did something wrong and that it's my fault. Somehow, it's always my fault.

Lilly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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