Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 2854

I am becoming increasingly disorganized. Part of my brain has already retired. Another part is still trying to keep track of deadlines and responsibilities. I kept forgetting today that I had an article to write and several websites to update. The jobs were minor and inconsequential, but they were still real jobs. Back in the day, I would have had these tasks finished before noon. They still aren't finished.

I kept forgetting I had work to do because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Dash to walk. I was unsuccessful again. Our boy just doesn't want to walk in the morning anymore. Later in the week, Janet has a light day, so we are going to experiment and see if he'll take an early walk with both of us. He still walks fine in the evening, so maybe he's just being stubborn.

I woke up early this morning because I was cold and then remembered that I had wanted to see the conjunction of Mars, the Moon, and Venus. I took a pair of binoculars outside and easily spotted all three. Mars is very faint because it is on the other side of the solar system. It won't be close to Earth again until next summer. After accounting for the visible planets in the morning sky, I went back to bed. Astronomy is appealing, but not quite as appealing as sleep.

If I ever invited you to connect on Alignable, I apologize. I initially thought that this might be a cool way to network and get business, but it just seems to connect me to nail salons and real estate agents. I'm getting so much spammy mail from these folks now that I'm thinking of deactivating my account. I should have known better. I never liked LinkedIn, so it should have been a no-brainer that I wouldn't like this either.

With Dash refusing to walk, I'm not getting as many steps in during the day as I'd like. It was easy to take over 12,000 steps a day when we took two walks in the park. Now my total is much less. Without these daily walks, there aren't as many photos either. I miss these long morning walks, but strangely I don't feel like walking without a dog. I've walked with a dog companion at my side for so many years that it just doesn't seem right to walk alone.

I guess I'll finish my article tomorrow. There isn't a deadline, but writing will give me something to do during the day. I don't think there's much of a chance that the refrigerator repairman will be coming over tomorrow. Chances of the roofer coming over are even less.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. Dash is eating well now and seems to be happy enough just spending his day doing nothing. I wish I could say the same.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 2853

It was a beautiful morning, but Dash refused to walk again. Does his leg hurt? Is he feeling dizzy or nauseous? Is he just being stubborn? It's hard to tell. I don't want to push him too hard, but he still needs a certain amount of activity. When he first wakes up, he does exhibit some telltale signs of vestibular disease. Maybe he doesn't feel steady on his feet. All I know is that he used to love to walk. This evening, he seemed eager to go outside when Janet returned from work, but the sun had already set. Our evening walk was very short. It's a shame that I've got all the time in the world and Dash doesn't want to do anything unless the entire family is nearby.

The refrigerator part didn't arrive today. This was the second time this part hasn't arrived on the date that was promised. I asked the company today when the part was really going to arrive, so I could plan accordingly and they just told me that they would call me when it got here. This is really frustrating, since I know how to get the part overnight. The appliance repair company refuses to work with anyone other than their own parts supplier. I suspect this is because their very slow supplier doesn't require them to pay immediately. I think I would have been happier if I'd just bought the parts myself and learned how to install them by watching readily available YouTube videos. I'm gradually learning exactly how the refrigerator works, but there is no joy in this learning process. I hate dealing with repair companies in a world where nobody keeps a parts inventory. Plumbers, HVAC repairmen, and electricians are all the same. There are no parts on the truck anymore. They diagnose your problem and then they order the parts.

I sent out my October invoices this afternoon. My monthly billing was so small that it probably wouldn't even pay the electric bill. It's hard to justify continuing the business. I did get a new writing job today and there's a potential new website job as well, but this isn't a profitable endeavor anymore. When I was eating breakfast this morning, I watched a GoDaddy commercial bragging about how anyone could build a sophisticated business website in less than an hour using one of their super cheap website builder widgets. How do you compete with that?

I had to pick up more phenobarbital for Dash today. Maybe the increased dose he is taking now is causing some of his problems. I'll never know for sure, because all the vets tell me that going without phenobarbital isn't an option for Dash. Maybe they are right. Once we took Dash off phenobarbital about five years ago when we were convinced he was cured. About a month later he had one of the most violent seizures he's ever had. There really aren't a lot of easy answers with this dog. We've got to deal with thyroid cancer, vestibular disease, epilepsy, a partial cruciate tear, and blood clots in the heart, all at the same time.

If I get up really early tomorrow morning, I should be able to see a very thin waning crescent moon centered between Mars and Venus. Is this worth setting an alarm clock for? It probably depends on how late I go to bed tonight. I still like astronomy, but like everything else, enjoying this hobby seems a bit of a hassle.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 2852

It was one of those 20,000 step days. My mind doesn't get a lot of activity on Sunday, but my body certainly does. After breakfast this morning, I moved the big pile of wood in the alley out to the street so the city would pick it up on Bulky Trash Day. When I was removing the Elm tree branches from the roof a few weeks ago, I scratched myself up pretty bad. This time I made sure to wear long pants, a jacket, and gloves. Wood is pretty heavy. It took me over an hour and a half to get everything moved to the curb. Hopefully, no more trees will fall on the roof for the foreseeable future.

Dash threw up again last night. He threw up a lot. This was surprising, since he had acted perfectly normal all day and didn't seem to have an upset stomach. This was the first time he's thrown up for well over a month. I was beginning to think we had gotten past this hurdle. Throwing up periodically must have something to do with Dash's vestibular disease. There is no real cure for this disease and several vets have told us to expect episodes of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. I'm used to solving problems and it's frustrating to have so few options with Dash. Many of the ailments he is suffering from just don't have a cure.

When Dash vomits, it is always very late at night, after he's been asleep for a while. He acts frantic and wants to go outside and eat grass. After he throws up, he goes back to sleep as if nothing had happens and is usually good the next day. We didn't give him a Cerenia pill last night. We'll see what happens tonight. With any luck, he'll be good for another month.

My beloved weather radar app quit working on my old series one iPad this morning. I tried again tonight and it still wasn't functioning. I haven't been able to update this app for over three years, so I suspect that the company finally quit supporting the older hardware. This happens a lot on my phone, tablets, and computers. You are basically forced to update hardware because the software quits working. The weather radar app still works fine on my phone, but I liked checking the weather on the iPad. Probably my phone is the next to be rendered obsolete. I just noticed that I can't update the system to IOS 11. The phone is too old.

Even though I was tired from lugging heavy logs around, I decided to go to the gym anyway. I'm much older than my phone and a trip to the gym is the closest thing I can find to a software update. I thought I had a pretty good workout, but my fitness tracker said otherwise. I did the same routines, but I didn't burn nearly as many calories as I did last week. I'm sure it was the yard work that made the difference.

I haven't turned on the large format printer in over a month. It may be impossible to unclog the thing now. I'll give it a try tomorrow and order some more ink if I succeed. I've basically grown tired of buying expensive ink for this thing just to make test prints to keep the printer from clogging. Maybe it's finally time to take the printer to the curb. This printer made beautiful very large Giclée prints in it's day, but I think that ship has sailed. If I could bring myself to part with this obsolete printer and the equally obsolete Beta-SP tape machines, I'd have a lot more space in the office.

I wonder if my refrigerator part will arrive tomorrow? Promises apparently don't mean much in the appliance repair business.

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 2851

I'm so tired of continually fixing things. Today I noticed that the refrigerator was about ten degrees warmer and I knew it was time to defrost the evaporator coil again. The refrigerator seems to cool things normally for one and a half to two weeks before the coil freezes. It's not that hard to thaw the coil with a hair dryer, but it is a nuisance. I have to take all the food out of the freezer and put it in a large ice chest before I can begin. The shelves have to be unscrewed and removed so I can access the metal back panel. When this panel has been removed, I can see the evaporator coil. It takes about twenty minutes to thaw the coil and mop up all the dripping water. Then I put everything back together and the refrigerator works fine for a while.

I'm really disappointed that the appliance repairmen weren't able to diagnose the source of this problem on their first visit. The repair strategy seems to be to replace parts one at a time until everything starts working again. To the repairman's credit, he isn't charging me for service calls anymore, but I'm convinced that there's got to be a better way to repair things. In anticipation that the logic board he ordered won't solve the problem either, I ordered a few parts myself today. Two can play this game. If his part doesn't work, I'll ask him to install one of mine.

We tried the dog booties I repaired a few days ago on Dash's evening walk and I was pleased to see that the glue and patches held together. This is good news and means that I'll be able to extend the life of these protective shoes. Now I've got to start repairing the other boots, because they're all starting to become worn. The good news is that Dash can walk normally while wearing his boots and knee brace. The bad news is that he'll only walk when Janet and I both go with him. When Daylight Savings Time returns soon, our evening walks are going to become more difficult. Janet doesn't return from work until after dark in the Winter, so Dash doesn't have much time to get used to walking alone with me.

I've noticed that the neighbors have started piling up stuff on the curb for bulky trash pickup. This means that I've only got a few days to move all the elm tree branches from the alley to the curb. I should have done this today, since it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I just didn't have the time. By the time I'd finished dealing with the refrigerator and the dog boots, my day was finished.

I picked up one of my watches this morning and the bracelet fell apart in my hands. This seemed symbolic of everything in my life. I got my watch tools out and put the bracelet back together, but I don't know why I even bothered. I never wear these watches anymore. It just seems strange that I spent so much time collecting them. You should never have a lot of old mechanical things. Old machines require constant maintenance. Vintage cars, vintage houses, vintage watches, and even vintage guitars are nothing but trouble.

I hope nothing breaks tomorrow. Like I said, I'm tired of fixing things. Even my Sunday trip to the gym is an attempt to fix something. I'm falling apart too.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 2850

It was a fairly benign Friday the 13. Nothing really bad happened. I didn't tempt fate though. I didn't climb up on the roof today or attempt to remove wasp nests. All I wanted was a quiet, peaceful day where nothing went wrong.

It's often hard to tell if something is wrong with Dash, or if he's just being stubborn. Today he refused to take a morning walk, even though the weather was nice and he ate all his breakfast. I don't try to force him to walk because so many thing are wrong with him now. Maybe he was feeling weak due to his heart condition. Maybe his leg hurt. It's hard to tell with Dash. He's often reluctant to leave the house, but once he arrives in the park, he has a great time smelling every bush along his path. I wish I knew whether he was in a mood to walk before I spend ten minutes getting him suited up in his protective gear. I initially thought he might be reluctant to walk because he didn't want to wear the knee brace. He walks just fine wearing the brace though. When he's in a good mood, he's not even aware he's wearing it.

I try to give Dash a pass for his occasional moodiness, because I can feel the same way myself. Some mornings I'm really eager to go out for breakfast on Fridays, and other mornings nothing interests me at all. Today I mostly went out because there was nothing in the refrigerator that didn't require a lot of preparation. If we still had peaches and strawberries, I probably would have just stayed home and made a smoothie.

When I returned from breakfast and grocery shopping for tonight's dinner, I got started on repairing Dash protective boots. I cut several pieces out of the rubber tire patch material and then glued them in place using the Shoe Goo that I purchased the other day. I debated whether to use rubber cement or the Shoe Goo and decided that the Shoe Goo would last longer. If this doesn't work, I'll use the rubber cement next time. The flexible cement has to cure for 24 hours, so we'll try the boots out tomorrow. If the repair seems to be holding up after a few walks, I'll repair the other boots Dash has already ruined.

I actually had a website problem to solve today. Sadly, the problem isn't actually solved yet, but at least I got the process started. I remember a time when you could call technical support and resolve fairly complex problems on the spot. Most of those knowledgable people have disappeared. Now, it's rare to talk with anyone who can actually code or solve IT problems. The friendly guy I talked with today just took down my information and said he'd pass it on to his supervisor. He didn't have a clue how to fix problems with forms and databases.

Dash walked just fine this evening. I think he just wants the whole family to walk with him. I don't know what we're going to do when Daylight Savings Time begins and it gets dark an hour earlier. It's already sunset when Janet returns from work. Life was so much easier for Dash when Dot was alive. She was always the alpha dog who showed Dash how to behave. Now, he just seems lost.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 2849

Dash's exam was ambiguous at best. The blood clots in his heart are still there and haven't changed in size. The doctor said that the whistling sound his heart murmur made was softer this time, but was unsure if this was significant. Everyone was pleased that Dash's appetite was returning and that he had more energy, but this change didn't seem to be directly related to the blood clots. Dash is supposed to continue taking the Plavix and we scheduled another echocardiogram in a month from now. The vet did say that blood will still clot while taking Plavix, so we shouldn't worry if Dash cuts his paw again. This won't keep me from worrying, but it was somewhat reassuring.

As usual, Dash's exam took longer than we expected, so Janet and I both got a late start. After a very late breakfast, I strung several garden hoses together and was finally able to water the new grass in the front yard. The rest of the day was consumed with mostly unsuccessful attempts to repair Dash's protective booties. I hand stitched the boots back together and then discovered that the Shoe Goo I bought yesterday wasn't really appropriate for repairing the holes in the rubber fabric. What I really needed was a cap made of stronger rubber that would fit over the tips of these boots.

I took the little boots to my shoe repairmen and asked if he could make something to reinforce the toe. He seemed confused at first and then I drew him a picture of what I needed. He brought out some thin rubber used to resole women's high heeled shoes and it seemed like this material might work. Then he quoted me a price for the repair that was higher than what the booties cost new. At this rate, it would be easier to just keep buying new booties and throw them away when they became worn.

As we were exploring repair options, the repairman started asking me about Dash. Then he started talking about his own dog. He was very frustrated with his dog because it always pooped in the house. I resisted the urge to say "that's nothing" and regale him with my own stories of canine incontinence. I didn't want to argue with the guy, but he clearly didn't have the patience required to deal with sick dogs.

After I struck out at the shoe repair shop, I went to Home Depot where I struck out again. All they had was a rubber hall runner that was way too thick and stiff to be useful. It finally occurred to me to go to an auto parts store, where I bought a big package of rubber inner tube patches. Lord knows whether these will work, but we'll find out tomorrow.

The shower started leaking again today. I wonder where the water goes on the days it doesn't leak? It's probably going somewhere. Probably next year sometime I'll discover a patch of rotted sheetrock in a completely different part of the house. Water is sneaky. It can flow just about anywhere.

It was still dark outside when I got up this morning to get the car ready for Dash's trip to the vet. Orion and all the familiar Winter constellations were visible in the pre-dawn sky. Seeing these familiar faces again was somehow reassuring. I just wish that everything was as regular and predictable as the slow and stately movement of the stars.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day 2848

The refrigerator part that was supposed to arrive today won't be here until next Monday. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I disappointed? Of course. It takes a lot of patience to get something repaired these days. No wonder so many people just download a YouTube video and try to do things themselves.

In an attempt to keep the refrigerator working until the repairmen arrive, I pulled it out from its cubby hole in the kitchen, removed the back panel, and tried to clean the condenser coil. You're supposed to do this once a year, but it's just too difficult. I'm not even sure that I found the condenser coil, but I cleaned something that was very dirty and looked like a coil. After working in the cramped space behind the refrigerator for an hour, I found it difficult to extricate myself. The knee joints just aren't that flexible anymore. I have a feeling that I'll have to defrost the evaporator coil with a hair dryer later this week. I've done this several times already. If I keep this up, I could probably become a refrigerator repairman myself.

The cancer center called and rescheduled Dash's appointment several times today. The first schedule change was because the technician doing the echocardiogram wasn't going to be at the clinic in the afternoon. The second schedule change was because there was an out of town emergency appointment that required an ultrasound scan as soon as the dog arrived. We're still going tomorrow, but our appointment is a lot earlier than it originally was. My biggest concern is getting Dash to poop before we put him in the car. Since there won't be time for a morning walk, this might be a problem. We really hope that the echocardiogram shows some improvement in Dash's heart. He does seem to have more energy and is eating better, so maybe the Plavix pills are working.

I found some stuff that is supposed to be good for repairing shoes. It's called Shoe Goo. I was going to attempt to repair Dash's protective booties today, but I discovered that a seam had torn and needed to be sewed back together first. I wish I knew how to use Janet's fancy new sewing machine. I used to use the old Singer machine to make small repairs all the time, but this new machine seems very unfamiliar. I just don't want to risk breaking it. Dash's boots will still get repaired. It just might take a little longer.

It's getting to the point where I am reluctant to even turn on the television. The news has become an endless parade of disasters. Where is the good news? All I see are floods, hurricanes, massive wildfires, mass shootings, and threats of nuclear war. It almost feels like we are living in some dystopian science fiction novel. There is no real solution to this mess, so perhaps the best thing is to turn off the TV and concentrate on things that are closer to home.

Dash's health is certainly close to home. I really hope we get a good report tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 2847

I was surprised at how cold it was this morning. The furnace was running when we woke up and I needed to wear long pants and a jacket on our morning walk. Typically, these nice October mornings don't last very long. As soon as the sun comes up, the temperature is quickly above ninety again. Today was different. I don't think it got above seventy degrees all day long.

Since the weather was nice and cool, I thought it would be a good day to fix the big gash in the front yard. I measured the bare spot where the runaway car had ripped away the grass and went to buy some St. Augustine sod. I'd forgotten how messy is is to carry grass around in your car. I used to haul sod in the Defender quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever done it in this car. I had quite a bit of cleanup to do when I got home.

I can't say that I did a super job on the yard, but at least the dirt is covered up now. With this chore marked off my list, I went looking for a cheap orthotic insert for my dog walking shoes. I found something at CVS that looked identical to the expensive REI inserts for 1/3 the price. If I was willing to go to Walmart, I might have found something for even less.

Now that we're feeding Dash what he wants, he's eating quite well. I hope the loss of appetite scare wasn't just an elaborate ploy to get us to change his diet. Dash can be pretty clever when it comes to getting what he wants. I feel confident that what we're feeding him now is healthy and nutritious. The only thing I don't like is that his poop is softer and harder to clean up. He may be getting too much protein as well. We don't want to deal with crystals in his urine again.

I've noticed that the refrigerator is starting to get a little warmer again. If the replacement part doesn't arrive in the next day or so, I'll have to manually defrost the evaporator coil again. It's easy enough to melt the ice with a hair dryer, but it takes a while to remove all the food from the freezer and unscrew the back wall plate so the coil is exposed. I wonder why this coil freezes up so quickly? I remember having an old fashioned refrigerator without the frost-free feature in one of my first apartments and I think I could go six months without having to defrost the thing.

I guess I'll just watch the new Blade Runner movie on my computer. It's going to be available on iTunes soon and I don't feel like dealing with theaters or driving at night. I can really understand the appeal of Hello Fresh, Netflix, Amazon, and all the other things that bring the world to your doorstep. When you look at what the world has become, there's a lot to be said for just staying at home.

Neo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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