Monday, September 18, 2017

Day 2825

Dash is getting so weird about meals. Today, he turned up his nose at everything I offered him. We still have quite a variety of dog food on hand, since we had to switch Dot's diet quite often toward the end. We always feed out dogs high quality, nutritious food, but I think Dash would prefer a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Dash was never a picky eater while Dot was around. If he didn't eat quickly, Dot would eat everything in his bowl. I guess he can relax now and contemplate what he'd really like.

Today was worse than usual. Dash didn't finish his breakfast until well after lunch. I began to think that he might have some sort of medical problem, but eventually he got real hungry and ate everything in his bowl as if it was his favorite treat. Dinner was the same way. He had barely touched his dinner by the time I had to leave for a meeting, but somehow Janet convinced him to eat while I was gone.

At least Dash isn't fixated on his dewclaw anymore. The only time he had to wear the cone was when I left the house to take some mail to the post office. I still don't completely trust him. In fact, I'd better go check on him now. He's been awfully quiet for the past thirty minutes.

It was a quiet day, but surprisingly I did manage to talk with a few people. I went to an animal rescue meeting this evening to begin planning for the group's next big event. Most of the volunteers in this group have known each other forever and it's always nice to see everybody. We don't seem to meet as often as we used to, but maybe we've just become more efficient.

I wish I could become more efficient. Without the deadlines that forced me to be productive for so many years, I don't get nearly as much done. Other than my meeting tonight, I seemed to spend my entire day watering the grass, paying a few bills and trying to get Dash to eat. There just isn't much incentive to do things fast anymore. Sometimes I even look for ways to slow things down. I think I've almost perfected slowing breakfast down. Often, it's almost lunch time before I am finally finished.

The roofers haven't come over yet. The refrigerator repairmen hasn't returned either. I don't even want to call the watch repairman, because I'm certain he hasn't fixed my watches either. Jeez. We haven't even gotten our refund on the Visa gift card yet, and that problem started months ago. I wonder if anything works smoothly anymore. I haven't seen much evidence that it does.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm not expecting much. I think I'd be happy is Dash just eats his breakfast.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day 2824

There are pumpkins everywhere. It isn't even October yet. I've even seen Christmas lights in a few stores. Couldn't we just give it a rest? I'm sure that some of these early pumpkins will rot before Halloween even arrives. I used to dutifully get pumpkins every year to decorate the front porch. They would often sit there until February when I would eventually notice that they had turned into a pile of mush.

I don't buy pumpkins anymore. We don't cook a big turkey on Thanksgiving either. There is still a tree at Christmas, but it is a very small simple tree. I think I have finally mastered downsizing the holidays. Now, if I could just figure out how to downsize everything else.

I'm going to miss those pictures of Saturn from Cassini. I wonder what the team in charge of this mission is going to do now? They spent more than a decade working together to learn about the planet and now their spacecraft is gone. I wonder if I'll see other missions on this kind of a grand scale in my lifetime? People still thought big when Cassini-Huygens was conceived in 1988. More than 5000 people worked on the project during it's lifetime. The 22 foot tall spacecraft weighed over 12,000 pounds and traveled almost 5 billion miles to take hundreds of thousands of pictures and discover 6 new moons. I wish were still doing things like this. We still could if we weren't tearing ourselves apart with hatred and bickering.

Maybe this is why I'm not all that excited about the iPhone X. We've gone from discovering the universe to discovering new ways to take a selfie. Who am I to criticize though. The folks in silicon valley who are discovering new ways to communicate with emojis are still doing more than I am. All I did today was go to the gym and use the wet/dry vacuum to suck more water from under the shower tiles.

I was looking for some alternate dog walking shoes while my boots are at the shoe repair shop. In a dusty corner of my closet, I found a pair of my Dad's boots I used to wear when it snowed. I forgot I even had these boots because it hasn't snowed much lately. What was amazing is that even though these boots were over fifty years old, they were still in better condition than most brand new shoes today. My Dad wore these shoes trapping animals in Alaska. I've worn them off and on for decades and they still look like they could last a lifetime. I know I sound like a broken record talking about shoddy, disposable products, but it's true. Nothing is built to last anymore.

I think I spotted the tip of a new nail starting to grow where Dash ripped his dewclaw out. He still doesn't want me near the area, so I try to clean the wound with saline solution while he is asleep. I'll be glad when his dewclaw has grown back. Dash is not a good patient. I still have to have him wear the cone whenever I'm not watching him closely.

My allergies didn't seem so bad today. I still used a lot of Kleenex and Visine, but it wasn't like yesterday. It's weird how the amount of pollen in the air can vary so much from day to day. I'm going to have to start checking the pollen count every morning.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 2823

My Fall allergies have returned with a vengeance. It's a shame, because the weather has been beautiful lately. They say that most Fall allergies are caused by ragweed pollen. Since we had a lot of rain this Spring and Summer, the ragweed in North Texas is even worse than usual. I hate taking antihistamines, but I may have no choice this year. My eyes have been itching and my nose has been running constantly for several days now. These allergies are making me miserable.

Using a dehumidifier is supposed to help with allergies. I've got that covered. Running the air conditioner at night is supposed to help too. These things aren't helping much. It probably doesn't help that Dash sleeps right next to me and his fur is probably covered with pollen. There is so much pollen in the park now that our shoes are sticky when we return from our morning walk. I wipe Dash's legs off with a wet rag, but I'm not sure how much good this does. I always forget about Fall allergies when the weather starts to get nice. Them several weeks later I remember that there aren't really any good seasons in Texas.

When we were walking this morning, we discovered that we were on the same path with thousands of runners. We learned later that this was the annual Tour des Fleurs half marathon. Even though the path was crowded with runners, Dash still wanted to criss-cross from side to side like he always does. I didn't think the runners would appreciate this, so we eventually convinced Dash to walk down by the shoreline instead. This is probably why my allergies are so bad today. It was a windy morning and there were ragweed plants everywhere. The one benefit of taking this alternate route is that I saw some Buttonbush flowers. Of all the weird and wonderful flowers I see in the park, these are probably the weirdest.

When I was running errands today, I took my dog walking boots to the shoe repairmen to get some new heel taps put on. The shoe repairman didn't want to take a credit card for such a small repair, so I told him to keep the boots and dye them brown again. This made him happier, but when I got home I realized that I won't have any comfortable dog walking shoes for a while. I should have thought about this. The sturdy boots will look nicer now, but what will I wear tomorrow morning?

Dash has gotten in a bad habit of wanting something to eat every hour from 8 PM until it is time for him to go to bed. We started giving him his evening meds earlier in case he throws up in the middle of the night. The unintended consequence of doing this is that Dash still expects something to eat when he used to take his pills. When Janet was recovering from surgery we were going to bed earlier too, so we would give him a rice cake at 9 PM. Now that life is more or less back to normal, Dash expects something to eat at 8, 9, and 10 PM. If he doesn't get what he wants, he starts barking very loud. Training an old, stubborn dog to behave again is not easy, but we're working on it.

I finally vacuumed the house today. We've only got one dog now, but there's still a mountain of dog hair. House cleaning was my exercise today. Tomorrow, I'll need to go to the gym.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Day 2822

I'm getting so tired of telemarketers, Caller ID spoofing, Phishing attempts, and data breaches that it seems like it would be easier to be off the grid entirely. I just don't understand why some people go to such extraordinary lengths to make life difficult for others. It's only going to get worse. After the whole Equifax debacle, I think it's just a matter of time before 100% of the population has their personal information compromised.

The older I get, the more scammers I seems to attract. It's irritating. My Dad was the victim of a telephone scam. That was back in the day when people were trusting and just picked up the phone whenever it rang. Now, even with Nomorobo and assorted call blocking apps provided by the phone companies, the telemarketers still manage to break through. I'm beginning to understand why people prefer to send text messages. Answering your phone has become a liability. I don't even trust my Caller ID anymore. You never know who is on the other end of the line.

Today I had to block my own phone number. Apparently it is pretty easy for spoofers to makes calls seem like they are originating from your own phone. They can also make them appear to be coming from someone in your own neighborhood. I don't understand why the phone companies can't get a handle on these scams. Probably for the same reason that Facebook can't seem to get a handle on fake news. Perhaps humans are just too inherently evil to be trusted with technology. When I was a kid, people even trusted door-to-door salesmen. The Fuller Brush Man was a well respected member of the community. What have we become? My mailbox is filled with junk mail. I'm inundated with telemarketing calls, and I never open my front door to a stranger.

Almost lost in today's batch of junk mail was a letter from my sister telling me that she has stage three cancer. She seemed upbeat and pretty matter of fact about her prognosis, but I was stunned by the news. Way too many people I know are dealing with cancer. It hits pets pretty hard too. Dot and Dash were both diagnosed with cancer and so was Spot, our very first Dalmatian. I'm kind of nervous about going in for my own annual physical. I feel healthy, but lord knows what the doctors might discover this time.

I really shouldn't postpone my physical, but I've been postponing everything lately. My excuse for postponing my physical is that I'm thinking of switching doctors soon. Maybe that's a good excuse. I have no real excuse for postponing jury duty. I just don't want to serve on a jury. A lot of small home repairs have been postponed because I don't have the money to pay for them now. I'd postpone tomorrow if I could, but time just keeps marching on.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 2821

What happened to our nice Fall weather? It felt like Summer again today. I wonder if the abrupt change in temperature confused the White Pelicans I saw arrive yesterday? These birds spend the Winter at the lake every year. I thought that their arrival was a sure sign that cooler temperatures were here to stay, but I guess I was wrong. It's hard to predict the weather these days. The Farmers Almanac says that Texas is going to have a cold Winter with lots of ice and snow. I find this hard to believe, but stranger things have happened.

Nothing strange happened today. In fact, very little happened at all. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to continue this narrative for another 2,179 days. It's not always easy to write about nothing. Dash seems better at dealing with uneventful days than I am. He's either sleeping, begging for food, or trying to lick his injured dewclaw. I've been trying to give him a reprieve from wearing the cone all day by putting a towel over his front legs while he is sleeping. Usually this works pretty well, but Dash is sneaky. A couple of times today, I caught him with his head under the towel, still licking the dewclaw.

I got a check in the mail today that was immediately offset by two bills that were considerably larger than the money I received. I took the check to the bank, paid the bills, and took them to the post office. It's hard to get ahead this way. At some point I'm either going to have to get a job or start spending my retirement savings. The future is so uncertain that it seems unwise to start using your nest egg too soon. I'm not sure it is wise to go looking for a job either. Who would hire me? I've survived on my own for so long that I'm probably not employable. When I'm honest, I have to acknowledge that it's a collaborative world and I'm not much of a team player. I used to think it would be fun to work part-time at an Apple Store in my retirement years. I'd be a natural, I thought. I know more about Apple products than just about anybody, but Apple customers aren't like they used to be. It's not a small group of tech savvy geeks anymore. Lately, when I go into an Apple Store, I am repelled by the way the company has changed. It's all about the phone now. The computers are an afterthought. I'm not sure how excited I could get about selling you a phone that lets you send messages using an animated animal emoji that mimics your facial motions. I don't even want to stay connected.

It's weird how quickly the news organizations have forgotten about the hurricanes. Just a few days ago every reporter in the country was standing out in the rain seeing who would be first to get blown over by a gust of wind. Now, they are all back to bashing Trump again. It's almost as if the storms never happened. If your home was flooded, the story definitely isn't over. It's probably just beginning. I keep wondering if there's a part of the country where you never have to worry about tornados, floods, hurricanes, or forest fires. A lot of my favorite places out West have been plagued with wildfires this season. Maybe there are no idyllic places left.

I always used to think of Crested Butte as an an idyllic place. My family used to spend summers near there when I was young. The other day I read an article about how Airbnb was destroying communities like Crested Butte, making it impossible for the locals to find affordable housing. Apparently, investors have bought up everything in town and are using the properties as short term vacation rentals. Nobody even knows who their neighbors are anymore. There are two sides to everything and the new sharing economy doesn't benefit everyone. LimeBike has arrived in Dallas and I'm already starting to see the green and yellow bicycles abandoned all over the park like somebody's trash. In theory, another customer will eventually hop on one of these bikes and ride it somewhere else, but it isn't happening yet. For the record, I'm not really fond of Uber either. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Nicholas is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Day 2820

I got a letter from eBay saying that they hadn't seen me in a long time and that my account would be deleted if I didn't return to buy or sell something within the next 30 days. I didn't click on any of the links because I thought this might be some sort of Phishing scam. It is true that I haven't visited eBay in a long time though. Maybe the letter was real. I used to be hooked on eBay. I would visit almost every day, fascinated by all the weird and wonderful stuff you could find there. I didn't need any of the stuff I bought. My purchases were somewhere between a habit and an addiction. I never bought anything very expensive, but I did buy a lot of stuff. It was fun to get little packages from all over the world.

One day I woke up and my eBay purchases seemed silly. I quit visiting the site and over time I even forgot my login password. I've thought about selling the stuff I bought on eBay, but I don't want to deal with the buyers. There are too many scammers now. I don't want to deal with bad reviews or people who claim their item arrived broken and want their money back. It's just not worth the hassle anymore. If I ever have to resort to selling things on eBay to pay my bills, I'm probably in pretty bad shape. Let's hope that day never comes. Assuming the letter I received is real, I think I'll just let eBay delete my account. Been there, done that.

I have a long laundry list of things I used to be excited about that no longer interest me. I don't write and record songs anymore. I don't have any interest in becoming a fashion photographer. I don't read several books a week these days. Jeez. I'm lucky if I read several books a year. I stopped collecting art years ago when I ran out of walls to display the stuff. I'm not even interested in going to movies anymore.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm interested in anything at all until I look a Dash and realize that I still love dogs. When I'm walking in the evening, I'll look up at the sky and realized that I'm still interested in astronomy as well. If the carpal tunnel in my wrist wasn't so bad, I'd probably play guitar more. Guitars are cool. Maybe this is enough. It is kind of astonishing how my world has shrunk. I used to be interested in everything.

I wonder why I haven't heard from the appliance repairmen. I thought he would have returned to replace the two thermostats in the refrigerator by now. Maybe appliance repairmen are just like plumbers, electricians, and roofers. I have to call the roofer ten times before I can get him to come to the house. There's always a chance that I don't even need the new thermostats. The refrigerator is still working fine. Even the ice maker works now and the repairmen didn't even touch that.

I think Dash is feeling better. He didn't seem as obsessed with his paw today. I was able to let him wander around without the cone on his head for hours at a time today. He had a couple of relapses where I had to resort to the cone again, but things are getting better. It would be nice if he didn't have to wear the cone at all tomorrow.

Molly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Day 2819

I spent the day mending fences with clients, solving odd website problems, and trying to keep Dash from continually getting stuck in corners with his cone. I wish Dash would quit trying to lick his wound whenever I take the cone off, but I guess that's what dogs do. Dash hates wearing the cone and I try to take it off whenever I can, but he's not being very cooperative. Whenever I turn my back, he's quietly licking his injured dewclaw again.

It was actually enjoyable to be working on websites today. I like to stay busy, but work is hit and miss these days. Usually when I'm busy, it's because someone has a crisis. Most of my bread and butter work has gone away. I should have stayed in architecture. My writing work has declined because younger people don't read, and my design work has declined because there are too many easy alternatives to hiring someone like me. Every time I turn on the TV I see ads from GoDaddy promising that you can build your own business website for next to nothing in less than an hour. It's hard to compete with that.

I suspect that my career would be nearing an end by now even if I'd stayed in architecture. Many of my classmates from architecture school have already retired. Some are traveling. Some have taken up painting. Some have died of cancer. At least I'm still alive. I don't have a house filled with floodwater either, so I guess I'd better quit complaining.

I was kind of astonished by the new iPhone X introduction today. Would you pay $1000 for a phone? I saw some pundit on one of the business shows try to rationalize the exorbident price by saying that unlike your car, which just sits in your driveway most of the time, your phone is an essential part of your life and you couldn't function without it. Have we really come to this? I could get along just fine without my phone. I got one phone call today and it was on my old land line. Staying connected is overrated.

I postponed jury duty again. Eventually, I will have to serve, but I'll keep delaying things as long as I can. Sitting in the jury pool room is one of my least favorite things. I don't know why I keep getting jury summons. I've been called many times and have never been asked to sit on a jury. I don't seem to be what the lawyers are looking for. I probably wouldn't make a good juror anyway. I think everyone is guilty.

The shower didn't leak this morning. I don't know why. My latest theory is that there is a very slow leak and it takes about three days for enough water two accumulate under the tile floor that it starts leaking out of a crack. I may be wrong. I don't have any theories about why Dash continues to lick his paws. He used to lick them even before his injury.

Marcie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 11, 2017

Day 2818 - 9/11

With each passing year the world seems to pay a little less attention to 9/11. I was surprised to learn that almost 20% of the US population wasn't even born when the twin towers fell. Do these people even understand how much the world changed that day? It's been sixteen years now. I wonder who will remember when another sixteen years has passed.

I will remember, but I doubt that it matters much. My generation is no longer in charge. If you are my age, you may think you are still relevant, but the torch has already been passed. I hope that future generations will eventually develop an appreciation for history. From what I see, they don't care much about history any more. History is important and you can't just re-write the past because some of it might embarrass you. I will always remember when John Kennedy was shot, when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon, and when the twin towers fell. These weren't dry events in a history book for me. I was there.

I wonder how long it will take the media to forget about Hurricane Irma? They've already forgotten about Harvey. It's astonishing what a short attention span we have these days. It's almost like the evening news has become a circus. Every Channel had a reporter in a raincoat standing out in the middle of the hurricane, but nobody is reporting about the wildfires on the West Coast at all. I didn't hear much about that huge earthquake in Mexico either. Maybe this is normal, but it seems strange to me.

I have time to think about such things because all I do these days is make pathetic attempts to repair things around the house. Today I got up on the roof with a pole saw and trimmed a lot of low hanging branches. The next time we get bad weather, some of these branches were sure to fall. I probably saved about $300 by doing the work myself, but I'd much rather be busy writing or designing websites, so I could pay someone else to do these dirty jobs.

I wonder how long it is going to take for Dash's dewclaw to start growing back. Every time I take his cone off, he starts licking his paw. It doesn't help that he always used to lick his paws anyway. It's just a habit, but it's a very bad habit right now. The wound needs to heal and scab over. This will take a while. I hope it doesn't take as long as it took my dog bite wounds to heal. Dash and I will both go crazy if that is the case. For the time being, I've resigned myself to taking his cone on and off a dozen times a day.

I guess I need to resign myself to losing work to millennials. Another website I created is being redesigned by a team of millennials. It hurts my feelings, but I would have done the same thing when I was younger. I wasn't shy about taking work from older creatives back in the day. Oh, well. What goes around comes around and time just keeps on marching on.

Shadow is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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