Saturday, March 17, 2018

Day 3005

I certainly didn't accomplish much today. I did my grocery shopping and filled the car up with gas, but that was about it. Janet was away at a Dalmatian Rescue event today. Dash usually follows Janet around like glue on weekends, but he didn't seem to notice she was gone. I suspect he just thought it was another work day. We ate breakfast and took our morning walk just like we did yesterday and then I started my Saturday errands. When I returned Dash was asleep.

I spent a long time trying to figure out where to store a huge box of toilet paper I got at Sam's Club. Buying in bulk does save money, but it sure is difficult to store the stuff when you're living in a small house. I guess I could have done some house cleaning, but I got distracted looking for a technical service manual for my refrigerator online. There are all types of sites that will sell you duplicate service manuals, but I wanted to find a free one. I eventually found what I was looking for and started reading the diagnostic section. It's probably not helpful that I want to figure out what is wrong before the service technician arrives on Monday, but that's just the type of guy I am.

I suspect that one of the two remaining original thermistors has gone bad. Hopefully that's all it is. If the mother board I replaced a few months ago is already defective, I've got a big problem. Truthfully, I have no idea why the refrigerator isn't working. It should be working perfectly. When I read through the technical service manual, it appeared that the previous technicians had done exactly what the manual recommended.

While I was searching for the cause of my refrigerator problem, I started looking up the side effects of some some of the meds I'm taking. That was a mistake. A hypochondriac should never start reading about side effects. It's easy to imagine that you have all of them. I'm trying to decide whether a brand name drug I'm taking is worth the extra money. The brand name and the generic are similar, but for some reason the side effects are different. After comparing both, I felt like someone was telling me to pick my poison. I miss the days when I didn't even have a doctor and took no meds at all. As you might expect, those days were a long, long time ago.

We were going to go out for pizza tonight, but Janet ended up getting a free pizza at the grocery store.   We thought about going out anyway and then it started to rain. Once I started to hear thunder, I knew we were staying home. We've learned that it isn't wise to leave Dash alone in a storm. The free Tom Thumb pizza wasn't bad, but it didn't come close to the pies at our neighborhood Italian restaurant. Who knows when we'll have the urge for pizza again. Usually, both of us eat amazingly healthy meals. Sometimes you just crave pizza though.

I hope I wake up tomorrow with more motivation than I had today. I could have easily stayed in bed all day. Luckily, I don't need motivation to go to the gym. I've never been motivated to go to the gym. I just go because that's what I do on Sunday.

Allie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Day 3004

I met a refrigerator repairman while I was grocery shopping this morning. He was parked next to me and the message on his company truck sounded intriguing. I knocked on his window and asked him if he was familiar with my refrigerator. The guy was very knowledgable. I was actually surprised that he spent so much time talking to me in the Central Market parking lot. I asked for the guy's business card and told him I'd give him a call. When I looked up the company website when I got home, they had excellent reviews. For comparison, I looked up the repair shop I'm currently using and they had terrible reviews. I've never seen so many single stars. I wish I'd checked out the Yelp reviews before I'd scheduled three unsuccessful service visits. The new company I discovered today offers a full year warranty on parts and labor. The parts warranty actually ran out at the other place before they even fixed my problem. I knew Janet would be skeptical, but I decided to try one more time to fix my existing refrigerator.

I think there are a lot of good reasons to try to save this refrigerator. The GE model that I have has a better service history than the Maytag I'd be replacing it with. The Maytag is smaller and holds less food. It also doesn't have an ice dispenser in the door like the model I have now. I always read the testimonials and a lot of people said the Maytag model didn't keep food cold enough and that the ice maker had a tendency to leak. So here we are. I may be throwing money down a rabbit hole, but I'm going to give this new company a try. I really like the refrigerator I have now. I wish GE still made this model.

After spending so much time thinking about refrigerators this morning, I decided to go ahead and defrost the evaporator coil before the weekend. The refrigerator is still cooling fine, but I know this drill pretty well by now. I've probably got four days before performance begins to suffer. It made sense to go ahead and take care of this now. I removed the ice on the coil and put everything back together in less than an hour this time. I think the repairman I met this morning was surprised that I knew actual part numbers and was familiar with the inner workings of kitchen appliances. It's too bad I don't know a little bit more or I could fix this thing myself.

Breakfast wasn't bad this morning, but it wasn't great either. I just picked a restaurant that was on the way to the grocery store. Maybe my problem is that I'm just not as interested in food as I used to be. I eat smaller portions now and occasionally even the thought of food turns my stomach. If a great meal can't turn my day around, I wonder what can? Food used to be an easy, almost foolproof way to perk me up. It doesn't work anymore.

Luckily, food still works for Dash. His appetite has really improved. I hope this means that his heart condition is improving as well. I have a feeling that when he was refusing to eat, he was in worse shape than we or the vet thought. The only problem with Dash's new interest in food is that he wants a treat before he'll do anything. He learned too well that we really want him to eat and now he wants to eat all the time. It's hard to teach a dog to do things in moderation.

The weather is still nice. Our Oak trees are starting to bud and that means the messy catkins are starting to fall. The pollen in these tiny flowers stains the car, causes me to sneeze, and makes a huge mess on the roof. I guess even nice weather has a downside. If this weather continues, it won't be long before I'm mowing the grass again.

Ruthie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Day 3003

I wish refrigerators were as easy to repair as computers. Every time I've taken a computer in for repair, I've gotten it back the same day. So far, all the repairs have been reasonably priced and more importantly, they've been successful. Today, I took my desktop computer in to replace a faulty CD/DVD drive and less than three hours later I got a call saying that I could come pick it up. The whole experience was pretty painless.

Plumbers and HVAC repairmen can be expensive, but so far I've had good results. My beef is with appliance repairmen. Washers, dryers, ovens, and refrigerators shouldn't be so hard to fix. I've had terrible luck with appliances. If Google reviews are any indication, lots of other people have had the same experience. I don't think major appliances are made as well anymore. There are fewer brands to choose from and almost everyone sources their component parts from China. Until I started looking for refrigerators, I didn't realize that Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, and Amana are all the same thing. No wonder some of the Whirlpool and Maytag models I was considering looked identical. It's relatively easy to track down the source of a computer problem, since just about every process is logged. By comparison, refrigerator repair seems more like a black art.

When I was out running errands this afternoon, I answered a telemarketing call by mistake. I hate when that happens. I thought the number might be the computer repair shop, but it turned out to be a salesperson from Who's Who in America. Why does this company still exist? When I was a kid, some people thought it was a big deal to be included in Who's Who. Now, if you feel inclined to brag about your resume, you do it on LinkedIn. I made the mistake of buying a Who's Who book decades ago when they first included me. They've been pestering me to buy another book ever since. SiriusXM is the same way. If you ever make the mistake of turning on SiriusXM in your car, they will never forget you. I told the lady from Who's Who that I was too busy to talk even though I was just picking up a prescription at the pharmacy. I'm sure they'll call back.

Dash had a lot of energy today, so I thought he'd enjoy his afternoon walk. We got off to a good start, but after only 50 yards, his knee brace fell off. We stopped so I could reattach the brace and that gave Dash time to reconsider his decision to leave the yard. When I was ready to go again, Dash wouldn't budge. He turned around and started tugging to go home. He still had lots of energy, so when Janet came home Dash started barking and pestering her. She ended up walking him and he walked normally. Dash is a smart dog. I think he was just trying to make me look bad.

I still can't believe that United Airlines put a dog in an overhead bin and killed it. Who would even think of putting a dog in an overhead bin. Two days later the same airline sent a dog to Japan by mistake when it's real destination was Kansas City. These are the same people who dragged that old man off the plane too. I'm not the type of person who boycotts things, but I don't think I'll be flying United Airlines again. Personally, I would never take a dog on a plane. I've heard too many horror stories.

It's almost Friday again. I wonder if I'll ever find a breakfast I like? Maybe I should try a hotel. I usually like hotel food when I'm traveling.

Carmine is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Day 3002

We managed to get Dash's nails trimmed this morning. It's hard to believe that this used to be an easy task, Now, it is next to impossible. These days if you touch his feet, Dash thinks you are trying to kill him. I don't think we would have had a chance if we weren't going to see his favorite vet. Somewhere in the back of his mind, Dash still trusts Molly. Even with expert help it wasn't an easy job. I held Dash and Janet fed him treats to distract him while the vet clipped. Each time we do this, it gets a little harder. I wish his nails would just quit growing.

Ever since Dash ripped out a dewclaw, I've been worried about his nails. The risk of bleeding is very real. It took several weeks and three trips to the vet before the bleeding completely stopped when he tore the dewclaw. This was before he was on blood thinners too. Today, the consequences would be far worse. The rubber boots he wears on walks are primarily to reduce the risk of cuts and bleeding. We do the best we can, but this is going to be continual problem.

The nail trim wasn't today's only dog problem. Dash peed in the bed while he was asleep last night. I spent most of the morning cleaning all the bedding. I hope this isn't the start of incontinence. Dash still seems to have bladder control, so maybe last night was just a fluke. I hope so. An incontinent dog who insists on sleeping in the bed with you is a major problem. Dot was incontinent during the last years of her life, but she was too weak to jump in the bed anymore, so it was easier to create a safe space for her. Dash is stubborn. Even if I brought home all the rubberized mats we sewed for Dot, he might refuse to use them.

I didn't get much done today. Our trip to the vet put me several hours behind on our daily routine. By the time I gave Dash his morning walk and fixed my breakfast, it was well past noon. Even with such a late start, I wasn't really behind on anything. Other than fixing a never ending assortment of broken things around the house, there is very little to do.

Maybe if I get organized tomorrow, I'll take my computer to the repair shop. I don't know why it is important to me to have a working CD burner. Nobody asks me to make them a CD anymore. Probably the best reason to repair the computer is that parts might not be available in the near future. I got the computer in 2010. Apple doesn't even put CD/DVD burners in newer computers, so OEM Superdrives won't be available forever.

The weather continues to be beautiful. No Spring allergies yet either. I don't think the rainy season is over yet, but I doubt that we have to worry about snow. It's hard to believe that large sections of the country are still dealing with snow when it is 70 degrees outside. It was so nice today that I was even able to convince Dash to take two walks. Hey, when your dog takes two walks, eats all his food, and has nicely trimmed nails, it's a pretty good day.

Humphrey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Day 3001

I still haven't adjusted to Daylight Savings Time. Why are the stars out when it's time to get up in the morning? Isn't it Spring yet? I'm having a hard time getting out of bed in the dark. I know the days are getting longer, but everything was fine before the time change. By the time I wake up to sunshine again, it will probably be too hot.

Dash has adjusted to the time change better than I have. He gets up in the dark with Janet because he knows who feeds him. By the time I'm up, he's ready for his morning walk. At least the weather is nice. We're walking at sunrise again. All the trees are starting to bud and I see a few new wildflowers every morning. I enjoy our walks in the Spring. There's always something to see.

Dash might not get a walk tomorrow morning. It's time to get his nails trimmed again. I was lucky that Dash's vet could work us in. She was completely booked, but told us to come over before her first appointment. She's the only one left who is able to trim Dash's nails, so I think she knew how desperate we were. I hope Dash is well behaved tomorrow. When he was healthy, Dash used to actually enjoy going to the vet. He's always been a social dog and enjoyed the attention. Now, it's a different story. Even something as minor as a nail trim sends him into a panic.

Today was slow. We got off to an early start, but by the time I finished my morning smoothie and cleaned up the dog poop in the yard, it was time for lunch. I don't actually eat lunch, but Dash does. Somewhere along the line we started feeding him a rice cake at lunchtime and now he insists on it. The rice cake doesn't add many calories and it's something he can look forward to in an often boring day. When Dash was having trouble eating, we started spreading something tasty on top of the rice cake to make it more appealing. Sometimes I add a little peanut butter. Other times I add some canned dog food. Now this rice cake sandwich is part of our daily ritual.

I took a small check to the bank and paid a few bills this afternoon. Checks from clients are infrequent now, but they are still appreciated. There are so many things on my to-do list, but it is hard to focus on them. Everything is necessary, but nothing is appealing. I have a feeling that I'll fix the CD burner on my computer before the toilet, the roof, or the refrigerator. The computer still seems like a friend. The other things, no so much.

It's taking me forever to completely shake off this cold. I still have some nasal congestion and an upset stomach. Luckily the night sweats seem to be gone. Maybe the upset stomach has nothing to do with the cold. The last batch of food I got at Central Market's deli counter was way too spicy. I got the same things I always do, but there must have been a new chef. I wish people would leave recipes alone. As soon as I get used to something, it changes.

Day 3001 was a bit anticlimactic. I shouldn't have been surprised, but very little happened. It's a bit early to start thinking about Day 4000 too. That's almost three years away.

Wyatt is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, March 12, 2018

Day 3000

Unless you're a blogger, keeping a journal for 3000 consecutive days probably doesn't seem like a big deal. Trust me, it is a big deal. Year after year I sit here every single evening trying to think of something coherent to say. You know how daily life goes. Sometimes it is eventful. Other times it isn't. Often, nothing happens at all. I've learned a lot over the years. For starters, every day matters. If you look closely enough you can learn something from the most inconsequential things.

Today I learned where to find Venus and Mercury in the evening sky. Both planets were near the horizon, so they were difficult to see right after sunset. I kept looking though and eventually spotted Venus and the much dimmer Mercury slightly above and to the right. I wish it were easier to view the stars from my yard. The Oak trees form a canopy that obscures everything. If there is something I want to see, I walk to a small clearing in the park.

I finally got my tax materials to the accountant. It wasn't as easy as I thought. First, I needed to make a copy of my Quickbooks files and discovered that my CD burner was broken. I had to transfer the files to the laptop, so I could use the its CD drive. Then, I thought I could transfer the files quickly using iCloud, but the laptop wasn't authorized on my iCloud account. By the time I got everything straightened out, I could have walked the files over to the accountant.

I found a lot of feathers in the yard this morning. One of the neighborhood feral cats probably dragged another dead bird in the yard. This probably explains why Dash has been so interested in the corner where the feathers were. I doubt that he ate the bird, but he could have swallowed a feather or two. This might have explained why he threw up the other night. Maybe it wasn't the vestibular disease after all. He could have just eaten something bad.

I finally figured out why I didn't get my test results from my doctor's appointment last week. The doctor is on vacation. I bet he's taking a ski vacation. This would be the time of year to go to Telluride or Park City. It's also the time to go to SXSW in Austin. Back in the day, I used to go to this festival every year. I was even a featured speaker a long, long time ago. The festival is much too fancy for me now. I doubt that I could afford to attend. Today people go to hear Elon Musk and Steven Spielberg. I'm amazed at how this thing has grown. It's as big as Sundance now. Maybe even bigger.

I'm trying to decide whether to fix the CD burner. Nobody even uses CD's anymore. Nevertheless, I hate having a broken drive in my main computer. I got a price on replacing the Apple Superdrive and it wasn't as bad as I thought. Maybe I'l take the computer in later in the week and have a new drive installed. At the very least, I'll need it next year when I get my taxes ready for the accountant.

I'm still hoping to keep blogging until I reach Day 5000. I might not live that long, but we'll see. Blogging has certainly changed over the years. I used to have several hundred regular readers. Now, I've probably got about a dozen at best. Honestly, I don't know why any of you keep reading. This isn't War and Peace. It is still a work in progress though. I hope you come back tomorrow because the story isn't over yet.

Lance is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Day 2999

The wind woke us up this morning. It was fairly dramatic. The windows rattled. Small branches broke loose and landed on the roof. There was no rain, but inexplicably the fiber optic cable went dead. How was this even possible? The cable is buried underground. When the wind subsided, I went outside  to see if the greenhouse was still there. The yard was littered with branches, but everything was intact.

I was baffled by the broadband outage. Wasn't the underground cable supposed to prevent this sort of thing? I called AT&T tech support, and as usual, wound up talking with someone who could barely speak English. As I was trying to explain my situation to someone half a world away, I noticed that the fiber optic line was trying to reconnect. The line re-booted several times and eventually became stable. Then the router and the DVR went through their own reboot cycle. The system was trying to repair itself. Before the tech support person could run her tests and figure out what was going on, everything was back to normal. This is why we won't have jobs in the future. The minute the line went dead, artificial intelligence algorithms kicked in and were already beginning to diagnose the problem. I never could explain the problem to the tech support person but the robots knew. The robots fixed everything.

I thought that Dash was going to get us up early, but he was oblivious to the time change. The wind storm didn't even wake him up. Eventually, he yawned and got up around 8 AM, with was really 7 AM to him. He wasn't the least bit upset about the lack of Internet, so we all went on a walk. We didn't feed Dash right away because we were still a little apprehensive about last night's vomiting episode. Everything was fine though. Dash took a nice walk, ate a normal breakfast, and then went back to sleep.

I was wide awake, so I went to the gym. I think everyone must have forgot to set their clocks forward, because the gym was virtually empty. Even the basketball court was empty. I quickly took advantage of the situation and shot some hoops. By the time I finished my workout, I was tired. My cold isn't completely gone, but I'm feeling better. There was a sign at the gym saying that if you had the flu it would be best to stay away for a while. I definitely don't have the flu. I never had a fever or any of the other symptoms associated with the flu. I just had a lot of nasal congestion and some weird night sweats. Hey, I slept well last night and my nose isn't running today. Maybe I'm better.

It was obvious that I needed to clean today. The house was a mess. I vacuumed, cleaned the front porch, and used the leaf blower in the back yard. Pretty soon it will be time to call the landscape guy again and have him remove all the leaves in the yard and plant new grass. The grass lasted a little longer this year, but not long enough. We're still going to have to put new sod in the back yard this Spring.

I'm going to take my big envelope of tax materials to the accountant tomorrow and then that chore will be out of the way. Looking for toilet parts is on my list for next week. There's one place in town that may have some. Dash needs his nails clipped too. I'll try to make an 8 AM appointment, so Janet can go with me. I hope something nice happens tomorrow. I'd like Day 3000 to be memorable.

Tyson is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Day 2998

Thirty minutes after I finished bragging about how good Dash was doing last night, he threw up. It's hard to predict these things. I didn't see any of the usual signs of a vestibular event, so I have a feeling that Dash may have just eaten too much. He certainly seemed unusually hungry yesterday. At any rate, I got dressed, cleaned up the mess on the carpet, took Dash outside to make sure he wasn't going to throw up again, and then we all went back to bed.

That wasn't the only strange thing that happened last night. I woke up twice with cold sweats again. Maybe I overdid things yesterday as well. I thought my cold was completely gone. I hate to look up symptoms on Google because the results are so alarming. Evidently, night sweats can signal low blood sugar, cancer, heat attacks, and severe anxiety. Luckily, night sweats are also common when you have a cold or flue. I don't think it's a big deal, but it is irritating to have to change the sheets so often. If things don't return to normal soon, I can always call my doctor next week.

The weather was so warm today that the air conditioner came on. I wasn't expecting that. The good news is that the air conditioner still works. The bad news is that if this warm weather continues, our electric bill will start going through the roof again. I'm not a big fan of Winter, but it is nice to get a break from high electric bills for a while.

Since Dash seemed back to normal this morning, I didn't bother to give him a Cerenia pill. I think I need to save the anti-nausea medication for when there are clear signs of a vestibular event. It looks like periodic vomiting is going to be part of our life for the foreseeable future. At least it doesn't happen very often. A large portion of our house has brick floors. Why does Dash always vomit on the carpets? The mess would be so easy to clean up if he would just learn to throw up on the bricks. Jeez. Last night he would have only had to move ten feet to reach a safe, easy to clean area. Sadly, it wasn't meant to be.

I washed the car today because it was much easier than fixing Dash's rubber shoes. The protective shoes are getting pretty worn and it's time to reinforce them again with more tire patch material. I bought more Shoe Goo and a tire patch kit to make the repairs, but it's a messy job and I keep postponing it. Maybe tomorrow.

I've had this cold for a week now. That seems long enough. I do feel like I'm getting better, but I'm impatient to put this all behind me. I'll probably go to the gym tomorrow no matter how I feel. I'm not contagious and I definitely need the exercise.

Ely is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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