Saturday, November 18, 2017

Day 2886

It was so windy today that I kept expecting one of our trees to topple over. It has happened before. I see old growth trees fall in the park all the time, but luckily nothing happened to ours today. The wind did signal a change in the weather. A cold front moved through town this afternoon and it's currently about twenty degrees colder than it was this morning. Dash seems to like this chilly weather. I can't say that I agree.

The only thing I accomplished today was to catch the cockroach that eluded me yesterday. This time I had my flyswatter ready. The bug didn't have a chance. I hate to think how many of these things might be lurking around the house. There are certainly plenty of places for them to hide in the office. The office was full even before I brought all the paraphernalia home from the storage warehouse for Santa Paws pictures. Now, it's a total mess.

Dash seemed to want a walk around 3 PM this afternoon, but when I looked outside I noticed a mobile grooming truck parked in our neighbor's driveway. We would have to walk right by this truck to get to the park. It would be just my luck that the groomers would open the door just as Dash and I were walking by and out would come the dog who bit me. I wasn't going to risk it. I'm still very apprehensive about that dog.

I waited about an hour until the truck drove away and then we took our walk. We encountered another loose neighborhood dog along the way, but luckily this one was friendly. These people let their dog out in the front yard without a leash all the time. Over and over again, it races out in the street to greet me and Dash. One of these days it is going to get run over. I really don't understand how people can pay so little attention to their dog's safety. Is it that hard to keep your dog on a leash? The streets are busy. There are coyotes in the area. There are snakes. There are just too many unpredictable things that could happen.

I tried to sweep the leaves off the front porch today. It was impossible. Prevailing winds tend to blow leaves onto the porch where they pile up against the front door. When you open the door on a windy day, the leaves blow inside. This is one of many things that make me wish I lived in Arizona with a big cactus and a swimming pool in the yard. At any rate, I swept the leaves away three times today and the wind blew them back again every time. It's futile to battle against nature. Nature always wins.

I wonder how Black Friday got to be such a big deal. We are being inundated with Black Friday flyers in the mail and Black Friday e-mail messages. I don't think I've ever bought anything on Black Friday. I guess it's a good deal if you want to stand in line for a cheap big screen TV, but how many televisions do you need? I think everybody already has a big screen TV by now. I guess I'm not the target market. I'm so out of the loop that I thought Black Friday was yesterday.

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

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 2885

I went to the storage warehouse and got some of the gear we'll need for the Santa Paws photo shoots. We've accumulated a lot of Christmas themed muslin backdrops over the years. Probably the best way to select a backdrop at this point is to smell them all and pick the one that doesn't smell of dog pee. The equipment is getting so old that I need a backup for everything. I take extra power packs for the strobes, extra camera bodies, and lots of extra camera batteries. What I really need is an extra me.

I wanted to walk Dash early this morning so I could go out for breakfast at a reasonable hour, but it wasn't meant to be. We all got up late and even though Dash was eager to walk, we didn't return home until almost 10 AM. I went out for breakfast anyway, although I should have just had an early lunch. I think I'm losing my touch at picking new restaurants. For the second week in a row I had a meal that was way too heavy on a plate that was way too large. Maybe I should just start ordering from the children's menu. Something has changed. I'm just not as hungry as I used to be.

As I suspected, I'm going to have to learn how to use a new Wordpress theme before I can start my latest website project. I don't even try to argue against Wordpress anymore. Everyone but me seems to love it. The Divi theme the client has selected is supposed to be powerful, versatile, and easy to use. Piffle. I still like HTML better. At any rate, my assignment over the weekend is to learn to be a Divi expert as quickly as possible.

Dash is acting weird again today. He'll go outside and then just stand frozen in place like he's lost or confused. He's done this before and I think it must have something to do with his vestibular disease. If you give him time, he usually returns to normal in an hour or two. Our morning walk was pretty normal, but our afternoon walk took forever because Dash would stop about every twenty feet and just stand there looking confused. It usually works best if I am patient and let him set his own pace. We eventually made it back home and now he's back to normal again. Go figure. I worry about this behavior but there is not much I can do at this point. The vets don't have an answer. The vestibular disease might be giving him a sensation of vertigo from time to time. Maybe his eyesight is going bad and he has trouble seeing in some situations. The truth is that Dash is just getting old. It's probably just a matter of time before I start standing around looking confused too.

The weather forecast convinced me that it was going to rain this week. Now the week is over and the rain never appeared. I could have finished my repairs on the roof if I just ignored the weather forecast. That's always risky though. When I ignore the forecast, it always rains.

I just saw a cockroach walking across the office floor. I went to get a fly swatter so I could kill it, and by the time I got back, the bug was gone. I'm sure it's still around here somewhere. We don't have a big problems with bugs anymore since we've gotten the humidity in the house under control. I still see them occasionally though. I hate these bugs, but I've resigned myself to the fact that if you live down South, you're never completely free of them. They're everywhere outside. It's inevitable that some will get inside.

I have no plans for the weekend at all. This usually means I'll end up cleaning on Saturday and going to the gym on Sunday.

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

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Day 2884

Today's echocardiogram revealed that the blood clots in Dash's heart had not gotten any smaller, but they had become denser. "Is this good or bad," I asked the doctor. He thought it was good news because a dense clot is less likely to break apart and travel to the brain or lungs. I'm disappointed that the clots have not become smaller after two months of taking Plavix, but I'm happy that Dash appears to be doing fine. Whatever caused him to quit eating and become fearful of taking a walk appears to be gone.

The doctor told us that he was getting over a bad cold and that his voice was raspy because he had strep throat. This alarmed me a bit because I have a terrible phobia of being around sick people. I'm convinced that the only way to become sick is to be around someone else who is sick. Most normal people don't have this attitude. Teachers, doctors, and nurses are around sick people so much that they take it all in stride. I spend so much time alone that a sick person in the room seems almost like seeing a snake or spider in the room. It makes me nervous. That being said, I'm glad the doctor came in today. He's a great vet who has really helped us navigate the complexities of cancer and other emergencies with Dot and Dash.

Breakfast turned out to be lunch today. Janet and I took Dash on a walk as soon as we got back from the cancer center and by the time we returned and I started making my morning smoothie, it was already past noon. Even though it was very late, I didn't even consider eating anything else. I'm convinced that Dash is stubborn about many things because he's learned this inflexible approach to life from me.

I got asked to be part of a big website rebranding project today. I've worked with these people before and I was delighted that they still wanted me on their team. On the other hand, I've worked with these people before and know how difficult their projects become. That's the trouble with sliding toward retirement. I used to look at hard jobs as a challenge. Now, I look at them with a sense of horror. I can do this though. I've done it before. This time it just might take me a little longer.

I feel the same way about the Santa Paws pictures I take every year for the Dalmatian Rescue group Janet and I volunteer with. I'm happy that everyone still seems to like these pictures, but every year it seems a little harder to shoot them. My equipment is old and so am I. At the end of the day, I'm exhausted. Luckily, we have a much lighter schedule than we used to in the old days. This year we only have two locations in early December. This is a lot easier than when there were six.

Even though taking Dash to the vet was the only thing that happened today, the day went quickly. This week's trash has been taken out to the curb, the laundry has been done, and I'm ready to search for a new restaurant tomorrow morning.

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

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Day 2883

From the looks of our mailbox, you'd think that Dash was the only one who lives here. This dog gets more mail than I do. In addition to notices and reminders from various vets, Dash receives a steady supply of homemade dog treats. Dash's "Thanksgiving Dinner" came in the mail today. I'll have to admit that it did look pretty good.

Janet finds these things on Facebook. I'm amazed at the number of people who have created a viable business making products specifically for Dalmatians. There's a guy who make dog coats specifically for Dalmatians. He started his business by showing pictures of his coats on Facebook Dalmatian groups and now he gets orders from all around the world. Now, there's a woman who makes dog treats targeted to Dalmatians. She posts a picture of her Dalmatian wearing a chef's outfit every time he is "baking" and the orders pile in. I applaud these strange and wonderful little businesses. They are so specific that you'd think they couldn't possibly work, and yet they do. Maybe Janet could make dog cookies the next time she decides to retire. Her cookies were amazing, but she only made them once a year for the dogs of friends and neighbors. I still remember delivering them around Christmas time while I was walking Spot. This seems like thirty years ago, because it probably was.

Dash seems so much better than he did two months ago. I don't know if his health has really improved, but he definitely seems happier. I think he decided that if he was on the verge of death, he was going to start living life his way. He didn't want to walk when it was convenient for me. He wanted to walk when he felt like it. He was tired of eating kibble and convinced us that he really needed cans of super premium Castor and Pollux stews. I don't know why he feels like interrupting my breakfast with a long walk, but it really doesn't hurt anything. I've adapted to this new routine fairly easily. I can see why he got tired of eating kibble. I don't think I would enjoy living on healthy crackers.

I hope some of the changes we've made are actually doing some good. Dash is definitely spoiled now, but he doesn't seem as anxious now and his stress levels are much lower. He even stands still and lets me put on his rubber boots before we walk now. I think he's finally learned that it feels better to walk while wearing these protective shoes. Almost every day, people stop us on our walks to ask about the boots and knee brace. I've told the story so many times that the manufacturer should give me a discount.

The heavily modified boots are clever and comfortable. I could probably sell these on Facebook if I could ever figure out how to manufacture them myself. Manufacturing almost anything is much more complicated than it seems. The big problem with dog boots is that they have to fit exactly to be effective. Every dog's paws are different. They have to be soft and easy to put on, while remaining tough enough to stand up to sidewalks and asphalt roads. My design is improving each time a make a modification, but I don't think this will ever be a commercial product. I've spent way too much time on these things.

We have an early appointment at the cancer center tomorrow for another echocardiogram. We'll probably do these monthly tests indefinitely. I keep hoping that one of these days we'll see that the blood clots in Dash's heart are getting smaller.

Honey is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Day 2882

I was locked out of a shopping website this morning because I had too many unsuccessful login attempts. I was confused. I was pretty sure that I remembered my password. I kept entering it again and again to no avail. Eventually, I called customer service and explained my problem. "Did you really mean to append your e-mail address with .con," the representative asked me. Oops. I'd made a typo when I filled out my application. I meant to say .com of course. This is what happens when you get old. Ten seconds of sloppy typing equates to forty-five minutes on the phone with customer service. Now I know why I haven't been receiving an avalanche of spammy e-mails from these folks. They've been sending everything to my .con address.

It took me much longer than expected to write my article today. For starters, I forgot about the assignment and began gluing rubber patches on another pair of Dash's protective boots. I used to be able to finish these assignments in a couple of hours, but this one took most of the afternoon. One problem now is that I have to spend more time proofreading. My Bluetooth keyboard is getting old and occasionally skips letters unless I remember to press the keys very firmly. I've got to figure out how to turn adaptive spelling off too. The computer is always trying to turn the words I intended into something else. Sometimes I have to read a piece three times to catch these mistakes. It's insidious. I never realized how spoiled I was during my early ad agency years. I would just hand a draft to a copy secretary and they would clean everything up for me. How times have changed.

A really large hawk swooped down and landed in the back yard this afternoon. I was outside at the time and the bird startled me. There are lots of raptors in the area, but this was the first time I've seen one in the yard. I wish I'd had my camera handy. The hawk only stayed a few seconds and then it flew away. I'm usually not quick enough to capture these chance wildlife encounters. The only thing I can reliably photograph are squirrels. Our trees are like high rise condominiums for squirrels. They're everywhere.

I called my new doctor about a mistake I saw on the prescriptions they'd renewed for me. A nurse told me that there was a glitch in their practice management software and that the pharmacist would just ignore the mistake when he refilled the prescription. This never would have happened with my old doctor. He still scrawled his prescriptions on a small pad of paper with the indecipherable handwriting that doctor's are famous for. I guess hand written prescriptions are a thing of the past too. My new ones came straight out of the computer. Even the doctor's signature was digitized.

The battery on my Apple Watch is starting to go bad. I'm not surprised. This is a Series 1 watch and Apple is already up to Series 3. Things last just long enough until a newer version becomes available. The problem is I don't want a new watch, I just want a new battery. Some things are easy to repair, but an Apple Watch isn't one of them. I looked up a repair guide on the IFIXIT site and I can assure you that I'll never attempt to change the battery myself. The procedure is very complex and seems certain to fail if you are even slightly clumsy. Maybe I'll just power the watch down and turn it on again. This seems to be the universal repair procedure for all electronic devices.

I wish there wasn't still rain in the forecast. I'm not busy this week and this would have been a good time to finish repairing the roof.

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

Day 2881

The only thing I've been making any progress on lately is in getting Dash to walk. We're taking nice long walks again. Dash doesn't appear to be in any discomfort. He is walking normally and seems to be enjoying himself. We walk very slowly now. I think his doctors would approve. It takes well over an hour now to complete our morning rounds. The knee brace and boots don't seem to slow him down. He just likes to smell everything. When I was busy, this would have driven me crazy, but there isn't much on my schedule these days. A long walk certainly beats watching morning TV.

I took my November invoices to the post office today and paid some bills. All my bills come with an admonition to pay online instead. One of the envelopes I addressed today even had a little message where the stamp goes. "Can't find a stamp? Pay online instead," it said. I wonder why everyone hates checks? My bank doesn't even like to take deposits. They would prefer that I scan a check with their smartphone app and deposit it electronically. I think I'm becoming even more of a Luddite than my sister. I still like paper.

I got a new writing job today. In the old days I used to send a FedEx package with my completed copy to the client. Sending a PDF file via e-mail certainly saves money, but I kind of liked having the FedEx man come to pick up packages every day or so. I had the same delivery guy for many years and he got to know me by name. Sending and receiving packages this way made me feel like I had a real business a lot more than pressing the send key on my computer.

I see so many signs that the world has permanently changed. Our neighborhood used to be filled with nice, but very modest houses. Now, whenever somebody dies, the house is scraped and replaced with a larger, much more opulent dwelling. I don't think you could call this gentrification. The neighborhood was always nice. It doesn't appear to be nice enough for today's affluent buyers though. Perfectly good homes that my parents would have been proud to live in are being torn down to make room for mansions. This doesn't seem like a good thing, but then very little I see these days seems like a good thing.

I certainly don't understand the whole bike-share phenomenon. The rental bicycles from LimeBike, Spin, VBikes and others are popping up all over town. A huge number of them seem to be abandoned in the park. I counted twelve abandoned bicycles on our morning walk. People do ride these things, but they are a real eyesore and seem like littering to me. Maybe I'm too old and set in my ways for the sharing economy. LimeBike, Uber, and Air B&B all seem a little weird to me.

I hope I can finish my roof repairs before the coating product goes bad. I noticed a little message on one of the containers saying that the product should be used within 72 hours of opening the seal on the bucket. That's not going to happen. I guess the stuff starts to cure inside the container if you don't use it fast enough. Oh, well. I have no control over the weather. I'll finish things as quickly as I can.

There's no point in going up on the roof this week. There is more rain in the forecast. I'll write my article tomorrow and do what I can to make the day enjoyable for Dash. Sounds like a plan to me.

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

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Day 2880

Sometimes I wonder about the repetitive nature of my life. I tend to do the same things over and over again. It's not that I lack imagination. It just feels comfortable to repeat familiar things. My regular Sunday excursion to the gym feels so familiar that I bet I could do my routine blindfolded. I always use the same machines, in the same order, for the same amount of time. The only thing that changes is how tired I feel. Sometimes my workout seems easy. Other times it is a real effort.

I usually hate using the hand bicycle for the first five minutes. As my body heats up, I begin to forget I'm exercising and start to daydream. I wonder about the other people in the gym and why they are there. After ten minutes of this I start thinking about being done and push a little harder. For the last five minutes my heart rate is elevated the way it should be and I am sweating.  When I'm finished with the hand bicycle, I shoot baskets on the court. I try to shoot ten free throws before I return to the machines. Sometimes this goes quickly. Other times I can't seem to connect and it takes forever. When I'm on the treadmill I start slow and gradually increase the speed and incline at regular intervals. When I've put in twenty minutes on the treadmill, there are a variety of resistance machines I like to use. Even though my time on the basketball court varies from week to week, it always seems to take 62 minutes to finish my routine. My watch says I burn about 450 calories, but it feels like a lot more.

Dash must have felt like he needed some exercise this morning as well, because he seemed very eager to walk when we got up this morning. He actually seemed more interested on going out the back door than in having his breakfast, which was unlike him. We got him suited up and off we went. Janet and I have learned that when Dash wants to walk, it is best to take advantage of the opportunity. As soon as we got to the park, Dash headed straight for the shoreline. We had a surprisingly long walk this morning and Dash still didn't seem that tired when we returned home. I'm not sure what this all means, but I hope it's a good sign.

It was a dreary day with scattered light showers. There was no point in washing the car or doing something on the roof, so I vacuumed the house instead. I wish the house looked clean after I vacuumed, but it always looks exactly the same. The only proof that I've done anything at all is a canister full of dog hair and dirt. I'm always amazed that Dash can shed so much while still maintaining a healthy, full coat of hair. I vacuum up enough dog hair every month to make a new dog, but Dash always looks exactly the same.

I saw a trailer for a movie called Salyut-7 that I would like to see. Unfortunately, the film is Russian and doesn't seem to have been released in North America yet. One of the interesting things about this movie is that there are 20 minutes of weightless scenes that were supposedly shot in space. The rumor is that it was more cost effective to actually shoot the film in space than to create the complex digital effects that were used in films like Gravity. I wonder if this is true? It will probably be a long time before I get a chance to see for myself. Salyut-7 is available on several Bit Torrent sites but my computer would be riddled with viruses if I ever tried to download it. I'll just wait until it shows up on iTunes.

I noticed that it's been two years since we had that awful water leak under our foundation. I wonder why the bad things are so much easier to remember than the good things?

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 2879 - Veteran's Day

Every year at this time I see an enormous number of pictures of men and women in uniform on my Facebook feed. These are my friends parents and grandparents. I did a little looking and found my own picture as well. My Dad served in the Navy during World War II. So did my Mom. It doesn't take long to realize that something in this country has fundamentally changed. Although almost everybody I know has a picture of a parent in uniform, almost none of the people posting these pictures has served themselves. I wonder what it means when we all say "thank you for your service," but haven't spent any time in the military? Do we even know what service means?

I'm not being critical. I never served. I had a low draft number, but I fell rock climbing in college and was reclassified 4F. To this day, my injury seems like a lucky accident. I'm glad that I never got sent to Vietnam. I didn't understand why we were there at the time, and after watching the Ken Burns documentary recently, I still don't understand. What did this needless loss of life prove? Vietnam is a tourist destination now. We consider the country a trading partner. I have shirts and shoes in my closet that were made there.

Even though I think most wars are pointless and never seem to bring lasting peace, I still admire the generation before me that believed in service. There was a sense of honor and integrity about my parent's generation that we seem to have lost. My Dad was always proud of his service in the Navy. I'm proud of him as well.

Maybe there were parades and ceremonies somewhere in the city, but I didn't see any. There was a lot going on today. I saw people getting ready for a classic car show in the park this morning while I was walking Dash. This evening, I saw people attending an art fair in another section of the park. After doing my grocery shopping, I stopped by a big animal rescue event that I always try to attend. It seemed like there were fewer people than normal, but maybe this was just because I didn't recognize as many. There is a new generation rescuing dogs and cats now. They actually seem to be rescuing everything. I saw groups dedicated to rescuing pigs, rabbits, ferrets, and even fish. Maybe this is what service is all about today. We had a dog when I was a kid, but nobody I knew had even thought about the idea of rescuing them. Since I believe war is a bad thing and saving animals is a good thing, maybe our whole concept of service has evolved into something different.

I'm not sure about what this means for the future. Personally, I care about animals more than I do about people. For the most part, I think people are horrible. I don't think my Dad would have shared this sentiment.

It was still cold today. It didn't rain, but it looked like it could at any point. I'm not sure when I'm going to be able to finish my work on the roof. Since this time of year is often rainy, I'll probably be spending every clear, dry day between now and Christmas making repairs one square foot at a time.

We received our advance copies of the 2018 Dalmatian Rescue calendar. Dot looks wonderful on the cover. It really feels like an honor that she was selected. I'll have to show you guys the picture when I get a chance to scan the book.

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

Friday, November 10, 2017

Day 2878

I wonder why I'm losing interest in going out for breakfast? This has been an enjoyable Friday morning ritual for over six years. It's safe to say that I've explored every single restaurant that serves breakfast within a ten mile radius. I could write a book on the multitude of different ways you can fix hash browns, grits, or sausage. I used to be fascinated by all these small but significant variations, but now I seldom even feel like eating. The meals all seem too hot, too cold, too spicy, or too bland. There is nothing wrong with the restaurants. I think it's me.

Today I went to a place famous for Southern country cooking. The portions seemed way too large. I felt like asking for a doggie bag and nibbling on the meal for the rest of the week. This isn't like me at all. I usually have a huge appetite and find eating to be one of life's few pleasures. I ate my breakfast slowly, wondering what I was going to do for the rest of the day. I really didn't come up with any answers.

When I got home I did some research on the roof coating I've been using and discovered that I've been doing everything wrong. To be fair, the roofers were doing everything wrong too. Before applying the coating, the roof should be power washed to remove all dirt and debris and then sprayed with a solution of bleach and water to kill any remaining bacteria and fungus. A special primer should be applied prior to using the silicon material to ensure that the coating sticks firmly to the roof. If people are going to be walking on the roof, ceramic granules should be mixed in with the silicon material prior to application to keep the surface from becoming too slippery. The material should only be applied when the temperature is above 40 degrees and the humidity is below 50%.

The roofers didn't follow any of these guidelines and neither did I. I'm sure the roofers ignored a lot of this stuff because if you followed the specifications to the letter, it would probably only leave about three days a year where you could safely install a new roof. The manufacturers probably made the specifications so stringent and exacting to cover their ass when customers complained that their roof had failed. This is the way life is. Everybody cuts corners and covers their bases, hoping that nobody will notice. Occasionally, people like me do notice, but it doesn't really change anything.

I'm glad Dash appears to be returning to normal. I'm curious what we'll find out when we return next week for a one month follow up visit to check on the blood clots in his heart. This will be touch and go for a long time. If I had blood clots inside my heart, they would perform open heart surgery immediately. That's not an option for dogs though. We've just got to hope that the Plavix will eventually work.

So many things can go wrong with dogs. One of my neighbors just found out that his dog has meningitis. Scary. I didn't even know it was possible for a dog to get meningitis. The disease is rare but it is so serious that it is one more thing to worry about. I would think one of the biggest problems would be getting the right diagnosis in a hurry. Some vets have never seen a dog with meningitis. You almost always have to have a MRI and a spinal tap to confirm diagnosis too. It's hard to arrange all these tests in a hurry. Luckily, my neighbor's dog was treated in time by one of the best veterinary neurologists in Texas and is going to recover.

I can't say that I accomplished anything today. Maybe I'll do better tomorrow.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 2877

We're making progress. I'm pretty sure the refrigerator actually works now because I saw the defrost heater come on. You can tell that the defrost cycle has begun when the refrigerator is silent. The compressor and the fan shut off and the small heater at the bottom of the freezer section starts to emit an orange glow. The heater is actually hidden behind a metal plate, but you can see the glow through a small vent at the bottom of the freezer. After about two hours, the glow went away and the refrigerator turned itself on again. This has been happening behind the scenes for many years and I never even noticed. I've learned so much about refrigerators in the past two months.

My work on the roof was also encouraging. The patches I applied several days ago didn't wash away in yesterday's rain. The elastomer coating seems to have cured properly and appears to be waterproof. Since it's getting colder, I need to call the manufacturer and find out if this stuff can be applied in the Winter. I suspect that when it gets too cold outside, the stuff won't cure and might just remain liquid. I'm not even going to bother calling the roofer. I'm sure I'll get better results by just calling the manufacturer.

The rain has stopped, but it was still a nasty, damp day. By the time I'd walked Dash several times and removed all the standing water from the roof, I wished we had a fireplace so I could sit by the fire and warm up. It seemed like a cold night to go to the arboretum, but actually it turned out to be perfect.

We bundled up in warm coats and explored twelve elaborate victorian gazebos representing each of the twelve days of Christmas. The arboretum is wonderful at night. The trees are illuminated with tiny lights and the twelve glass gazebos filled with rotating animatronic clockwork glowed like beacons in the night. It was so cold outside that it actually felt like Christmas for a change. Janet says they have this exhibit every year, but I'd never heard of it before. The arboretum is actually part of the same huge park where I walk Dash every day. I guess there have been rare trees here forever, but the area changed dramatically when the city passed a big bond issue and turned the place into a Disneyland for nature lovers. They stage elaborate events throughout the year and charge a lot to see them. I liked the place better when it was wild and abandoned, but that's just me. I never thought people would pay money to see a bunch old old trees, but the city has done a good job turning the place into a weird outdoor museum.

Much to my surprise, I remembered to take the trash out to the curb when we returned this evening. It felt like I got a lot done today, even though I really didn't. I used to measure success by how much I accomplished. That seems kind of silly now. A successful day is just a day where nothing goes wrong.

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

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Day 2876

I can describe today in two words. Cabin fever. It started raining sometime last night and continued raining throughout the day. It was way too wet and cold to even consider taking a walk. Dash eventually went out in the rain and did his business, but you could tell he wasn't enjoying things. He would wait until he couldn't hold it any longer and then race out in the yard and quickly pee. I kept a towel by the back door to dry him off, but it really didn't help much. It was just a miserable, very wet day.

Without a deadline to keep me busy at the computer, or a walk to keep Dash occupied, we were left with two choices. We could eat or we could sleep. Dash and I tried both. I wasn't sleepy and even Dash got tired of snacking after a while. I thought this might be a good day to watch Blade Runner 2049 on iTunes, but I discovered that it probably wasn't going to be available for streaming until January 2018.

Cold weather, dark overcast skies, and rain aren't a good combination for me. It's good if I have a writing job on days like this, because without a forced deadline, I quickly lose interest in everything. Dash just gets frustrated. He hates to go outside in the rain, but he hates staying inside and doing nothing too. He would go to the back door again and again thinking that maybe something had changed. In an effort to keep things interesting for him, I split his meals into numerous small segments spaced several hours apart. These bite sized portions were kind of a doggie version of Dim Sum, but it seemed to do the trick. The day goes faster when you're eating.

I hope my roof repairs had time to cure properly, because everything is definitely under water now. When I see water spilling over the eaves on all four sides of the house, I know there is a lot of standing water on the roof. I'm sure the roofer knew it was going to rain today when he dropped off the container of elastomer coating yesterday. Technically, he got me the product before it rained, just like I had asked. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time to use it. If I hadn't gone out and bought my own container of silicon last week I would have been in a world of hurt today.

I wonder what happened to the pleasure I used to get by curling up with a good book. I work in an office surrounded by floor to ceiling bookshelves, but I didn't feel like reading anything today. I didn't feel like watching TV either. Janet likes to binge watch to relax, but whenever I look at what Netflix or Hulu has to offer, I can't find anything. Luckily, I'm very good at sleeping.

I resisted the urge to upgrade the computers to High Sierra today. I may never upgrade to High Sierra. There are so many fundamental changes to this new operating system that everything I use would probably quit working. Even the way Apple stores files on the hard drive has changed with this new system. Apple's desire to get their phones and computers running the same operating system is ruining things for me. I have no interest in a computer that works like my phone. I had everything I wanted several decades ago and now it is all slowly slipping away.

Hopefully, the weather will improve tomorrow. We have tickets to see The Twelve Days of Christmas at the Arboretum. This spectacular outdoor exhibit will probably look a lot prettier in dry weather.

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

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Day 2875

I feel vindicated. They sent out a different appliance repairman today and after doing some checks, he told me that I needed to replace the evaporator thermistor. "I happen to have a brand new one right here," I told him. This was the part I had ordered myself several weeks ago and that two previous repairmen had told me was unnecessary. The first guy told me that these parts never fail and the second guy told me that it wasn't even part of the defrost circuit.

The repairmen couldn't find an electrical schematic that was supposed to be attached to the refrigerator somewhere, so I found the technical manual online and downloaded the pertinent sections. We worked as a team. Why didn't the first two guys even bother to consult this readily available manual? It clearly said to test the evaporator and freezer thermistors before replacing the mother board. It even showed exactly how to test them. It's still unclear whether this new guy solved my problem, but I'll give him an A for effort. Of the four different repairmen who have been out to the house in the past month, he is the only one who even bothered to get a multimeter out of the truck and run some electrical tests.

When I went out to check the mail today, I noticed that there was a container of silicon roof coating sitting on the front porch. It would have been nice if the roofers had dropped off this material before I'd gone and bought a bucket of the expensive stuff myself, but I guess it's better late than never. I'll definitely use the stuff. I was hoping that I could show the roofers what was happening on the roof, but they clearly wanted to just leave the coating material and go. Truthfully, I think I'm doing a better job of repairing things than they did, but it's a horrible, messy job and I wish I didn't have to do it.

I guess I should have voted today, but the only thing on the ballot were a bunch of bond issues I didn't understand. I hate the way they word these bond issues. It really seems at times like they are trying to be purposefully confusing. Several times I've discovered later that I've voted exactly the opposite way that I meant to vote because of the way the initiatives were worded on the ballot. I probably would have voted to improve city and county roads. This was the one issue that wasn't confusing.

When I was taking Dash on his evening walk, a cyclist stopped to warn me that there was a large coyote just around the bend up ahead. I tried to get Dash to turn around and go home, but he stubbornly wanted to continue heading toward the coyote. This is why I don't like walking at night. I finally managed to redirect Dash to the shoreline where the coyotes seldom venture, but I kept thinking that something was following me all the way home. I've really got to figure out how to get Dash walking earlier while it is still daylight.

The roof repairs I made yesterday seem solid. That's a good thing. There is a 100% chance of rain tomorrow. I cleared my tools off the roof and used a leaf blower to remove as many leaves as possible. I hope the elastomer will have had time to cure properly before the rain arrives. We'll just have to wait and see. I'm sure there will be more problems to fix later, but I've done what I can for now.

Chase id today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, November 6, 2017

Day 2874

The exam I received from my new doctor seemed almost exactly like the physical exams I'd received from my old doctor for all these years. I briefly wondered if it was worth all the effort required to switch doctors. Then I remembered that I wasn't worried about my car being stolen while I was sitting in the waiting room. I didn't have to sit in the waiting room very long either. In addition to being clean and reassuring, this place was super efficient. It kind of felt like I was going to a German doctor, and for me that is a good thing.

The doctor seemed to think that I was in pretty good shape for a man of my age, but that's what they all say. I know better. Men let things creep up on them. I know too many men my age who've just dropped dead without much fanfare. We're all falling apart like rusty old machines, but I still think it's a good idea to know what your odds are.

The medical exam took most of the morning. That left most of the afternoon to work on the roof. Thankfully, the wet spots had all dried out and there was very little wind. It was a good day to apply the messy coating. I thought it would take a gallon of material to cover the areas I'd exposed yesterday, but it ended up taking two. I didn't spill any of the goop on myself this time and was able to make a nice looking repair. Since it takes the silicon material 24 hours to cure, I won't know if my repairs were successful until tomorrow afternoon, but everything seems fine so far.

I also called the refrigerator repairman and he's coming out again tomorrow. Lord knows what he's going to do this time. The last time the repairman was here, he told me that there was nothing left to replace. I always thought that the problem was caused by a loose wire or a burned out internal fuse. You can't tell repairmen and plumbers how to do their job though. I've tried this before and it just makes them mad. I'm very polite to repairmen now, but I'll keep calling them back from now to eternity if they haven't done the job right.

Getting Dash to walk in the afternoon is turning out to be just as much of a problem as I thought it would be. He doesn't understand time changes at all. I tried several times to get him to walk while the sun was still up, but he wasn't ready to go until it was almost dark. This is a good way to get some nice sunset photos, but it's not good for anything else. Dash is shaky on his feet now and I need to see where he is walking. I don't want to encounter stray dogs or coyotes in the dark either. We're going to have to work on this, because it was way too dark when we returned home this evening.

I continue to be amazed at how little I get done these days. I used to have time to go to business meetings all over town, play in a band, and still have enough time left over to read a book a week. All I did today was go to the doctor and paint some sticky goop on the roof. Basically these two things used up the entire day.

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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 2873

Our dogs have never understood Daylight Saving Time and I'll have to admit that I don't understand it either. There must have been a reason for these arbitrary time changes. I always though it had something to do with farming or children walking to school. Whatever the reason, it probably doesn't apply anymore. We're back to standard time now. All that means to me is that I'm going to have to convince Dash to take his evening walk earlier or walk him in the dark. I used to walk our first Dalmatian in the dark, but the city seemed safer then. There weren't any urban coyotes either.

I'm not as obsessive as I used to be. There was a time when I felt compelled to reset every clock and watch in the house when the time changed. When I was collecting watches, this could take me hours. There was little point to this bi-annual ritual because many of the watches didn't keep good time anyway. I re-set a few wall clocks today, but that was about it. Only one watch got any attention at all. It was a radio controlled watch that didn't re-set itself automatically. This puzzled me, since this watch receives a signal every night from the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. I couldn't even remember how to set this watch manually, so I had to find a manual online. Eventually, I determined that the radio signal is weak in the office. Who knows. Maybe the high-tech stuff I'm putting on the roof blocks radio waves.

The gym was really empty today, so maybe there were other people who were confused about the time change. Dash seemed to remember when he was fed in the morning, even though Janet and I were still asleep. I wonder how long it will take him to adjust to the time change? Since I ended up going to the gym very early today, I still had time to do all my Sunday chores when I got home. This wasn't really the plan, but that's how it worked out.

It was warm and clear today, so it seemed like a good idea to continue patching the roof. I prepared a small area that I thought would be easy to fix. Unfortunately, when I removed the torn coating, I discovered more moisture hidden underneath. The damaged area was only six inches in diameter, but by the time I had ripped up enough elastomer to find dry asphalt at the edges, I has exposed a six foot circle that will have to be re-coated. I didn't end up applying any coating today. After the wet area dries, I'll try again.

Dash seemed very agitated tonight. I don't know what was bothering him. He'd had his walk. He'd eaten his dinner. We'd taken him outside to pee several times and fed him some treats. This wasn't enough apparently. He barked at Janet and I for almost half an hour before he finally settled down and went to sleep. I hate when he gets agitated like this because he's got a bad heart and a weak rear leg. Telling him to calm down because he's going to hurt himself doesn't seem to have much of an effect.

I was going to make a list of all my prescriptions so my new doctor could renew them tomorrow at my exam. It's a lengthy list and I'm tired now, so maybe I'll just throw the pills in a sack and take them with me. I do need to remember to call the appliance repair shop first thing in the morning. One way or another, these guys need to fix my refrigerator.

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Day 2872

My life is starting to resemble Ground Hog Day. I feel like I am doomed to repeat certain things over and over again until I finally get them right. Today I defrosted the evaporator coil on the refrigerator for the fourth or fifth time. The latest visit by that appliance repairman apparently accomplished nothing. The coil is frozen again. I can always tell that the evaporator coil is completely frozen when the temperature rises in the refrigerator compartment by ten degrees. So far, I replaced three expensive components, but I've always suspected that there's just a loose wire somewhere. At any rate, the appliance repair shop is going to get another irate call from me on Monday morning. I'm really getting tired of this. You'd think the repairmen would have a way to test their work before they leave. Nope. They always just say they think they've solved the problem and tell me to call them again if something goes wrong.

I let the refrigerator cool down again while I went to the grocery store and then I prepared to tackle the roof. Fall is not a good time to be applying a sticky liquid to the roof. The leaves will continue falling until the middle of January and I can' afford to wait until them. It was a nice warm day, but it was windy. By the time I finished my repairs today, dozens of falling oak and elm leaves had already become stuck in the wet elastomer. Too bad it takes twelve hours for this stuff to completely dry.

I quit trying to peel off more of the old coating material because I'm beginning to think that the thin film of water I'm finding between the silicon coating and the asphalt substrate covers the entire roof. From now on I'll limit my repairs to plugging holes. At least I applied the material with the right consistency today. It helped a lot using the stirring attachment I attached to a power drill. I tried really hard to be neat today, but when I was finished I noticed that I'd spilled the elastomer coating all over my leg. If I'd bothered read all the fine print on the bucket, I'm sure I'd learn that this stuff is hazardous to your health. At least it comes off with soap and water. When I return to the roof tomorrow to inspect my work, I'm sure I'll find a carpet of dead leaves glued to the cured silicon.

My repairs were ultimately futile today, but I did accomplish something. The refrigerator will work fine for at least two weeks, whether the repairman returns or not. Also, the next time if rains, I have greatly reduced the chances of a major roof leak. Maybe there will always be a thin film of water between the silicon and asphalt layers, but at least I've sealed the obvious holes.

I had to use the wet/dry vacuum to extract water from under the shower tiles again, but that's hardly worth mentioning anymore. I think I may have found how the water is getting under the tiles, but I can't stand going without a shower for the amount of time it would take to fix it. For the moment, it's easier just to suck the water out with a vacuum every four days.

Janet found some socks for Dash that should prevent the rubber boots from rubbing against his paws. Now it takes even longer to get him ready for a walk. First we fit his regular harness. Then the knee brace attaches to the harness. Next we put on the cotton socks and then finally we put on his boots. It is not surprising that sometimes he has lost interest in walking by the time we get him dressed. I guess it's all worth it though. The nails on his rear paws are starting to grow again and the raw areas have healed.

I should continue repairing the roof tomorrow, but I've had enough for a while. I'll probably just go to the gym and take a long nap.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Day 2871

There were several hundred people standing in front of the Apple Store this morning, all waiting for a chance to buy the new iPhone X. I used to stand in these kind of lines, but it's hard to get that excited about a phone anymore. I did go in the store and took a look at the new phone, but I didn't feel compelled to buy one. After a few minutes I continued on my way. There was only one reason I came to the mall this morning. I needed a haircut.

My stylist usually talks about her cats, but today she wanted to tell me all about Live PD. I've never seen this show, but couldn't help wondering whether reality TV shows like Live PD and Cops are real or staged. Who knows? It's kind of ironic that shows like these are considered real while the evening news is considered fake. It's hard for me to tell what's real these days. Often nothing seems real.

I look presentable now, but few people will notice. The only interaction I've had with other people lately has been with repairmen and doctors. Sadly, I think that I may be talking with one of these repairmen again soon. The refrigerator seems to be getting warmer again. Maybe this is just part of the automatic defrost cycle and everything is normal. I'll wait until Monday to call the appliance repair shop. I'm hoping that I don't have to disassemble the freezer again to defrost the evaporator coil.

The refrigerator wasn't my only disappointment today. I thought I was going to be able to repair the damaged areas on the roof, but there was still water seeping out from under the elastomer coating, so I ended up having to remove more of the old coating instead. Luckily, the weather is supposed to remain clear through the weekend. If I can ever get the damaged areas to dry out, the repairs should go quickly.

I'm trying to get Dash prepared for the end of Daylight Saving Time. When we go back to standard time, it will be dark when we normally take our evening walk. It's hard to get all his protective gear on by myself, but I was able to get him outside for a mid-afternoon walk by waiting to suit him up until I knew he needed to pee. Instead of stopping so he could pee in the yard, we headed straight for the back gate. This worked pretty well, and as soon as we got to the park, we had a nice normal walk. I hope I can get him used to this new schedule, because we're not going to be able to wait for Janet to come home from work after the time changes.

Dash is walking very slowly. He seems to enjoy stopping and smelling things every ten feet, but I worry that his heart might be giving him problems again. I never rush Dash these days. If he wants to take an hour to walk around the block, that's fine. I've certainly got no place to go. The only things on my schedule are a seemingly endless list of broken things to fix around the house.

It would be nice if the refrigerator cools down again on it's own tonight. It would be even nicer if I can complete all my roof repairs tomorrow. The weather is supposed to be nice, but I don't really trust    weather forecasts anymore. If water gets under the bare areas I've exposed, I'm really in trouble.

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

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Day 2870

I left the house early this morning so I could get my lab work done before I ate breakfast. Like I always do, I asked these new guys if they could tell me my blood type. I think it's ridiculous that I'm almost 70 years old and don't even know my blood type. I've literally had hundreds of blood tests, but this is one test that nobody wants to do. "Insurance won't pay for it," they tell me. Why not? It seems like useful information that everyone should have. Apparently, the normal way to find out your blood type is to donate blood at a blood bank. This won't work for me. Nobody wanted my blood for decades because I had Hepatitis C. Blood banks probably still don't want my blood. The nurse said it would cost me $100 extra to run the blood type test. "Never mind," I told her. I don't know why this irritates me so much, but the fact that doctors have taken gallons of my blood to run complicated tests and refuse to do this simple one represents everything wrong with modern medicine to me.

While I was walking toward the elevator in the parking garage, I passed a section where every single car was a Porsche. This seemed odd. The place looked like a dealership. There were several Panamera's, a bunch of 911's, a Macan, and two Cayene's. I looked a little closer and wasn't entirely surprised to discover that this was the reserved parking area for doctors. Even my old doctor in the hood drives a Porsche. I'm amazed that it hasn't been stolen yet.

It's still hard to get used to a medical facility where the lobby isn't crowded and everyone is polite to me. I only had to wait a few minutes before they took me back to the lab for blood work. I have to drive a little further, but I think I'm going to like this place.

I fixed my regular breakfast smoothie when I got home, but it was more like lunch than breakfast. Since it was a warm, clear day, I had planned to spend the afternoon repairing the roof. I don't know why I thought I could do this quickly. Nothing happens quickly on the roof. I started by cutting out the section that had gotten ruined by the rain. When I cleared away the debris, I noticed that there was water seeping out around the edges of the square hole I had made in the coating. I'm beginning to think that there is a thin layer of water under the entire roof. I removed some more of the rubbery material, hoping that I would find the end of the water, but the asphalt under the elastomer coating was damp everywhere I looked. I gave up and went back inside. It was clear that I wasn't going to be able to re-coat this damaged area today. Luckily, there is no rain in the forecast. I'll let things dry out for a few days and try again.

I had a lot more success with the large format printer in my office. I finally managed to get the thing unclogged and running normally again. This is a pointless exercise since I don't make large prints anymore, but I can't stand the idea of having a large nonfunctioning piece of equipment taking up space in the office. The printer will clog again, but if I get the urge to make a huge print within the next two weeks, everything should be fine.

The gift card people finally refunded our money. It took four months and they were rude the entire time. They lost our documentation twice and basically treated us like we were the scammers. All I've got to say is don't ever buy a gift card at a grocery store. This scam is well documented on the Consumer Reports website. It is apparently not that hard for someone to get your information before you even buy the card and when you go to use it for the first time, the money is already gone.

I'm going to get a haircut tomorrow. This is the only time I go to the mall. I"ll probably stop at the Tesla store for a few minutes and look enviously at the Model X. Maybe I'll stop at the Apple Store to and see if I'm tempted by the iPhone X. In both cases, I'm guessing the X stands for x-pensive.

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