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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Day 2817

We had trouble removing Dash's bandage this morning, so we took him to the vet to get some help. Dash must have known that the nurse knew what she was doing, because he was calm and composed and the bandage came off easily. This wasn't the case when I tried to remove the bandage thirty minutes earlier. He didn't want me anywhere near the thing.

Since Dash wasn't limping, we took him on a walk without his cone when we got home. Our beautiful Fall weather continues and we all enjoyed the outing. Unfortunately, the cone didn't stay off all day. I was hoping that Dash would ignore his injury, but I caught him licking it several times and the cone had to go back on. I removed and replaced the cone for most of the day. For the most part, Dash was good, but there were moments when he was paying way too much attention to his leg. In a way it's too bad we couldn't leave the bandage on, but the nurse said the wound would heal faster if it was exposed to air.

Somewhere in the house we have a really nice soft cone, but we couldn't find it. This happens a lot. The cone could be in my storage room, in Janet's storage room, in a box somewhere in the house, or we could have given it to a rescue group. All Janet and I can remember is that we bought a nice cone for Dot once after one of her surgeries and she wore it for a while. I remember the color was blue, but I definitely don't remember where I saw the cone last. It's not worth buying another one, because Dash will only need to wear this cone for a day or two.

I got a chance to go to the gym today while Janet stayed home with Dash for a while. We hate to leave a dog wearing a cone alone, because it is so easy for them to get stuck somewhere or get into some other kind of trouble. Some of our dogs have absolutely hated wearing a cone, but Dash is pretty good. He seems to be able to take a nap with the cone on his head just as easily as without it. That's probably the true sign of a lazy dog if he still lays around and sleeps with a cone on his head.

I had a good workout today. I really need to renew my efforts to go to the gym several times a week. I can tell I'm starting to make some progress. I don't know why it's so hard for me to go three times a week. I certainly don't have a lot of other pressing activities. Just taking care of the basic things seems to take all my time now.

I see my neighbors starting to pile trash in their front lawns in preparation for bulky trash day. This would be a good time for me to go up on the roof with a pole saw and cut some of the low handing limbs. I never remember to do this until the day after bulky trash day. It's a shame that the city only picks up this type of trash once a month, but I guess that's better than nothing.

Dash is sleeping now. I hope he stays asleep. He was eating grass in the yard earlier this evening and that's often a sign that he's going to throw up. One thing at a time please. Dash has gone almost three weeks without throwing up. Let's at least wait until he gets the cone off before we have any more digestive problems.

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

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Day 2816

Traveling with Dash in the car is usually a disaster. Today was no exception. We made it to our appointment with the photographer this morning without incident. I think she even got some good pictures. The trip home was the problem. We had almost made it back to the house when Janet noticed that there was blood everywhere. Dash had ripped out one of his dew claws. Don't ask me how it happened. I don't know. He was fine when we got him in the car. He was fairly calm on the way home and didn't appear to get his nail caught on anything. He didn't even yelp or appear in pain. One minute he was sitting on his bed and the next minute there was blood everywhere.

We took him to the vet to stop the bleeding and see if he needed stitches. They were really busy, so we had to drop him off and pick him up later in the afternoon. When he returned, he had a bandage on his paw and was wearing a cone. The vet thinks he will be fine, but we need to keep him from chewing the bandage or getting it wet. Hopefully, the dewclaw will grow back. Dot lost a nail once when she got it caught in a crack in the pavement while on a walk. Her nail eventually did grow back, but it grew in crooked for some reason.

Dash hates wearing the cone and bumps into everything. Hopefully, we can take it off tomorrow. The bandage needs to come off pretty soon as well. There will be less risk of infection if the wound is exposed to the air. To be safe, he is taking antibiotics, but a damp or wet bandage is not what we want right now.

Taking Dash to have his portrait made and then taking him to the vet to get treated used up a big chunk of the day. I feel bad. Maybe if we had trimmed his nails a little sooner, this wouldn't have happened. Maybe it wouldn't have made any difference. I'm really nervous about taking Dash in the car now. Bad things seem to happen whenever Dash rides in the car.

I ran my Saturday errands while Dash was at the vet and when he returned, I spent the rest of the afternoon with him to keep him calm. It wasn't that hard to keep Dash calm. He was really tired and pretty soon both of us were asleep on the bed.

Janet thought the refrigerator was broken again, but I thought she just left the door open too long while loading in new groceries. It still seems to be working to me. At any rate, the appliance repairmen will be returning next week anyway to install the new thermostats they ordered. I'm more worried about the shower. I had to use the wet/dry vacuum again today to clear away the water that had collected under the tiles. I think the shower pan will prevent the water from getting into the rest of the house, but it still shouldn't be getting under the tiles.

I hope Dash is back to normal soon. One problem after another is wearing me down. I feel vaguely guilty being bothered about trivial problems, because every time I turn on the TV, it seems like the rest of the world is dealing with huge, almost apocalyptic problems. A torn nail is nothing compared to a hurricane. I'm sure it's a big deal to Dash though. The little guy seemed pitiful today.

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

Friday, September 8, 2017

Day 2815

Sometimes little things make all the difference. Nothing really happened today, but there were some little things that made it feel like a good day. The weather was beautiful. This is the one time of year when the weather is actually nice in Dallas. After a brisk morning walk with Dash, I had an enjoyable and surprisingly quiet breakfast at a place that is often crowded and noisy.

When I got home, I was amazed that I'd gotten a reply to the plea for help I'd sent the roofer a few days ago. Hopefully, he can figure out how to fix some of the mistakes his crew made earlier. My repairs actually look pretty good. When I went up on the roof today to clear away my equipment, it seemed like all my patches were solid. I'm sure there's still some water trapped under the elastomer, but the roof looks better than it did a few weeks ago.

Dash is still moody, but he's eating better now. We're back to eating two regular meals a day now, instead of dividing his food into a bunch of little meals. He hasn't thrown up in several weeks, so that's good too. Now if I could just get him to take normal walks again. For some reason he doesn't want to leave the house. Once we're down in the park, he's fine, but getting him to leave the house is often next to impossible.

You'd think Dash would be eager to leave the house. The place is pretty quiet these days. Dot is gone. Janet is back at work again. My office is no longer a beehive of activity. As a result, we both spend too much time thinking about food. I spend forever fiddling around with breakfast and since Dash never learned to eat slowly and savor his food, he's constantly begging for treats. I usually save some of the banana I put in my morning smoothie for him, but he eats the banana so quickly that I wonder if he even tastes it.

I did get a few things done today, but there was nothing that couldn't have waited until tomorrow. Actually tomorrow will be fairly busy. We need to take Dash downtown to get his picture taken. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the upcoming Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament. I could have taken Dash's picture myself since I'm a photographer, but that wasn't apparently the plan. I just hope that Dash is good in the car. I definitely don't want to be cleaning up poop again.

I'm mesmerized by reports of the slowly approaching hurricane. I hope everybody stays safe. I have a sister who lives in Florida and I never could figure out why she moved there. In addition to alligators, snakes, and huge cockroaches, they have to deal with hurricanes over and over again. I still think Wyoming is a better place to live.

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

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Day 2814

It was chilly this morning. I wore a jacket on our morning walk for the first time since early Spring. It's hard to believe that in other parts of the country people are dealing with raging wildfires, flooded homes, and an approaching hurricane that is even larger than Harvey. In our little corner of the world the weather is perfect. This weather won't last long, so we'd better enjoy it while we can.

It's been nice having the weather cooperate while I work on the roof. I didn't finish today, but I'm done for a while. I've completely used up the five gallon drum of elastomer material the roofers sent me. I would guess that it's going to take at least ten more gallons to complete the repairs. I wasn't really expecting the repairs to be so extensive, but that's what I get for trusting the roofing crew to do their job properly. It really makes me mad that they simply poured the new coating right on top of the old damaged coating. They should have pulled all the damaged material off and let the water that had gotten underneath dry. It would have taken a little longer to do their repairs properly, but it would have avoided the mess I'm dealing with now. There is water underneath many of the patches that the roofers have made previously because they didn't make sure the surface was dry under the damaged areas they were fixing.  I always wondered how they could do their work so quickly. Now I know.

Janet has a niece living in Florida who decided to ride out the storm. This seemed like a mistake until I looked at the lines of cars trying to evacuate Miami and the Florida keys. These cars are just inching along as far as the eye can see and there's no gas available in many parts of Florida. What happens when all these cars run out of gas? I'd rather be inside a well constructed home when the hurricane struck than out on a freeway in a car that's out of gas. I mentioned yesterday that these were starting to seem like the end times. Nothing has happened today that would change my opinion.

Dash is not adjusting well to Janet returning to work. He liked having everyone home with him. I think he's trying to be the alpha dog now that Dot is gone, but he doesn't really know how. Dash has always been insecure and depended on Dot for leadership. Instead of being strong and confident, he just throws temper tantrums when he doesn't get his way. Maybe he'll eventually grow into the role of  being a proper alpha dog, but he has a long way to go.

After I finished working on the roof, I washed the car. For once this didn't seem like a chore. It was nice to be working with fresh, clean water instead of stick white goo. I'm tired of working on the roof, but I've still got to finish the job before our Fall rainy season starts. If history is any guide, it's going to be pretty wet around here by the time Halloween arrives.

It's not going to be wet tomorrow. I think our nice weather is going to continue for another week. I'll get up early, take Dash on a walk, and then go out for breakfast. After that, who knows.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Day 2813

I'm screwed. I think the roofers have been doing shoddy work, but I still need their help. It doesn't matter what kind of repair you are doing. Once you start questioning the quality of the work, most repair people get defensive and never want to see you again. I'm kind of between a rock and a hard place. It will take me forever to repair the entire roof myself, and even if I can convince the roofers to come out again, they'll probably just continue to take short cuts that ultimately make the problem worse.

I spent about three hours on the roof today. Luckily, there was no wind, so I didn't have to worry about leaves falling into the wet elastomer this time. I've only got about a gallon of the material left, so I need to get the roofers to bring me more. If they refuse, I'll have to figure out where to buy the stuff. This silicon elastomer is so messy. It can't be good to get it on your skin, but I can't seem to avoid it. I thought the half full five gallon drum might be light enough so I could lift the entire thing up on the roof. It was still much heavier than I thought. I narrowly avoided a catastrophe when the rope I was hoisting the drum with slipped out of my hands and the sticky elastomer almost fell on my car. I made a save and kept the drum from falling, but still have rope burns on my hands.

My plan to start going to the gym on Wednesdays didn't even last two weeks. I was so tired when I came down from the roof that all I felt like doing was taking a shower and a nap. Since something major seems to break around the house on a weekly basis, I don't know if I'll ever have the liberty to come and go as I please. Even when I took a shower today I had to deal with the stupid leak again. I just can't find the source of this thing. The best solution would be to replace the shower pan and re-tile the entire bathroom. That will have to wait. There are still too many bills to pay.

The one piece of good news is that Dash is showing no side effects from increasing his phenobarbital dose. I hope this continues. I hate giving Dash a strong barbiturate like phenobarbital, but it is very effective at controlling epileptic seizures. Once when he was seizure free for several years, we thought it would safe to discontinue the phenobarbital entirely. That was a mistake. Within a few months, Dash had a horrible seizure. He will be taking phenobarbital for the rest of his life.

With major wildfires up and down the West Coast and back-to-back catastrophic hurricanes pounding the East and Gulf Coasts, it would be easy to believe the end times are here. There are so many things going on at the moment that are almost apocalyptic in nature. Maybe it's just a coincidence, but every year the latest disaster du jour seems to be a little worse. I'm pretty sure the world will be around for another twenty years, but if I was younger, I might be a little worried. I guess you can only worry about one thing at a time, so for the moment, stay safe Florida.

April is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Day 2812

The refrigerator is working again. I was amazed that I was able to get an appliance repairman to come out the same day I called. The two guys who showed up were older and knew their stuff. It turned out that I had a faulty thermostat which prevented the automatic defrost circuit from working properly, causing the evaporator coils to become frozen in a block of ice. After the coil was thawed out, the fridge worked like a charm. The guys will have to come back next week to install the two new thermocouple thermostats they ordered, but they said the coil wouldn't have time to freeze again before they returned. I'm glad we didn't buy a new refrigerator. As it turned out, there wasn't that much wrong with this one.

I got lucky with the refrigerator, but I can't say the same about the roof. As I continue my repairs, I'm discovering that the roofing crew did a really lousy job of applying the previous patches. Instead of peeling away all the damaged elastomer and letting the surface underneath dry thoroughly, they just poured the new elastomer material on top on the old. As a result, when the elastomer cured, it trapped moisture underneath that could never escape. I always wondered how the roofing crews could make their repairs so quickly. Now I know. They just did a sloppy job. Now, I'm faced with making much more extensive repairs than I had planned. If you're thinking of buying a cool looking mid-century modern home with a flat roof, try to resist the urge. A flat roof is nothing but trouble.

Dash's vet wants to increase his phenobarbital dose. I was afraid of this. She says that his current dose doesn't provide enough protection anymore and that it could lead to seizures again. At least the increase isn't huge. He was taking a one grain tablet twice a day. Now, he'll be taking 1 and 1/4 grains twice a day. We'll do another blood test in six weeks to see if this puts him back in the safe zone. I hope the additional phenobarbital won't make him too sleepy or lethargic. He spends too much time sleeping as it is.

I went to a nearby service station to get a few bags of ice so the food in the freezer wouldn't go bad when the repairmen were working. I asked the guy at the register whether they still had a good supply of gasoline and he said they were almost out again. Jeez. The tanker truck had just filled them up two days ago. I topped my tank up again, just in case.

Now that people have realized how easy it is for an entire city to run out of gasoline, I think a lot more people are going to be driving around with full tanks instead of tempting fate with a gas gauge near empty. Every time there is a power outage or a weather emergency I try to become a little more prepared. I have lots of fresh batteries. I have a generator. It just occurred to me that the little dorm room refrigerator we just got will easily run on a generator. That's good. I can't afford large scale solar power, but that's definitely on my fantasy wish list.

Pick your poison. Maybe it's climate change. Maybe it's Kim Jong-un. Maybe it's back-to-back monster hurricanes. Why do I get this nagging feeling that Armageddon is just around the corner? I hope I'm wrong. I'd much rather spend my remaining years wandering around the streets of Paris than living in a cave somewhere.

Allie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 4, 2017

Day 2811 - Labor Day

I learned a lot about refrigerators today. I suspect that one of the reasons they don't last as long as they used to is that they've become way too complicated. We saw refrigerators with built-in web browsers. There was one that had a WiFi camera inside the refrigerator that you could access using your phone. If you were at the supermarket and couldn't remember if you needed milk, you could just check the fridge with your phone. Several manufacturers offered convertible models where you could temporarily turn the freezer into a second small refrigerator with the flick of a switch. Jeez. A refrigerator is just a machine to keep things cold. Why did they all have to turn into computers that keep things cold?

We eventually found a few refrigerators that were small enough to fit inside our kitchen alcove. None of them were as nice as the fridge we already have. Like most things in life the basic models have become even more rudimentary and the high-end models have become bloated with an insane array of features. There is no middle ground anymore. All the major stores basically offered the same choices at roughly the same price. Nobody was willing to deliver and install anything in less than fourteen days. We had hoped to find something we liked and get it installed tomorrow. That wasn't going to happen. We needed a plan B.

I was surprised to discover that you could buy one of those little dorm room refrigerators for less than the cost of a good ice chest. In fact, a large Yeti ice chest ended up costing twice as much as a small dorm room refrigerator. Since the freezer still works in our existing refrigerator, we bought one of these little refrigerators so our food wouldn't go bad and I'll call an appliance repairman in the morning. There's a good chance I could get our existing refrigerator fixed in less time than it would take to get a new one delivered. The big problem with appliance repairmen is that they are so slow. They come out and diagnose your problem and then they have to order parts. Usually at least one important part is on back order, so you are lucky if you see them again in two weeks. What ever happened to keeping a stock of parts on the truck?

Hey, at least the gas crisis appears to be over. There were several stations in our own neighborhood that had gas today. I still can't find the leak in the shower, but I am making progress on the roof. I might have finished today if we hadn't spent so much time looking at refrigerators. I didn't do much patching today, but I did haul some materials up to the roof, including a leaf blower which I used to clear away a mountain of dead elm leaves that seemed to have fallen overnight. I actually got lucky. Apparently the leaves fell after the elastomer coating dried, so they were easy to clear away. I really need to get this job finished before the oak tress start shedding their leaves. That would really be a mess.

Janet is going back to work tomorrow. I thought she had another week at home, but apparently not. It doesn't seem like two weeks have already passed since her latest surgery. Of course it doesn't seem like summer is already over either.  Where has the time gone?

I hope nothing else breaks and everybody stays healthy. I'd really like to end this year on a positive note.

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

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Day 2810

Our refrigerator is not cooling properly. I hate the thought of looking for new appliances. The last time we replaced our refrigerator, it was almost impossible to find one that would fix in the small slot designed for it in the kitchen. We have the same problem with the washer and dryer in the utility room. Appliances seem to have grown over the years. What would have been normal for the mid-fifties house we live in just isn't made anymore. Maybe the refrigerator isn't really broken, since the freezer side still works well. I suggested unplugging it for a while and then plugging it in again like we do for everything else in the house, but Janet said the food might go bad. Actually turning the refrigerator off may actually work, since I suspect that the evaporator coils have become frozen. This happens from time to time with the air conditioner. You just let the ice melt and everything is fine. Refrigerators are problematic. If you spend too much time monkeying around with them, the food goes bad. It's always hard to fix something when you're using it.

I didn't fix much today, but I did keep busy. I mowed the grass in the front and the back and then treated the yard for mosquitoes. I hope the treatment works, since I'm getting eaten alive at night when I take Dash out to pee. We had a mild winter and chiggers, mosquitoes, and ticks are everywhere. I had planned on getting rid of some wasp nests too, but I couldn't find the wasp and hornet spray. Usually, after I do a lot of yard work I just feel like taking a nap, but today I decided to go to the gym.

I've come to the conclusion that if I don't work out more, my muscles are just going to continue to atrophy. The older you get, the harder it is to build muscle mass. For a long time I thought I was losing weight because I was eating healthier. I'm really just slowly losing muscle mass. One way or another, I've got to reverse this process. Going to the gym three times a week is probably a good place to start.

I probably should have continued my work on the roof this afternoon, but enough is enough. After my trip to the gym and an afternoon walk with Dash, I was finally getting tired. Janet found gas today, but I didn't bother to take my car to the same station. I may regret this decision later, but I have a feeling this self made gas crisis may soon be over.

It remains to be seen whether we will go looking at refrigerators tomorrow. I'm still hoping that the problem miraculously cures itself overnight. This is unlikely. Broken things rarely fix themselves. I'm not looking forward to going back on the roof, but I've got to make sure that everything is patched and has time to cure before the next rain. I'm pretty sure that I've got a few days left, but it's bound to rain eventually.

I guess tomorrow is a holiday. It probably won't seem any different to me. I still have a long list of chores to finish and a refrigerator full of food that keeps getting warmer.

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

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Day 2809

If I wind up in hell, I'll probably be fixing a leaking roof for eternity. This is the worst job. It's messy. You get stung by wasps and bitten by fire ants. It's almost impossible to tell if your repairs are any good until it rains again. Worst of all, if you get too tired, there is always the danger of falling off the roof. I'll really be glad when I'm finished with this little project. No matter how careful I am, I always wind up with the sticky silicon coating on my hands and clothing. I try to wear the oldest, most threadbare pants I can find, because if I spill the elastomer coating on them, I pretty much have to throw them away.

The area I patched a few days ago has cured and seems to have bonded well to the roof. Today it was time for round two. When I started this project, I thought I'd just need to re-coat the fairly small areas that had worn bare. Now I'm realizing that the damage extends much further, because water has gotten under the coating and caused it to delaminate. I'm going to have to go buy some more paint rollers. You can't clean the rollers after you use them to spread the material. Maybe the roofers have a way to clean their tools, but it probably involves some dangerous solvent that I don't want around the house. It's much easier to just throw the paint rollers away. I want to finish this project before the oak leaves start falling. Already some leaves are starting to fall off the elm tree and when they land in the wet elastomer, they are there permanently. On a more positive note, when the coating cures properly, it seems to be impervious to water. If they'd put this stuff on in the roof in the first place, I wouldn't be having the problems I'm having today.

The place I got gas yesterday was empty today. So was the Chevron station where I saw the gasoline tanker yesterday. Evidently it didn't take long to empty the place out again. A few stations actually are being replenished with gas. There just doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the process. Most stations were still empty today, but I did see one station with a line of cars at the pumps. They say Quick Trip stations are more likely to have gas, since they get their supplies from Oklahoma instead of South Texas. I wonder how long this shortage will last? Contrary so what some in the media are saying, this isn't a one day event. I did learn something from all this. My car runs a lot better on regular gas than I thought. The owners manual says to never use regular gas, but so far I can't tell any difference.

It's time to mow the grass again. I usually only mow when my neighbors mow their grass. Yard shaming is actually fairly effective. If I mow the grass, I won't have the energy to go up on the roof again. That's just as well. It really takes two days for the patches to cure anyway. The only reason to hurry on the roof repairs is if there was rain on the horizon. I think we're looking good. The completely inaccurate weather app on my phone says there will be clear skies for at least a week.

I wonder why Dash is so moody in the evenings now. This is something new. He barks at me while I'm writing the blog and if I don't stop what I'm doing and pay attention to him, he starts knocking books off low shelves with his paws. I always get up and see if he needs to go outside and pee, but usually he heads straight for the kitchen. The little shit just wants more food.

I got another jury summons in the mail. I guess I'll postpone this one too. I just don't feel up to dealing with jury duty now.

Daisy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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