Sunday, December 9, 2018

Day 3272

I didn't make it to the gym today. I certainly got plenty of exercise though. Dash was eager for a walk this morning after yesterday's all day rain. We walked along the shoreline and watched as volunteers prepared a relay station near the lake for today's annual Dallas Marathon. Traditionally, this marathon has been held when the weather was horrible, but today looked perfect for runners. Dash liked the cold, clear weather too.

After breakfast, I went back up on the roof and cleared away the water again. There must have been a lot of rain last night, because there was just as much standing water today as there was yesterday. No wonder the leak returned. I think I finally figured out what is happening. The high-tech coating that is supposed to protect everything is not adhering to the substrate properly. Whenever there is a tear in this coating, often caused by a dead tree branch falling and hitting the roof, water seeps in and gets under the coating and eventually finds a path inside. If the coating was bonded to the substrate, small rips or tears wouldn't be a problem. As it is, the elastomer coating isn't much better than placing a giant tarp on the roof during rainstorms.

When I removed all the water, the sound of water dripping into buckets gradually subsided. I'll let the sheetrock on the ceiling dry for a few days and then I'll try to bleach the stains again. This won't fix the problem though. The next time we have a long, sustained rain I'll have to deal with this mess all over again. Adding a few more patches won't really fix anything. There is already water underneath the supposedly waterproof coating, so it won't evaporate. I don't really thing this is fixable. I need an entirely new roof.

There wan't much point in going to the gym today. I had a long list of chores that needed to be attended to. This was a good day to do them. I started by going out and finding strawberries so I could make my smoothies this week. Oddly, the store that had nothing but grapes in the strawberry section yesterday had a ton of strawberries today. I wonder who bought all the grapes?

It was long past time to vacuum the house as well. I'm always amazed that I can quickly fill the Dyson canister with dust and dog hair, but the carpets never look any better. Whenever we get a new rood, we're going to need new carpets as well. It sucks that the house is falling apart. I've got a new car fund, but I bet it's going to get used up just fixing things around the house.

According to Fitbit, I burn up a lot more energy doing household chores than I do at the gym. I guess the whole point of going to the gym is to get me out of the house. It's a lot more enjoyable to shoot baskets at the gym than it is to push a broom on the roof.

I need to start interviewing roofing contractors and ask a few architect friends for suggestions on how to restore this place. We might be here for a while. I thought we would have moved by now, but there's one thing about growing older that you never consider when you're younger. Once you start falling apart and doctors become important, the last thing you want to do is start over in a new state with a brand new batch of doctors. Janet and I both have doctors that we like. We may be here forever.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Saturday, December 8, 2018

Day 3271

It's been raining steadily for several days now. The leak in the ceiling is spreading and I have several buckets out now. I became alarmed when water started dripping out of one of the can lights in the hallway. Water and electricity don't mix well. I had to do something, so against my better judgement I went up on the roof and started sweeping away the standing water while it was still raining.

There was an enormous amount of water and wet leaves on the roof. I was actually surprised that the roof wasn't leaking more. It took several hours of hard work to remove the water, but as I finished and was preparing to go inside again, I noticed that new puddles were already starting to accumulate. Water is relentless. If the rain doesn't stop, I will need to do this all over again tomorrow.

I must have accomplished something because the tempo of water drops hitting the buckets on the living room floor is slower now. I just hope that the sheetrock in the ceiling doesn't become so soggy that it crumbles and falls. The rain has accomplished one thing. For the first time in ages I'm more worried about water than dog poop.

Of course Dash pooped in the house. You knew he would. He hates going outside in the rain. I hate going outside in the rain as well, but it was unavoidable today. In addition to my dubious duties on the roof, I had to do weekend grocery shopping as well. I think people have already started Christmas shopping because the traffic was terrible. After driving around in the rain and getting the car dirty, I still have to go back for strawberries. No strawberries today. Damn. I've got to have strawberries for my morning smoothie.

There were no walks at all today. The rain never stopped. Dash was restless, but he didn't really want to go outside anyway. Nobody in their right mind would want to go outside today. Rain when the temperature is only slightly above freezing feels much colder than snow. You may be wishing for a White Christmas, The next time you hear this familiar song, just remember that nobody writes Christmas music about rain.

I hope the rain stops tonight. I'd much rather get my exercise at the gym tomorrow than on the roof. Sweeping hundreds of pounds of water off the roof with a big push broom is much more strenuous than a treadmill. The roof is treacherous and slippery as well. One of these days I'm going to fall.

I'll worry about that tomorrow. Right now my main worry is staying awake. I'm really tired. There's one more load of wash to throw in the dryer and I'm going to bed. Maybe I can get a few hours of sleep before Dash wakes me up at 2 AM to go outside.

Willow is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, December 7, 2018

Day 3270

Some days are a total loss. When I woke up this morning, I discovered that the roof was leaking again. This was a new wrinkle because typically the roof only leaks during severe storms. It had been raining during the night, but it was a gentle rain. I wasn't really expecting this. I also wasn't expecting Dash to make a huge mess when he woke up this morning. I saw him heading for the back door while I was attempting to deal with the leak and I quickly opened it to let him out. When I looked back I saw a trail of poop leading all the way back to the bed. In addition to pooping on the brick floors, Dash managed to soil two blankets, the bedspread, the step he uses to climb into the bed, the bedroom carpet, and his own tail. What a mess.

I had to prioritize the damage, cleaning Dash's tail and rear end first while he was outside, then finding several buckets to catch the dripping water, then cleaning the living room floor so I could let Dash back inside again. I gated off the bedroom so Dash wouldn't sit back down in the soiled bedding and then methodically proceeded to clean up the rest of the damage.

Needless to say, there was a lot of laundry this morning. I felt like I washed everything. The washing machine is still working great, but the dryer is having problems. A bearing in the drum assembly has gone bad and the dryer makes an awful screeching sound until is gets hot. I need to have the appliance repairmen come fix this but there always seems to be something else I need to deal with first.

I didn't even bother to go out for breakfast this morning. The weather was terrible and there was plenty to deal with at home anyway. I didn't finish getting all the bedding and blankets clean until two in the afternoon. I'm still dealing with the roof leak. This leak is in an awkward location where the ceiling joins a wall. Not only is the water dripping from the ceiling, it is also coming down the brick wall.

To make matters worse, the stock market continues to tumble. I hate periods of extreme volatility like this. My Dad had a nice defined pension when he retired. I've got to rely on the market. With interest rates so low, you don't even have the option of buying Treasuries or CD's. You've just got to find stable, profitable companies to invest in and hope that sanity returns at some point.

I have no idea what happened with Dash this morning. He has been doing great for most of this week. His diet and feeding times haven't changed. His poop was even getting firmer. Now we're back to square one. It's really discouraging. Dealing with Dot's incontinence was easier. Dash is stubborn, moves around a lot at night, and absolutely insists on sleeping in the bed with us.

I'm not expecting much to improve tomorrow. There is more rain in the forecast this weekend and lord knows what surprises Dash has in store for us. I just hope that nothing else breaks. So far so good with the furnace and the dehumidifier. One of the toilets runs a bit, but at least it's not a leak. When I was younger it never even occurred to me that the house, the dog, and my own body would all start to fall apart at the same time. It gets to be a bit much at times.

Humphrey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, December 6, 2018

Day 3269

It was cold and rainy today. We got up early and managed to get Dash walked before the rain started, but I spent the rest of the day inside. I accomplished virtually nothing today. I turned on the TV during breakfast and the Bush funeral was still going on. I wonder how expensive this funeral was. The casket was riding on a special train today. I switched channels and the stock market was still crashing. It's pretty easy to see how expensive this is going to be. I turned the TV off and drank my smoothie in silence. It was that kind of day. I wonder why it always seems colder in the house on a rainy day? The furnace is working fine and the thermostat indicated that I should be toasty warm. Nope. I was cold all day. I put on a sweater but I couldn't relax. I kept looking at the ceiling and wondering when the roof was going to start leaking again. No roof leaks yet, but it hasn't stopped raining yet.

An old client that I hadn't talked to in years called in a panic today. Evidently their office manager abruptly walked out and quit and nobody else at the company knew the passwords to anything. How did they expect me to still know their passwords? I think these guys fired me five years ago. I wished them luck and tried not to laugh. They should have treated their office manager better. They should have treated me better too.

Since it was a very slow day, I watched the latest episode of the National Geographic Channel's Mars show. I think I've finally figured out the format for this show. In every episode there is a disaster on Mars that is used as a teaching moment to illustrate how similar disasters here on Earth could destroy the planet. In today's episode an unknown pathogen in the water on Mars was causing the crew to get sick and die. The parallel story on Earth was about how warming weather is causing anthrax spores to be released from the soil in Siberia which is also also causing people to get sick and die. Something like this happens in every episode. It's a miracle we aren't extinct yet.

Dash seems to be sleeping better now. He stays in one place for long periods of time and hasn't pooped in the bed for several days. This morning, he slept until 6 AM and then went outside and did his business like a normal dog. Are we doing something right, or is this just blind luck? It's really hard to tell. You'd think with Dash sleeping better that I'd be sleeping better as well. This doesn't seem to be the case. My Fitbit said I got virtually no sleep last night. Maybe the Fitbit is wrong. I do remember having a dream, so I must have been sleeping.

A lot of software and domain names come up for renewal at the end of the year. I'm thinking of letting some things expire this year. I haven't used Pro Tools or Avid Media Composer in several years. Do I really need these expensive subscriptions? There are several domains I have never used at all. Maybe this would be a good time to start simplifying my online world as well. I've got a week to decide. I always like to be ready for any contingency, but if I was smart I would just acknowledge that I'm not going to be doing much video editing anymore and let the Avid subscriptions expire.

I discovered a new place to try for breakfast tomorrow. Chili Rellenos Crepes sound delicious right now. The rain has got to stop first though. I'm not going anywhere in this weather.

Emma is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Day 3268

Every time I see one of these big state funerals I wonder about all the people who will never be remembered at all. So many good people are quickly forgotten. Hey, we all deserve to be remembered, but in a mobile society that is becoming increasingly detached, I wonder if we will be. I'll probably be quickly forgotten. I remember seeing a cartoon with a casket in front of a nearly empty church with three people sitting in the pews and the caption said "they say he had over a thousand Facebook friends." Often, people don't even realize you're dead anymore. I still see those Facebook birthday greetings appearing on the pages of friends who died five years ago. I hope I don't make this mistake and wish a Happy Birthday to a long dead classmate, but it could happen. We live in a world where celebrities are remembered but nobody knows their neighbors.

I'm old enough to remember George H.W. Bush before he became president. I'd be the first to agree that he was a good man, but I seem to remember a lot of the media folks who were singing his praises today were ridiculing him when he actually was president. Jeez. Dana Carvey made a career out of making fun of Bush. What changed? Back in the day, the elder Bush was criticized almost as much as George W. Now that the Bush family seems to have replaced the Kennedy family as America's only remaining political dynasty, they are back in favor again. I hope today's praise is genuine, but I suspect there are some who just thought that making Bush look good would make Trump look bad.

I watched the Space X live feed of the Dragon resupply mission launch today and was surprised when   the coverage of the first stage landing abruptly stopped when the booster appeared to go wonky. The commentators never missed a beat and continued their upbeat narrative about the overall success of the mission. Traditional news media would have focused on the booster failure, but the in-house Space X broadcasters totally ignored it. I can't decide how I feel about this. The mission actually was a success and the Dragon capsule is continuing it's journey toward the space station. I know the news  media would have focused on the booster landing failure though because it was more exciting. This is probably what is wrong with the news these days. Negative events are always given priority because they are usually more dramatic.

My third auction concluded today and I was a bit disappointed with the results. My items actually did sell but they only got a single bid each. Neither reached the auction house price estimate. I could have set a higher reserve on my lots, but I didn't. I always hope for a bidding war, but I don't want this stuff back either. I guess I can't complain. This is how auctions work. Sometimes you get lucky and other times you don't.

There was blood in Dash's bowl when he was eating his breakfast this morning. Yikes. I was worried about an infection or a bad tooth, but when I inspected Dash's mouth it appeared that he had bitten his lip while eating. I do this myself occasionally. I cleaned his mouth with a dental rinse and everything seems fine now. I hope dash doesn't continue biting his lip. He is beginning to have problems eating and drinking. You can tell he is not as coordinated as he used to be. Eventually, we may need to hand feed him. We needed to do this with Dot when she became very old.

This week has gone quickly. I hope that sanity has returned when the market opens again tomorrow. Another seven hundred point drop wouldn't be good. I hope it's a little warmer too. Most of all, I hope that Dash lets me get a good night's sleep.

Emmitt is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Day 3267

Brrr. It was really cold this morning. I couldn't clean off a poop stained dog blanket right away because the garden hose was frozen. Dash didn't want to wear his sweater this morning either. He's usually pretty patient when we suit him up for his walks, but I could tell that he was letting us know that enough is enough. I don't know how Northerners put up with this stuff. Everything takes longer in freezing weather.

Today was much messier than yesterday. Maybe I just got lucky yesterday. While I was cleaning up poop on the porch, I didn't notice that Dash was near the back door and apparently needed to poop again. In warmer weather I would have just left the door open while I was working so he could come and go freely, but as I said, it was very cold this morning. Dash pooped on the floor next to the door while he was waiting for me, slipped and fell in the mess, and smeared it all over himself as he was struggling to get up again. I had to give him a bath to clean him up. Dash wasn't happy about that either. It took a while before the floor, the dog, and several assorted blankets were all clean again. This wasn't really how I wanted to spend my morning but I didn't have anything better to do anyway. By the time I finished breakfast it was almost time for a meeting I had scheduled at the bank.

The bank recently upgraded my account in an attempt to sell me more stuff. I like having an account with no fees, but I've never been interested in buying securities from a bank. To be polite I said I would listen to their proposals, but after today's meeting they probably wish they'd never given me the special account. To me a bank is a place to have a checking account. It's not a place to buy and sell stocks. Jeez. I've got a stock broker for that kind of stuff. After a long conversation I think they finally realized that I know more about the market than they do. I get to keep my no fee account though. That's all I wanted in the first place.

Today wasn't a good day to talk about the market anyway. Yesterday everybody was optimistic about a trade deal with China and the market went up. Today everybody was pessimistic about Trump's angry tweets about tariffs and the market went down. I hate this volatility. It would probably be safer to just bet on the NFL. Of course, I never would have guessed that the Cowboys would have beat the Saints last week, so a safe bet on anything probably doesn't exist these days.

I've finally gotten a few bids on my lots in the online auction. Maybe I should have put a reserve on my lots, because the bids are quite low. There's one day left before the auction concludes. Maybe there'll be some activity in the final hours. That's usually the way it works on eBay. People often don't start to bid on eBay items until the final seconds. We'll see how the auction goes. This online auction was an experiment anyway. I still think I like live auctions better.

What was I thinking? I had leftover pizza for dinner tonight and I've already got heartburn. I seem incapable of throwing away leftover food. This pizza was a leftover from dinner on Friday and I was determined to eat it before it went bad. There are still leftover sandwiches from last weekend's photo shoots too. Hey, they were good sandwiches from Panera Bread, so I'm sure I'll eat them as well. I think my stomach is in for a rough ride this week.

I'm glad now that I didn't apply to attend the Space X resupply mission launch that was supposed to take place today. The launch got postponed because some mouse food in the cargo had gotten moldy and needed to be replaced. What are they sending mice to the space station for anyway? At any rate, if I had gone to the launch, I would have had to reschedule my return flight and extend my hotel stay for at least another day. Watching a launch is complicated and it can get expensive quickly. Maybe I need to rethink my retirement hobbies. I really can't leave Dash right now anyway. I've got poop to clean up.

Camp is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, December 3, 2018

Day 3266

We went to a Christmas party this evening. It's exceedingly rare for me to go to any sort of party these days, especially a semi-formal one. This was the first time I'd worn a suit in well over a year. I'm always amazed that my old dress clothes still fit. I didn't know many people at this party, but Janet did. The food was delicious and I even had a glass of wine. Although I'm definitely not a party person anymore, I'll have to admit that I had a good time.

This was a very busy day. All the photo equipment we used during the Santa Paws events has been stored away. The heavy stuff is back at the storage warehouse and everything else is ready to gather dust in the office for another year. There were lots of other errands as well. I went to the bank, got groceries, picked up meds for Dash, and filled the car with gas. Not surprisingly, I thought it was Saturday for a while.

Dash got me up again last night. He seems to be sleeping longer this week. Getting up at 5 AM isn't nearly as bad as getting up at 3 AM. This morning, Dash managed to make it to the back door and pooped in the yard like a normal dog. There was no mess to clean up. I celebrated by going back to sleep for two more hours.

Getting enough sleep made a big difference today. Now, I consider anything over five hours a bonus. It would be nice if I was able to get a good night's sleep two nights in a row, but that hasn't happened in a while. We'll see what happens. So far today, Dash has been acting surprisingly normal.

I broke the Essix retainer I wear to bed yesterday, so it looks like I'll need to get my dentist to make me another one.  When I had an impacted wisdom tooth pulled several years ago, the dentist told me that I would need to wear the retainer to prevent the remaining upper wisdom tooth from growing downward. I was surprised at how long the thin plastic retainer lasted, but nothing lasts forever. I'm hoping that the dentist will tell me that I don't need the thing anymore, but that's not very likely. I'll probably be sitting in the chair getting impressions made sometime next week.

The weather has gotten cold again. The temperature bounces around so much now that I never know what to wear. Just looking out the window isn't enough anymore. Neither is remembering what the weather was like yesterday. If I dressed like I did yesterday I would have frozen today. Luckily, I have a coat for every occasion.

I don't have any plans for tomorrow. Truthfully, I don't have any plans for the rest of the year. I just hope Dash stays healthy, I stay warm, and nothing gives me heartburn.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, December 2, 2018

Day 3265

Santa Paws is over for another year. We were really busy today. There were lots of walk ins that threw us off schedule for a while, but everybody went home with the pictures they wanted. Not only did we raise money for Dalmatian Rescue, we also adopted three of our dogs. We were all pretty tired, but everybody agreed that we had a good day.

Today was more hectic than yesterday because we photographed a lot of Dalmatians. Dalmatians are very photogenic, but they are strong, very active and can be stubborn at times. Little dogs that sit in Santa's lap are much easier to deal with unless they happen to be Chihuahuas.

Two of our volunteers adopted their first dog this afternoon. If you listened to the advice they were being given, you'd think that all Dalmatian puppies were incorrigible counter surfers who chewed your furniture, ate socks, got into the garbage, and insisted on sleeping in bed with you. Hey, it's all part of having a puppy. They are also more fun than you can imagine.

Having an old dog is fun too, but I wish there was a better way of dealing with incontinence. Several people I saw at the photo event today told me that their dogs were dealing with the same problem. Dash made a mess in the bed again last night. This was after I had taken him outside several times. I've learned to be patient and have become very good at cleanup, but getting up every night is tiring. Eventually, I'm going to have to put all the camera equipment away, but catching up on sleep is pretty high on my agenda right now.

We had to leave Dash alone for a little longer than normal today, but he did very well. Oddly, he never makes a mess when we are away. It's usually when we're sleeping a few inches away from him. I shouldn't complain though. Our biggest worry has always been the blood clot in Dash's heart and that appears to be getting better. He's eating well again too. I guess a little poop in the bed isn't all that bad.

Sometime tomorrow I'll start taking the photo gear and props back to the storage warehouse. I've got a list of little things I'll need to replace before we do this again next year, but I was pleased at how well the equipment held up. Nothing broke. Nobody got bit. And the backdrop is still usable. In the world of pet photography, I'd call that a success.

The year is rapidly drawing to a close. There are still a few Christmas parties to attend, but that's about it. Hopefully, I can just coast through the rest of the year before the inevitable home repair and medical problems demand my attention again.

You may be hoping for a White Christmas, but I'm not. Clear skies and a warm breeze sounds much better to me.

Greta is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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