Monday, October 15, 2018

Day 3217

This was one of those day when you couldn't help but wonder what was going to go wrong next. The relentless rain has caused the roof to start leaking again. Dash was restless because he wasn't able to take his walks. We had lots of pooping in the house today. During breakfast, the Internet, phones, and TV all went out. Later in the day I discovered that lightning had struck a major AT&T facility and started a fire. Most of Dallas and Fort Worth is still without service. If that wasn't enough, the temperature was in the low forties all day. This was the coldest and wettest October 15th on record.

There isn't much you can do when it's raining cats and dogs and your Internet and TV are out. I was finally able to connect the TV to an antenna so I could receive a few over-the-air stations and I can still connect to the Internet over 4G using my phone. U-verse and WiFi are gone though. Who knows when service will be restored.

I felt sorry for Dash today. Every time he went outside to pee, he got soaked. I kept a towel by the door so I could dry him off when he came back inside. I'm glad he still pees outside. When we were dealing with Dot's incontinence, it seemed like the pee often made a bigger mess than the poop. I could tell that Dash really missed his walks today. Even though he has to wear a knee brace for a partial cruciate tear and rubber boots to keep his paws from bleeding, the walks are still special. This is probably his one opportunity during the day to sniff things and feel like a normal dog again.

Every time I hook the TV up to an external antenna, I wonder who watches these over-the-air stations. It's definitely a weird selection. We can receive ABC and CBS, but NBC is too far away, since the transmitter is located in Fort Worth. The signal from PBS is too weak to receive and I don't know where the rest of the channels originate from. There seem to be a lot of Asian channels, including one Vietnamese channel. QVC has an over the air channel and so do several televangelists. No wonder people still pay for cable. Watching over the air television is like visiting the Twilight Zone.

I'd like to think that things will improve tomorrow, but I'm not counting on it. According to the weather forecast there won't be a break in the rain for at least 48 hours. They say it might stop raining for a little while on Wednesday, but then it will resume again for the rest of the week. I just hope we don't lose power. I was bored today, but at least it was nice and warm inside. I don't even want to think about spending the week without power. It's very cold outside.

When the mail came today, it was so soggy that I couldn't even open the letters. I set everything on baking trays so it could dry. Five hours later, most of the mail was still soggy. I haven't even been able to call AT&T about our U-verse service because their customer service lines are down as well. Hopefully, something will improve tomorrow. Dash keeps looking at me like he expects me to stop the rain. I keep trying to explain to him that I don't have any superpowers.

Lucky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Day 3216

The roof has quit leaking. The little circus in the park is trying to move their tent to higher ground. It's time to regroup and start over. I guess that's what weekends are for.

There was still some rain today, but the showers were light and didn't do any damage. Dash did a little bit of damage by pooping in the bed again, but it was our fault for sleeping in. These accidents tend to happen on weekends more often. I should have gotten up at 5 AM and taken him outside like I do on weekdays. I was asleep though. Without an alarm in the morning, I am always asleep.

I cleaned up the mess, put Dash's blankets in the laundry, and took him on a walk. Almost immediately, a small loose dog in a neighbor's yard scared him and we returned to the house. I got Janet to help me convince him that everything was OK, and off we went again. We took a different route and encountered no dogs this time.

After breakfast, I went to the gym, stopping to check out an REI sale on the way. I like high quality outdoor gear, but I need nothing. After wandering around the store for ten minutes, I bought two pair of socks. I don't even need socks.

The gym seems to have done a better job of solving their roof leak problem than I have. Even though there was a tremendous amount of rain yesterday, there was no sign of a leak when I arrived this morning. I wonder if I'll ever manage to go to the gym more than once a week? Even though other people seem to have no problem going daily, I just can't seem to find the time. Maybe I'm doing just fine. Very few people spend more time outdoors walking their dog. Even though Dash is very slow now, it's still good exercise for both of us.

I finally received a letter from NASA saying that they had postponed their event in Houston. That's good. Maybe when the event is rescheduled, I'll still make the cut. Of all the ways I can waste my time during retirement, becoming a space groupie and traveling to launches and events still seems like a good idea to me. I'm still hoping to get selected for once of these events.

I might like to visit old railroads too. I watched a show about scenic railroads on PBS this afternoon and it reminded me that I still like trains. I've traveled across the country several times on a train and the trips still bring back pleasant memories. I can't recall a single pleasant memory associated with flying.

There is still lots of rain in the forecast for next week. Enough already. I can't even remove the buckets from the living room floor until this rainy spell is over. There's another big auction in New York next week. I hope my art will do well. Maybe watching the auction online will help alleviate the cabin fever I get on rainy days. One way or another, we'll get through the week. I just want to see blue sky again.

Abby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, October 13, 2018

Day 3215

What a mess. The rain was relentless today. Just as I predicted, the roof started to leak again. Lately, it's been leaking whenever there's been an extremely heavy downpour. The fact that standing water alone doesn't cause the roof to leak ought to tell me something. I still can't find the leak, unfortunately.

Although I've got buckets on the living roof floor again and can still hear a steady drip, drip, drip as water hits the buckets, my problems are small compared to the little circus in the park. I really feel sorry for these guys. When Dash and I took our evening walk, I noticed that their tent was totally underwater. The water was three to five feet deep. I saw circus performers and crew standing waist deep inside the tent, trying to salvage chairs and props. Some chairs were actually floating away in the lake.

I wonder why nobody bothered to tell these guys that they were pitching their tent in a flood plain and that this was the rainy season in Dallas. Sadly, there is another city park less than five miles away on top of a hill. If they had located there instead, they never would have had a problem. One of the performers told me that they had four shows scheduled today. There were two matinees and two evening shows. The show obviously didn't go on.

Amazingly, in spite of the downpour, Dash still got two walks. The rain didn't start until almost 9 AM and by 6 PM, it was all over. In between, there was lots of thunder, a very scared dog, and a pretty soggy trip to the grocery store. It's sad that Dash has such limited mobility now. During thunderstorms, he still wants to crawl under my desk. This is his safe place. Unfortunately, he gets stuck in small spaces and can't get up. When he starts to struggle, his fear only increases. I had to block the office off today with a gate for his own safety.

When I went grocery shopping this morning the rain was coming down so hard that I could barely see the road. Several cars appeared to have stalled out and were sitting on the side of the road with their blinkers flashing. Nevertheless, this was still just rain. It's hard to even imagine what people in Panama City Beach are going through now. I've seen the pictures and it looks like this little costal town was totally destroyed by the hurricane.

The weather forecast says the rain is likely to continue through the end of next week. I'm not looking forward to that. Janet told me that there was a roof leak over at the storage warehouse. I'll have to take a look tomorrow and make sure that my unit is still dry. The pump on our roof still works, but it doesn't do much good. Right now, it is only removing water from the carport. I'm not even going to attempt to clear the standing water away until the rain stops. It's dangerous and ultimately the effort is pointless.

If it has to rain tomorrow, I hope there is no thunder. Dash has enough problems as it is. He definitely doesn't need to deal with storm phobia. We'll see how tomorrow goes. Maybe I'll still go to the gym. Maybe I'll just stay under the covers.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, October 12, 2018

Day 3214

Jeez. I'm getting so tired of politics. I feel like yelling "You guys are doing it all wrong" to both political parties. I'm sure nobody will listen but I'm convinced that Democrats would do a lot better if they abandoned their confrontational, in-your-face tactics and the Republicans would do better if they completely rethought their stance on immigration.

The other day I heard a Democratic friend say that they thought it was important to get out the vote, but they were afraid they might actually be encouraging someone to vote Republican. Bingo. Every time an angry mob screams obscenities from a Senate Gallery or chases a Senator out of a restaurant, you risk encouraging a non voter to get off the couch and vote against you. I don't think the politics of rage actually works. A lot of people have enough problems in their lives already. The last thing they want is a political circus. These undecided people may not march or put up yard signs, but when you make them feel like it is unsafe to go out to dinner or even enjoy a movie they will vote against you. If you block traffic with a protest on their way to work, they will definitely vote against you.

If the Democrats need to become less confrontational, the Republicans need to quit antagonizing Hispanics. What is wrong with you guys? Hispanics are practically begging to become Republicans. These guys are entrepreneurial. They work hard and tend to form businesses at a much higher rate than the general population. They still believe in the nuclear family and their kids tend to grow up with both a Mom and a Dad. They're even more religious than the general population. Isn't this the demographic you've been looking for? Republicans should be working to reform immigration laws and make it easier for Hispanics to become citizens. Quit being stupid. Welcome these guys into the fold and you could stay in power forever.

I can't quite put my finger on what has made our political system so crazy, but I think social media has a lot to do with it. Remember the Arab Spring? Everyone thought that sharing things in real time on Facebook and Twitter was going to bring democracy to the middle east. It brought total chaos instead. Libya, Egypt, and Syria crumbled. Maybe we're next. I think we need to bring back the smoke filled room where politicians can create practical, workable compromises without the scrutiny of social media pressure and a 24-hour news cycle. Winston Churchill, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and many others would never have survived in a world dominated by silly memes and Instagram pictures.

I'm discouraged by politics, but I was encouraged that the market rallied today. Maybe this week's free fall was just a normal market correction or perhaps the selloff was an investor temper tantrum about interest rates. All I know is that I'm too old to weather another major crash.

I'm probably too old to deal with my perpetual roof problems as well. I'm almost certain the roof will leak again tonight. We had a horrendous, heavy rainfall this afternoon. That's usually all it takes. I've called the roofers several times but I'm sure that there are leaks all over town. I wouldn't be surprised if the roofers were planning to move to Florida for six months. I hear that there's lots of roof work in the Panhandle.

Dash seemed like a normal dog today. I don't know how the little guy does it. He's like the Energizer Bunny of Dalmatians.

Kuuipo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 3213

I had an enjoyable conversation with the art expert at the auction house today. I'd made an appointment so he could appraise the stuff I wanted to consign. The guy was German and loved mid-century houses, so we had a lot to talk about. I achieved my objective too. All the work was accepted to go to auction and I returned home with an empty car. It's been years since I've had a serious conversation about art with anyone, so I was surprised that I still had knowledge and opinions. Talking about art and artists made me a bit nostalgic for my younger gallery hopping days. Good times. Maybe collecting is a meaningless activity, but I did have a lot of fun.

Dash is wearing me out. He got me up three times last night. Then he got alarmed when Janet left the house while he was asleep and he couldn't find her when he woke up. Dash doesn't react well to surprises these days. The good new is that the Rimadyl we've started giving him for pain appears to be working. He's walking steadier now and seems to have more energy. I've never been a fan of Rimadyl, but I don't want him to be in pain. Hopefully, there will be no serious side effects like there were with one of our other dogs. We'll see what Dash's lab results look like at his next exam.

I can't believe how slow I've become. I made my appointment with the art appraiser for noon, thinking it would give me plenty of time. I barely made it. All I did this morning was walk Dash, eat breakfast, and take a shower. I used to be able to do all this by the time I left for work at 8 AM. If I get any slower I'll soon be spending the entire day making the bed.

I noticed that the little circus in the park was having a performance while we were taking Dash on his evening walk. I wonder how these guys make any money? It didn't look like they had much of an audience tonight. I thought these guys must be local, but I looked them up on the Internet and they appear to be national. Their next stop is somewhere in California. What ever possessed five people to start a miniature circus and travel around the country giving performances in public parks? I'm curious, but apparently not curious enough to buy a ticket.

Another week is drawing to a close. For some odd reason I keep thinking that Thursday is the last day of the week. It feels that way to me. The week is over when I take the trash out to the curb on Thursday night. Maybe my breakfast excursions on Friday morning seem like a new beginning. I guess it doesn't really matter when the week starts or ends. All the days seem the same anyway.

Katy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Day 3212

I woke up this morning thinking that Hurricane Michael was going to be the only calamity today. Then the stock market dropped 800 points. So far, the hurricane seems to have done less damage than everybody expected. I'm kind of worried that today's big market sell off is just the first sign of more damage ahead. I can avoid hurricanes by choosing not to live near the coast. I'm not sure I can avoid financial disaster though. I don't think I'll live long enough to recover from another crash like we had in 2008.

Is a little stability too much to ask? The weather seems to be becoming more volatile. Politics has become way too volatile for my taste. The financial markets have always been volatile. Even my own house seems volatile, with something breaking or falling apart almost every week. I would love to see stability return. Persistent chaos is wearing me out.

Dash woke me up three times last night. The first time I took him outside, he did nothing. The second time, he eventually peed after smelling every bush in the yard. The third time, he pooped on the porch and then turned around and stepped in his mess on his way back inside. By the time I'd finished cleaning his feet and the porch, I was wide awake again. Eventually, I returned to bed, only to discover that Dash had already stolen my place.

I made arrangements this morning to take my remaining art to the auction house. Luckily, this auction house is located right here in town, so I won't need to pack or ship anything. One photo I was consigning had been on the wall for so long that I had ended up building a bookshelf around it. I had to disassemble part of the bookshelf so I could reach behind the frame and remove it from the hook on the wall. It was a lot more work than I anticipated. I certainly hope the auction house accepts everything tomorrow. The walls are starting to look pretty bare, but I'm not in the mood to deal with this stuff again.

It's time to pick up a new supply of Phenobarbital for Dash. I wish he didn't have to take so many meds. He'd probably feel more normal without the Phenobarbital, but he'd almost certainly start having epileptic seizures again within a week or two. I'd like to stop taking some of my own meds as well. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, these medications actually do work. Dash and I both need to keep our blood pressure under control. I need to watch my cholesterol. Dash lost his thyroid to cancer, so he needs thyroid medication. The list is long. Taking meds has become a complex ritual, but these pills are probably why we're both alive today.

The weather was beautiful this morning. It was a little chilly and I had to wear a light jacket on our morning walk for the first time this Fall. I think I heard the furnace come on last night as well. Although everything looks fine now, I need to remember that winter is coming.

Neo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Day 3211

What's up with Google? Remember when their motto was "Don't Be Evil?" Good times. Now it appears that they just don't know how to be good. Google had one of the most massive security breaches in history and they don't even bother to tell their users. Maybe they thought nobody would notice. They agree to build a totally separate censored search engine for China. Maybe no one would notice that either. There are all kinds of rumors that Google search results are biased. Who knows. They probably are. Google certainly isn't talking. I used to get most of my news and information from Google Reader until Google abruptly discontinued the clever feed aggregator. I was fascinated by Google Glass. I was even thinking about buying a pair until the innovative augmented reality spectacles quietly disappeared. Now, Google+ is going to be discontinued as well. I loved Google+. It was the only social media site where I actually took the time to interact with anyone. Come on Google. Would it have killed you to keep this platform going? What is Google going to abandon next? I hope it isn't Blogger. I've spent so much time using Blogger that I can't even imagine starting over someplace else.

Remember when I thought the little circus in the park would wind up in the water if we had another heavy rain? When we were walking Dash this evening I noticed that the circus tent was in the lake. I feel sorry for the circus performers. There won't be a show tonight, unless it involves ducks. Yep. We had another day of record rainfall. So far my own roof isn't leaking again, but I think we missed the worst of today's storms. At least we aren't in the path of a hurricane. One of my relatives lives on the Florida coast. Things don't look good for them.

I called the roofers again today, but I got a message saying "Mailbox Full" and my call was not accepted. This has happened before. If my roof is leaking, chances are that thousands of other roofs all over town are leaking as well. I imagine the roofers are pretty busy today. October is traditionally the rainy season here in Dallas. It sure would be nice if we got our rain in the Spring when the grass was starting to grow, rather than in the Fall when it is beginning to go dormant.

I finally contacted the last auction house on my list. They agreed to evaluate all the remaining items I'd still like to consign. I never realized that decluttering would be such a huge task. Inch by inch, I'm getting there though. I wish I was faster. My storage warehouse comes up for renewal at the end of the month and it looks like I'm going to have to rent the unit for another year. I was hoping that I'd be able to thin things out enough so that I could get a smaller storage space, but that's not happening. Maybe next year.

Dash wanted to eat grass and leaves again tonight. He hasn't done this for several months and I was hopeful that we had finally found a diet that agreed with him. Now, we're on vomit watch again. He hasn't thrown up yet, but he could at any time. It's frustrating that none of this is apparently under our control. Dash just has good days and bad days.

I hope we both have a good day tomorrow. The unrelenting rain is giving me cabin fever again.

Maverick is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, October 8, 2018

Day 3210 - Columbus Day

I must have checked the mail five times before I realized it was Columbus Day. This is an invisible holiday. I almost always forget this day unless I happen to go to the bank or post office and discover that they're closed. I think this holiday will eventually suffer the same fate as the statues of Columbus that are being toppled around the country. The man has definitely fallen out of favor. He already has to contend with a competing holiday that is celebrated by people who wish Columbus had never discovered anything.

Columbus Day isn't the only thing that's going away. Google+ is going away too. Why am I surprised. Popularity has waned in recent years and Google has decided it just isn't worth the trouble to maintain the site anymore. That's a shame. Google+ has always been my favorite social media site. It was a great place to discover new ideas and share photos with like-minded photographers. Instead of people I went to high school with, there were people who actually shared my interests. I had some good conversations. Google+ was the only social media site where I actually built a following. I guess it makes sense that the platform wasn't able to survive. Sooner or later, just about everything I really like goes belly up. The list of favored restaurants, products, magazines, cars, bands, websites, and furniture that have vanished from my life is quite long. Somehow, Walmart is still here though.

It finally happened. Dash pooped on the Persian rug in the living room. He almost always poops on the bricks, but he must have gotten lost on his way to the back door. Needless to say, cleanup was more difficult than usual. I wish that yesterday was a day when Dash's poop was firm, but I have no control over these things. You can't get mad at Dash though. He really does the best he can. I just hope that I don't become incontinent in my final years. There is nothing pleasant about incontinence.

I wonder if I've fallen out of favor with NASA. I used to get a lot better response when I applied to participate in their launches and special events. Now, it's crickets. The application I submitted last month was rejected and I still haven't received a response to my latest application. I'm sure the criteria for social media coverage has changed. When I filled out the latest application form, they weren't even interested in what I was doing on Google+. They were interested in Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Reddit and a host of other things I never bother with.

The weather was weird today. There were severe weather and flash flood alerts on my TV and phone all day, but it didn't rain much at all in our part of town. I was even able to take Dash on morning and evening walks without getting wet. It's supposed to rain again tomorrow and then again later in the week. I definitely don't think we need to worry about a drought anymore.

Sometimes I feel like writing about more substantial things than the weather and dogs. I despise arguments though. Our entire society has become way too argumentative. I blame this on the rise of tribalism and a lack of shared values. Some of you probably don't agree. That's why I like dogs so much. Dogs can't talk.

Madison is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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