Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 3104

Now I'm worried that there is blood in Dash's stool. When other dogs of ours have had these unusually dark stools, it was seldom a good sign. Maybe the Plavix has caused some internal bleeding. Maybe Dash's cancer has returned. I'll take a sample to the lab for occult blood testing tomorrow and hope for the best. If this is caused by something Dash is eating, it would be good news. We can change what Dash is eating. I'm not sure we can stop the Plavix though.

I didn't do a lot of thinking today. I never do on Sundays. We took a long sunrise walk before it became to hot outside. We all ate breakfast and then I went to the gym. I like my new schedule. I seem to have more energy when I go to the gym early. I tried a new method of shooting free throws that a friend recommended, but it didn't make much of a difference. I tried to move a little faster on the treadmill and arm bicycle as well. There isn't much point in doing these exercises if I don't elevate my heart rate a bit more.

If I counted Sunday chores as part of my workout, I'm actually getting a lot of exercise. I mowed the grass today and vacuumed the house. While I was vacuuming, I took some of the pictures that are going to the auction house off the wall and dusted behind the frames. Most of these pictures haven't been off the wall in decades, so there was an immense amount of dust on the back. The dust didn't hurt anything, but I was embarrassed for anyone else to see it. Now, when everything is packed up to go to New York, the pictures will be clean on both sides.

I think I might just wait until Fall to get the sliding glass door fixed. We don't use the atrium much anyway. I had to have this door fixed once before and the repair people had to remove it for a day to fix the track. I don't think it's a good idea to remove this large door in the Summer. A day without the door would quickly make the inside of the house the same temperature as the outside. I don't think Dash could handle this. I wouldn't enjoy it very much either. I often postpone things for no reason at all, but I think this is a pretty good reason to do nothing.

I can't figure out why my phone is getting a stronger signal now. Usually reception is so bad that I often have to take the phone outside when I get a call. All the sudden I've gone from one bar to four bars. The logical thing would be that AT&T has improved our service, but Janet's phone hasn't changed at all. She still gets poor reception inside the house. This is as much of a mystery as when my Apple Watch shuts itself off while I sleep. I think technology has developed a life of its own. I have no idea what my devices are doing these days.

There is something really important that I need to do tomorrow, but I can't remember what it is. I think all Monday's begin this way.

Rio is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 3103

When I took Dash outside to pee last night, the yard was uncharacteristically dark. The security light had gone out again. Jeez. I just had the electrician fix this thing less than a month ago. Dash pooped somewhere, but I couldn't see anything. The yard was too dark. Little things like this drive me nuts. Why is it so hard to get things fixed these days? For what I paid the electrician, that light should have stayed working for years.

When I went to get groceries this morning, I couldn't find any Swiss cheese. The cheese aisle must have had fifty different varieties of cheese, but no Swiss. It wasn't like I was trying to find anything exotic. I was under the impression that Swiss was a very common cheese, but from the looks of the cheese aisle, Irish cheese and Greek cheese are more popular. In case you were thinking that the store was just out of stock, it's been this way for almost three months. The absence of my favorite cheese was just as frustrating as the faulty security light in the back yard. In both cases, I don't know what is going on. Who knows? Maybe there is a tariff on cheese.

I keep looking around the office and wondering if I still need all the stuff surrounding me. Probably not. I'd be more amenable to a major housecleaning, if it wasn't so much trouble. Books are heavy. Obsolete tape recorders and computers are even heavier. It's much easier to just let everything collect dust a little longer. There needs to be a painless way to downsize without dealing with yard sales or Craigslist. I used to be a big fan of eBay, but that seems almost as bad as Craigslist these days. Lets face it. I've become so adverse to dealing with strangers that I'll probably just do nothing.

It's getting harder to find things to photograph on our walks now. The Spring wildflowers are starting to disappear and the animals stay hidden during the hot Summer days. We got up extra early this morning in an attempt to avoid the heat, but it was still uncomfortable. It's going to be a long, hot Summer.  I think Dash had more energy this morning than I did.

I hope I have more energy tomorrow, because it's time to go to the gym again. I wonder what it's going to take to step up my game and go several times a week. It's easy to convince myself that I already get enough exercise walking Dash. It's even easier to convince myself that the traffic is too bad to leave the house. Hey, if I was really concerned about exercise, I could just do planks on the office floor. It's actually pretty amazing that I even go to the gym at all.

The landscaper still hadn't replaced the dead grass. I wonder who I'm going to see first: the roofer or the landscaper?

Boo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 3102

We had our first 100 degree day of the year. I'm sure it won't be our last. It seemed ridiculously hot today. I kept thinking that we don't usually get this kind of weather until July. Then I realized that it is actually pretty close to July. Needless to say, Dash didn't get an afternoon walk. He had trouble yesterday when it was ten degrees cooler. We're just going to stay inside and hope the air conditioner keeps working.

I've started ordering breakfast from the side dish menu. These little plates with a single sausage link or a few pieces of toast seem just about right. The waiters don't seem happy. I think they want me to order a much larger meal. Not to worry. I'm still going to leave a good tip. I'm just not very hungry these days.

The art shippers called this afternoon. They're on their way. It's going to seem weird not to have these pictures on my walls any more. They've followed me around to two different states and three different houses. It's time to say goodbye though. Possessions can be an anchor around your neck. It might be more enjoyable to travel than to worry about whether a roof leak is going to ruin a painting.

I was going to clean the atrium today and I couldn't get the sliding glass door to open. Jeez. I was going to fix this thing last year, but never got around to it. Now, I've got one more thing on my to-do list. The list just keeps getting longer. Yesterday, I added a whistling toilet in Janet's bathroom. The toilet still works fine, but loud noises are usually a good indication that something bad is about to happen.

Anyone my age has probably watched the Carpool Karaoke episode with Paul McCartney by now. The video was plastered all over my Facebook wall this morning. This touching tribute to Paul's Liverpool roots brought back a flood of memories that had nothing to do with Liverpool. I grew up with the Beatles. It's amazing that after all these years, the Beatles and the Stones are still relevant. I was lucky to come of age in the golden age of music. The 60's and the 70's were a high water mark. Listening to a new album by The Lumineers just doesen't compare to hearing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for the first time.

I got a letter from my sister today. I'm glad she's feeling well enough to write again. Her cancer is not in remission, but she seems in much better spirits. We followed dramatically different paths in life, but some things seem to be converging as we grow older. We both share the same distain for Uber and Airbnb. It's pretty obvious that we have joined the "Get off my Lawn" crowd.

When Dash woke me up last night to go outside, he ended up giving me a scare. He had a mild case of diarrhea and wandered all over the yard in a squatting position. When he was finished, he had trouble resuming an upright position. He seemed stuck in his pooping posture. I had to help him up and gently walk him around the yard a bit to get him moving again. When he came inside, he wasn't able to climb up on the bed and went to sleep on the floor. Luckily, he was walking fine this morning. Dash's rear legs are getting weaker and weaker. I hope he can make it through the Summer.

I hope I can make it through the Summer too. Right now, living in Iceland seems pretty appealing.

Kirby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 3101 - Summer Solstice

It certainly seemed like the longest day of the year. I didn't get that much accomplished, but I've been busy all day. It takes me so long to get things done now. By the time I walked Dash, ate breakfast, paid a few bills, and watched last night's episode of The Expanse, it was time to get my hair cut. I'd made the appointment for 2:15 this afternoon, thinking that it would give me plenty of time, but I was almost late.

By the time I got home again, it was already time to feed Dash his dinner. I always feel better after a haircut. I may not look any younger, but at least I don't look like a madman. Maybe if I cut my hair more frequently, the transformation wouldn't be so severe. I used to go shopping when I made this periodic trip to Northpark Mall. Now, I don't even bother to stop at the Apple Store. I never thought I'd grow tired of computers, but I think the day has finally arrived. I certainly don't need any more clothes. After taking three bags of stuff to the Goodwill the other day, my closets are still filled with things I've never worn.

Dash is back to normal again. I'm glad he is able to bounce back from these frightening vestibular episodes. His appetite has returned and the nausea has gone. It makes a huge difference when Dash is willing to eat. Some of his meds are absolutely essential and when he has an upset stomach, it is nearly impossible to give him his pills. After a while, you really learn to appreciate the good days.

Summer Solstice in Texas just means that the heat lasts a little longer in the evening. There was a time though, when this day was pretty special. When I was growing up in Alaska, my Dad packed the family in the car and we drove to the Arctic Circle one Summer to see the midnight sun during the solstice.  It was a long time ago, but I still remember how cool it was to see the sun above the horizon at midnight. With 24-hour days in the summer and auroras almost every night in the Winter, it's not surprising that I developed a lifelong interest in astronomy.

I was really disappointed to hear that the Supreme Court is going to allow states to collect sales tax from online sales. For many years, I've bought all my computers and cameras online primarily to avoid the sales tax. Buying online has saved me a lot of money over the years. I feel sorry for small Etsy businesses. It's going to be a nightmare for them to calculate all the different tax rates that various different municipalities are charging. I'm glad I was around at the beginning of the Internet. Ten years from now, it's not going to seem very special at all.

I have no idea where I'm going for breakfast tomorrow. I wish I still enjoyed this little Friday morning adventure. Like the early Internet, it was fun for a while. What I can't figure out is if I'm losing interest in food, why am I still gaining weight?

Barley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 3100

Every time I think we've turned the corner with Dash, something happens to remind me that he's still a sick dog. He must have had another vestibular episode last night. When I took him outside to pee around 1 AM, he was drooling a lot and wanted to eat grass. I thought he was going to throw up, but he didn't. We went back to sleep, but he had no appetite the next morning. It was really hard to get him to take his morning meds. He wasn't interested in anything. Eventually we were able to wrap the pills in small pieces of a leftover quesadilla. He still seemed eager to walk, but when we got home he wanted to throw up again. It was way too soon to throw up because his phenobarbital hadn't gotten into his system yet. I wouldn't let him eat grass in the yard, gave him a Pepsid AC, and went back in the bedroom with him until he eventually fell asleep on the bed. This was a little risky, since I didn't want to clean vomit off the bedspread. The plan worked though. When Dash woke up three hours later, he seemed fine.

When we went out to dinner yesterday I put on a shirt that Janet said was fifteen years out of style. It probably was. I have trouble throwing stuff away, so I told her she could go through my closet and get rid of anything she'd be embarrassed to see me wear in public. Janet loves to get rid of clutter, so I wasn't surprised that she took me up on my offer. This afternoon, there were three large trash bags filled with an odd selection of old polo shirts that looked like they belonged to a guy thirty pounds heavier than me. Jeez. Did I ever wear those shirts? I guess I must have. There were also a ton of old t-shirts I must have picked up at trade shows. Janet seemed delighted to pare down my collection of ugly sweaters. I must have been fond of loud, colorful sweaters at some point. I could never throw away this stuff myself, but I won't miss anything. Truthfully, I'm glad the stuff is gone.

When I went to the bank this morning, I stood in line behind a man who'd brought a shopping cart into the lobby with him. He looked like a homeless guy, but he must have had a business of some sort. I watched as the teller handed him bag after bag of coins. When he had filled the grocery cart with coins, he left the bank and started pushing the cart down the sidewalk. I have no idea where he was going. It's a strange world we live in. You never would have seen this at a bank twenty years ago.

I made an appointment to get a haircut tomorrow, but I forgot to check the weather forecast first. It looks like there are supposed to be thunderstorms. I hope the forecast changes overnight. Weather forecasts change every few hours here in Texas, so it might be clear tomorrow. If there are storms, I'll have to cancel my appointment. Dash's storm phobia has gotten worse and I can't risk leaving him alone in a storm anymore.

Dash ate his dinner tonight, so hopefully he is feeling better. We still don't know what triggers these vestibular episodes. They seem to occur when you least expect them and they are always alarming. The vet says he will experience these periodic sensations of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. Luckily, they don't seem to happen too often. Lets hope he has a normal day tomorrow.

Alamo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Day 3099 - My Birthday

How did this happen? I'm seventy years old. That seems impossible. Just yesterday people were still calling me a forty-something. Where has the time gone? I shouldn't complain though. I'm still here. My Mom never reached this age and my Dad already knew he had Parkinson's Disease by the time he turned seventy. All things considered, I'm still pretty healthy and there is no reason not to enjoy my remaining years.

Birthday's are pretty low key these days. My insurance agent and dentist are the only people who send cards anymore. Lots of people send birthday greetings on Facebook though. I love the birthday feature on Facebook. Without it, I could never remember anyone's birthday.

Janet took me out for dinner tonight. We ate early, so there would still be time to walk Dash when we got home. Our meal was great. I never would have discovered this place even though it is located nearby. My knowledge of restaurants is limited to breakfast. Janet still works though and takes people to lunch. She knows where all the cool restaurants are.

She also knows what I like. My birthday gift was a trip to the Houston Space Center. This is perfect for an aging space nerd like me. When Janet retires (again) later this Summer and can stay with Dash, I'm going to enjoy visiting mission control, standing next to a Saturn V, and maybe even having lunch with an astronaut.

I wonder if the landscaper knew it was my birthday? Much to my surprise, he and his assistant came over today. They were very nice and said that they would have been here earlier if they hadn't been so busy. The replacement grass wasn't installed today, but they measured what was needed and said they'd be back on Friday. Sounds good to me.

Dash seemed very relieved when we returned from dinner tonight. We weren't gone that long, but he isn't used to being alone anymore. He knows he is a special needs dog and one of us is always around in case he stumbles or has a seizure. I thought that Dash would probably poop in the house while we were gone, but he waited until we returned to poop in the house. Poor guy. He doesn't enjoy having an accident. Incontinence goes hand in hand with aging though. In dog years, Dash is a lot older than I am.

I can't say that turning seventy is as much fun as turning 25 or 30, but it does have a silver lining. I am now permanently exempt from jury duty.

Inky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Day 3098

I was surprised that Dash and I got caught in the rain this morning. I'm obsessive about checking the weather and I wasn't expecting rain at all. Although we both got wet, it was a gentle shower and ended up taking the edge off the Summer heat. When Dash was younger, he hated walking in the rain. Today, he didn't even seem to notice. He maintained the same slow pace he does on dry days.

I'm continuing to look for things to consign at auction. Today, I took a small picture out of its frame to see if there was a signature on the back. In the process, I discovered how dusty a nearby bookcase had become. One thing usually leads to another around here and pretty soon I was carefully vacuuming all the nik naks on the shelves. Nothing has changed in the office for years. I need to throw away a lot of useless, obsolete stuff and give the place a thorough cleaning. Given the extent of the clutter, it seems like an impossible task. I always wondered how my Dad's place became so cluttered in his later years. He and Mom were neat as a pin when they were younger. So was I. In my early thirties, I was a devoted minimalist and nothing was ever out of place. I guess there is a little Grey Gardens in all of us as we age.

I sent the landscaper a text message today. Nothing else has worked. I hate to be a pest, but I hate being ignored even more. It continues to amaze me that so many people in the service industry provide terrible service. When my business was active, I tried my best to be responsive. I usually avoided making promises though. Promises can be hard to keep. It's OK to say you're not going to be able to get to something for a while. Just don't say you're coming over tomorrow and never show up.

I wonder if future generations will ever collect old computers. I have lots of old computers. Most things that are collectible now were considered worthless at some point. Who ever thought that baseball cards and school lunch boxes would become valuable? My Mom threw away a big box of baseball cards I had as a kid. She just thought they were junk. I wish I still had every guitar I ever purchased. I got rid of a few that later proved valuable. As I survey the office now, it's hard to tell the treasures from the junk. It's very tedious to research everything too. That's probably why the bookshelves are so dusty now. I still want to downsize, but it is a lot of trouble. I bet I'll still be thinking of downsizing next year when things are even dustier.

Rugby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 3097 - Father's Day

Since my birthday is always close to Father's Day, my Mom used to tell Dad that I was his Father's Day gift. I think this annoyed my Dad. I was often a thorn in his side. I abandoned a childhood love of physics and astronomy to go to architecture school. Just when my Dad was getting used to the idea of his son as an architect, I abandoned architecture for a career in advertising. Dad had little use for advertising. He was a devout Lutheran and he never really understood when I abandoned the church. We were not always close, but I always admired my Dad. He was an honest man, a Navy veteran, and a proud member of the greatest generation.

Dad was a scientist who enjoyed watching The Three Stooges on TV after work. He was an avid reader and often gave me books he thought I should read. We never shared the same taste in books. To this day I don't know why he enjoyed Don Marquis so much. He probably wouldn't understand why I liked John Kennedy Toole. I've tried to read The Old Soak and A Variety of People and always lost interest after a few chapters. I never thought Don Marquis was funny. I usually lost interest in watching college basketball with Dad as well. Dad loved basketball. The one time when he seemed a little interested in my advertising career was when I told him I was producing a series of commercials with famed basketball announcer Dick Vitale.

I'm not a Dad myself, but I did a few dad-like things today. I reluctantly hooked up the pressure washer and did my best to clean all the spider webs off the living room windows. Spider webs are almost impossible to remove. The pressure washer will remove paint from the window trim before it will dislodge the pesky spider webs. The webs are full of spiders too. I have to remember to wear a hat when I do this chore, or I will end up with a mess of spiders in my hair. The windows look better now, but this is such a messy job. Water always seeps around the edges of the large single pane glass and I have to mop up water spills on the inside of the house. I wish there was a special paint that repelled spiders. It would be worth repainting the house just to get rid of these nasty insects.

I got a lot of exercise today. We started the day with a long sunrise walk. Dash really enjoys these early morning walks. I went to the gym right after breakfast and did pretty pretty well throwing free throws on the basketball court. Dad would have been surprised that I enjoy shooting baskets. Hey, it's a pleasant way to develop hand eye coordination. I still don't follow the sport. I couldn't fill out a NCAA tournament bracket to save my life.

I don't know how long the windows will stay clean, but I'm not looking forward to cleaning the rest of the house with the pressure washer. I usually do this once a year. Cleaning the exterior of the house and tending to the yard are largely symbolic gestures. Mother nature won this battle many years ago.

The landscaper still hasn't showed up with the replacement grass. I should introduce him to the roofer. These two guys are peas in a pod.

Bali is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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