Monday, August 13, 2018

Day 3154

I spent some time talking with auction houses today. I've got to finish consigning things before I totally lose interest in this downsizing venture. I wish I'd methodically inventoried everything when I was younger. It would make life a little easier if I actually knew what I had. It's probably just as well that my younger self wasn't this obsessive. I'm obsessive enough as it is. Maybe I will regain my enthusiasm if the first batch of auctions go well. Right now, downsizing seems very tiring.

The weather hasn't gotten much better. The sound of raindrops on the roof woke me up again last night. The showers were sporadic today, but it's still pretty dark and dismal outside. I'm amazed that I've still been able to give Dash a walk every day. I don't know how I survived before I had weather radar on my phone. We go outside when it's dry and stay inside when it's wet. Usually it works out pretty well.

I had to pick up some meds for Dash at the vet this morning, but that was the extent of my travels. I really don't put many miles on the car anymore. According to my Fitbit, I walk about as much in any given week as I drive. I drive so little now that I wonder if I'd save on car insurance if I put one of those little tracking devices the insurance companies are pushing in my car. I hate the idea of being tracked by an insurance company, but anyone who uses less than a quarter of a tank of gas a week is bound to get a discount.

I wish someone could explain to me what is is going on in Dash's head. It's easy to say he's becoming senile, but I'd like to know exactly what is going on. I'm not sure there's much we could do at this point, but it's sad to see him so disoriented. He'll stand at the back door forever before making a decision to go outside and pee. Sometimes he'll aimlessly walk in circles while we're at the park, and occasionally he seems to get lost in the house. There are still plenty of times when Dash seems completely lucid, but the moments when he appears totally out of it can be pretty scary.

I have a meeting scheduled with my financial advisor tomorrow. I used to be very interested in the stock market and we would have some lively discussions. Not anymore. I've done the best I can to prepare for the future, but the future seems to be growing more uncertain every day. It would be a miracle if I have thirty years left. Sometimes I think it would be even more of a miracle if civilization has thirty years left. There are way too many potential disasters on the horizon.

The one good thing about aging is that the older you get, the less impending doom matters. Hey, I'm already a survivor. I could be wrong too. Maybe the glass is actually half full. I could be more optimistic, but it would be even better to be more like Dash. I doubt that he spends a lot of time thinking about the future. For a dog, the future is always tomorrow morning.

Emma is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, August 12, 2018

Day 3153

OK. Enough rain already. I managed to complete most of Sunday's errands despite the rain, but it looks like I'm going to miss the Perseid meteor shower tonight. This has been a weird month even by Texas standards. Within a matter of weeks we recorded the highest temperature on record for August and the lowest temperature on record for August. I'm enjoying the unusually cool weather we've been experiencing recently. I just wish there wasn't so much rain.

On the way to the gym this morning I listened to a show on the radio about an economist who had written a book about how smart people often do stupid things learned a few days after the book's publication that he had lost all his money to Bernie Madoff. Ironic, but not terribly surprising. I've known a lot of smart people who've done stupid things. Myself included. The surprising thing is that there are still a few people who don't do stupid things. I guess they're out there, but I don't know any.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I can't figure out how my gym stays in business. There was nobody there today. Well, I guess there were two or three others, but it seemed like nobody. I think my lack of sleep is catching up with me. I felt like I was doing my routines underwater today. I was terrible on the basketball court as well. I guess, just like Dash, I have good days and bad days too.

It's too bad it's overcast tonight. They say the Perseid meteor shower is spectacular this year. Oh, well. Maybe next year. I guess I do most of my astronomy online these days. Even on a nice day, it's a lot of trouble to take the telescope out and the light pollution in Dallas is terrible. Much easier to look at pretty pictures online. I guess I could say the same thing for space launches. If I went to Florida to see the Parker Solar Probe launch in person it would have cost a fortune. The launch got delayed several times and I would have had to extend my stay and change my airline reservations. The launch was in the middle of the night too. I watched a replay this morning on YouTube while I was drinking my coffee. Works for me.

While I was thinking about throwing away my old computers, I had a radical idea. Maybe I should just go back to using them. I liked the old towers much better than what I'm using now. The big silver cheese grater tower was my favorite. I liked Mountain Lion better than Sierra too. Now that I'm essentially retired, is there even any point to keeping up with the latest innovations? Probably not. Of course, I could always become a raging Luddite like my sister and go offline completely.

I hope everything is normal tonight. Dash gave me a scare last night. He woke up and got off the bed like he often does. Then he just froze. He wouldn't move or even respond to me. I thought he might be having a vestibular seizure, but there were no rapid eye movements. The poor guy just seemed totally out of it. About thirty minutes later he was back to normal. It took me a little longer to get back to normal.

It's supposed to rain again tomorrow. Hopefully on Tuesday, the sun returns.

Ellis is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Day 3152

We're getting a lot of rain. I know it's been dry and we really need need this, but I'm starting to worry about the roof. I can't leave all that standing water up there forever. The new elastomer coating had plenty of time to dry, so maybe there won't be a problem. My experience says otherwise unfortunately. For the time being I'll just wait and hope. There is no point in removing the water while it's still raining.

We had to wait until mid-morning to give Dash his walk because it was raining pretty hard when we woke up. The showers we've been having are sporadic, but they never stop long enough to get anything done. We got a little break in the weather after breakfast, but by the time we finished walking Dash, it was already raining again.

On days like these I have to forget about keeping the car clean. Ther's no avoiding Saturday errands. Today, I needed coffee and fresh fruit a lot more than I needed to stay dry. At least the strawberries looked good today. I hate to brave the weather just to find some rotten fruit.

Dash had a really good appetite today. Go figure. He ate all his meals without having to bribe him with peanut butter and dog treats. He still seemed hungry after his regular breakfast, so we fed him a little more. I can't figure out these daily fluctuations in appetite and energy. It doesn't make sense. Everything is so consistent in Dash's life that you wouldn't expect dramatic changes. All that being said, I'm really happy whenever Dash has a good day. He needs a lot more good days.

There isn't much to do on dark, rainy days. I tried to diagnose a problem with Janet's laptop. I watched a cooking show on PBS. I read a long online article about how the dinosaurs died out. I'm fascinated by theories of how the universe began or how the dinosaurs died. Basically a lot of really smart people are just guessing. I know of at least three distinctly different theories of how the dinosaurs became extinct. They all sound plausible to me.

Dash slept well last night, but I didn't. I woke up every time I heard rain on the roof. My Fitbit says that I experience normal periods of deep sleep, but I don't believe it. I'm such a light sleeper that the slightest noise always wakes me up. This is good when I've got a sick dog that needs attention. It's bad when I'm tired and really need to sleep.

If I can't sleep tonight, I might turn on the computer and watch the Parker Solar Probe launch. This launch has been delayed several times but it is scheduled to lift off around 2:30 AM this morning. I almost applied to NASA to view this launch in person, but I can't bring myself to leave Dash. It's not a big deal to miss this one. I'm sure they'll be launching plenty of satellites for the rest of my lifetime. It is a pretty audacious idea to send a spacecraft right through the sun's corona without burning it up. I hope they succeed, but it will be seven years before we find out whether the mission is a success.

I guess today was a success. Dash is happy. There are no signs of roof leaks. And the refrigerator is full again. Pretty soon it will be time for another trip to the gym.

Hannah is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Friday, August 10, 2018

Day 3151

More rain today. The moisture cooled things down enough so that it was actually pleasant outside. We seem to be in kind of a sweet spot in Dallas. We don't get horrible floods like Houston or horrible wildfires like California. I used to think I'd like to think I'd like to live out West again, but all my favorite places are burning down.

We narrowly escaped getting wet again on our morning walk. Dash is really slow these days, but I don't care if it takes all morning to make our rounds. Even though he can barely stand up, Dash still really enjoys these daily walks. Today he got to see one of the dogs he made friends with at his old training class. It's been so long, I don't even know how he remembered this dog, but he did. It was just a chance encounter in the park, but Dash started wagging his tail and even attempted an abbreviated play bow. I haven't seen him do this in a very long time.

The place I've been going to breakfast on Friday's has a sign on the front door saying "kitchen help needed, inquire within." I wish they'd find a new cook soon. Every time I order something, it comes out completely different than it did the previous week. Today's chef didn't really know how to make a decent omelette. If I had the time and the inclination, I'd just go to chef owned restaurants. If the cook owns the place, at least there's going to be some consistency.

While I was eating my omelette this morning, I noticed that half the people in the restaurant were wearing Apple Watches. Apple is the most popular watch brand in the world now. Kid wear them. Grandmothers wear them. Everyone wears them. Apple outsells all the fashion brands and even Rolex. No wonder my writing jobs disappeared. I used to primarily write about the watch industry. Like it or not, this industry has been decimated.

It rained so hard when I was coming home from breakfast that it felt like I was going through a car wash. The car was actually cleaner when I returned than it was early this morning. I think the rain is going to continue for almost a week. This will be a real test for the roof. I'm not even going to try to remove the water until dry weather returns. I've become pretty fatalistic about roof leaks, They're either going to happen or they won't. I really hope the roofers did a good job. I'm tired of arguing about this.

Dash's tail started bleeding this morning. This is what I hate about Plavix. The least little scratch can cause bleeding that is very hard to stop. Dash needs the blood thinners though. If he stopped taking them, he might not be with us much longer. I was lucky this morning. Dash was sleepy when I noticed the cut and I was able to wrap a bandage around his tail while he was taking his morning nap. By the time he woke up again, the blood had coagulated and the bleeding had stopped.

I didn't get much sleep last night. I hope I do better tonight. You'd think with so little going on in my life that it would be easy to get eight hours of shut eye every night. It never seems to work out that way.

J-Lo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Day 3150

Dash is so slow now that the weather forecast can change during our walks. That's what happened this morning. When we left the house the weather radar looked OK and I wasn't expecting rain until this afternoon. Things can change quickly in Texas though. The dark skies on the Western horizon began growing closer and closer. I started hearing thunder. It wasn't long before I began feeling raindrops. The surprise storm didn't seem to faze Dash. He kept inching along at a snail's pace, stopping to smell every bush along the way. Dash used to be frightened by thunder, but he doesn't hear well anymore. He didn't even appear to notice that we were starting to get wet. Amazingly, we made it home before the storm arrived. Usually we aren't so lucky.

Dash seemed unusually tired today. He slept for most of the day and wasn't interested in eating at all. He didn't finish his breakfast until 4 PM and we're still working on dinner. Dash's good days and bad days are totally unpredictable. As recently as yesterday I was feeling that he was getting stronger. Whenever Dash is lethargic like this, I start to worry. There's not much I can do, but this type of fatigue is usually a sign that his heart condition is getting worse.

I'm still trying to downsize, but it appears that the low hanging fruit is gone. When I began this quest, I purposely looked for items that would appeal to other collectors. Now that the good stuff stuff has all been consigned, I'm having a lot more difficulty unloading the second-tier collections. I apparently has a discerning eye for art back in the 1970's. I had good taste in model trains too. Not so much with the watches I began collecting a few decades later. My taste in vintage watches turned out to be terrible. The only things I was interested in were early tuning fork watches, LED watches, and calculator watches. Very few people work on these things anymore. I had a guy in California who used to fix my Accutrons, but he died. A lot of early electronic watches used mercury batteries and never worked reliably using modern replacement batteries. Parts for LED watches are almost impossible to come by. All these problems could be overcome if people actually desired these geeky timepieces. They don't. Everybody wants an old Rolex instead.

We ended up getting a lot of rain today. There is no point in removing the water from the roof though. It's supposed to continue raining for the next several days. Let's hope that the roofers did a good job. I really don't want to deal with a leak again. I'll go up and inspect things when rain is out of the forecast, but there's no point in doing anything now. I'm going to just keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

I hope the forecast is wrong. Dash does much better when he gets his morning walk. I can't go out for breakfast if it's raining either. Dash is just too unpredictable. We'll see what happens. The forecast wasn't very accurate today. It probably won't be tomorrow either.

Nautica is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Day 3149

When I was walking Dash this morning, I saw our neighbor walking the dog that bit me. We were both careful not to approach each other, but I was still apprehensive. I know that this dog would bite me again if he ever had the opportunity. I wish there weren't so many things that frightened me like this, but I'm a practical guy who learns from experiences. I don't like driving at rush hour anymore. There are way too many wrecks. I won't take my telescope into the park at night even though there are some excellent viewing areas. The park is no longer safe at night. I never go to concerts anymore. Crowds are too unpredictable.

Has the world changed, or have I changed? It's probably a little bit of both. Leave It To Beaver is as much of a fantasy as Harry Potter these days. It's hard to believe that I hitchhiked all over the country while I was in college. I backpacked alone in wilderness areas. I thought nothing of packing up my musical instruments at 2 AM on a deserted city street after the clubs had closed. None of these things seems very wise anymore. When I hear sirens at night, I am content to stay inside behind a locked door. I hope it never becomes worse than this. The world is still full of interesting things and it would be a shame to feel like a prisoner inside your own house.

I still walk Dash every day but I'm more careful than I used to be. I watch for Type-A cyclists intent on mowing us down. I watch for loose dogs. I watch for poison ivy and snakes. I definitely keep an eye out for the neighbor's dog. Being observant has its benefits though. I see lots and lots of interesting birds, rabbits and wildflowers.

Today was slow. I need to find a hobby. Without the steady stream of articles and website updates that used to keep me busy, the days can get really long. I wrote my sister and paid a few bills. I checked my brokerage account and did some laundry. I cleaned up dog poop and looked in vain for something interesting to watch on TV. It was a pretty typical Wednesday.

Rain is on the way. It's supposed to be raining by tomorrow morning. Even though we really need the moisture, I'm very apprehensive about the roof. If the repairs the roofers made don't work, I don't know what I'm going to do next. I believe the crew made a good faith effort to repair all the damaged areas. If the roof still leaks after all this, I'm probably going to be faced with putting on an entirely new roof.

Dash pooped in the house again while I was fixing breakfast. He almost made it to the back door. Hey, at least he's still trying. Despite the boredom, I'm still trying too. One way or another, we're going to make it through this long, hot summer.

Lilly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Day 3148

It was a busy morning. I walked Dash earlier than usual because I needed to drive Janet to the dentist for dental surgery. It's surprising how nice our mornings have been lately, considering how hot it gets later in the day. Dash still hadn't touched his breakfast by the time Janet and I left the house, but I was confident he would eat later. This is his new schedule. He gets up, takes his morning pills in little bites of steak and then we walk. When we return, Dash goes back to sleep. Usually, a little before noon, he wanders out to the kitchen and eats his breakfast. It seems odd to have a Dalmatian that wakes up uninterested in food, but I'm willing to go with the flow these days. As long as Dash continues eating, we're good.

Janet's dental procedure didn't take that long. As soon as I took a shower and washed the breakfast dishes, it was time to pick her up again. It was easy to see why the dentist didn't want Janet driving today. They must have given her some pretty powerful drugs. Dash was happy when Janet returned. He had someone to nap with for the rest of the day.

The guitar store confirmed that one of my guitars did sell recently. Yay. One down, two to go. The store put the guitar on layaway for the buyer, so I won't get a check until the guy finishes paying for it. That's OK. I'm kind of surprised that the whole concept of layaway still exists. My parents used to buy things on layaway when I was a kid, and it still seems like a frugal, rather sensible way to make a purchase. Layaway has definitely fallen out of fashion. People don't like dealing with delayed gratification these days. They'd rather just put something on a charge card and worry about coming up with the money later.

I think the SAMe pills we've been giving Dash are working. He's still weak, but he seems a bit more engaged and interested in life these days. He really likes his morning walks now. I'm not sure who discovered that SAMe helps with cognitive dysfunction in dogs. This stuff seems to be good for everything. I'll admit I'm a bit skeptical of a drug that supposedly helps with everything from depression and hepatitis to joint pain and degenerative myelopathy. How can a single drug help with so many non-related problems? Both of Dash's doctors believe that SAMe is worth a try though. We'll see. If it works, maybe I should start taking it myself.

Looks like another exciting day tomorrow. You'd think I'd be bored out of my mind, but I'm not. I've just about perfected how to turn a walk with Dash, a morning smoothie, an afternoon nap, and some idle time on Facebook into an entire day.

Lou is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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Monday, August 6, 2018

Day 3147

You know you've finally come to terms with your dog's incontinence when he poops in the bed and you're just happy that the poop is firm. I thought I smelled something last night, but I was really tired and Dash farts a lot anyway. I didn't notice that he'd pooped in the bed until morning. This was a first and I hope it isn't a sign of things to come. At least the mess was on Dash's dog blanket and it was easy to clean up.

We've been through this before with Dot.There was a period of time between when she initially became incontinent and when she lost the ability to climb on the bed that we were doing a lot of laundry. I hope Dash's instinct to head for the back door continues for a while. It makes life a lot easier.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother to write on Monday. Nothing ever happens on Monday. The big event of the day was putting the new vehicle registration sticker on my windshield. If the state doesn't need a safety inspection sticker anymore, I wonder why they still need a registration sticker? Probably it's just a different bureaucracy that's involved. I can tell that the carpel tunnel in my wrist has gotten worse. It was surprisingly difficult to position the sticker in the bottom corner of the windshield. It probably would have been easier if I wasn't such a perfectionist. The sticker had to be absolutely parallel.

Dash had a nice walk this morning, but as soon as we returned home, he seemed exhausted. We walked really slow and he seemed to be enjoying himself, but maybe we are overdoing things. It's hard to tell. Dash went to sleep while I was fixing my smoothie and didn't return to the kitchen to eat his own breakfast until 10:30 AM. He does still eat his meals, but there is no real schedule anymore. I just leave the food in his bowl and he eats when he's hungry.

It looks like I won't be able to upgrade my computers anymore. Apple just announced that it's new Mojave operating system won't run on any of the computers currently I have. Apparently, they are all too old. Apple is actively trying to make the operating system in their computers work more like their phones. Pretty soon your desktop computer is just going to be a big, giant iPhone. I guess a lot of people like this idea. Not me. I have a feeling that I'd probably be happier using Linux now. Apple is working way too hard to please the millennials.

I wonder if anything interesting will happen tomorrow. I need to write my sister and I should probably call the guitar store to see if the guitar that disappeared from the website actually sold. If it sold it would give me an excuse to drive over to the store and pick up a check. There's always naps. I took a long nap with Dash today. It wouldn't be difficult to do the same thing tomorrow.

Margo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
 
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