Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 2859

It rained a lot last night. Even though it was a beautiful day, the yard was muddy and the roof was filled with standing water. Dash didn't waste any time finding the mud and immediately tracked it inside when he went out to pee before breakfast. He also discovered where a stray cat had been pooping near the back fence and tried to eat the stuff. Yuck. These events set the tone for the day and I didn't even notice how pretty it was outside until much later.

Since water was still spilling over the eaves when I got up, I knew I wasn't going to be able to escape climbing up on the roof and removing the standing water. Fall is the worst season for the roof. The standing water doesn't evaporate like it does in the Summer, and falling leaves often block the water from spilling over the edge of the roof. The only alternative is to remove as much as I can with the sump pump and push the rest over the edge with a big push broom.

It was cold this morning, so I waited until later in  the day to remove the water. That gave me a chance to go to the gym like I usually do on Sunday. I've been going to this gym for over four years now and I still haven't seen a huge improvement. On the other hand, I'm four years older and I haven't gotten any worse. I guess you could call that progress. I've thought about hiring a personal trainer for a month or two, just to see if I've been doing everything wrong. How would I know? I never asked anyone about my exercise routine. I'm the only one that seems to use the hand bicycle, even though it provides a great upper body workout and elevates my heart rate just as much as the treadmill. Shooting baskets probably doesn't provide any benefits at all, but it's the one thing I actually enjoy.

There is absolutely nothing I enjoy about getting up on the roof. It is my own private version of Dante's Inferno. Every time it rains, I find new holes that need to be repaired. Today I found two new bad spots that should be covered with the elastomer material as soon as the roof dries, but unfortunately I've already used the five gallon drum the roofers gave me. I'm been corresponding with the roofers and they promise they are going to come back and fix things, but that could be weeks or even months away. Several people have suggested that I add a pitch to the roof, so the water would drain. These people haven't seen the house. It would be easier to start over and build a new house.

The next time the roofers supply me with a container of the silicon product they use to seal the roof, I'm going to try dipping a pair of Dash's protective boots in the stuff. The material is very flexible when it dries and is completely waterproof. The elastomer might work better to reinforce the boots than the tire patch material I'm using now. Actually, the repairs I've made to Dash's shoes so far are very durable. It just takes a lot of time to shape the patching material so that the boots still fit properly.

I can't say it was an exciting day, but I did get a lot done. If I'm lucky the refrigerator will get repaired tomorrow. I'm hoping that the repairman will get tired of coming out to the house again and again and finally do the job right. It's rare when this happens. The roofers never should have coated the roof with a material that wouldn't hold up under standing water. The plumbers who repaired the water leak under our foundation shouldn't have dumped all the dirt they couldn't fit back in the tunnel they dug under the Photinia bushes along the edge of the yard. That's where all the mud is coming from. The tile guys the contractor hired for our bathroom remodel should have known how to set tile so water wouldn't leak at the corner of the shower. I even showed them little curved tile pieces that made a better transition between horizontal and vertical surfaces. They said these weren't necessary. I could go on and on.

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 2858

It doesn't look like I'll have to take the refrigerator apart this weekend after all. The temperature is holding steady. I have no idea why the temperature is getting cooler again, but I'll take it. I think we're probably good until the repairmen shows up Monday afternoon.

Dash let us sleep in until about seven-thirty this morning. He ate a good breakfast and then took a surprisingly long walk. This improvement is as much of a mystery as the refrigerator, but I'm happy to see our guy in good spirits again. I know he isn't entirely happy about the protective gear he has to wear. It's helping though. He doesn't lift one of his rear legs very well when he walks and he had ground down several of his nails all the way to the quick. Two of them were even starting to bleed. The protective boots keep his paws safe and the nails are starting to grow back again. I hope the knee brace is equally effective. Dash walks a little stiffly wearing the brace, but I think this is what is supposed to happen. By restricting his range of motion a bit, his knee will have a chance to heal.

I guess fresh peaches are finally out of season. I've been enjoying them in my morning smoothie, but they're getting harder to find at the grocery store. Peaches are more expensive now and are starting to taste mushy. I guess peaches are harder to grow in a greenhouse. Strawberries and blueberries are available all year long. I know there is a season for those berries as well, but it doesn't seem to matter.  You can almost always find good strawberries.

I upgraded the newer iPad to IOS 11. I kind of hope that I don't like the new operating system. If I do, I will be forced to get a new phone. My old phone can't be upgraded anymore and is stuck forever at IOS 10.3.3. My old original iPad is stuck way back at IOS 5.1.1. Apple used to be much better at making sure that their software worked with older products. Like most manufacturers, they've discovered that planned obsolescence is much more profitable. Computers are one of the few tools that become obsolete even when they are still working perfectly. I still have some hand tools that my Dad got from his father. A good hammer will last for a hundred years. A good computer probably won't last for five.

When I was recording some purchases in Quickbooks this afternoon, I noticed an entry from 12/10/17. That hasn't even happened yet. It took me quite a while to figure out where this entry actually belonged. We've all gotten so used to spellcheck that we become complacent and don't think we make mistakes anymore. I'm amazed at how many mistakes I make. I'm a typo factory these days. I wonder how many other undiscovered errors are hidden away in Quickbooks, Word, and Excel? I've even gotten the day count wrong on the blog and I don't have a clue where the error is.

A storm is headed our way. We really need the rain, but I'm always apprehensive about bad weather. I've been watching the storm approach on the weather radar and hope that nothing bad happens. I think the cold front and accompanying rain are supposed to arrive around 2 AM. Maybe we'll just sleep through it. That would certainly be better than having Dash freak out when he hears thunder. I don't want any more large branches falling on the roof either. Let's not even think about a power outage.

The good thing about the rain is that it's supposed to be clear and much cooler by morning. That would be nice. A clear Fall morning is exactly what I need.

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 2857

When I was at breakfast this morning, I heard people at two different tables arguing about politics. This isn't a good sign. People should be talking about Halloween costumes and home improvements at breakfast. Football and Fall weather are OK, but it's way too early to talk about politics. I guess it's a sign of the times. I didn't hear the entire conversations, but these didn't seem to be Democrat vs Republican arguments. I got the impression that everyone was disgusted with both sides and thought that the entire system was broken. Actually, most people would probably agree that the system is broken. They just can't agree on how to fix it.

I tried to order something off the menu again with very limited success. I wasn't asking for anything exotic, but my request seemed to confuse the waiter. I should have stuck to the menu. I probably should have just stayed home. I wasn't even hungry this morning.

Our plan to get Dash walking again didn't work today. We should have headed toward the park where the smells were stronger, but we headed down the street instead. Janet was able to turn around and go home, but Dash didn't walk much further after that. When I stopped to clean up his poop about halfway down the street, he used the opportunity to turn around and head for home again. I tried to get him turned around so we could continue our walk, but his will was stronger than mine.

This evening, we tried an experiment. Janet tried to walk Dash by herself to see if he just liked to walk with her better. He refused to leave the yard. I watched her try several times to get Dash moving before I joined them. As soon as Dash saw the whole family was together, he headed for the back gate and we took a very normal walk. I can't really explain this behavior, but I can't seem to change it either.

It was a very slow day. I had to go to the grocery store twice, because part of the store was closed when I went after breakfast. Come back after 10:30 AM the sign said. I had a coupon Janet wanted me to use, but I probably didn't save any money, since my car gets such poor gas mileage.

I repaired another pair of Dash's protective boots this afternoon. This has turned out to be a very messy job. The Shoe Goo I'm using to repair things seems to be fairly durable, but it's hard to apply neatly. Someone needs to invent a better way to bond rubber to rubber. Rubber cement might work if the surfaces were smooth, but they're not. I guess it doesn't really matter if my repairs aren't pretty. The boots just need to stay together.

The refrigerator isn't warming up as quickly as I thought it would. Should I take things apart and defrost the coil this weekend, or just let the food get a little warmer and wait for the repairman on Monday afternoon? Those are the kind of decisions I make these days.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 2856

We tricked Dash into walking this morning. Janet walked with us down the alley and into the park. As soon as Dash started smelling interesting things in the park, he didn't even notice that Janet had turned around and gone back to the house to get ready for work. The rest of our walk was completely normal. It still seems odd that Dash hates to leave the house, but once our yard is out of sight he seems to enjoy himself. I'm probably the same way about vacations. It's like pulling teeth to get me to go on a vacation. I'll come up with every excuse in the book to avoid leaving home. Once the plane has left the runway, I'm fine. The only way to explain this is that I probably have the attention span of a dog. As soon as I'm somewhere new, I completely forget about the old.

The refrigerator part arrived at the repair shop today, but they won't be able to come out and install it until Monday. This means that I'll probably have to take the freezer section apart again and defrost the evaporator coil one more time this weekend. This sucks, but I'm really not surprised at the delay. Now, I have to decide whether to quietly install the new parts I ordered myself before the repairmen arrive, or ask them to install them for me. One way or another, I'm determined to get this refrigerator working again.

Janet's doctor isn't taking new patients anymore, but there are other doctors at the practice. I made an appointment to meet one of them next week. They call this initial visit a "meet and greet." I've had the same primary care physician for a long time now, but it's probably time for a chance. I'm definitely not getting any younger. I was so impressed at the quality of care Janet received during her cancer treatment that it seems crazy not to have access to the same type of care myself. I always used to think that Dot and Dash had much better doctors than I did. Maybe this new concierge practice will   put me in the same league with the care that Dash is receiving at the cancer center.

I wish I'd never upgraded my computer to Sierra. All my aging software worked perfectly with Mountain Lion. Now, I run into little snags and hiccups almost every day. The most irritating problem is that Dreamweaver won't save login information for web servers anymore. I have to manually enter user ID and password information every time I upload something. There are a lot of passwords to remember and if I forget them, I can't count on the clients to remember them either. Old Quicktime movies won't play anymore either. I would be tempted to reinstall Mountain Lion, except that it's usually not a good idea to go backwards. I'm sure that since I've changed hard drives when I upgraded the system, it would be almost impossible to return things to exactly the way they were. I also need to remember why I upgraded in the first place. My accounting software wasn't going to be supported anymore. In my line of work, you need Microsoft Word, you need Photoshop, and you need accounting software.

After I took today's mail to the post office, I stopped by a little neighborhood Cuban restaurant and picked up a Cuban Sandwich to go. Everyone seems to make a Cuban Sandwich a little differently. This one was supposed to be very authentic, but how would I know? I'd been curious about this restaurant, since it gets very good reviews. I drive by this place every week and it only took me a year to stop and order something. The sandwich was pretty good.

I can't decide whether to go out for breakfast tomorrow. I guess it will all depend on how much trouble it is to get Dash to take a walk.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 2855

I think I've messed up my day count. This is Day 2855, but according to Blogger I've actually written something for 2865 consecutive days. Where did the missing ten days go? I don't have a clue. I'm sure what happened was that one day I made a typo in the title and then the next day I just added one to that number and kept going. I really don't have the time or the inclination to search through a year's worth of blog posts to find the gap, but this odd mistake will be added to the long list of things that irritate me. I'm so meticulous and always spell check everything. How could I make a mistake like this?

Dash didn't walk at all today. He wouldn't leave the yard this morning and since Janet had to go to a funeral after work, he wouldn't take an evening walk either. I tried everything to get him to take an evening walk. At one point I left all his gear on for an hour or so, hoping that he could get used to it. The knee brace wasn't the problem. He walked around the yard with his knee brace and boots just fine, but as soon as I put a leash on him, he started heading for the house. The days are getting shorter, so this is only going to get harder in the months ahead. I don't know what this reluctance to walk is all about. The knee brace isn't bothering him and he can walk normally while wearing it. He doesn't mind the rubber boots either. He wears these around the house at times and seems to forget he has them on. For some reason that only Dash knows, he just doesn't want to leave the yard anymore.

I finished my article today, but it took longer than I expected. When Dash doesn't get enough exercise, he is constantly pestering me to let him outside. As soon as he's out, he just wanders around for a minute or two and then wants to come in again. In and out we go, all day long. I can't just leave the back door open. An open door is an invitation to all the squirrels, raccoons, and feral cats that wander through our yard. There are plenty of bugs that would fly through the open door as well.

After I shipped my article off to the client, I got caught up on my website revisions. I wish now that I'd never bothered to convert everyone's site to a mobile friendly format. None of my clients even seem to care that their site automatically resizes for tablets and phones. The mobile sites are more complex and harder to change. The worst thing is that I can't use Dreamweaver anymore and need to make my changes using a cloud based design program. Modifications that used to take a few minutes can now take up to an hour. The sad thing is that I've got plenty of time to do all this because there aren't that many clients left.

Today's picture is pretty pitiful, since Dash wouldn't walk anywhere with me. It's just a crow in the back yard. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I might have to take a picture of my morning smoothie. I hope I can figure out how to get Dash walking again. He used to love long walks and certainly needs the exercise. He shouldn't do anything strenuous with the blood clots in his heart, but his doctor said that slow walks would actually be good for him.

The parts I ordered for the refrigerator arrived this morning, but I've still heard nothing about the important mother board that the appliance repair folks ordered. All I ordered were some rubber gaskets and a temperature sensor that the repairman said never goes bad. I could have ordered the motherboard myself as well, but I was afraid I might have to pay for two boards if the repair shop wouldn't send theirs back. Lord knows when this thing will get fixed. I'm still convinced that I could have watched a few YouTube instructional videos and fixed the refrigerator myself weeks ago.

It looks like I might have to take some money from the retirement account to pay the Mastercard bill. That's what happens when business dries up. I guess this is what the retirement account if for, but I'd hoped to leave it untouched for a few more years. Sometimes I wonder if planning ahead even matters. You could have everything all worked out and then there's a nuclear war with North Korea or that super volcano under Yellowstone National Park explodes. Then what? I don't even think the preppers have an answer for that.

Little Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 2854

I am becoming increasingly disorganized. Part of my brain has already retired. Another part is still trying to keep track of deadlines and responsibilities. I kept forgetting today that I had an article to write and several websites to update. The jobs were minor and inconsequential, but they were still real jobs. Back in the day, I would have had these tasks finished before noon. They still aren't finished.

I kept forgetting I had work to do because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Dash to walk. I was unsuccessful again. Our boy just doesn't want to walk in the morning anymore. Later in the week, Janet has a light day, so we are going to experiment and see if he'll take an early walk with both of us. He still walks fine in the evening, so maybe he's just being stubborn.

I woke up early this morning because I was cold and then remembered that I had wanted to see the conjunction of Mars, the Moon, and Venus. I took a pair of binoculars outside and easily spotted all three. Mars is very faint because it is on the other side of the solar system. It won't be close to Earth again until next summer. After accounting for the visible planets in the morning sky, I went back to bed. Astronomy is appealing, but not quite as appealing as sleep.

If I ever invited you to connect on Alignable, I apologize. I initially thought that this might be a cool way to network and get business, but it just seems to connect me to nail salons and real estate agents. I'm getting so much spammy mail from these folks now that I'm thinking of deactivating my account. I should have known better. I never liked LinkedIn, so it should have been a no-brainer that I wouldn't like this either.

With Dash refusing to walk, I'm not getting as many steps in during the day as I'd like. It was easy to take over 12,000 steps a day when we took two walks in the park. Now my total is much less. Without these daily walks, there aren't as many photos either. I miss these long morning walks, but strangely I don't feel like walking without a dog. I've walked with a dog companion at my side for so many years that it just doesn't seem right to walk alone.

I guess I'll finish my article tomorrow. There isn't a deadline, but writing will give me something to do during the day. I don't think there's much of a chance that the refrigerator repairman will be coming over tomorrow. Chances of the roofer coming over are even less.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. Dash is eating well now and seems to be happy enough just spending his day doing nothing. I wish I could say the same.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 2853

It was a beautiful morning, but Dash refused to walk again. Does his leg hurt? Is he feeling dizzy or nauseous? Is he just being stubborn? It's hard to tell. I don't want to push him too hard, but he still needs a certain amount of activity. When he first wakes up, he does exhibit some telltale signs of vestibular disease. Maybe he doesn't feel steady on his feet. All I know is that he used to love to walk. This evening, he seemed eager to go outside when Janet returned from work, but the sun had already set. Our evening walk was very short. It's a shame that I've got all the time in the world and Dash doesn't want to do anything unless the entire family is nearby.

The refrigerator part didn't arrive today. This was the second time this part hasn't arrived on the date that was promised. I asked the company today when the part was really going to arrive, so I could plan accordingly and they just told me that they would call me when it got here. This is really frustrating, since I know how to get the part overnight. The appliance repair company refuses to work with anyone other than their own parts supplier. I suspect this is because their very slow supplier doesn't require them to pay immediately. I think I would have been happier if I'd just bought the parts myself and learned how to install them by watching readily available YouTube videos. I'm gradually learning exactly how the refrigerator works, but there is no joy in this learning process. I hate dealing with repair companies in a world where nobody keeps a parts inventory. Plumbers, HVAC repairmen, and electricians are all the same. There are no parts on the truck anymore. They diagnose your problem and then they order the parts.

I sent out my October invoices this afternoon. My monthly billing was so small that it probably wouldn't even pay the electric bill. It's hard to justify continuing the business. I did get a new writing job today and there's a potential new website job as well, but this isn't a profitable endeavor anymore. When I was eating breakfast this morning, I watched a GoDaddy commercial bragging about how anyone could build a sophisticated business website in less than an hour using one of their super cheap website builder widgets. How do you compete with that?

I had to pick up more phenobarbital for Dash today. Maybe the increased dose he is taking now is causing some of his problems. I'll never know for sure, because all the vets tell me that going without phenobarbital isn't an option for Dash. Maybe they are right. Once we took Dash off phenobarbital about five years ago when we were convinced he was cured. About a month later he had one of the most violent seizures he's ever had. There really aren't a lot of easy answers with this dog. We've got to deal with thyroid cancer, vestibular disease, epilepsy, a partial cruciate tear, and blood clots in the heart, all at the same time.

If I get up really early tomorrow morning, I should be able to see a very thin waning crescent moon centered between Mars and Venus. Is this worth setting an alarm clock for? It probably depends on how late I go to bed tonight. I still like astronomy, but like everything else, enjoying this hobby seems a bit of a hassle.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 2852

It was one of those 20,000 step days. My mind doesn't get a lot of activity on Sunday, but my body certainly does. After breakfast this morning, I moved the big pile of wood in the alley out to the street so the city would pick it up on Bulky Trash Day. When I was removing the Elm tree branches from the roof a few weeks ago, I scratched myself up pretty bad. This time I made sure to wear long pants, a jacket, and gloves. Wood is pretty heavy. It took me over an hour and a half to get everything moved to the curb. Hopefully, no more trees will fall on the roof for the foreseeable future.

Dash threw up again last night. He threw up a lot. This was surprising, since he had acted perfectly normal all day and didn't seem to have an upset stomach. This was the first time he's thrown up for well over a month. I was beginning to think we had gotten past this hurdle. Throwing up periodically must have something to do with Dash's vestibular disease. There is no real cure for this disease and several vets have told us to expect episodes of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. I'm used to solving problems and it's frustrating to have so few options with Dash. Many of the ailments he is suffering from just don't have a cure.

When Dash vomits, it is always very late at night, after he's been asleep for a while. He acts frantic and wants to go outside and eat grass. After he throws up, he goes back to sleep as if nothing had happens and is usually good the next day. We didn't give him a Cerenia pill last night. We'll see what happens tonight. With any luck, he'll be good for another month.

My beloved weather radar app quit working on my old series one iPad this morning. I tried again tonight and it still wasn't functioning. I haven't been able to update this app for over three years, so I suspect that the company finally quit supporting the older hardware. This happens a lot on my phone, tablets, and computers. You are basically forced to update hardware because the software quits working. The weather radar app still works fine on my phone, but I liked checking the weather on the iPad. Probably my phone is the next to be rendered obsolete. I just noticed that I can't update the system to IOS 11. The phone is too old.

Even though I was tired from lugging heavy logs around, I decided to go to the gym anyway. I'm much older than my phone and a trip to the gym is the closest thing I can find to a software update. I thought I had a pretty good workout, but my fitness tracker said otherwise. I did the same routines, but I didn't burn nearly as many calories as I did last week. I'm sure it was the yard work that made the difference.

I haven't turned on the large format printer in over a month. It may be impossible to unclog the thing now. I'll give it a try tomorrow and order some more ink if I succeed. I've basically grown tired of buying expensive ink for this thing just to make test prints to keep the printer from clogging. Maybe it's finally time to take the printer to the curb. This printer made beautiful very large Giclée prints in it's day, but I think that ship has sailed. If I could bring myself to part with this obsolete printer and the equally obsolete Beta-SP tape machines, I'd have a lot more space in the office.

I wonder if my refrigerator part will arrive tomorrow? Promises apparently don't mean much in the appliance repair business.

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