Saturday, September 23, 2017

Day 2830

It never ends. I was just getting ready to go to the grocery store this afternoon when I heard a horrendous noise. I went outside to see what had happened and discovered that a big chunk of our elm tree has just fallen on the roof. I wasn't expecting this. There was no wind today and the large branch that had fallen was alive and filled with leaves. I didn't do anything immediately, but knew how I was going to be spending the rest of the afternoon as soon as I returned from the store.

I guess I should have expected this. The day certainly didn't get off to a good start. Dash wouldn't eat anything this morning. He even turned up his nose at the canned food he normally loves. This was kind of a crisis, because it is essential that he takes his phenobarbital pills to prevent seizures and they must be taken with food. I finally got him to take his morning pills inside several balls of cheddar cheese. We needed him to eat more than a little cheese, so we scrambled an egg for him. He ate the egg and then immediately went back to sleep.

Dash's poor appetite has me worried. I called his regular vet and made an appointment for early next week. Then I called the emergency vet who bandaged him up last Tuesday to see whether the antibiotics she prescribed might be part of the problem. Since Cephalexin does cause loss of appetite with some dogs, she decided to stop the medication and see if we notice any changes in the next 24 hours. I think this will be OK, since the dewclaw wound is healing nicely and doesn't seem to be infected. Hopefully, the antibiotics are causing the problem. Otherwise this might be tough to diagnose. I'm always worried that Dash's cancer could have returned. That could certainly cause a loss of appetite.

When I returned from the grocery store today, I pulled a heavy duty reciprocal saw up to the roof with a rope and began sawing apart the elm tree that had fallen. This was a very large branch and I was surprised that it didn't seriously damage the roof. I guess the little branches with green leaves fell first and cushioned the blow. This job would have been a lot easier with a chain saw, but I'm scared to death of chain saws. I won't go near them after a friend of mine practically sawed his face off with one. Wood is heavy. I feel like I sawed about a thousand pounds of wood this afternoon. Too bad we've already had big trash day for September. I don't know what I'm going to do with all this wood until the next big trash day.

I was dreading this evening because Janet is away at a Dalmatian Rescue event. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as I expected. I managed to get Dash to take a decent walk on his own. He took all his evening pills and I was even able to get him to eat a small dinner. I had to hand feed him, but considering the problems we had this morning, this is progress.

The refrigerator doesn't seem to be working again. It seemed too warm this evening when I was preparing dinner. Maybe Janet just left the door open a long time when she was loading in new groceries. We'll see if it cools down again by morning. I guess it would make sense that there would still be problems. The appliance repairmen still haven't returned to install the new thermostats they ordered. It's entirely possible that the coil has frozen again. I'll have to call the repair shop on Monday and see what the delay is. They should have been able to find a thermostat by now.

I hope Dash is feeling better tomorrow. It might be a really long day. I don't know any magic formula to get Dash eating again. I guess if things continue to deteriorate, I can always try feeding him whatever I'm eating. I'll have to make a point of eating something healthy though.

Sage is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 2829 - Autumnal Equinox

It's officially Fall. The days are getting shorter and the leaves are starting to turn. Last year at this time we were taking early morning walks in the dark. Sadly, Dot is no longer with us and there is no need to get up early. I just walk Dash by myself later in the morning after Janet has gone to work. Usually, Dash still enjoys these morning walks, but today I had trouble getting him to leave the house. He was in a weird mood all day. He didn't eat his breakfast. He didn't want to walk. And he was lethargic for most of the day.

Something is wrong, but I don't know what it is. There's a good chance that the antibiotics he's taking for his dewclaw injury have affected his appetite. This has happened before. Maybe the increase in his phenobarbital dose is a factor as well. It's never good when a dog won't eat normally, but hopefully this isn't serious. Dash's blood work and vital signs are good and his vet doesn't seem worried. I worry about everything though. You don't want to take chances with a dog who is already dealing with cancer, vestibular disease, and epilepsy.

I finally fed Dash some canned food around noon because he refused to eat his breakfast at all. The fact that he ate the canned food leads me to believe that the stubborn dog is just holding out for a tastier menu every day. Every dog we've ever had has lost their appetite toward the end of their life, so I still need to get to the bottom of this. If his appetite doesn't return when he's finished with the antibiotics, we'll need to run some more tests.

My appetite is still good. I had a nice breakfast and then went shopping at Central Market for dinner. That was my outing for the day. When I returned with the groceries I didn't leave the house until it was time for Dash's evening walk. Dash walked fine this evening. He seems to need someone to follow. When Janet goes with us, he will always follow her.

There are several big Dalmatian Rescue events this weekend, but I'll be staying home with Dash. I feel a bit guilty about not volunteering, but I don't trust leaving Dash alone all day with a cone on his head. I don't feel comfortable boarding him either. It would be so easy for him to open up that cut again. We could take him with us to one of the events, but Dash is terrible in the car. After cleaning up an explosion of poop after one trip in the car recently and cleaning up blood after he tore out his dewclaw during another car trip, I'm nervous about ever taking him in the car again.

Sometimes I feel like I'm destined to be housebound as long as we have dogs. Even short trips are problematic. I need to go to the dentist next week to have my teeth cleaned and the forecast says there will be thunderstorms that day. Jeez. It's been clear all month. Why would it rain the one day I need to go somewhere? I can't leave Dash during a thunderstorm. We'll see. Maybe the forecast will change.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day 2828

I'm going to have to start writing earlier so I can watch the new Ken Burns documentary in the evening. Maybe The Vietnam War is more memorable for me than some of Burns other films because everyone my age grew up right in the middle of that moment in history. This film makes you realize that there is nothing new under the sun. All the turmoil that is going on in today's society was going on in the mid-60's too. Listening to the Lyndon Johnson tapes is amazing. Nobody really knew what they were doing. I guess it is not surprising that no president made tapes in the Oval Office after Richard Nixon. Ineptness sounds so much worse when you hear it on tape.

I'm going to have to go back and watch this entire series on Netflix sometime later. It is an eye opener. Jeez. If I ever get hooked on history and stop watching science fiction, it will be all the confirmation you need that I've become an old man. Children love Dr. Who. Old men read history. My Dad was a voracious reader and always had a tall stack of history books on his bedside table as he grew older. I'm sure you can learn a lot from history, but I'd like to think you can learn from fantasy too. I guess I can be a fan of Ken Burns and still be looking forward to Season Three of The Expanse.

I can't say that Dash loves his new soft cone, but he tolerates it. I think it is much more comfortable for him while he is sleeping. The one good thing about the old plastic cone was that it was transparent. This new one restricts his vision a bit more. He has a little trouble eating out of his bowl with it on, so I make sure to remove it whenever he is eating. The one thing I can't do is forget about him for any length of time while the cone is off. It doesn't take him long to rediscover the dewclaw injury.

The shoe repairman did a great job on my boots. They look as good as new. The only problem is that I know I'll be reluctant to wear them for a little while because they look too nice. I have plenty of clothes, but I tend to wear the same things over and over again. The things I actually wear are incredibly beat up. Maybe the worn clothing is more comfortable, or maybe I don't want to ruin the nice looking stuff. I don't know. I'll probably start wearing the boots again regardless of how I feel. They are the only comfortable off-pavement shoes I have. I'm sure it won't take long to return them to their beat up status.

I've figured out that it takes three days for water to start leaking out of the crack in the shower tiles. A little water must seep under the tiles every time I take a shower and on the third day, enough has accumulated to reach the level of the crack. I sucked the water away again with the wet/dry vacuum but am still unsure how to repair things. Is this a job for a plumber or a tile guy? I think the leak is in the drain itself, but I'm not sure. If I hire a tile guy, it will turn out that I needed a plumber. If I get a plumber, it will turn out that it was just bad grout in the tiles. That's just the way it goes.

I can't decide what I want for breakfast tomorrow. I make a lot of substitutions now. Some of the things I'm hungry for aren't on any menu. Maybe if I'm nice, someone will cook them for me anyway.

Rowe is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Day 2827

It says something that it's easier to put Dash in the car and take him to the vet than it is to try to remove a bandage ourselves. As bad as Dash is in the car, he's even worse when we try to mess with his feet. Dash was actually good at the vet tonight. He was probably grateful that we didn't try to take the bandage off ourselves. Now we have to be careful that Dash doesn't reopen the wound. This is easier said than done, because he loves to roll around on his back on the floor and scratch himself. It's real easy to rub his paw on the carpet and open a cut while he is doing this. There is really no way to stop him from rolling like this. It's become a habit.

I got a check today for my last outstanding invoice. Nobody owes me anything anymore. That's kind of a sobering thought. I've had a healthy accounts receivable balance for as long as I can remember. I'm sure I'll still get work from time to time, but the signs are all pointing in the wrong direction. My business is winding down. Whether I like it or not, I've had my turn and it's time for a new generation to take the reins.

I went to pick up my dog walking boots today and the shoe repairman said they weren't ready yet. "But the little ticket you gave me said to pick them up Wednesday," I said. The shoe repairman smiled and assured me that they will be ready tomorrow. Oh, well. I like the shoe repairman, but being late is endemic these days. Everybody is late.

I paid my September bills today. Being free of bills never lasts long. My storage warehouse rent is due at the end of the month. I always pay by the year because I get a free month if I pay in advance. The storage warehouse rent goes up every year. I guess they know it's going to be way too difficult to move to a different storage facility for most people. I grit my teeth and pay. I don't know what to do with this stuff. The storage warehouse costs more per month than my apartment did when I was working in Seattle. It was a nice apartment too. Everything costs too much now. I have a friend who has a horse and the stable costs more than my old apartment too.

Janet is watching The Vietnam War in another room. I hear bits and pieces of the show as I wander around the house. Someday Ken Burns will probably make a documentary about the Iraq War and it will be equally sad. All these wars we've had since World War II have been pointless. A lot of brave people died for nothing. North Vietnam won the war and now all my shoes seem to be made there. The country has become a big trading partner with the United States. It's even become a tourist destination.

I'll go pick up my boots after breakfast tomorrow. I eat breakfast so slowly that  it will give the shoe repairman plenty of time to finish his work. Dash has a new soft cone on its way via Amazon Prime. He probably won't like this cone any better, but at least he won't be knocking things over quite as often. Tomorrow doesn't look like a very exciting day, but as long as nothing bad happens, I'm good. My expectations are very low these days.

Rosie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day 2826

Dash is getting older. He doesn't always lift his leg when he pees anymore and often ends up peeing on the front leg with the injured dewclaw. After this happened again for the umpteenth time, I thought I'd try to clean the leg with a damp cloth to prevent him from licking it. This was a mistake. When I was cleaning the leg, he jerked away from me, causing the broken dewclaw to start bleeding again. He wouldn't stay still so I could bandage the area and immediately ran to the bedroom and started rolling on the white bed comforter. I managed to put the cone on his head so he wouldn't try to bite me and then gently dabbed the area with a gauze pad soaked in saline solution. Luckily, Dash's blood clots fairly quickly. I still can't manage to wrap an ace bandage around the area, but the bleeding has stopped and if I leave the cone on so he can't pick at things, maybe we'll be back to normal in the morning. This wound is having a tough time healing, but I don't know what to do. The vet specifically said not to leave the area bandaged too long. I just wish Dash would leave it alone.

It's two hours later now. I was wrong again. We just got back from the emergency vet. While I was writing the first paragraph, Dash started bleeding again. He had gone to sleep in the bedroom and when he woke up I noticed that there was a puddle of blood on the carpet. He hadn't been licking the wound because he was wearing the cone. Somehow he had spontaneously started bleeding again while he was sleeping. Janet and I tried without much success to create a makeshift bandage so he wouldn't bleed all over the car again and then it was off to the emergency vet. They're getting to know Dash pretty well at the emergency vet. This was the third time we've had to take him there this summer.

The vet said she didn't think Dash needed stitches. She was a little worried that the dewclaw wound hadn't healed properly after ten day and gave us more antibiotics and some pain pills. I wish we could just leave this new bandage on, but it has to come off after 24 hours just like the initial bandage. We're kind of back where we started. I don't look forward to keeping Dash calm and living with the cone for at least another week. Dash is a great dog, but he isn't a very good patient. Anything out of the ordinary freaks him out.

Before this evening's dog crisis, I had started watching the new Ken Burns series about the Vietnam War. The documentary was very good. I was surprised at how much I had already forgotten about this time in history. It's a shame that the show comes on right when I start writing the blog every night. I'll have to find some other way to watch the rest of it. I had a low draft number when I was in college during the late 60's and probably would have been drafted if I hadn't fallen while rock climbing in Colorado one summer and been declared 4F. My knees are still a mess after all these years, but that's one injury that I don't regret.

Dash is finally calm and is sleeping again. The emergency vet did a really good job of bandaging him up. I need to go buy some styptic powder and ace bandages in the morning. There's got to be a better way of dealing with emergencies like these. Ironically, we had tons of bandages left over from Janet's surgery, but none of them were the right size and we couldn't stop the bleeding anyway. No matter how prepared you think you are, you really can't plan for everything.

Rhett is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Day 2825

Dash is getting so weird about meals. Today, he turned up his nose at everything I offered him. We still have quite a variety of dog food on hand, since we had to switch Dot's diet quite often toward the end. We always feed out dogs high quality, nutritious food, but I think Dash would prefer a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Dash was never a picky eater while Dot was around. If he didn't eat quickly, Dot would eat everything in his bowl. I guess he can relax now and contemplate what he'd really like.

Today was worse than usual. Dash didn't finish his breakfast until well after lunch. I began to think that he might have some sort of medical problem, but eventually he got real hungry and ate everything in his bowl as if it was his favorite treat. Dinner was the same way. He had barely touched his dinner by the time I had to leave for a meeting, but somehow Janet convinced him to eat while I was gone.

At least Dash isn't fixated on his dewclaw anymore. The only time he had to wear the cone was when I left the house to take some mail to the post office. I still don't completely trust him. In fact, I'd better go check on him now. He's been awfully quiet for the past thirty minutes.

It was a quiet day, but surprisingly I did manage to talk with a few people. I went to an animal rescue meeting this evening to begin planning for the group's next big event. Most of the volunteers in this group have known each other forever and it's always nice to see everybody. We don't seem to meet as often as we used to, but maybe we've just become more efficient.

I wish I could become more efficient. Without the deadlines that forced me to be productive for so many years, I don't get nearly as much done. Other than my meeting tonight, I seemed to spend my entire day watering the grass, paying a few bills and trying to get Dash to eat. There just isn't much incentive to do things fast anymore. Sometimes I even look for ways to slow things down. I think I've almost perfected slowing breakfast down. Often, it's almost lunch time before I am finally finished.

The roofers haven't come over yet. The refrigerator repairmen hasn't returned either. I don't even want to call the watch repairman, because I'm certain he hasn't fixed my watches either. Jeez. We haven't even gotten our refund on the Visa gift card yet, and that problem started months ago. I wonder if anything works smoothly anymore. I haven't seen much evidence that it does.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm not expecting much. I think I'd be happy is Dash just eats his breakfast.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day 2824

There are pumpkins everywhere. It isn't even October yet. I've even seen Christmas lights in a few stores. Couldn't we just give it a rest? I'm sure that some of these early pumpkins will rot before Halloween even arrives. I used to dutifully get pumpkins every year to decorate the front porch. They would often sit there until February when I would eventually notice that they had turned into a pile of mush.

I don't buy pumpkins anymore. We don't cook a big turkey on Thanksgiving either. There is still a tree at Christmas, but it is a very small simple tree. I think I have finally mastered downsizing the holidays. Now, if I could just figure out how to downsize everything else.

I'm going to miss those pictures of Saturn from Cassini. I wonder what the team in charge of this mission is going to do now? They spent more than a decade working together to learn about the planet and now their spacecraft is gone. I wonder if I'll see other missions on this kind of a grand scale in my lifetime? People still thought big when Cassini-Huygens was conceived in 1988. More than 5000 people worked on the project during it's lifetime. The 22 foot tall spacecraft weighed over 12,000 pounds and traveled almost 5 billion miles to take hundreds of thousands of pictures and discover 6 new moons. I wish were still doing things like this. We still could if we weren't tearing ourselves apart with hatred and bickering.

Maybe this is why I'm not all that excited about the iPhone X. We've gone from discovering the universe to discovering new ways to take a selfie. Who am I to criticize though. The folks in silicon valley who are discovering new ways to communicate with emojis are still doing more than I am. All I did today was go to the gym and use the wet/dry vacuum to suck more water from under the shower tiles.

I was looking for some alternate dog walking shoes while my boots are at the shoe repair shop. In a dusty corner of my closet, I found a pair of my Dad's boots I used to wear when it snowed. I forgot I even had these boots because it hasn't snowed much lately. What was amazing is that even though these boots were over fifty years old, they were still in better condition than most brand new shoes today. My Dad wore these shoes trapping animals in Alaska. I've worn them off and on for decades and they still look like they could last a lifetime. I know I sound like a broken record talking about shoddy, disposable products, but it's true. Nothing is built to last anymore.

I think I spotted the tip of a new nail starting to grow where Dash ripped his dewclaw out. He still doesn't want me near the area, so I try to clean the wound with saline solution while he is asleep. I'll be glad when his dewclaw has grown back. Dash is not a good patient. I still have to have him wear the cone whenever I'm not watching him closely.

My allergies didn't seem so bad today. I still used a lot of Kleenex and Visine, but it wasn't like yesterday. It's weird how the amount of pollen in the air can vary so much from day to day. I'm going to have to start checking the pollen count every morning.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 2823

My Fall allergies have returned with a vengeance. It's a shame, because the weather has been beautiful lately. They say that most Fall allergies are caused by ragweed pollen. Since we had a lot of rain this Spring and Summer, the ragweed in North Texas is even worse than usual. I hate taking antihistamines, but I may have no choice this year. My eyes have been itching and my nose has been running constantly for several days now. These allergies are making me miserable.

Using a dehumidifier is supposed to help with allergies. I've got that covered. Running the air conditioner at night is supposed to help too. These things aren't helping much. It probably doesn't help that Dash sleeps right next to me and his fur is probably covered with pollen. There is so much pollen in the park now that our shoes are sticky when we return from our morning walk. I wipe Dash's legs off with a wet rag, but I'm not sure how much good this does. I always forget about Fall allergies when the weather starts to get nice. Them several weeks later I remember that there aren't really any good seasons in Texas.

When we were walking this morning, we discovered that we were on the same path with thousands of runners. We learned later that this was the annual Tour des Fleurs half marathon. Even though the path was crowded with runners, Dash still wanted to criss-cross from side to side like he always does. I didn't think the runners would appreciate this, so we eventually convinced Dash to walk down by the shoreline instead. This is probably why my allergies are so bad today. It was a windy morning and there were ragweed plants everywhere. The one benefit of taking this alternate route is that I saw some Buttonbush flowers. Of all the weird and wonderful flowers I see in the park, these are probably the weirdest.

When I was running errands today, I took my dog walking boots to the shoe repairmen to get some new heel taps put on. The shoe repairman didn't want to take a credit card for such a small repair, so I told him to keep the boots and dye them brown again. This made him happier, but when I got home I realized that I won't have any comfortable dog walking shoes for a while. I should have thought about this. The sturdy boots will look nicer now, but what will I wear tomorrow morning?

Dash has gotten in a bad habit of wanting something to eat every hour from 8 PM until it is time for him to go to bed. We started giving him his evening meds earlier in case he throws up in the middle of the night. The unintended consequence of doing this is that Dash still expects something to eat when he used to take his pills. When Janet was recovering from surgery we were going to bed earlier too, so we would give him a rice cake at 9 PM. Now that life is more or less back to normal, Dash expects something to eat at 8, 9, and 10 PM. If he doesn't get what he wants, he starts barking very loud. Training an old, stubborn dog to behave again is not easy, but we're working on it.

I finally vacuumed the house today. We've only got one dog now, but there's still a mountain of dog hair. House cleaning was my exercise today. Tomorrow, I'll need to go to the gym.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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