Thursday, March 26, 2015

Day 1927

Dot did great at her first physical therapy session. She was able to walk for almost nine minutes in the underwater treadmill before she got tired, and the vet thought that was excellent. Her acupuncture treatment relaxed her and she seemed happy to be back to her old routine. It's too bad she couldn't have had acupuncture before we went to the vet. The trip downtown in the car was the the only difficult part of the entire afternoon. Although I thought I had prepared a nice, secure place for her, Dot still managed to get stuck in an awkward position twice during our journey and I had to stop the car and get out so I could reposition her. If she would just lie down and rest, she would be fine, but she always wants to look out the windows. Inevitably, if she's looking out the window on the left, something catches her eye on the right and she tries to move to get a better view. Since the space I prepared for her is small, an attempt to move to the opposite side of the car sometimes results in getting stuck. When Dot gets stuck she starts to whine and I think she might be hurt. I stop the car, reposition her, tell her to lie down, and off we go again. It was a long journey. I'll need to think of a better solution before we return for therapy next week.

As you can see, we've been getting started on our morning walks very early. It's dark when we begin, but the sun is usually starting to come up by the time we return. After a good walk, Dash is much calmer for the rest of the day, so the further we go the better as far as I'm concerned. Both dogs were pretty good today. I was able to get up on the roof while they were sleeping and remove the standing water for the second time this week. The roofers didn't come today, but the roof will be ready when they do get around to fixing things.

Maybe some of my clients are still reading the blog, because I've suddenly got plenty of work for tomorrow. There are four new articles to write and an equal number of websites that need updates. I won't be able to get all this work done in one day, but it's nice to have plenty to do again. Work does help the day go faster. The other thing that helps the day go faster is a really long breakfast, so I've started making omelets again. I made a nice ham and cheddar cheese omelet this morning and the dogs were quiet during my entire meal because they knew they were going to get to lick the plate afterwards.

I'm pleased that the vet thinks Dot is making good progress. She didn't provide me with any shortcuts though. Getting Dot walking again is going to be a long, slow process. I was somewhat relieved to learn that Xanax isn't really a good solution for leaving Dot alone. The drug relieves anxiety, but it is not a sedative. Dot could still fall taking Xanax just as easily as she could without it. I did learn some exercises I can do with Dot to help strengthen the muscles she uses to sit with, but it looks like I'm going to be housebound for a while longer.

I'm going to walk Dash even earlier tomorrow morning, so I'll still have time to go out for breakfast before Janet needs to leave for work. This worked well last week, and if Dash will cooperate, there no reason why it shouldn't work again. It's going to be a busy day, but I still hope the roofers will be able to make it out tomorrow. The damaged area appears to be growing and I definitely don't want another roof leak. I've got enough problems.

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

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Day 1926

I hope the vet has some suggestions for me when we go to our physical therapy session tomorrow. Dot can stand up on her own now. She can even walk somewhat awkwardly on her own if she's on carpet. She can't sit down on her own though. Her leg muscles aren't strong enough and she just crumples. Unless she is sleeping, I still need to be nearby, so I can grab the harness if she starts to fall. There have been no accidents, but I'm afraid that if she twisted her leg when she was trying to sit, she could hurt something. I'm kind of trapped, because I don't feel comfortable leaving her alone, even when she is contained in the small pen.

I've been told to just give Dot a doggie Xanax if I have to leave the house, but I'm not comfortable with that either. I really don't like mood altering drugs of any kind and I know that Xanax can have some bad side effects in people. I guess I'm trapped in the house until Dot gets a lot stronger.

If I were busier, the housebound hours would go a lot quicker. I've spent an enormous amount of time over the years just sitting here at the computer anyway. This shouldn't be a big deal. Unfortunately, work has slowed down for some inexplicable reason and there's not much to do. There's nothing worth watching on TV. I can't relax enough to read a book. And most of the household chores are loathsome tasks like fixing a leaky shower pan or getting rid of wasp nests. This is when I need a nice long writing job.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that the roofers get here before the rain does. They said they'd come out tomorrow, but I hear it might rain tonight. I don't know why they couldn't have come earlier? The weather has been nice all week. This could change pretty quickly though. I hear that tornadoes have already touched down in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Northwest Arkansas this evening. I hope this bad weather stays North of us tonight.

We were out of milk and cereal this morning, so I fixed myself an omelet using leftover pesto, mac and cheese, black beans, and eggs. It was surprisingly good and got rid of some leftovers that were on the verge of going bad. I'd cook more often if I didn't have to clean up the kitchen afterwards. When it takes longer to clean up than to fix the meal in the first place, it's hardly worth the effort.

Tomorrow should be an adventure. It will be my first attempt to transport Dot in the car by myself. The hammock I've installed in the back seat looks very secure, so I think things will go smoothly. I hope the water therapy will go smoothly as well. Since Dot's legs are weak, they will fill the tank with more water than usual to provide extra buoyancy. I don't know how Dot is going to react if she starts to float though. I hope this works, because Dot really needs to be using her legs more.

I'm disappointed that the BBC fired Jeremy Clarkson. I'm sure he had a good reason to get in a fight with that producer. I've known quite a few producers who were jerks. Jeez, Top Gear was of the few TV shows that I actually enjoyed watching. It won't be the same without Jeremy. After hearing that the German plane crashed in the Alps because one of the pilots got locked out of the cockpit, I'm going to be nervous every time I see a pilot walking down the aisle to go to the bathroom. You would think they'd give the pilots keys to these cockpit security doors. Not to worry though. I only fly about once every three years.

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Day 1925

I love my new Keurig coffee maker. I don't know why I didn't get one of these things earlier. It's quick. It's easy. The coffee tastes good. And there's no cleanup whatsoever. This machine, with it's touch screen menu and ability to brew almost anything is the iPhone of coffee makers. I'm not usually impressed by kitchen appliances, but this one is a keeper. One of the first things I noticed about this 2.0 version was that it will only accept it's own brand of K-cups. I didn't think this restriction would go over very well with people and a quick Google search confirmed my initial suspicions.

Even though this version of the coffee maker is fairly new, there were already 100's of hacks that would let you use old style K-cups and those reusable containers that allow you use your own ground beans with the system. Since the only reason I bought the machine in the first place was to avoid grinding beans and cleaning up the mess later, it baffles me why people would go to so much trouble to convert their machine into an old style drip coffee maker. I guess it is human nature when someone tell you you can't do something to try and do it anyway. I'm not going to try any of these hacks. I'm not going to jailbreak my iPhone either. Why bother. It seems a wasted effort to fix something that works already.

I forgot to give Janet the folder with my tax information to take to the accountant on her way to work this morning. As luck would have it, she forgot her phone and came home to retrieve it, so I was able to give her the tax folder anyway. It takes a lot of coordination to get things done when you can't leave the house. It doesn't help that we are both becoming more forgetful too. Lord help us ten or fifteen years from now. Dot is forgetful too. Half the time when I take her out to pee, she forgets why she's outside and just comes in again. As soon as I sit down to do something, she remembers that she needs to pee and we repeat the whole process.

Since work was slow today, I tried to get some other stuff done. I made arrangements with the roofer to come over and repair the roof. When I got off the phone, I noticed that the day the work was scheduled to be done, it was supposed to rain. Sounds about right. I also contacted the landscaper and made arrangements to replace the dead grass in the backyard. Keeping the back yard looking nice is an exercise in futility. We've put in new sod every single Spring for the last five years. It looks nice until about August and then it dies. I water the grass, treat the ground for grubs, and apply fertilizer, but there just isn't enough light. In the Summer, the tree canopy overhead blocks almost all the direct sunlight and the tree roots suck up all the water. The grass doesn't stand a chance.

Dot continues to get stronger. I provide very little assistance when I use the harness now. I'm trying to encourage her to support her own weight again. When her legs are placed correctly, she does great, but it is still easy to slip. Dot must be getting more feedback from the nerves in her legs now, because she can balance her weight much better. She'll automatically shift her legs and re-balance when she is starting to slip. I have a feeling that the ugly rugs are going to remain in the house for a long time, but we're definitely making progress.

This housebound existence is a weird way to live, but hopefully in another month or so Dot will be able to move around on her own. Dot just needs to get better before I go crazy.

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

Monday, March 23, 2015

Day 1924

I got quite a bit done today. My taxes are finally ready to go to the accountant. I finished writing two more articles and sent them off to the client. I made an appointment to resume Dot's physical therapy later this week. And I contacted the roofer and told him about the problems I've been having with the peeling elastomer. Considering that today is Monday, this was pretty good.

A small piece broke off the grinder component of my new single serve machine when I was making coffee this morning. This was actually a good thing, because it gave me an opportunity to take this worthless thing back to the store and exchange it for something else. I boxed up the coffee maker and as soon as Janet came home to watch Dot, I took it back to the store and got a Keurig instead. All I want is a nice cup of coffee in the morning without having to spend half an hour cleaning the machine. Who knows if the K-cup pods will be as tasty as the beans I'm currently grinding, but the whole process will certainly be easier. I don't think you have to clean these K-cup coffee makers at all.

Dot continues to get stronger with each passing day.  Today I attached an extension to her Help 'Em Up Harness that lets her support her own weight and just serves as a fail-safe device to keep her from falling if she starts to slip. I was pleased to see that Dot can walk without me holding up her rear legs. On the other hand, I was a bit alarmed to see how awkwardly she walked when I wasn't supporting her. Dot is definitely not ready to walk completely unassisted yet. I'm in no hurry. We'll just continue taking things one step at a time. The stronger she gets, the better she'll be able to walk.

It would be nice if the roofers could come out tomorrow. I'm not going to hold my breath though. They probably won't show up until it starts to rain again. Since there is currently no rain in the forecast for the rest of the week, this would be an excellent time to get things repaired. The roof may be dry now, but it's going to take a lot longer before the park dries out. Dash's favorite routes seem to always traverse the soggiest and muddiest areas. I let hm walk wherever he wants though. He's been really good about dealing with all the extra attention I've been giving Dot, and I don't want to rock the boat. Peaceful, happy dogs make life a lot easier.

It's proving to be quite difficult to keep the house clean with a muddy yard and throw rugs all over the place. The vacuum cleaner doesn't deal with the little rugs very well and keeps trying to suck them up. It may be time for a new vacuum cleaner. For now, the house it just getting dirtier by the day. Dot has always been scared of the vacuum cleaner anyway and I don't have the heart to use it while she's trapped in her pen and unable to move. There are so many elements to this rehabilitation effort that catch me by surprise. I'm getting better at finding the dog poop but there's always something new to deal with. Since it's getting warmer, the wasps have returned and I can no longer just leave the back door open while I take Dot in and out to pee with the harness. The wasps are already starting to build nests under the eaves and if I leave the door open very long, they are sure to fly inside. The only good thing about Winter is that the bugs disappear for a while. Now, they're back again.

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

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Day 1923

None of my roof patches worked. They dried completely and looked like they should have worked, but for some unknown reason the patch didn't adhere to the roof itself. When I went to clean the rainwater off the roof this morning, I discovered that some of my patches were actually floating on top of the water. The rain had loosened them like they were a decal and I could lift each patch by a corner and peel it away, completely intact. I didn't have a patch at all. Just a perfect little one foot square of flexible vinyl. I hung a couple of these detached patches out to dry on a nearby tree limb so I could show the roofer later, and threw the rest away. All my efforts were worthless.

Later, I installed the special dog hammock Janet bought in my car and initially though it was worthless as well. On closer inspection, I realized I had installed the hammock upside down, so I started over again. When I was finished, we all got in the car and made a test run to the post office and back. Dot appeared comfortable and secure. It appears that this is going to work. The special sling that hangs between the front and rear seats is kind of ugly, but now the car matches the rest of the house. Hey, it's all for a good cause. I contacted Dot's vet and told her about this new development and she agreed that Dot is ready to resume her physical therapy again. Hopefully, by this time next week, Dot will be walking in the underwater treadmill again.

I'm really disappointed with my new coffeemaker. I did my research on Google and still managed to come up with something worthless. I think I'm going to scrap the whole thing and try something else. When I was getting groceries this afternoon, I looked at some of those K-cup single serve coffeemakers. I hadn't initially considered them before, because I thought that the cost of coffee pods would be prohibitive, especially since I drink so much coffee. I had forgotten that the beans I use now are pretty expensive as well. When I did the math, I realized that the monthly cost would be about the same. Maybe I'll go get one of those Keurig machines next week sometime. I'm really tired of cleaning up coffee grounds and grinding new beans every time I want a cup of coffee. I should have thought this through a little better.

I've almost got my tax materials ready to go to the accountant. The big stack of papers means almost nothing to me. I have no idea anymore whether I owe money at the end of the year or will be getting money back. It's always a surprise. I wouldn't mind paying taxes so much if I had any faith that the government was using the money wisely. I'm firmly convinced that 90 cents of every dollar I send the government is wasted. They certainly aren't using the money to fill potholes. The streets around our house are absolutely atrocious this year after all the rain we've gotten.

I hope next week will be peaceful and quiet. I've already got some new articles to write. There should be more website revisions by Tuesday as well. I'll call the roofers in the morning and see if I can get them to come out before the next round of rain. I don't think this new roof is even three years old yet. I shouldn't be having any problems at this stage of the game.

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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Day 1922

Weekends were always busy. Now, they're becoming impossible. When you try to add a week's worth of postponed activities to your normal weekend errand list, not everything gets done. Janet and I both had lots to do today and neither of us got everything finished. I guess this is the new normal, just like the mismatched rugs covering the floors, the dog beds in every room, and the metal playpen in the living room.

Dot is sleeping much better now. Since we've discontinued the prednisolone, she doesn't have to go outside to pee in the middle of the night anymore. I need to help her when she wakes up and wants to circle around and change positions, but I can almost do this in my sleep. I still had to get up early, so I could walk Dash, mail some bills and go to the bank before Janet had to take her car in for service, but all-in-all, I think everyone got a good night's sleep.

The pet store was nice enough to let us return the crate we got for Dot immediately after surgery. As soon as she got strong enough to protest, she refused to sleep in it. It was a nice, sturdy crate, but if Dot refuses to use it, it is just something else to trip over in the bedroom. Now that we have the circular pen in the living room, we probably don't need a crate anyway. Janet bought some sort of a hammock thing while she was out today that she says is a safe way to transport Dot in the car. I'll read the instructions and install it tomorrow and see if it works. About half the things we get for Dot's rehabilitation work and the other half don't. At least the pet stores have been pretty good about taking back the things that didn't work.

I don't know how much more of this rain I can take. It rained again today. Our yard is as soggy as a wet sponge. The park is a mud pit. And if you don't pick up the dog poop immediately, you can never find it the next day. I got a new pair of waterproof boots, but I continue to wear the old leaky pair and throw my wet socks in the wash as soon as I get home. This doesn't make any logical sense, but I hate to ruin a new pair of shoes before I even get them broken in. At least Dot's incision has healed nicely and I don't need to worry about it getting wet in the rain anymore.

Maybe I'll get more done tomorrow. I certainly hope so. There is still some shopping that needs to get finished, there is lots of water on the roof, I never made it to the post office, and I haven't been to the gym in a long time. I've noticed that the grass is starting to grow in the front yard too. This means that mowing the grass will soon be on my weekend chore list as well. I wonder if the lawn mower battery survived the Winter? Maybe next week I'll find out.

As you can probably tell, I'm totally burned out. Dot's amazing ability to bounce back makes it all worthwhile though. After all she's been through this year, I never would have dreamed that she would have responded so well to the risky surgery. Nobody, not even her surgeon and neurologist, can believe Dot is fourteen years old. She is definitely the Energizer Bunny of Dalmatians. I wish I had Dot's energy. Unfortunately, everybody can believe I'm in my mid-sixties. I might as well wear a sign that says "Grumpy Old Man."

Big Boy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, March 20, 2015

Day 1921

I got up early and was able to walk Dash and go out for my Friday breakfast before Janet had to leave for work. I considered this a success. I managed to time things pretty well, because almost as soon as I returned home from the restaurant, it started to rain. The rain continued for the remainder of the day, but I tried not to let it get me down. Hey, it's the Spring Equinox today. This is traditionally the first day of Spring. It may still be cold and wet, but looks can be deceiving. Winter is officially over.

The dogs are always restless on rainy days. You take them outside and they immediately want to come in again. As soon as you finish cleaning their paws and drying them off, they want to go out again. Dot had little desire to go outside, but she was still restless. When I took her in the kitchen, she wanted to be in the bedroom. When I took her to the bedroom, she wanted to go to her octagonal pen in the living room. When I left her in the pen to get some work done, she started to whine. It was a long day.

Eventually, Dot and Dash decided where they wanted to spend the day napping and I turned on the computer and started to work. Sometimes my assignments are pretty silly, but it's not my job to criticize. Silly pays exactly the same as profound. Actually a silly assignment seemed the perfect compliment to a dismal, grey day. To continue the theme, I stepped in dog poop the first time I took Dot out to pee in the rain.

I thought I'd finish preparing my tax information today, but I never got around to it. The dogs are much more labor intensive on rainy days and my writing assignments took longer than I anticipated. Maybe I can wrap things up this weekend, but I doubt it. There is already a long list of errands I have postponed during the week while a was keeping an eye on Dot. Nothing is all that exciting, but there are still groceries to buy, prescriptions to fill, and bills to pay. If it ever quits raining, I'll go up on the roof to see whether my elastomer patches survived under all the standing water.

I can't decide whether to get an Apple watch or not. The last thing I need is another watch, but I'm very loyal to Apple products. I try to convince myself that Apple Pay would be convenient, but none of the places where I shop seem to support it. Monitoring my sleep patterns would be useful, but you have to take the watch off every night to recharge it. There are all sorts of fancy ways to communicate with friends using this watch, but I don't talk to people all that much. I saw a friend this evening while I was walking Dash and complained about the rain. She said she loved rainy days and that pretty much ended that conversation. I was in a hurry anyway. The weather radar app on my phone said that I had a ten minute window before the rain would start again. We got home just in time.

I'd like to sleep in tomorrow morning. I hope the dogs have the same idea. This new schedule makes for a very long day. My day seemed too long even before Dot's surgery. Now it seems to go on forever. I try to tell Dot that on days like this, sleep is your friend. I don't know if she's listening.

Baxter is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Day 1920

Things are looking up. Dot seems a little stronger today. Her energy level and ability to walk varies from day-to-day, but today was one of the good days. Dot and Dash both seemed calmer than yesterday. They were content to sleep while I worked and let me eat my breakfast without any major disruptions. I wish I knew why Dot seems better on some days than others. Her recovery is not a linear process. Maybe she just got a good night's sleep last night. Maybe I slept better as well. From what I can see, a relaxed family seems to be a happy family.

Towards the end of the day, the UPS man delivered the collapsible dog pen that we've been waiting for. So far, Dot seems to like it. The pen is large enough for her to stretch out and reposition herself when necessary, but it is still small enough to keep her from getting into trouble. The six-sided, segmented metal pen is heavier than I thought it would be, but it is well made and should be durable. We'll see how easy it is to move it from room to room later.

All things considered, I got quite a bit done today. I made some website revisions, finished my writing assignments, and made quite a bit of progress in getting my tax materials ready for the accountant. I'm getting used to the new coffee maker and all the household appliances are working properly. On days like this I think that maybe I'll survive this ordeal after all.

It probably helped that it didn't rain today. Rain was in the forecast, but all we got were a few light sprinkles. I think the rain just got postponed until tomorrow. All the current forecasts suggest that tomorrow will be very wet. It doesn't look like I'll get to go out for breakfast tomorrow. I'm still not comfortable leaving Dot alone in the pen and there may be thunderstorms anyway. I guess I can survive one more day eating cold cereal.

Now that our house is filled with cheap rugs and there is a metal playpen in the living room, I'm feeling better about our rehabilitation program for Dot. We've had a few false starts and bought some things we didn't actually need, but we're getting there. Now I just need to figure out an easy, safe way to transport Dot back and forth to her physical therapy sessions. So far, I've found some easy solutions that aren't really safe and some safe solutions that aren't easy to implement. I know there is something better out there. Dot is doing well, but when we are able to resume her acupuncture sessions and underwater treadmill workouts, I think we'll see even more progress.

It's weird not going to the bank, post office, and pharmacy almost every day. I do these things on weekends now. These little rituals only took me away from the house for a few minutes at a time, but somehow they made all the difference. I can tell that Dot is really looking forward to regaining her freedom. So am I.

Pringles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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