Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Day 2480

It's never wise to disrupt a dog's schedule when food is involved. This is why I dread those days when one of the dogs has to fast before going to the vet for lab work. Dash needed a 12 hour fast with no food whatsoever in preparation for this morning's visit, so he couldn't have his breakfast at the regular time. The only way we could make this work is for none of us to have breakfast. We took Dot and Dash on our short walk around the block as soon as we got up and then I just kept walking with Dash as we started returning to the house. Luckily, Dash was in the mood for a longer walk. While we were gone, Dot and Janet had time to eat. As soon as we returned, I got the car ready and off we went to the vet.

I'm surprised that things worked as well as they did. Maybe I fooled Dash this time. I hope the test for phenobarbital levels worked, because I'm not looking forward to doing this again anytime soon. Once, the 12 hour fast wasn't long enough and we had to fast Dash for 24 hours. That wasn't fun. At any rate, Dash and I ate our breakfast when we got back from the vet, even though lunch would have been more appropriate.

The vet visit and the preparations surrounding it took up most of the morning and I filled the afternoon with mindless chores. I washed the car because it was a nice day and there wasn't anything important to do anyway. Washing the car is one of the few chores that doesn't really feel like a chore. Going up on the roof is definitely a chore. I did that too. This is the worst time of the year to remove water from the roof because the leaves are starting to fall and they pile up and turn the roof into a duck pond. It takes me twice as long to remove the standing water when there are lots of wet leaves. Keeping the roof free of water and leaks is a thankless job. It's discouraging that there is no end to this. It's going to keep raining for the foreseeable future and the flat roof is going to continue to retain water.

There were no accidents in the house today. Occasionally, we get lucky. It's hard to tell when Dot will go next. Sometimes she surprises us and poops on her walks like a normal dog. Other times, the urge comes while she is eating her dinner, or even while she's asleep. Since she can't squat properly anymore, I have to hold her in place using her harness. Incontinence is not pretty. I really hope I never become incontinent myself.

I'm still enjoying the vegetarian dinners I buy to eat during the week. The little company that makes these meals does a really good job. The food is fresh, imaginatively prepared, and very tasty. These guys have a weekly plan where you get reduced prices if you puy a weeks worth of meals at a time. I may try this next week. I'm not missing meat nearly as much as I thought I would. I'm not dogmatic though. I'll still enjoy bacon and eggs on weekends.

There was a pretty sunrise this morning. A pretty sunrise is always better than a surprise thunderstorm.

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

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Day 2479

I listened to Elon Musk give a presentation on how he planned to colonize Mars this afternoon. The guy actually plans to do this. Part of the presentation was an animation showing how the journey to the red planet would take place. "This isn't just an artist conception," Elon said. "These are the actual rockets we are getting ready to build." The animation was evidently developed from CAD drawings created by the Space X engineering department. Each space ship was designed to carry 100 people and Elon envisioned that a fleet of 1000 of them would be required to establish a permanent, self sustaining settlement on Mars. I love epic plans. The guys who built the pyramids probably thought like this. I'm convinced that when you are constrained by practicality, you really limit yourself. During the question and answer session after the presentation, someone asked how the Mars colonists would be selected. "First of all, they would need to be very comfortable with the idea of dying." "This is going to be very dangerous," Elon said. I have no idea how you would pay for a grand venture like this, but I hope Elon succeeds.

I had no grand plans today, but there were certain things that needed to be done. Dash has been having episodes that look a bit like mini-seizures, so I wanted to get his phenobarbital levels checked. I remember this test being kind of tricky, so I went to the vet to see what I needed to do before I brought him in. I scheduled the test for tomorrow morning and Dash will need to fast for at least 12 hours before they draw his blood. That's going to be fun. Dash gets real irritable when he can't eat whenever he wants. Hopefully, I can take him on a long walk while Dot eats her breakfast and then go straight to the vet.

The powdered graphite I got yesterday worked like a charm and now the sticking locks around the house are smooth as silk. I haven't gotten up my nerve to fix the leaking shower stall yet. Usually when I try this, I end up wanting to take a shower before the silicon caulk is completely dry and the seal doesn't stick. I still don't know why somebody doesn't make a product that dries in an hour and can be applied to damp surfaces.

Dot had quite a few accidents today. I've learned to minimize the mess by always placing disposable puppy training pads under her while she is sleeping. All I need to do is carefully slide the pad out after she poops and replace it with a fresh pad. When I was cleaning things up today, I noticed another kind of mess. Dot had thrown up again. This is the second time this month. I think she may have acid reflux since she spends so much time lying down on her bed. Maybe I'm wrong though. I'll ask the vet tomorrow when I take Dash in for his test.

I saw a Red Shouldered Hawk when I was walking Dash this morning. There are lots of hawks and owls in the neighborhood, but they seldom stay still long enough to photograph. I got lucky today. Tomorrow, it's back to looking for the occasional wildflower that hasn't dried up yet. Tomorrow will be busy. I hope that Dash's test goes smoothly and we don't have to increase the amount of phenobarbital he takes. Life is complicated enough as it is.

Sophie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 26, 2016

Day 2478

Dot woke me up last night making that familiar sound that dogs make before they throw up. I got her to drink some water, which calmed her down and then she went back to sleep. Oddly, it was me who ended up throwing up a few hours later. I still don't know what was wrong. I usually have a cast iron stomach, but I must have eaten something that didn't agree with me. After spending fifteen minutes in the bathroom, I finally felt good enough to go back to sleep. An hour later, Dot woke me again when she pooped in her bed. Needless to say, I was tired this morning.

It was raining pretty hard when we woke up. I thought that Dot would just pee on the porch to avoid getting wet, but she dragged me out to the middle of the yard where we both got soaked. This was as close to a morning walk as we got. I knew the rain would quit eventually, but I resigned myself to a morning of dealing with restless, housebound dogs.

I noticed that the air felt different while I was eating breakfast and then I realized that the furnace was on. I guess Fall is really here. It hasn't been cold enough to need the furnace since late last Spring. Hey, at least the furnace works this year. There have been many years when I wanted a little extra warmth on these cool Fall days and couldn't get the furnace to light. Unfortunately, not all the machines loved me this morning. The furnace burners may have worked like a charm, but the security light in the back yard has gone out again. Do I call the electrician, or just wait for the lamp to dry out? The light sensor seems to work much better in dry weather.

One of my clients called today asking me to recommend a hosting company. Like most of us, he wanted a place that was inexpensive, completely reliable, and staffed by a knowledgeable, friendly technical support team. It would have been easier to tell this guy where he could ride a Unicorn. If you're looking for a trouble free Internet experience, I'm not going to be much help. I'm still looking for this mythical place myself. If you're online, your e-mail will quit working occasionally. You might get hacked. If you have a problem, it will be answered inconclusively by someone on the other side of the world who you have trouble understanding. That's just the way it is.

I tried listening to the presidential debate tonight, but all I heard was blah, blah, blah. I would wander into the room with the TV on, but couldn't listen for more than thirty seconds at a time. I don't believe either one of these guys. It's sad that our political system has come to this, but again, that's just the way it is. Most of the things that Bush promised during his presidential debates never came true. Most of the things Obama promised during his presidential debates never came true. What makes you think any of the promises you heard tonight will ever come true?

I hope the rain stops tomorrow. I need some time to clean things up. Rain was a problem even when the dogs were young and healthy, Now it seems even worse. We'll do the best we can. I guess a little mud won't kill us. If you want to look on the bright side, the roof isn't leaking and I did manage to find some of that powdered graphite I've been looking for.

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Day 2477

The weather was terrible today. We'd been warned to expect rain, but the warning didn't sink in until we were halfway around the block with the dogs this morning. The overcast skies suddenly opened up and we got drenched. Poor Dot. There was no way she could walk any faster, so we slowly made our way home in the rain and immediately changed all our clothes. Eventually, we got both dogs dried out and continued our day.

I stayed home all day because it was hard to anticipate when the rain would turn to high winds and thunderstorms. I've learned from experience that it isn't a good idea to leave Dot and Dash alone in a thunderstorm.

I should have gotten more done today, but it was so nasty outside that there was little motivation to clean. Every time we took the dogs out to pee, we ended up tracking in wet leaves and dirt. There was little point in vacuuming, even though the house needed it. I concentrated on little things like cleaning toilets and shining shoes. We seemed to have used up all our towels drying the dogs off after we got caught in the downpour, so there was lots of laundry to do. This would have been a good day to binge watch something on Netflix, but I don't have the patience for that sort of thing. I have trouble watching TV for more than five minutes at a time. I'll usually just turn on the news, read the captions scrolling across the bottom of the screen and then turn the TV off again.

I used to just have trouble with seasonal allergies in the Spring, but now it seems that they are worse in the Fall. There must have been lots of pollen in the air today because I was sneezing and putting Visine in my eyes all day. I hope the allergy season is over soon because my nose is getting to look like Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

I finally managed to get Dash out for a short afternoon walk when there was a break in the rain. I've started noticing that some of the flowers that bloom in the Spring return briefly in the Fall. Maybe it isn't the time of year that causes them to bloom, but just a certain length of day or amount of sunlight. In many ways Spring and Fall are very similar. I am glad to be leaving Summer behind, but I sure hope the roofers can get out to make the rest of the repairs I need before the rainy season starts in earnest next month.

They say that 100 million people are going to watch the presidential debates tomorrow. Somehow, I doubt this. There just isn't that much new to learn. At this point, most people have already made up their minds and just want this election to be over. The media loves a circus though, so they are going to hype this event as much as they possible can. Am I going to watch? Probably not. I'll end up seeing it next week anyway as the pundits endlessly rehash the all the high and low points on dozens of news and commentary shows. I'm sure there will be plenty of debate memes on Facebook too. I'd probably watch if they let Gary Johnson and Jill Stein participate. I've heard more than enough from Trump and Hillary already.

Zorro is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Day 2476

Weekends always start off with an accident these days. We don't sleep in that much longer, but it's enough to throw Dot off her schedule. Once again, when she woke up, she wasn't able to make it outside in time and left a trail of pee on the rugs leading to the back door. It's not a big deal, but it does make sleeping in kind of pointless.

The Scan and Go app didn't work at the grocery store today.  Everything worked fine on my end, but the little hand held device the store uses to confirm your purchase as you leave the store was broken again. The store manager was called and he wrote down my information on a piece of paper and said he'd confirm my purchase by hand. This is the third time this has happened. When you're an early adopter of anything, you run into these little glitches frequently. I'm not sure this new system is ready for prime time. It's supposed to be a time saver, but if the manager has to write all your information down by hand, it doesn't save any time at all.

I took my dog walking boots to the shoe repair shop for the third time to get new taps put on the heels. I thought that shoe taps were a great idea that would extend the life of the shoes, but they only seem to last about a month. The shoe repairmen always screws the taps on the shoe using three little screws, and as soon as the head of the screw wears off, the taps fall off and get lost. I keep asking if he could just Superglue the taps on instead, but the man speaks limited English and I'm not sure he understands. Maybe there's a good reason why glue wouldn't work. I just got the three little screws again today.

The Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament was supposed to be tomorrow, but it got postponed because we're scheduled to be getting some severe weather very soon. I thought the storms were going to start tonight, but so far it's still dry. There was a lot of thunder and lightning about an hour ago, but it appears that were were right on the edge of the storm and the bad weather moved to the North of us. The thunder and lightning was loud enough to scare the dogs. Dot started barking and Dash went looking for a safe corner to hide in. I hurried to get the rugs that were drying in the back yard back on the porch where they wouldn't get wet, and started charging backup batteries in case the power went out. By the time I had everything ready, the storm had already moved out of the area.

I decided to remove Google Drive, Dropbox, and Evernote from my computer today. I used to need these things to keep corporate clients happy, but they are just a nuisance now. Google Drive is the worst, because it seems to talk back and forth to Google about a hundred times a day. They probably gave it away for free just so they could suck information out of your machine. It feels good to be free of the cloud. My computer boots up faster too. I'm sure Apple is still sucking information out of my computer, but I can't figure out how to get rid of Apple's intrusions. They're built into the system.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing tomorrow. If the weather is as bad as the forecast says, I won't be going anywhere. Here's hoping that the power stays on and that Dot and Dash stay calm.

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

Friday, September 23, 2016

Day 2475

I believe in redemption. Every month or two I return to my original breakfast restaurant to see if they've finally got their shit together. I'm rooting for them, but so far they haven't made much progress. It's kind of sad, because you can tell they are trying. The staff is really friendly now. Portions are bigger. There are even some new items on the menu. Unfortunately, these guys don't realize what they lost. I don't know what happened, but the restaurant lost it's authenticity.

Authenticity is hard to define, but is very easy to see. The hipster restaurant that opened across the street is authentic. The place has its flaws and I deplore their use of paper plates and plastic silverware, but you can't question their authenticity. I can tell the owners really believe in what they are doing and it makes a big difference. The restaurant where I'm eating today used to be authentic. I could feel it. Now, it appears they are just trying to stay in business. Instead of using fresh potatoes for their hash browns, they are now using frozen prepackaged potatoes straight off the Sysco Food Service truck. There were canned tomatoes in my Migas too. People notice these things.

Why do people cut corners? When your first concern is quality, the bottom line usually takes care of itself. I would much rather have smaller portions made with fresh ingredients than larger portions that were sitting in a freezer yesterday. My concerns about quality may be misplaced though. Many of the companies I've grown to love over the years have gone out of business. This is troubling, because if I really like something, I know it isn't going to last. The little vegan take out place in the neighborhood is completely authentic. I'd better start eating more of their food, so I can get healthy before they go out of business.

Dot threw up today, which was odd, since Dash is the one who's been eating crap lately. Dash seemed fine. We're very careful what we feed Dot and she isn't mobile enough to find dead things in the park on her own. Hopefully, this is just an anomaly. If I have to start watching both ends of this dog, it's going to make life even more difficult.  I have a feeling that Dot will feel better in the morning. She's sleeping peacefully now.

Not a lot happened today. The trash got picked up, I answered a few questions, and did some minor maintenance of a couple of websites. The dogs couldn't be bothered to look busy and spent most of the day sleeping. I should have done the same. From listening to the pundits on TV, you'd think that the Superbowl was approaching. Somehow, I don't think the debates are going to be as exciting as everyone anticipates. I still think they should have let Gary Johnson and Jill Stein join the fray.

Sage is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Day 2474 - Autumnal Equinox

I used to love going to hardware stores. Old fashioned hardware stores had everything from invisible brass cabinet hinges to appliance parts and nails by the pound. I would wander from aisle to aisle, getting ideas for future projects and lusting after exotic tools. Very few of these Mom and Pop hardware stores even exist anymore. They've been replaced by huge Home Depot and Lowes superstores, which despite their size, never seem to have anything I need. I went to Home Depot this afternoon with a small, very basic list. I needed some black silicon caulk to fix a leak in the shower stall and some powdered graphite to lubricate some locks around the house. Home Depot had neither of these items. Jeez, all hardware stores should have powdered graphite. Once again, I'll have to find these things online. Home Depot can't be bothered to stock things like this that don't have mass appeal. They'd rather sell you a new lock than help you lubricate an old one.

I liked buying nails by the pound, screen wire in narrow widths that actually fit my doors, and high quality hand tools that were made in America. Everything is from China these days. Even the expensive power tools are made in China. Instead of reaching in a bin and getting the five screws you actually need, you are forced to buy a plastic blister pack with a hundred of them. I don't like any of this, but I still go to hardware stores out of habit. I could save a lot of time by just ordering everything I need on Amazon.

Dot has turned into a night owl. She sleeps most of the evening while I'm writing the blog, but as soon as I'm finished and start getting ready for bed, she gets a second wind and begins following me around. Wandering around the house would be great if she could stand on her own, but she can't. I'm discovering that it's hard to brush your teeth when you are holding up a dog's rear legs. Dash is usually in bed at this point, but if he wakes up and discovers that Dot is in the kitchen, all bets are off. Both of these dogs live to eat. Eventually, I get everybody situated and we all go to bed.

I had a few minor website updates to complete and I cleaned up Dot's bedding once, but basically it was a slow day. It's hard to find the energy to start anything new. When I finish my chores and work assignments, all I really want to do is sleep. Dealing with the dogs is exhausting. Dot didn't stumble on her walk this morning, but Dash did. He's too young to stumble like this. I keep feeling that something is fundamentally wrong, but two different vets keep telling me that he's OK. Maybe I worry too much, but I'm pretty observant. Something has changed.

I'm way overdue for a haircut, but I don't feel like going to the mall. I'm becoming so adverse to crowds that I'm even starting to have second thoughts about going out for breakfast on Fridays. Maybe I'll get a haircut next week. My hair used to be thick and curly and now it's completely straight and very fine. I wonder what that means? Oh, well. At least I still have hair.

The trash has been taken out to the curb and Dot is starting to get restless again. I'm wondering whether breakfast tacos or pancakes sounds better tomorrow. Such big decisions. It would be nice it I could enjoy the last few hours of the day in peace and quiet, but I don't think that's in the cards. Both dogs are barking now.

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Day 2473

The trouble with credit cards is that a month or so after you buy something, you actually have to pay for it. I feel poor today, because in addition to the usual charges for gasoline, groceries, prescription medicine, and miscellaneous junk I thought I needed at Home Depot, there was the humongous yearly rent for my storage warehouse on the latest credit card bill. So why didn't I write a check for the rent when it was due? Well, it was just easier to postpone the pain until next month. It can be confusing paying for things that you've already forgotten about buying using money that you've already forgotten about earning. I delay paying my bills as long as I can and my clients delay paying me as long as they can. The net result is that there is no cause and effect anymore. It just feels like I'm broke all the time.

I watched a crew pouring concrete in the park while I was walking Dash this morning. I've been watching this sidewalk being constructed for three months now. The crew would grade a path with a bulldozer and then put wooden forms and re-bar in place so the concrete could be poured. They did this three separate times this Summer until they were apparently satisfied with their work this morning. I asked one of the guys whey they kept tearing up their work and starting over? They said their previous efforts weren't up to code because the grade was too steep. This was a bike path, mind you. The city could have saved a ton of money if they just let the cyclists pedal a little harder. The city probably had some rule that said that no bike path could have more than a ten percent grade. If someone created a path with a twelve percent grade, they had to start over. It all seems silly to me.

I finished writing my latest article and once again had difficulty sending it to my client. It appears that their IT department wasn't able to Whitelist me after all. I keep getting identified as a spammer, even though I've never sent spam in my life. These difficulties make me wish I had my old private ISP back. I never used to have these problems until I moved to a large ISP with thousands of servers. My little local ISP stayed under the radar until the owner retired and shut down the company, forcing me to go somewhere else. Once again, the old days were better.

My bananas were still green this morning, so I went to the store and got some ripe ones. I never realized that bananas were so cheap, since Janet usually picks them up. I got a pound of bananas for fifty cents. On the way home I stopped to pick up some Chinese take-out for dinner and they said they were out of the Thai noodle dish I had ordered online. I'm easy. I just asked what they had that was real spicy and substituted something else. Anything to avoid cooking is fine by me.

Dot seemed to enjoy not having to go to physical therapy. Her limp is a little better, but she is still pretty shaky. For the second day in a row, she made a mess and pooped all over her special harness. We have a spare harness now for these occasions. I felt like taking her outside and cleaning her with the garden hose, but she hates this, so I cleaned her up with warm wet towels instead. Dot is as sweet as she can be, but she wears me out.

Tomorrow is the first day of Fall. It certainly doesn't feel like Fall yet. It has been unseasonably hot all week. I can tell the seasons are changing though, because the days are getting shorter. I saw Orion in the pre-dawn sky as we walked Dot and Dash around the block this morning. Pretty soon it will be even darker. I won't miss the hot weather as Winter approaches, but I will miss the sunlight. I do better with lots of sunlight.

Rowe is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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