Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 1263

Today was even busier than yesterday. It wasn’t as long though. I’m already on my way back to Dallas. I spend the morning catching up with things that were impossible to do yesterday. There were several new products to photograph, along with three new people to interview. I interviewed a mix of CEO’s and support people at the show this year. You can usually tell pretty quickly why the top guy is the boss. The CEO never gives you much time, but they are almost always articulate and to the point. All the CEO’s I talked to at the Couture show did their interview in a single take. The rest of the people were a mixed bag. I’ll give my client plenty to choose from though.

I think I have a new favorite hotel. The Wynn was fabulous. It reminds me of the way The Mirage used to be many years ago when Steve Wynn first opened that venue. The guy definitely knows how to run a classy hotel. It’s too bad I didn’t have more time to explore the place. Just walking back and forth between my room and the Couture Show ballrooms, I saw an abundance of great restaurants I’d like to try. The food was such an abundance of riches that I was even able to find delicious things to eat on my severely restricted diet. The bed was really comfortable too. I slept a lot better than I usually do at home. Of course, that probably had a lot more to do with Dot and Dash than with the mattress.

I got an e-mail from the roofers last night. Evidently, there are problems and they want to have a meeting. Why are there always problems? I have visions of spending a lot of money on a new roof and still having to sweep the standing water off after every rain. The roofers I hired mostly do new construction, so I’m sure they’re going to tell me that I need to rebuild the house, or something equally drastic. That’s the problem with older houses. They settle and sag. If they sag too much, there aren’t many good solutions.

When I went through security at the airport, there was a distraught woman right ahead of me in line who had lost her laptop when it was going through the scanners. With the general level of chaos at the Las Vegas airport, I can easily imagine losing almost anything. One of the TSA folks asked a woman sitting at the scanning machine if she’d seen a laptop lately. “I’ve seen hundreds of them,” she said. “How should I know where it is?” I hurried to put everything back in my pockets and return my own laptop to my bag before it disappeared too.

This week has really gone fast. It’s hard to believe it’s Friday already. Even though I’m in a different city, I kept my Friday morning tradition alive with a nice breakfast at one of the Wynn restaurants. I’m sitting at my gate at the airport now, waiting for my ride home. This was a quick trip, but I look forward to returning sometime in the near future. I like Las Vegas. It’s a fantasy city. Nothing is real here, and that’s fine with me.

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

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 1262

I haven't left the hotel since I arrived in Las Vegas. Luckily, it's a very nice hotel. I'm staying at the Wynn to cover Couture 2013 which has more or less taken over the hotel for the week. If you're not in the jewelry business, you've probably never heard of Couture. If you are in the jewelry business, you're probably here. Like most trade shows I've worked, this one made me wish I'd worn more comfortable shoes. After a day on my feet taking pictures, my feet are killing me. My feet have it easy compared to some people I saw today. I noticed scores of women at the show wearing towering Christian Loubouton platforms with six inch heels. Ouch is all I've got to say. A jewelry show is all about appearances. There are lots of pretty people and lots of pretty things. I doubt that many people attending this show have ever been inside a Walmart. I walked right by Ivanka Trump this afternoon. It's was a pretty high end crowd. Needless to say, I couldn't afford anything I saw today. It's still fun to look though.

Las Vegas is a weird place.  Looking out the window of my room, I can see a pirate ship battle at Treasure Island, a volcano exploding at The Mirage, and a fireworks show worthy of a big city Fourth of July celebration. Far below me, I can hear the music of Neon Trees, playing an outdoor concert for the Couture attendees. My credentials would have gotten me into the concert, but I'm too tired. When my shift was over for the day, I proceeded directly to the Wynn buffet, ate entirely too much for dinner, and retired to my room.

The day isn't over yet though. I still have to back up the hundreds of image and video files I took today.  I'm sure all event photographers have nightmares about losing an entire day's worth of work, due to a corrupted disk, a faulty camera, or even simple stupidity. The first thing I do after a day of photography is back everything up. It doesn't really matter if I'm taking Santa photos of Dalmatians, or product photos of a $100,000 watch. Sometimes you've only got one chance.

I hope I get more sleep tonight than I did last night. With all the flight delays due to bad weather, I didn't arrive in Las Vegas until almost midnight. At home, I always think I'd sleep better if the dogs weren't constantly crowding me out of bed. Without the dogs, it's another story entirely. Now, it seems hard to sleep without a Dalmatian on either side of me.

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

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 1261

UPS said that my package would be ready at the customer service center at 7 AM this morning. When was is really ready? Noon! When I arrived at the Will-Call counter to pick up the package, I noticed a big poster on the wall that said We're all about speed. Although I wasted a huge amount of time, I still believe that all's well that ends well. I now have what I need.

Unlike UPS, the road crew made no performance promises whatsoever. They were back in full-force this morning, blocking my driveway, stirring up dust and making lots of noise. The roofers were back too. I'm not sure why they were here, because there were tornado warnings on the Weather Channel this morning. I would have waited to start the roof until all this bad weather was gone for the year, but that's just me.

Despite the approaching bad weather, the dogs still got their morning and afternoon walks. The rest of the day was spent getting things ready for my upcoming road trip. I never pack well. Since I don't like to carry a lot of luggage, I always try to cram too much in my suitcase. It seldom fits. Rather than just get a larger suitcase, I start tossing things out, thinking that I won't really need them. This seldom ends well either, and I often arrive without toothpaste, an electric shaver, or socks.

Life is always full of surprises. Now, the day looks like is will end exactly the way it started. I am facing some very long delays. I managed to stay on schedule all day. I got to the airport in plenty of time for my flight. Even though they took my tube of toothpaste away at the security checkpoint, I still made it to my gate with time to spare. I was pulling out my boarding pass and getting ready to board the plane when I saw my departure time change on a big flat screen display overhead. My flight is being delayed for two hours because of severe thunderstorms in the area. So here I sit, wondering what is going to happen next.

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

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Day 1260

I woke up this morning to an entirely different kind of noise. There was a giant piece of construction equipment on the road in front of our house methodically grinding up the asphalt surface and spitting it out into waiting trucks. I looked at the slow moving convoy and was glad I didn't need to go anywhere. Oops! What was I thinking? I actually did need to go somewhere. The Land Rover dealer had called and told me my car was finally finished and I needed to come pick it up. About three hours later, when the road crew had finally moved a few blocks further down the road, I was finally able to get out of the driveway and retrieve the Defender 90. As I was writing a check for the repairs, someone said "you must be really glad to have your car back." I wouldn't go that far. In truth, I was growing to like the fancy LR4 loaner car. Now, it's back to basics with the old Defender.

There was lots of activity up on the roof this morning as well, but it was hard to hear the roofers over the cacophony of road machinery noise. Things are finally starting to look organized on the roof. Maybe this story will have a happy ending after all. I'm glad I followed Janet's advice and kept my mouth shut. Well, I did write those letters to the contractor, but they were very polite. If I'd actually gone up on the roof and started screaming at people, I don't think it would have ended well.

I went online today and got a UPS package re-routed to a Customer Service Center, so I won't have to wait around all day tomorrow for the delivery. A few minutes later when I looked up the address of the Service Center, I read a bunch of reviews on Yelp telling me to never go to this Service Center because the staff was disorganized and there was always a long line. We'll see. It couldn't be any worse than waiting around all day for the package. Well, it actually could be worse. What if I get down to the Service Center and discover that the package is already on a truck headed to my house? The lady I talked to on the phone today assured me that this wouldn't happen, but you know how good those kind of promises are.

I went and renewed my storage room contract for another year. Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to start thinning things out, so I can fit everything into a smaller storage room that isn't so expensive. Not surprisingly, this never seems to happen. The storage room is kind of like a black hole. Once something goes in the room, it never seems to come out.

With all the commotion today, I almost forgot it was Dash's antigen shot day. Well, I did forget, but I was able to get him rescheduled again for later in the afternoon. How people manage to combine a busy career with ferrying kids all over the place is beyond me. Just managing the activities of these two dogs keeps me busy enough.

I hope things calm down a bit tomorrow. Today was tiring. I thought I'd rest on the bed for a few minutes with the dogs right after dinner and immediately fell asleep. When I opened my eyes again, it was three hours later. So much for keeping on schedule.

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

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 1259 - Memorial Day

Most of my regular readers are grandmothers, but maybe there are one or two active military folks among you. If so, I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you how much I appreciate your service. I often worry that people don't value the importance of a strong military as much as my parents generation did. Strength matters. If you aren't strong and resolute, people take advantage of you. This is the essence of bullying. Individuals can be bullied, and so can entire countries. For many years, we have had the strongest, most capable military the world has ever known. It needs to stay that way.

We woke up again today to the sound of footsteps on the roof. I expected to hear a knock on the door, along an explanation of what's been going on, by whoever was tramping around on the roof. There was no knock on the door. Before I finished brewing my morning coffee, the footsteps ceased and the house was quiet again. I saw no need to go outside and confront the roofers at this point. I learned long ago that it's better to keep your powder dry.

The dogs didn't get to go to the dog park today, which was a disappointment for all. The weather wasn't bad, so we called the hotline several times to see if the park would open up again in the afternoon. It just wasn't in the cards today. I recognize the voice of the guy making the hotline messages. He's the same guy who cleans up the dog poop in the park. This guy takes his job seriously and is super conscientious. He updates the hotline message for the two parks he's in charge of at least three times a day. I admire this guy and wish everyone had his work ethic. It shouldn't matter what your job is. You should always do your duty to the best of your ability.

Since we weren't able to go to the dog park, Janet went to the gym to work out, and I took a camera up on the roof to document some of the problems I've been having. I also did a small rush writing job for one of my clients and vacuumed the house. It's simply amazing to me how quickly the vacuum cleaner bag fills up with dust around our house. If I'm sweeping up this much dust, why don't the carpets look any cleaner when I'm finished? You know "the rift" they are always talking about on Dr. Who and Torchwood shows? I think our house is sitting right on top of a mysterious rift that is sucking in dust from all over the planet. Of course, there's always a chance that Dot and Dash are responsible for all the dirt.

Our three day holiday went by far too quickly. Sometimes it didn't seem like a holiday at all. Footsteps on the roof usually woke us up too early. Rain curtailed most of our planned holiday activities. Then, there was still work to finish as well. It was still a holiday though, and a pretty important one at that. With all my complaining, I'll be the first to admit that my life is pretty soft. It's those guys who live day-to-day in a forward firebase somewhere in Afghanistan who are doing all the heavy lifting.

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

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 1258

Janet and I woke up to the sounds of footsteps on the roof. WTF? The roofers were back. In my limited experience, it is simply unheard of for roofers to work on a Sunday morning. Initially I was a bit confused and then I remembered that I'd written a letter to the contractor last night. It must have been the letter.

I guess in a world where Yelp and Angie's List can make or break a business, a blabbermouth writer with a popular blog and 30,000 Twitter followers might just be a contractor's worst nightmare. I certainly hope this is the case, because basically all I've got are words. My architect friends have the carrot and stick of future jobs to keep contractors in line, but like most of you, I don't. All I have are words.

It was far too wet outside to take the dogs to the dog park today. Dot and Dash were good sports about the situation though and took a long nap on the bed instead. While Janet went to the mall to take advantage of the Memorial Day sales, I tried to get caught up on work. There are quite a few jobs I need to complete before beginning my upcoming trade show assignment and today was as good a day as any to get started. I managed to get three articles completed this afternoon. Not a personal best by any means, but it's still pretty good for a Sunday.

It was incredibly humid today. The air felt like you would wring it out like a wet rag. Under these conditions, the ground never had a chance to dry out. Every time the dogs went outside, they came back with huge clods of mud adhered to their paws. We buy large bundles of cloth bar towels to clean the dogs paws with. We used enough today to fill the washing machine. A load of these towels are being cleaned as we speak.

I had a hamburger for dinner tonight! Janet is concerned that I'm not getting enough protein with my rather severe new diet and maybe she's right. At any rate, this was the first hamburger I've had in many, many months and it was delicious!  I did eat the burger on a gluten-free bun however, so I'm not completely off the wagon. Tomorrow, it's back to oatmeal for breakfast and kale salad for dinner.

I watched a member of SEAL Team 6 recount the night they captured Bin Laden on a 60 Minutes episode this evening. We all owe these guys a huge debt of gratitude. My Mom's family was career military and one thing she taught me was to give our soldiers the respect they deserve. Tomorrow is a day reserved for saying thank you, but I think we all know that the men and women in our military deserve a whole lot more.

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

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 1257

If you've never worked with a contractor before, here's what to expect. First you meet the contractor. He sounds knowledgeable and fills you full of hope and anticipation about the project you are about to undertake. After you agree on a price and the work begins, you never see this guy again. Next, you meet the foreman the contractor has selected to oversee the job. This guy drops by every couple of days to give the work crew their marching orders for the day. If something goes wrong, the foreman always smiles and tells you that the problem will be fixed later. The work crew never listens to the foreman. To a man, they are convinced that they already know the best way to do everything and just continue doing what they were going to do anyway as soon as the foreman gets in his pickup and leaves for the day. Did I mention that I don't enjoy dealing with contractors.

It rained again today and just as I thought, the unfinished carport leaked like a sieve. You would think that with the forecast predicting a rainy Memorial Day weekend, the roofers would have put a giant tarp over the roof to protect it. Nope. They did nothing. When I mentioned the leaky, unfinished carport to the contractor, he just said that these things happen and that they would fix things later.

It was such a busy week that Janet and I forgot Dash's birthday. We tried to make amends tonight with a little celebration that featured special doggie cupcakes from Sprinkles. Dash must have gotten high on cake, because he started racing around the house and refused to stay still for his birthday picture. I think the dogs enjoyed the party though. They always enjoy anything that involves food.

I took a nap with the dogs this afternoon because it is the only thing that seems to calm Dot down during a thunderstorm. Dash didn't used to care one way or the other about the weather, but Dot has managed to convince him that the sky is falling every time it rains. Now, his storm phobia is just as bad as Dot's. I huddled under a blanket on the bed with a warm dog on either side of me and fell asleep immediately. The short nap was the most enjoyable part of my day.

Maybe the weather will improve tomorrow. I certainly hope so. A few of my readers have suggested that I try being a little more upbeat and positive in the future. Me? Negative? What on earth would give you that idea? Hey, this is just the way things are. I'm a pragmatic realist. Most of the happy people I know are all on Prozac.

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

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 1256

While I was having my Black Bean Benedict breakfast this morning, two people seated at the next table were trying to explain the concept of purgatory to each other. I can't remember when I've heard a more confusing and convoluted explanation of anything. I'm not much of a believer. Belief requires a certainty I just don't have. I am a good observer though and try my best not to pass judgement on what I observe.

It was difficult not to pass judgement on the roofers carpentry skills however. When I got home from breakfast, I noticed that the new fascia trim the roofers had just finished attaching to the edge of the carport didn't match the existing trim on the house. The lumber they used for the fascia was an inch wider than the existing trim. Didn't the guys notice the obvious mismatch at the joint where the new trim met the old trim at the corner of the house? Jeez! I wish they'd measured the lumber before they nailed it up on the house. When I pointed out out the disparity in the two sections of trim, the guys seemed angry with me. Did they actually think I wouldn't notice this?  One of the roofers finally told me that they would fix the problem, but didn't tell me how. They all left for the day immediately afterwards.

The assignment to provide photography and social media coverage for one of my clients at a big watch and jewelry trade show got approved today. The schedule has changed though. Now I'm leaving earlier and staying longer than I anticipated. I wish I'd known this new schedule several days ago. I recently ordered an airport friendly rolling carry-on camera case in anticipation of this assignment. The UPS website says the case is scheduled to arrive the day after I leave.

It's raining now. The main roof is more or less finished, so I imagine we'll stay dry inside. I wouldn't be surprised if the cars were wet tomorrow morning though. The carport is definitely still a work in progress. When I looked this afternoon, it certainly didn't appear very waterproof to me.

I hope the wet weather clears up soon. We've got a three day weekend ahead and it would be nice to have some beautiful, sunny weather to go along with the holiday. I know the dogs are going to expect a trip to the dog park. Personally, I don't know what to expect anymore.

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

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 1255

Today was disheartening at best. I went up and took a look at what was underneath the roof when the roofers pulled the old roof off the carport this morning. What I saw was a lot of old, warped, and rotting wood. The house is hopeless. To bring everything back to the way it was when it was new would require building the house all over again from scratch. I need to keep reminding myself that even though the house looks very contemporary, it is actually quite old. Most mid-century modern homes are over fifty years old by now. I reluctantly told the roofers to replace the rotted wood and just leave the warped wood alone. I simply can't afford to replace everything.

Work was equally disheartening. I spent the day going back and forth about travel arrangements with a client who couldn't seem to accept the fact that that last minute reservations can be quite expensive. If we had agreed on everything a month ago, these expenses would have been more reasonable. At any rate, things just cost what they cost. I like things simple. If you can afford it, I'll do a good job for you. Hell, I'll do a great job. If you can't afford it, it's no big deal. Don't waste a lot of time trying to renegotiate everything. I'm happy enough to just stay here and walk the dogs like I usually do.

The Land Rover still hasn't called me back about my car. I'm beginning to think they lost it. I'm torn between driving up to the dealership and demanding to know what's going on, and just forgetting about the whole thing and continuing to drive the new LR4 for the rest of the Summer. The dealership just doesn't seem to care how long I keep the loaner car.

When the roofers pulled the old roof off the carport today I asked them to be real careful about leaving nails in the driveway. The last roof I put on, I ended up getting two flat tires from hidden nails the roofers had left behind in the driveway. They assured me that there would be no stray nails when they let this evening, telling me that they had a special magnetic tool that could find all of them. After the crew left for the day, I went out in the driveway and quickly found at least ten roofing nails. Did I mention that this entire day has been disheartening.

The dogs seemed happy enough today. I should have taken my cue from them and just taken a long nap. I certainly wouldn't have been any further behind than I am right now. There was a lot of wheel spinning today, but not much forward motion. At least it's Friday tomorrow. There's even a three day weekend to look forward to. I think I'm going back to the restaurant that has my favorite Black Bean Benedict tomorrow morning. I've had about all the oatmeal I can handle this week.

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 1254

I called the Land Rover dealer about my car this morning and they seemed genuinely surprised that they'd had the Defender over a month now. When I asked what was wrong with the car, they didn't know. The guy I talked to said he'd check and get right back to me. I haven't heard from him since.

I had a hard time concentrating today. There was a noisy road crew re-paving the street in front of our house and of course the roofers were still banging around up on the roof. Dot has an odd reaction to the roofers. No matter how much noise the roofers make, she seems oblivious to them when she's in the house. Outside, it's a totally different story. If she actually happens to see someone up on the roof, she goes nuts barking. I've never seen a clearer case of "out of sight, out of mind." If I didn't know better, I'd think Dot might be going deaf. I know she can hear quite well though. All I have to do is whisper the word "cookie" and she comes running.

One of my clients called today and said they wanted to send me to Las Vegas to cover the upcoming Couture watch and jewelry show. It ought to be an interesting assignment, but I still can't figure out why they waited so long to make a decision. This has been an off again, on again project for almost a month now. If I knew about this earlier, I'm sure I could have gotten a much better deal on hotel and airfare. The closer you get to a departure date, the more expensive the plane ticket and hotel room are going to be.

Janet and I didn't have to wear jackets to dog training class for the first time this season. It was actually quite warm tonight. Dot and Dash seemed to enjoy the nice weather, but they were both pretty stubborn in class. Dot didn't want to lie down and Dash didn't want to stay still. I completed the motley crew by blowing my nose every few minutes. Yes, Spring allergies are back with a vengeance.

After listening to all the experts on TV talk about what to do in case a tornado is headed your way, I realize that our house has no safe room whatsoever. The architect may have though the design was cool, but he should have added a few interior rooms. Even the closets and bathrooms are on exterior walls. There is a ton of glass too. Probably the only thing that would keep the entire house from blowing away would be if one of our big oak trees fell on top  of it.

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

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 1253

I had to cancel Dot's acupuncture appointment today because of the bad weather we're having. Actually, I had to cancel pretty much everything today because of the weather. There were no tornadoes in the area, but we did have some strong straight-line winds and hail. I definitely didn't want to be driving around in the brand new loaner car with a storm phobic Dot in the middle of a hailstorm. We made the smart decision and just stayed home.

It was almost inevitable that the new roof would get rained on before it was finished. I called the roofers and explained what had happened and they assured me that the integrity of the new roof had not been compromised. Well, that's not what they really said. They just told me that if something got screwed up, they would fix it. So far, there is no sign of a leak, so maybe we're OK.

Since I was more or less confined to the house today, I managed to get a lot of work done. I added a ton of cute adoptable cats and kittens to a rescue website. I wrote a press release as if I had attended a glamorous Versace party. Nope. Once again I didn't get to go to the party. Instead, I did a load of wash and made myself a big bowl of oatmeal and fresh fruit. I guess I checked the weather radar on the iPad quite a bit too. It was basically a pretty boring day.

Towards the end of the day, the rain stopped and I was able to take the dogs for their regular walk in the park. There were large downed trees everywhere. I knew it was windy during the storm, but I didn't realize it was that windy. Hopefully, things will dry out tomorrow and stay dry for the rest of the week. I'd really like to get this roof finished sometime in the foreseeable future.

I'm on an e-mail list now for a vintage guitar store in Chicago. I don't know how I got on this list, but it pains me to see the prices on some of the guitars they feature. Jeez, I used to own some of these rare guitars back in the day. If only my Mom hadn't given away all my high school stuff to the GoodWill when I graduated from college and moved to the West Coast, I'd have a small fortune in old guitars. Oh, well. Easy come, easy go, I guess.

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

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 1252

I've been watching the news coverage of the devastating tornado that hit Moore, Oklahoma this afternoon. Unbelievable! This was the very same town that got hit by the worst tornado on record in 1999. Tornado's are commonplace here in Texas, but it's hard to even imagine destruction on this scale. My heart goes out to the people of Moore. It's going to be a long, long time before the city returns to normal.

Earlier in the day, I was wondering why the roofers seemed in such a hurry to get an exposed section of the roof covered. They must have known that bad weather was on the way. It hasn't rained in Dallas yet, but there are thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow. In retrospect, it might not have been very wise to put on a new roof during what is traditionally known as Tornado Season in Texas. There is no good time to do this sort of thing in Texas, unfortunately. No matter what time of year it happens to be, there is always some sort of bad weather lurking just around the corner.

After the roofing crew left for the day, I went up on the roof to look at what they'd been doing. I think buyer's remorse is already starting to set in. When they were describing to me what the finished roof would look like, I was imagining the top layer of epoxy would be so smooth and shiny that I could see my reflection in it. Admittedly, the roof is not finished yet, but the top layer has already been applied to one section. It doesn't look smooth and shiny at all. It looks a lot more like white cake frosting applied with a butter knife. If the roof repels water, I guess I shouldn't complain. I am a bit disappointed though. I was expecting pretty. Maybe the roofers still have some magic up their sleeves, but so far the new roof is a long way from being considered pretty.

I think people must have spent the weekend thinking up new things for me to do. I was really busy today. Monday's aren't usually like this. I divided my time between solving website problems and writing articles. By the end of the day, I'd managed to get quite a bit done. Hopefully, things will be a lot slower tomorrow because Dot has her regular weekly acupuncture appointment. With a 45 minute drive to the vet, an hour with the needles, and a forty five minute drive back home again, acupuncture eats up quite a bit of time.

I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that it doesn't rain tomorrow. The roofers assure me that the leaking sections of the roof have already been replaced. I'm not so sure. The roof definitely isn't finished yet. Couldn't the rain just wait a few weeks and let me do this right?

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

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 1251

Everything is back to normal now. We took Dot and Dash to the dog park, where they had a grand time wandering around off-leash and taking in all the new smells of Spring. Dot is much slower now and we have to protect her from the more exuberant dogs, but you can tell that she still enjoys these weekly outings.

When we got home, it was time to mow the grass again. I've never been fond of mowing the grass, but since Janet likes to walk the dogs during the weekend, it's become a way for me to keep my activity levels up to my normal weekday standards. Yes, I've become a slave to the little Jawbone UP wristlet. I hate it now when my step count drops below 10,000 steps a day.

I got some bleach and tried to get rid of the stains in the living room ceiling where the water has been coming through. Now that water leaks are hopefully a thing of the past, I've got to decide whether to have a tape and bed guy replace the damaged Sheetrock professionally, or try to do the repairs myself. I know how to do the work, but it's messy and not a lot of fun. It seems like I was doing something like this when I screwed up my neck a few years ago too. Maybe I should leave this to the pros. Dot won't like having workmen inside the house though. Like most things, this will probably just come down to money. I'll get a couple of bids and we'll see how it goes.

I was surprised to discover last night that John Hurt is going to be the next Dr. Who. The guy is 73 years old. That's got to be the oldest Dr. Who ever. I wonder how that's going to work with all those pretty, young companions? It ought to be interesting though. Hurt is a really good actor. I remember him in Midnight Express and The Elephant Man. He was also the guy that had the creature explode out of his stomach during the original Alien movie.

Dot had a brief panic attack this evening. She seemed so certain that it was going to rain that Janet and I turned on the TV and checked the weather radars, just to make sure. I certainly didn't want it to rain tonight, because rain would have made a mess out of the in-progress roof repairs. I think Dot must have had a false alarm. There was no rain in the vicinity on the weather radar. All the bad weather is up in Oklahoma today.

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

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 1250

Sometimes when I listen to all the workmen tramping around up on the roof, I start thinking of myself as a job creator. By putting on a new roof, I've provided a job for quite a few people. Creating jobs is good, right? I should stop right there. After I start thinking of myself as a job creator, the next thing I start thinking about is whether all these jobs are even necessary. It's almost inevitable to start thinking this way, because in almost any work environment, a lot of the people appear to be doing nothing.

This is one reason I hated being a film production company. I always had to hire a crew to shoot the television commercials I was hired to do, and yet I kept thinking that if only the client would give me a lot more time, I could just do the whole thing myself. People never pay much when you do everything yourself though. They expect a dog and pony show. I always had to hire people I didn't really need, just so the clients would think I was professional and that they were getting their money's worth. If writers worked like film crews, they could probably make a lot more money. One writer could just do the verbs, another could be responsible for the adverbs and prepositions, and so forth.

I'm probably being too critical about the workplace. Maybe all the roofers on my roof actually do have a purpose. I don't know. It would seem that you would only need about half as many workers though if they stayed all day. So far, they only seem to stay about half a day and then they all go home.

If I owned a big company, I would be replacing workers with non-complaining machines as fast as I could. I'd be putting robots on the assembly line. I'd be replacing bank tellers with ATM machines. I'd eliminate the store entirely and just sell everything online. Every time I hear someone on TV wondering when all the jobs are going to come back, I just shake my head and wonder. The jobs are never going to come back the way they used to be. Like it or not, a machine is probably going to replace you pretty soon.

What is coming back exactly the way it used to be is the Texas heat. When I was running errands this afternoon, I looked at a thermometer and it was already over 100 degrees. Poor Dot. She really has a hard time dealing with the heat as she gets older and her afternoon walks are getting shorter and shorter. I try not to push her too hard as the temperatures rise. When she's ready to go home again, we turn around, even if we've only gone a few hundred yards. Although walking the dogs is more fun, it looks like I'm going to have to get my Summer exercise by mowing the yard.

Skippy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Day 1249

It was a busy day. The roofers woke us up with a lot of banging and pounding over our head. It's clear that roofers get off to an earlier start than I do. The dogs have kind of an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude about all the activity. As long as they can't actually see the roofers, they don't bark all that much. I guess they're pretty used to noise on the roof. Quite a few tree limbs have fallen on the roof over the years and of course, I'm up there myself quite a bit getting the water off.

I had lunch with my ad agency friend today. I'll have to admit I was a bit envious of my friend. He drove up in a brand new Lexus IS convertible and proceed to tell me about the fantastic vacation in Rome he just returned from. My friend has never looked healthier or happier. He's on permanent disability. Nice work if you can get it is all I've got to say.

After an unusually healthy lunch, considering the way we both used to eat, I went grocery shopping at Central Market and then returned home to finish my work for the week. I was glad to see the roofers leaving for the day when I arrived. I had put up with all the noise I could handle this morning.

I went to the airport this evening to pick up Janet. I checked the American Airlines website just before I left, to make sure that the arrival time or the gate hadn't changed. They're always changing gate assignments at the last minute. The gate was the same, but the website said that the flight was going to be early. While I was driving to the airport, they must have changed their mind. When I arrived at the designated baggage claim area, I discovered that the flight in question was actually going to be late. This happens all the time. No wonder this company went bankrupt.

Dot and Dash were delighted to see Janet again. Dash got so excited that he started jumping straight up in the air. When he makes these vertical leaps, he can get three feet off the ground. All this activity would have been fine, except he was doing his wild leaping around in the living roof. I'm always scared he'll land right on top of the glass coffee table and cut himself. Once we let the dogs outside to blow off steam, they both quieted down and were calm again. They must have known what was coming next: some tasty dog treats from one of the suitcases in the hall.

I think the roofers said they were coming back tomorrow. Oh, well. We certainly won't need an alarm clock in the morning.

Susie is today's Dalmatian of the Day

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Day 1248

We got lucky. There was a tremendous amount of rain and hail last night, but we didn't get hit by a tornado. Several nearby towns weren't so fortunate. Dot, Dash and I spent the evening under a blanket, watching local weather reports of the storm on TV. We heard the tornado sirens several times during the evening, but it was only a precaution. The most severe weather was off to the South of us.

This morning, the roofers returned and spent the rest of the day tramping around and making lots of noise up on the roof. Dot, never one to leave a nearby noise unchallenged, responded with equally loud barking. It's a good thing that I didn't have any work that required concentration today, because peace and quiet definitely wasn't in the cards.

At first, I wondered why the roofers even bothered coming out today, but as the day progressed, it kept getting warmer and the skies eventually cleared. I thought these guys might have some fast and efficient way of getting last night's water off the roof, but they didn't. Actually, I'm much better at getting the standing water off the roof than the roofing crew. I've had lots of practice though.

I wonder how long I'm going to keep making fresh squeezed juice? It takes quite a while to make a half gallon of fresh juice and even longer to clean up the mess afterwards. One of the reasons I've been able to stick with the oatmeal and fruit I've been having for breakfast lately is that it's quick and easy to make oatmeal. Taking the juicer apart and cleaning up the pulpy mess is another matter entirely. The orange and pineapple mix I've been making is quite tasty though, so maybe I"ll give it a few more weeks and see if juice making clicks into place as a part of my routine.

I find it frustrating that when the market is at an all time high, many of my own investments are going nowhere. I still have too many gold and commodity stocks that are dragging things down. China seems to have fallen out of favor lately as well. What a fickle world investing has become. I resisted the urge to buy my Apple shares back when they briefly dipped below 400. Even though I'm still fond of Apple products, I'm beginning to think that Apple might be the next Microsoft. Soccer Moms buy iPhones now and the geeks and early adopters have moved on to something else. To  keep my hand in the game, I did buy some 3-D printing stocks though.

I'm meeting a friend for lunch tomorrow. I guess that means I'll have to skip breakfast. I can't seem to eat breakfast and lunch on the same day anymore. Once I've eaten breakfast and walked the dogs, I'm already late for lunch. It's got to be one or the other these days.

Liberty is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 1247

The roofers came out today to measure things and get all the wires, cables, and sump pumps off the roof before they started preparations for the new roof tomorrow. As soon as they removed the pumps and left for the day, it started to rain. Damn! I think this was nature's way of telling me that I'll never, ever win this battle.

Later in the day, I laboriously got all the water off the roof again. Then, while I was eating supper, it started to rain again. To hell with it. The roofers can figure out how to get the remaining water off the roof when they arrive tomorrow.

It was still raining when I took Dot to her acupuncture appointment this afternoon. I was surprised at how well she rode in the car during the bad weather. Maybe the acupuncture is making her a calmer dog. She actually seemed less nervous than I was. Traffic is terrible when it rains in Dallas and I definitely don't want to get a ding in the new loaner car before I return it to the Land Rover dealer. I've had the loaner car for almost a month now. Lord knows what's wrong with the Defender.

Work was slow today. One of my clients is sick and another gave the entire staff the rest of the week off in observance of Shavuot. The rest of the clients are probably waiting until Friday afternoon to surprise me with things that have to be done over the weekend.

I'm curious how the auto-focus mechanism on the iPhone camera works. It will immediately bring small water drops into sharp focus, but when I'm an equal distance from certain types of flowers, the camera won't focus at all. What good is a camera if you can't focus it? This is frustrating for me, because there doesn't seem to be a way to manually focus the camera at all. Maybe you're just supposed to take pictures of cute cats with the thing.

I hope the rain quits soon. I hate it when the sound of dripping water wakes me up during the night. Hopefully, the new roof will put an end to all this. Jeez, what will I talk about on the blog if the roof stops leaking? I'm sure most of you have heard enough about roof leaks.

Sadie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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