Friday, September 30, 2016

Day 2482

I had a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich for breakfast. That's as close to a walk on the wild side as you're going to get from me. I was ready for something different today. By the time I arrived at the restaurant, I was already late. The garbage truck failed to pick up my trash again and I had to load the trash bags into the car and look for a dumpster. When that task was finished, I returned to the house and did my best to get Dot to poop. I knew that she would go in the house as soon as I left for the restaurant, and I didn't want any more bad news this morning. I walked her around and let her smell things for a long, long time and eventually she did go. Maybe I had the sandwich because it felt closer to lunch by the time I finally got underway. A BLT actually makes a great breakfast. I love bacon for breakfast. I like toast. I often eat tomatoes for breakfast as well. I think I'll try this again.

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble with my garbage. The robotic arm on the truck picks up my can and lifts it above the hopper, but nothing comes out.  The driver just assumes that he's done his job and drives away. Maybe I need a new can. My can does look a bit different than a lot of the neighbors cans. I guess I'll have to call the city and complain. Then I'll have to wait months and months before they deliver a new can to my house. It's frustrating. The recycling truck, which comes by later in the day, refuses to take my trash, since it is in the wrong color can. The recycling truck will only pick up trash from the blue cans. Gray cans are apparently off limits.

The new batteries I put in the lawn mower apparently aren't any good. I tried to mow the grass this afternoon and the mower died. I think the batteries are still under warranty, but now I have to drag them down to the battery store and get them replaced again. These aren't flashlight batteries either. They are big, heavy 24 volt batteries that are definitely supposed to last longer than three months. If it weren't for the fact that I used to have even more problems with gasoline powered mowers, I'd just give up on this electric mower.

Even though almost nothing went smoothly, it was a beautiful day. I wish Fall lasted a little longer. This is the only time of year when I can leave the windows open. Actually, I can't leave the windows open very long, or wasps will fly in the house, but it's the thought that counts. Dot enjoyed being out in the sunlight. She'll go outside and wander around aimlessly for a while, come back inside, go to her water bowl, and then repeat the process all over again. We'll go back and forth like this until she gets tired and then she'll eventually go to her bed and sleep. I wonder if dogs can get Alzheimer's? Dot's mind definitely isn't what it used to be. I have a lot of respect for anyone dealing with a loved one who has Alzheimer's Disease or dementia. It takes a lot of patience to understand someone who is not entirely there. Dot still has her lucid moments, but she's starting to remind me of my Dad as he got older.

It's been a long day. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I'm hoping that everyone else in the family is as tired as I am this evening. One of these days I'd like to wake up refreshed and ready to go.

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

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Day 2481

I'm finding it increasingly difficult to accomplish more than one or two things a day. Today I got a haircut. That was about it. The rest of the day was spent walking the dogs, holding up Dot's rear legs, and cleaning up poop. Typically, when I get a haircut I wander around the mall for a while and see what's new. Not today. I skipped the Tesla store because I'll never be able to afford a Tesla. I skipped the Apple store because I've seen everything in that store a million times already. I skipped all the watch boutiques because I'm losing interest in watches. I avoided all the clothing stores because I've got enough brand new clothes to last a lifetime. I'll probably lose interest in getting a haircut soon.

The hair stylist and I mostly talked about what picky eaters our pets have become. She told me about feeding cats and I told her about feeding dogs. I did get a good haircut, but I doubt that it matters as much as it used to. I don't see anybody anymore. I'm starting to see why some older men shave their heads and others just give up and start wearing a Willie Nelson style ponytail. I still have a little pride though. The Dalmatians always look tidy and I like to look at least as good as they do.

You can tell that Halloween is just around the corner. There are pumpkins and gourds everywhere. I used to love pumpkin soup, served inside a small pumpkin. I have no idea how to make this anymore, but I have vague memories of something thick, creamy, and very satisfying. I wish I could find a restaurant that just served things that I used to be fond of. I have little interest in cooking anymore, but it would be nice to be able to revisit the comfort food of my past. Actually, it would be nice to be able to revisit anything comforting.

The weather was absolutely beautiful today. The air was clear and free of pollen, there was a nice breeze, and the temperature never got above 72 degrees. I think the dogs enjoyed the nice weather as much as I did, because I must have taken them outside a half a dozen times this afternoon. Dash likes rolling around on what remains of the grass and Dot mostly just smells things. I wish Dot could walk around on her own, because I'm sure she'd have more fun if I wasn't constantly following her around, holding up her rear legs. We do the best we can though. I'm convinced that these little excursions are much more satisfying than just sitting in her dog bed all day.

I'm spending way too much time wondering what to eat on Friday mornings. Life was much easier when I went to the same place and ordered the same breakfast for three years in a row. I really liked the absolute consistency of this meal. Now that I've diversified, I have some meals that are good and others that are awful. I guess this is adventurous and fun to some, but I prefer consistency. So far, I haven't been able to replicate the satisfaction I got from eating something wonderful over and over again. If I don't find a new favorite restaurant soon, I may have to start cooking again.

The trash has been taken out to the curb and the dogs are not so patiently waiting for their evening meds. I didn't accomplish much today, but I did get a haircut. It might be hard to top that tomorrow.

Sweet Pea is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

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
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 2472

The bananas didn't ripen at all this weekend and were still green this morning. I thought about chopping them up and throwing them in the Vitamix anyway, but after tasting one, I decided against it. There must be a chemical change that goes on in bananas as they ripen. These didn't taste like anything I was familiar with. The taste was somewhere between a raw potato and wood chips. My smoothie didn't taste the same without the bananas. Bananas are tricky. If you pick bright yellow ones that are ready to eat, they go bad quickly. If you pick green ones, you're never sure when they are going to ripen. I'll try to do better next time.

You probably think green bananas aren't even worth mentioning, but they kind of became the theme for the day. Nothing really went as expected. Dot stumbled three times on her morning walk. All we did was go around the block, so the walk wasn't strenuous at all. I made sure she rested when we got home and sometime later in the day she pooped all over herself and made a huge mess.

The roofer finally called me back and said he hadn't forgotten about me. He told me that they were so busy fixing actual leaks that potential leaks had to wait in line. I hope they hurry. My potential leak is going to become an actual leak if the repairs get delayed much longer. The house I owned before this on had a flat roof too. It's hard to believe that I've spent almost 40 years dealing with one frustrating roof problem after another. Don't ever buy a house with a flat roof. No matter how cool the house looks now, you're going to regret your decision later.

The power went out for about thirty seconds early this morning. Even though the electricity came back on almost immediately, it took forever to reset all the devices that immediately lost their memory. Just about everything has a clock inside it these days. All the internal clocks needed to be reset. I reset the coffee maker so it would turn itself on and be ready for me when I woke up. I reset the timer that turns the living room lights on at sunset. I turned the washer and dryer off, because somehow they both turn themselves on after a power outage. I reset the humidity threshold on the dehumidifier so it wouldn't turn itself off when the humidity reached 50%. There were several clock radios that had internal clocks and probably a few other things that I haven't even discovered yet. Electricity can be complicated.

I got a new writing assignment today and finished several small website updates. The work I do now tends to keep me busy, but the budgets are so small that I never make any money. One more frustration in a long list of frustrations. There is no point in turning these little jobs down, because what else would I do? It would be nice if I would get a job with a decent budget every once in a while though. I have a feeling that this has something to do with Karma. I must have done something terribly wrong years ago when I was making a lot of money.

I'm not sure what we'll be doing tomorrow, since I canceled Dot's physical therapy appointment. Maybe I'll go buy some new bananas. I don't think the ones I've got are going to turn yellow overnight.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Monday, September 19, 2016

Day 2471

Apparently, I'm not the only person dealing with frustration. Every call I got today involved some sort of frustration. Information wasn't correct on a website. Paypal deposits weren't being transferred properly. Responsibilities weren't being delegated. None of these problems were caused by me, but I did my best to fix them. In one case I had to get a new set of passwords to access a problematic website. Apparently I had been replaced and I didn't even realize it. The person who replaced me did a sloppy job and now the client wanted me back again. Sure, whatever. I had been completely oblivious to all the drama going on behind my back.

I'm glad I'm nearing the end of my working career. The work world seems so chaotic now. All my clients seem more stressed out than they used to be. Everybody is being squeezed. Customers are demanding more. Employees are becoming less reliable. The pace of change is definitely accelerating.  I haven't been responsible for hiring people for a long time. If I were faced with hiring millennials today, I think I would just throw up my hands in despair.

None of my own frustrations were work related today. Most of them involved my deteriorating roof. It must have rained a lot harder than I though the other day, because there was still a ton of standing water up on the roof. When I pumped the water away and swept the roof dry, I discovered even more damaged areas where the elastomeric coating had peeled away from the roof's surface. There are more than a dozen serious bad spots now. The roofer is ignoring me too. I've called several times and sent multiple e-mail messages, but have yet to get a response. I don't know where this is going. The patches don't seem to be working and the roofer clearly doesn't want to give me an entirely new roof.

Dot still seems tired and sore. She is slowly recovering from her fall last week, but I don't think she's ready for physical therapy yet. It's looks like I'm going to have to cancel our Wednesday appointment. Dot would probably still benefit from acupuncture, but it's difficult to travel with her in the car. Unless she's feeling pretty good, the adverse effects of the car ride negate any benefits she might receive from therapy.

I would like to think that tomorrow will be different than today, but it probably won't. I'll turn on the television in the morning and hear the same news about terrorism and political circuses. I'll fix the same fruit smoothie for breakfast, hoping that the bananas have ripened a bit. Dash will interrupt my breakfast with non-stop barking and Dot will poop when I least expect it. There will probably be websites to update, but none of the changes will be of any consequence. I'll look for something to photograph for tomorrow's blog post. My shoulder will hurt and I'll think about taking a nap, but the day will be over before I get around to it. Then it will be Wednesday.

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Day 2470

I was thinking about freedom and discipline while I was at the gym today. I've always hated rules and regulations, but I'm certainly not much of a free spirit. I think of myself as a highly disciplined person with a poorly defined sense of purpose. If I start something, I finish it. Period. Don't ask me why I started though. This apparent contradiction certainly sums up my trips to the gym. I'm no slouch and work out strenuously, but I have no goals. I'm not sure if I've achieved anything at all. Maybe I just go to the gym so I can listen to TED talks in the car while I'm driving there.

I hate vacuuming, but I vacuum the house with a vengeance almost every Sunday. That's discipline. Moving the dog beds around, cleaning all the rugs, and then cleaning the brick floors under them takes a lot of time. There is always an enormous amount of dirt and dog hair in the Dyson canister when I'm finished, but the house doesn't look any cleaner. How could I keep removing all this dirt and there's still more? It seems to violate some fundamental law of physics. At some point you'd think all the dirt would finally be gone. I feel the same way about the dehumidifier. Gallons of water are removed from the house every day, and yet the moisture in the air never really disappears.

The combination of a roof that turns into a lake every time it rains, bills that keep arriving whether you spend any money or not, industrious spiders that obscure the living room windows with new webs every evening, squirrels and possums that work tirelessly to destroy the lawn, dust and dirt that seems to have acquired a life of its own, and a dog that poops in the house every time I decide to take a shower, all require discipline just to stay on top of things. I don't feel like I've got the freedom to ignore these intrusions. You've just got to keep going to keep the chaos at bay.

So, am I having fun at the gym? I really don't know. I don't hate going, but I don't love going either.  It's just 63 minutes out of my day. I'm starting to feel the same way about going out for breakfast or even writing this blog. I don't question any of these things, but have forgotten what it was that made any of this seem like a good idea. Occasionally, someone asks me what I'm passionate about. I just give them a blank stare. It's discipline, not passion that keeps me going.

None of this is a bad thing. I'm actually a relatively happy person. Maybe it's just me, but I think a lot of people would be better off if they substituted discipline for passion. Just finishing what you started can be it's own reward.

Tomorrow, I'll start the day by making the bed. I'll concoct a delicious smoothie from strawberries, blueberries, peaches, bananas, eggs, oatmeal, and ice cream. The dogs will get walked. If there's a writing assignment, I'll do it quickly and efficiently. If no work comes my way, maybe I'll wash the car. That's probably enough for a Monday. If something surprising happens, you'll be the first to know.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Day 2469

I find all this talk about the candidate's health amusing. These guys are my age. They may be healthy compared to other people approaching seventy, but they aren't thirty-five anymore. It's amazing how quickly the body starts to deteriorate when you approach seventy. My Dad was like John Wayne in his younger years, but between seventy and eighty, his decline was swift and debilitating. I'm starting to experience the ravages of time myself. I just don't understand why we nominated two people who are so old and so disliked. Didn't we learn anything from Ronald Regan? Many doctors and even his own son now say that he suffered from Alzheimers Disease while he was still in the White House. You'd think in a country of over 300 million people, we could find at least one decent, healthy person in their early 40's to run for president.

I certainly didn't see many healthy people this morning. When I took Dash on his morning walk, we  somehow found ourselves in the middle of one of those charity running events. We must have been at the tail end of the race, because there weren't many people actually running. There were a few Moms pushing strollers, but mostly we shared the trail with some very overweight folks who definitely shouldn't have been wearing yoga pants. I guess some of the bystanders thought Dash and I were in the race, because when we passed, I could hear them saying "Keep it up. You can do it." It was kind of embarrassing, since some of the fat people were beating us. They weren't stopping to pee on every tree though.

I had quite a bit of website work to do today. I guess working on weekends is considered normal now. I got everything finished, but it didn't leave me with a lot of time to do anything else. At least I got to sleep in late this morning. When there's no alarm clock, both dogs seem content to sleep until at least 7:30 AM. The only problem with sleeping longer it that I end up cutting things pretty close with getting Dot outside to pee in the morning. If she's still sleeping when I wake up, I get everything prepared for the race to the door. First I unlock and open the back door, put my shoes on, and then I wait. As soon as Dot starts to stir, I lift her up and guide her by her harness straight out the open door so that she'll hopefully pee outside. There is no margin for error. If I forget to unlock the door, she will pee in the living room while I'm fiddling with the lock. If I forget my shoes, I just have to go outside barefoot. Today, I was successful. Some days, I'm not.

I've grown to love the iPhone app that lets me do my grocery shopping without standing in the check out line. This app not only saves me time, it also save me a lot of needless aggravation. Now, I wish there were other apps that let me avoid people in my daily life. I wish there was an app that would tell me exactly when to leave the house in order to avoid traffic jams and irritating drivers. I wish there was an app that would tell me when the strawberries were fresh. I hate buying a package of strawberries and discovering a rotten, moldy strawberry hidden in with the others when I get home. An app that allowed me to buy clothes that fit without having to try them on first would be nice as well.

Dot is walking better today. The extra rest she's been getting seems to be helping. The only downside to extra rest is that it virtually guarantees that Dot will poop in her bed. When I anticipate that this is going to happen, I put a pad under her and take off her harness so it won't get soiled. Sometimes this works like a charm. Other times, Dot decides that she wants to get up again and go outside as soon as I get her harness off. Such is life.

I sorted through several months worth of unread bank and brokerage statements, medicare notifications, and reminders about upcoming events this afternoon. Why do people keep sending me these things? I have no interest in reading them anymore.

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Day 2468

We got some bad news today. After six months of remaining stable, one of the tumors in Dot's liver has started to grow again. There is also a new small cyst in her spleen. None of this is very surprising, but it is discouraging. This is what cancer does. It progresses erratically, often staying in remission for long periods of time, only to reappear again later. Dot's oncologist said she wasn't alarmed by the rate the cancer was advancing. There's not much we can do anyway. Palladia pills aren't the only type of chemotherapy available, but they are less invasive and have fewer side effects than the other alternatives. The oncologist doesn't recommend chemotherapy for an incontinent dog anyway, because the poop becomes toxic. That's all I need right now is poison poop.

I went back to the hipster restaurant this morning. One thing about this place is that the people who eat there seem happier than at other restaurants.  It gives the place an authenticity that is hard to explain, but easy to acknowledge. Even though I don't belong here, I kind of feel like I belong. The food is good too. If these guys would just start serving their meals on real plates and quit using plastic silverware, I'd be a happy camper.

It's always kind of sad sitting in the lobby at the cancer center. We had a long wait today because the dog that was getting an Ultrasound scan ahead of us was having difficulty coming out of anesthesia. While I waited, I talked with some of the other people about their dogs. There is always someone who is visiting for the first time and is very nervous. There is usually someone else who has a dog that has been a patient even longer than Dot. There was a mother and daughter who were crying because they'd just learned that their dog had leukemia. I wanted to tell them that their dog would probably survive and that it would get easier after they'd been coming here for two or three years. I don't know whether that would have helped though. The relentless nature of cancer is what makes it so hard.

It's just as well that I didn't have much work today, since these vet appointments keep taking longer and longer. Well, I felt that way until I got my Visa bill later in the day. Then I wished I had a lot more work. I made a few minor website revisions, but that was about it. It's hard to get used to my new daily routine. Without deadlines to meet and meetings to attend, there isn't a lot of activity. I've had to trade efficiency for patience. Taking care of Dot requires lots and lots of patience.

The city picked up my trash this morning. That's always a good start to the weekend. I'm hoping that Dot continues to recover from her fall. She was walking a little steadier today, but she still has a ways to go. Probably lots of rest would do us all some good tomorrow.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Day 2467

Dot fell on her morning walk and injured herself. She's limping on one of her front legs again. The only solution is lots of bed rest and maybe canceling her therapy sessions for a while. I think she is just sore, but she did take a nasty tumble. It's really hard to walk Dot when she stumbles so easily, but we do the best we can. It's still important to keep her moving. The last time this happened, she was a lot better 24 hours later. Hopefully, some added rest will help her recuperate again.

We've had trouble with our front loader washer almost from the day we got it, so I was encouraged today to read that a large class action lawsuit against multiple manufacturers of these machines had been settled and owners were going to be compensated for repairs. Whirlpool, Maytag, LG and a number of other popular brands were covered in this settlement. Where was Frigidaire though? Was I going to be compensated too? Nope. Frigidaire and their parent company Electrolux were the only companies still fighting the lawsuit and refusing to settle. The problem with all of these machines is that they they never really dry out after doing a load of wash and eventually mold starts to build up inside the machine. It doesn't take long for the rubber boot that is used to seal the front loading door to turn black. Frigidaire refuses to even acknowledge that there is a problem. I can show them a big problem.

One of my clients is having problems with their website forms again. Problems with forms seems to happen with disturbing regularity. The hosting company changes something on their server and doesn't bother to tell their customers. Sometimes they move the CGI Bin to a different location. Sometimes they stop supporting older forms altogether. I spent a considerable amount of time with tech support this morning trying to determine what was causing the "Internal Server Error" message people were getting when they submitted the forms, but I basically got nowhere. Tech support people don't seem to know as much as they used to. The person I talked to today opened a job ticket on my case and said she was going to escalate my request to a higher level of service. I'll probably have to call four or five more times before the forms are actually fixed.

The roofer still hasn't responded to my request to come out and examine the roof again. I was very polite when I told them about the latest problems, but so far they're ignoring me. This happens sometimes. Do they think I'm just going to go away?  I'll keep calling and sending e-mail until I get results. It's so frustrating when people over promise and under deliver. All I really want is the roof these guys promised in the first place.

I remembered to take the trash out to the curb this evening, but during the short time I was away, Dot pooped on one of the large living room rugs and then stumbled and fell in the poop. In case you haven't noticed, this hasn't been a very good day.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Day 2466

This was one of those days where I wondered whether I did the right thing by taking Dot to physical therapy. She was tired this morning and seemed very slow when we took our morning walk around the block. She rested well for the remainder of the morning, so I thought she'd be OK at her therapy session. Unfortunately, Dot seemed even slower when she got into the underwater treadmill. The water kept her buoyant, so she didn't fall down, but you could tell her legs were tired. She's resting again now. We couldn't have taken an evening walk even if she wanted to. It started raining while I was eating dinner and curtailed any plans to go outside again.

Maybe Dot was tired this morning because she didn't sleep well. When Dot doesn't sleep well, I don't sleep well either. The slightest noise wakes me up and Dot woke me up three times last night. It probably would have been a better plan if we both just took a long nap today.

I was really hoping that the roofers would come out and take a look at things before it started raining again, but that didn't happen. The roofers can't make repairs until the roof is really dry, so I'm probably out of luck for a while. If memory serves me, the Fall rainy season starts in late October, so hopefully I can get my problems resolved before then.

It's really difficult for me to get anything accomplished anymore. Dot is restless, but can't move around on her own. I'm constantly moving her around from room to room or taking her outdoors. Dash has gotten moody and refuses to walk early in the morning lately. He prefers to walk about 10 AM after I've finished my breakfast. That's fine, but it takes more time. Today, when I finished with the dogs lengthy morning routine, it was time to start getting Dot ready for her trip downtown for physical therapy. When we returned, I needed to go to a different vet to pick up some pills for Dot. Then it was time to take Dash for his evening walk and eat dinner. That was my entire day.

I installed the correct ink cartridges in my printer today and of course since the printer had been idle for so long, it was clogged. I don't know how much of my new expensive ink I used up getting the printer unclogged again but it was quite a bit. I think Epson makes this ink clog on purpose. These printers are just a way to sell ink. Keeping all these cranky machines working makes me feel a bit like Sisyphus pushing the stone up the hill. There are multiple battery chargers in the office, keeping batteries charged for cameras I haven't used in years. I hear the soft whir of several watch winders behind my desk, keeping half a dozen mechanical watches wound and ready to go, even though I never wear them anymore. It's all kind of pointless.

When Dot was having her acupuncture today, the vet and I talked about how the world was spinning out of control and that it would be nice if we could turn back the clock ten or fifteen years. Personally, I'd rather turn back the clock 100 years. So many things have changed. Privacy has become an antiquated concept. If you think anything is private anymore, you are being very foolish. I think the next thing to fall by the wayside is the notion of truth. Truth is becoming antiquated as well. There is no objective truth anymore. There are just competing narratives. When writers and reporters talk about how the narrative has changed on the news, it as if we are just living inside a story or a movie. Maybe we are.

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