Monday, October 31, 2016

Day 2513 - Halloween

Halloween is a non-event in our neighborhood. When we were walking the dogs this evening, we saw one young trick-or-treater walking down the street with his Mom. That was it. There weren't a lot of decorated houses this year. I didn't even buy a pumpkin to put on the front porch. The holiday seems to have morphed from an occasion where children go door to door in search of candy to an occasion where young adults can indulge their fascination with cosplay. I have a feeling that adult costumes outsell children's costumes now.

I got my website project finished today. When I'm doing these things, it occurs to me that I'm still pretty good at what I do. It's a shame that these skills are no longer in demand. People don't even get excited about websites anymore. Everybody has one, but they have largely become like Yellow Pages ads. Small businesses need a website so that when someone Googles their name, something shows up. I buy stuff from large online retailers like Sweetwater and B&H. I order pizzas and Pad Thai online from local restaurants. That's about it though. I'm not even curious about most websites.

I'm not a political person, but I am curious about this election. The whole thing has become like a real life version of House of Cards. Every day when I turn on the news in the morning, there is something new that is even more astonishing than the stuff I heard the day before. I thought that some of Trump's blunders would be hard to top and then along comes Anthony Weiner. It's amazing. Both sides are running elaborate and very sophisticated disinformation campaigns. About the only news you can trust is coming from hackers. Even Snopes, a site I used to trust to give me the unvarnished facts, has been discredited. I can't tell the real news from the Onion anymore on Facebook. Just yesterday, I read an article where a democratic fundraiser said he witnessed Bill Clinton having sex with a cow during a cocaine party. I wasn't expecting that.

I got my property tax bill today. I'd forgotten about that one. It never ends. Every time I start to think that I'm finished with all these unexpected expenses, another bill arrives. At least we don't have a state income tax in Texas. I'd be really frustrated if I had to deal with rising Obamacare premiums along with all the other taxes we have to pay. I think I became eligible for Medicare at just the right time.

Going to the vegan take out store on Monday afternoon has become a new part of my weekly routine. I pick up enough vegetarian meals to supplement the leftovers in the refrigerator. There's always something new on the menu, so I'm getting a chance to try a lot of things I've never had before. I felt like Cajun food today, so I picked up a container of red beans an rice and some jambalaya with broccoli. I've never had jambalaya without shrimp or sausage before, but the vegetarian version looked interesting.

The dogs kept me busy today. Dash refused to walk in the dark this morning, so I had to give him his long morning walk after I finished breakfast. Dot seemed to have more energy than usual, and she kept me busy walking her back and forth around the house and backyard. There was the usual poop to clean up and meals to prepare. It was actually a pretty normal day. It didn't seem like Halloween at all.

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

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Day 2512

Sometimes on Sundays I stare at the screen for thirty minutes before I write a single word. I'm just too tired. I went to the gym right after breakfast this morning, because I knew that if I waited until I finished the household chores, I probably wouldn't go at all. Right after breakfast wasn't that early though. It was actually closer to lunch. By the time we cleaned up Dot's latest accident in the house and gave the dogs their morning walk, it was already pretty late.

There are no pretty faces at my gym. I can't believe that everyone is so old. They are a steely eyed, very determined bunch though. A lot of the men look like they were CEO's before they retired. One old guy always exercises in a button down dress shirt and street shoes. It's like he's still at the office. I probably look just as old to these geezers. Especially if I arrive after I've vacuumed the house.

It's really hard to keep the house clean when Dot keeps peeing and pooping all over the place. I try though. Every Sunday the Dyson picks up an unbelievable amount of dirt and dog hair. Maybe the house smells a little better, but it certainly doesn't look much better. I sure wish this vacuum cleaner was easier to clean. I mean how many people need to use a leaf blower to clean their vacuum cleaner? The leaf blower actually does a pretty good job, but it would have made a lot more sense for Dyson to use a bag to catch the dust like everybody else does.

I received input for several new website updates this afternoon, but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to look at it. Enough is enough. Working on weekends must be becoming more commonplace. Everyone is doing it now. Even Janet is bringing home work on weekends. I can probably get everything done tomorrow, but I definitely don't want to deal with it tonight.

I wonder if Anthony Weiner used a Macintosh? Huma Abedin claims that she has no idea how 650,000 of her e-mails wound up on Weiner's computer. She probably does know, but giving her the benefit of the doubt, if she ever opened an account on her husband's computer, all the e-mails she was sending on other computers could have quietly been updating on this one as well. Cloud-based computing can be sneaky that way. I know that when I send or receive an e-mail on my computer, it winds up on my phone, iPad, and laptop as well. 650,000 e-mails sounds like the mother lode of everything the FBI has been looking for. This is probably even more information than Wikileaks has. With this much information, there is probably something pretty damning. I know she won't do it, but Hillary should withdraw from the race immediately for the good of the country. If she wins and gets indited after the election, all hell is going to break loose. She could always pardon herself, but I don't think that is going to go over very well. I don't think there is much of a precedent for running the country from prison either. Just let Tim Kane run. He'll do most of the things the democrats want anyway. Hillary is toxic at this point.

I'm a great believer in Karma. Bill Clinton only got a slap on the wrist for his own misdeeds. He not only was a friend of Anthony Weiner, he introduced him to Huma Abedin and actually married the couple. A few dick pics later and everything comes crumbling down. Hey buddy, what goes around comes around. I have no sympathy for these fools.

I can't wait for the time to change next week. I'm getting real tired of walking the dogs in the dark before breakfast. Of course, when the time actually does change,  I'll be complaining about walking in the dark in the evenings. That's just the way I roll.

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

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Day 2511

I'm not catching many breaks with this roof. When I went up on the roof to inspect what the repair crews did yesterday, I was simultaneously pleased and disappointed. It looked like the crew had applied the elastomer coating properly, but there was one big problem. It was a windy day yesterday and tons of small leaves had fallen from our Elm Tree and become embedded in the coating before it had time to dry properly. Now the leaves are probably going to be there forever. If I try too hard to rip them out, I could damage the coating. If I ignore the leaves and leave them where they are, they could react chemically with the coating and cause it to deteriorate prematurely. For over 30 years nature has been trying to tell me that nobody should have built a house on this property. The large trees are pretty but the root systems have penetrated our sewer lines, large tree branches have broken off in storms and landed on the roof, and squirrels have claimed the entire area as their own. I think I lost this battle years ago, but it is still discouraging to be reminded about how relentless the natural world can be about reclaiming what it rightfully owns. The forest will be here long after the house is gone.

Security concerns have forced me to have so many passwords that I can't even begin to remember them all. I felt foolish when I couldn't even remember how to add my existing e-mail account to my new iPad. The hosting company had forced me to start using a new more complex password recently and all I could remember was the original one. I ended up having to call tech support and asked them to guide me through the process. This was embarrassing, since I routinely help other people set up their e-mail accounts for a living. Almost every day something like this happens to remind me that I'm not getting any younger. At any rate, when I finally got the e-mail account working, I set it to remember my log-in information, so I won't have to go through this again.

I saw some Kestrels on my walk with Dash this afternoon. These little hawks appear to be thriving in our area. I see more of them every year. They usually sit on the top of trees looking intently for something to eat. I don't have the patience to be a serious birder, but I do enjoy learning a little more about the animals I see everyday. It's an eat or be eaten world out there. Perhaps if we humans weren't at the top of the food chain, we'd be a little more realistic about our place in the world. Hawks know what to do. All animals know instinctively how to keep things in balance, except for us. We seem to think we're exempt from the cycle of life and I'm convinced that this will lead to our extinction.

I wonder if there is anything that would actually change people's minds in this election. Trump supporters aren't swayed by his frequent displays of incompetence. Hillary supporters are even worse. They could care less about the implications of compromising national security or selling favors to the highest bidder. Politics have become like sports. Everyone is just rooting for their favorite team. I don't think this is going to end well, no matter who wins.

I'm old, so I don't think my life is going to change all that much. If I were young, I'd be worried. How did we let ourselves get to the point where the Kardashians have become role models and two self-centered idiots are running for president. What's scary is that one of these two is going to win.  Idiocracy is just a movie now, but in ten years it's going to seem like a documentary.

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

Friday, October 28, 2016

Day 2510

The roofers came today and my trash got emptied. I'd call that a success. I probably didn't even need to go up on the roof to show the repair crew where the damage was. It was pretty obvious. The roofers admitted that they'd been having some problems with the material they initially coated my roof with. you're not the only one with this problem," the foreman told me. This material had only one job" to keep out water. "We're discovering that the elastomer begins to dissolve if it's under water for any length of time," the guys told me. Oops. Hopefully, they used something tough and durable this time. I'd really like to get this problem solved.

I wonder if the sanitation department had a talk with the driver on our route. For the second week in a row, all the trash on our street seems to be getting collected. I have a new lucky spot to place my rolling cart on Thursday evening. I hope that nobody starts parking their car here. My special spot is one of the few places on the street without overhanging tree limbs that might confuse the robotic arm on the truck.

I didn't get to go out for breakfast this morning, but this was a small price to pay for getting the roof fixed. I found some Jimmy Dean sausage to go along with the toaster waffles in the freezer and had a lovely breakfast, punctuated by the sound of Dash barking at me. He seemed mad that there weren't any bananas this morning. I hate to miss my Friday breakfast outings. They are a little oasis of calm in a hectic week.

I downloaded Microsoft Word and Excel for my new iPad and then discovered that they are practically useless unless I also subscribe to to Office 365. I hate these subscription models that everyone is going to. I have to subscribe to my anti-virus software. My website development platform requires an annual subscription. Then there's Hulu and Netflix. It adds up. Software subscriptions are just like leasing a car or renting an apartment. I'd really prefer owning this stuff.

It looks like the big news of the day was that the FBI reopened their investigation of Hillary Clinton.  I find it hilarious that after using sex in an attempt to bring down Trump, the Clinton campaign may ultimately be derailed by Anthony Weiner of all people. Jeez, if Huma Abedin is such a powerful person, what on earth was she doing sharing a computer with her pedophile husband? Trump certainly doesn't have a monopoly on bad judgement in this election. There is plenty to go around. I still think we need a do-over. If this election were a movie, people would say it was too farfetched to be believable.

Dot seemed to be feeling better today. She certainly was vocal and active. Every time I tried to take a shower, she'd start barking for attention. This wasn't aimless random barking either. Most of the time when I got her up and took her outside, she promptly peed or pooped. I didn't get to take a shower until late in the afternoon, but I was glad to see Dot's mind working normally again.

Janet has to go into work tomorrow morning, so the dogs will just think it's another workday. That's probably for the best. Dot and Dash don't like surprises. I'm starting to feel the same way.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Day 2509

It took a lot longer than I thought to get the new iPad ready to use. There ought to be a red big button at the start of the configuration process that says skip all this stuff. I'll do it later. Since no such button exists, I spent a long time answering dumb questions, trying to remember various passwords, and learning how to make a readable fingerprint scan. I should have selected the option to configure a new iPad rather than restore an old one, because I ended up transferring a lot of old apps that I don't even use anymore. Eventually, I got the all clear to use the freshly configured tablet, but I wasn't done yet. I had to take the iPad down to the AT&T store and add it to my wireless plan.

AT&T marketing materials always make everything they offer seem easy and affordable, but I learned a long time ago that this isn't always the case. There's always a surprise that makes your plan much more expensive than you thought it would be. I have no idea why they felt justified in charging me an exorbitant activation fee when I was just adding the tablet to an existing plan. There was no need to try to pressure me into buying more data either. "But you'll need more data now that you're using two devices," said the pushy sales representative. "No I won't," I said. "I'm only using one at a time." We went back and forth for a while and ultimately she failed to sell me anything extra.

The roofers are coming out tomorrow. Well, they promised to come out tomorrow anyway. We'll see what happens. Since the roofers typically get started early, I won't be able to go out for breakfast in the morning. I definitely want to be here while they are working. This time I want to make sure that all the bad areas get repaired, instead of just some of them. I've already eaten this week's supply of fresh fruit, so I won't be able to make my regular smoothie tomorrow. Hopefully, there's still a package of toaster waffles in the freezer. If that doesn't work out, there's always oatmeal.

I've gotten really superstitious about taking out the trash. Since the trash ultimately did get picked up last week, I tried to place my rolling cart in exactly the same spot this evening. Maybe I need to mark the spot with chalk or something. I had a hard time remembering where I put my can last week. If you're looking for a lucky spot, a foot or two in the wrong direction could make all the difference.

Maybe I'll write the blog on the iPad tomorrow. Since I rarely do serous video editing anymore, I could probably use this high octane tablet for most things I do. I like the idea of a slim, powerful tablet replacing my computers, but I'm also a creature of habit. I've spent so many years sitting in front of this giant monitor that it might be too late to change.

My SiriusXM free trial ends in a few days. I need to decide whether to subscribe or not. I like listening to NPR in the car, but I really don't drive much anymore. I don't really need satellite radio, but then I don't really need Hulu or Netflix either. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between wants and needs. I do need a leak free roof and reliable trash pick up. If I can get those two things taken care of tomorrow, I'll be a happy camper.

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

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Day 2508

I discovered some old birthday and Christmas gift cards in a drawer that I'd almost forgotten about and decided that this would be as good a time as any to get that iPad I've been wanting. There was also a gift card from the electric company in the drawer. I guess it was some sort of customer appreciation gift. When I called the number on the card to activate it, I was told that the card had already expired and was worth nothing. Jeez, the card wasn't that old. Thanks for nothing electric company.

There are all kinds of ways I could rationalize this purchase. The iPad will make a great teleprompter when I do corporate videos. It will let me sit down next to Dot in the evening while I write the blog. I could go on and on. The truth is that there aren't any good reasons why I need a new iPad. I just wanted to do something frivolous for a change. It's been a long time since I did something fun and frivolous.

I don't think Dot is ever going to poop outside again. For the past week she has almost exclusively done her business while she's asleep. If I prepare things right, this new schedule makes for a relatively easy cleanup, but it also has me worried. Is the Tramadol causing this change of behavior or is this just another aspect of the aging process. Dot's vets don't have a definitive answer. The older she gets, the more we are in uncharted territory.

I've started seeing screws and nails in our street again. This seems to happen whenever someone is remodeling their house and it drives me nuts. Can't contractors clean up after themselves? I've ended up getting so many nails in my tires over the years that it isn't even funny. It's not just me either. Just about everybody I know in Dallas routinely gets nails in their tires.

I'll be glad when the time changes next week. Not only will it be easier to see debris in the street, it will also be easier to walk the dogs. It's pretty dark when we take our morning walk now. On clear days the skies lighten quickly, but on overcast days it seems to stay dark for the duration of our walk. Dash is scared of the dark and just about anything spooks him on these pre-dawn mornings. Personally, I enjoy watching the stars gradually fade out as dawn approaches. Dash has other ideas though. It's going to be easier to walk him after the time changes.

This week would be an ideal time for the roofers to come out and make their repairs. The skies are clear. The roof is dry. What's not to like? Have I heard from the roofers lately? Of course not. I'll call them again tomorrow. Like everything in my life, the roof requires patience.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Day 2507

I voted. My vote will probably cancel your vote, but no hard feelings. That's just the way our system works. If my local precinct is any indication, this is going to be a high turnout election. I've never seen such a long line to vote. Usually I go to the polls when everybody else is at work, but my plan didn't work today. Even at 2:30 in the afternoon it took about thirty minutes to work my way through the line. I didn't ask anyone who they were voting for, but it was pretty easy to tell. There seemed to be an almost equal number of old men with canes voting for Trump and young Moms with children voting for Clinton. I don't think anyone will have to worry about voter fraud at my precinct. I had to show two forms of ID and sign my name before they would give me a ballot.

I was determined to repair the watch that the watch repairman messed up yesterday. I could have just taken the watch back and complained, but it seemed easier to fix it myself. I spread my tools out on the kitchen table, found my box of parts, and got to work. I removed the ruined part and figured out a way to put everything back together without it. An hour later, the watch looked perfect. I should have done this in the first place. I'm good at fixing things, but I just don't have the desire anymore. I would much rather pay someone competent to do the fixing for me. Unfortunately, competance is in very short supply these days.

For some reason, the only time Dot seems inclined to poop lately is when I'm eating. For the past three days in a row, my breakfast or dinner has been interrupted by the now familiar smell. You can't postpone attending to these accidents. I've got to quickly move Dot out of the way and clean her up before she stumbles and falls in the mess. I always take Dot outside and walk her around before starting a meal, but it doesn't seem to matter. These things just happen when they happen.

I've been wanting to get one of the larger iPad Pro tablets for quite a while. Every time I get ready to go to the Apple Store, there is an unexpected expense and I have to postpone things for a while. I'm beginning to think that the unexpected expenses have become a permanent part of my life, but maybe next month I'll get lucky. I wonder if an iPad Pro would be as useful as I think it might be? It would make a great teleprompter, but I don't do many videos anymore. It could probably replace my laptop, but I don't even use my laptop much anymore. If I was a sensible person, I would just forget about the iPad Pro and get a tree guy to come out and trim all the trees in the backyard instead.

I miss taking Dot to physical therapy on Wednesdays. It was nice having a vet evaluate her every week and I really thought the underwater treadmill sessions helped. Unfortunately, she came home absolutely exhausted toward the end. I don't think Dot has gotten strong enough to resume the therapy and maybe she never will. It's just hard to accept that aging is a relentless one way process. I have a hard time accepting my own diminished capabilities as well. We'll take our walk around the block in the morning and I'm sure both Dot and I will wish we could do more.

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

Monday, October 24, 2016

Day 2506

I picked up the watch I took in for repairs last week and exactly fifteen minutes after I returned home, the broken link they allegedly fixed fell apart again. I should have known that this would be an exercise in frustration. I'm pretty good at fixing things like this and when I realized that a repair was impossible, I should have known that it would be impossible for others as well. I wish the repair guy had just told me the obvious. The weird flexible rubber joints that held the metal band together were forty years old and the rubber was crumbling. Glue just wasn't going to work. Later in the day, Janet asked me why I didn't just remove the defective link and make the band smaller. Duh. I never thought of that and apparently neither did the watch repairman.

I've been tired all day. I had a major cleanup in the middle of the night when Dot had a dog dream right after she pooped in her bed and ended up kicking the poop across the room. What a mess. By the time I got things cleaned up, I was wide awake and felt like putting on a pot of coffee and starting the day at 3 AM. I knew better though. Every hour of sleep counts. I went back to bed marveling at the fact that Dot never woke up through the entire episode. She was still sleeping peacefully.

Today would have been a perfect day for the roofers to come over, but not surprisingly, they are ignoring me again. As soon as it rains, I'm sure they'll call and tell me how they were planning to come out if only it wasn't so wet. I have a feeling that the roofers and the garbage man are having a beer together somewhere, laughing at how easy it is to pull my chain.

I had so many little errands to do today that it was easy to forget how slow work has been this month. For some reason I thought I could clean out all the gunk that had accumulated in the washing machine's soap drawer. I wasted most of the morning taking the thing apart and was disgusted at all the mold and slime I found. Don't ever buy a front loader washing machine. They're almost as bad as a flat roof on your house. The afternoon was spent picking up prescriptions for Dot, selecting some additional meals at the vegan take out store, going to the bank, and looking for the illusive spot in the back yard where Dash pooped last night. It's almost impossible to clean up the poop in the dark, and equally impossible to remember where it is the next morning.

Dot seemed weak and lethargic today. This surprised me, since she was doing great this weekend. Every day is a new day with Dot. Some days, she'll be able to get up on her own and wander around the house. Other days she can barely move. I'm used to a world with distinct causes and corresponding effects. Aging isn't like this at all. The weird blend of physical and mental deterioration can totally surprise you at times. Hopefully, Dot will bounce back a bit tomorrow. She certainly got plenty of rest today.

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

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Day 2505

My Dad was an accomplished scientist. He wrote books and was well regarded by his peers. None of this prevented him from being sucked into financially disastrous telemarketing scams or becoming a hopeless hoarder as he grew older. Many of my friends are dealing with aging parents who have similar problems. Falling victim to financial scams and living in impossibly cluttered homes seem to be common themes. When I do my Sunday chores, I often hope that I don't go down the same rabbit hole. The warning signs are already there. How did the house ever get this messy? I spent the first half of my life living with a Zen like clarity, and now look at me. There is so much clutter in my office now that even the dogs have trouble navigating this no-man's land.

I try to straighten and clean on Sunday, but it hardly seems worth the effort. Fall is just beginning and already the backyard is filled with leaves. Spiders are industriously rebuilding elaborate webs in the windows I cleaned just a week or two ago, and dog hair is everywhere. The house was much easier to clean before it became filled with throw rugs to keep Dot from slipping on the brick floors. By the time I clean all these rugs and wash dozens of dirty dog blankets, I've usually had enough. I make the bed every day, but I'm lucky if I clean the office once a year. I used to move excess clutter from the office to the storage warehouse regularly, but now both spaces are full. Winter coats don't fit in the closet anymore. Bookshelves are overflowing with dusty books and obsolete software boxes. Broken watches litter my desk. I'm having a hard time even keeping up with reading my mail. All of this is discouraging, because when I'm being objective about things, I realize that I'm only three or four years away from becoming my Dad.

I made an honest effort today. I didn't just vacuum the floors. I even used the attachments to remove the dust from windowsills and floorboards. It's discouraging to clean up Dot's space and spread fresh blankets on the floor, only to have her poop on them ten minutes later. That's life with an incontinent dog though. You just have to be patient and keep cleaning things over and over again.

If I did this everyday, I'd be in great shape. I typically take between 16,000 and 20,000 steps on Sunday. Dash usually takes a much longer walk on Sunday.  I almost always go to the gym as well. Throw in mowing the grass and pushing the heavy Dyson Animal around the house and you've got a very busy day. Would my time have been better spent lying in bed and watching a movie on Netflix? Who knows?

The shower stall seemed dry today, so I thought I'd try to reseal the corners with silicon again. The repairs didn't work the first time I tried this, but there's always hope. This means I won't be able to take a shower until the silicon dries. I'm too tired to care. Despite all the physical activity, it was a good day. The weather was fabulous. Dot seemed a little stronger than usual. Dash got a bath and smells good for a change. Janet fixed some delicious Chicken Parmesan for dinner, and it looks like the bananas for tomorrow's breakfast are ripening nicely.

Early voting starts tomorrow in Texas. I'm still trying to decide when the lines will be the smallest.

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

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Day 2504

Dash followed a path this morning we hadn't been down in years and all of the sudden it was like old times. It was a nice day and we ended up walking three miles. We used to do this every day, but it's been a long time. I noticed that leaves are already starting to turn in some sections of the park. Late Fall flowers are blooming. It was good to get reacquainted with this part of the neighborhood. On the way home, I noticed some new houses under construction and even talked with a few neighbors.

I asked one guy about a home that has remained vacant ever since it was completed several years ago. "Are you guys ever going to move in," I asked the owner. "I haven't been able to convince my wife to move yet," he told me. It seems like they would have worked this out before they built the elaborate house, but what do I know. When I asked whether he was going to sell the place now, he indicated that it was turning out to be a pretty great man cave for him. It must be nice to have the resources to build a million dollar house and then not even bother to live in it. The guy drove away in a perfectly restored 1966 Corvette and Dash and I continued our walk.

I love the cooler weather. Maybe that was why Dash was eager to take a longer walk this morning. Of course, he might have just wanted to get away from the chaos he woke up to. Dot had pooped in her sleep and then rolled over in it when she woke up. She was a smelly mess and I still had to figure out how to get her outside before she peed all over the place. After I took her out to pee, hosed her down, cleaned up the soiled blankets, and washed my hands several times, it was time for breakfast. I've decided that weekdays are easier than weekends. The discipline of getting up very early just works out better for everyone.

My convenient Scan and Go app crashed while I was grocery shopping this afternoon. I thought I'd have to start over, but discovered that the app saves your scanned items to the cloud and all the purchases I'd made before the crash were still there after I re-booted my phone. I decided to use 4G instead of the store's WiFi to complete my transactions and everything worked just fine. Even with this weird glitch, I still managed to get out of the store much faster than I would have if I'd gone through the check-out line.

Janet went to a friend's gallery opening after dinner. While I was cleaning up the kitchen, Dot came out to greet me, covered with poop. She'd done it again. I stopped what I was doing and took her outside and hosed her off a second time. Then I did a forensic search of the house and cleaned up the mess. Dot's not even aware of what she's doing. I can't get mad at her, but I do swear a lot now. This is very tiring.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow. There are a ton of chores that need my attention, but I'd like to do something interesting for a change. Unfortunately, the only thing that interests me at the moment is sleeping.

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

Friday, October 21, 2016

Day 2503

Today had its ups and downs. I was delighted to see a few Orionid meteors as I was walking Dash before dawn this morning. The light pollution is so bad in Dallas that it is rare to see things like this. I got up so early this morning that I was able to eat a relaxing breakfast before the Friday morning crowds arrived. The hipster restaurant is slowly becoming my new go-to destination. The atmosphere is low-key and relaxing and the food is delicious.

I checked my trash can with some trepidation when I returned from breakfast and was somewhat disappointed to see that the black trash bags were still inside. On further inspection I realized that the truck hadn't even been by yet. None of the trash on the entire street had been picked up. The truck usually arrives about 7 AM, but when it still hadn't appeared by 4 PM, I began to get suspicious. Maybe the driver got mad that somebody complained and decided to ignore the street this week. I was determined to get my trash picked up this time, so I called the city again. Around 6 PM, the truck finally appeared and this time my trash did get picked up.

When I went to the vet to pick up more phenobarbital for Dash, I noticed that they gave me the wrong medication. I went back and had them refill the prescription, which delayed me just enough to put me right in the middle of rush hour traffic for a trip to REI to pick up the pants that the store had agreed to replace for me. Getting off schedule can be dangerous. I wasn't terribly surprised to see that Dot had pooped in her bed while I was gone.

Before running these Friday errands, I finished my new article and shipped it off to the client. I wonder how I used to write three or four of these articles every day. I could never do that now. It's amazing how time consuming these dogs have become. Every time I get started on something, Dot needs attention. Dash has his own quirks as well. Together they are quite a handful.

After completing two minor website updates, I decided to call it a day. I was going to take a short nap with the dogs, but as soon as I lay down on the bed, Dash woke up and both dogs started barking for their dinner. I've started dividing their evening meal into two parts on days like this. Usually, they'll go back to sleep for and hour or so after the early dinner, and then we'll have the late dinner. This ritual may seem a little weird, but it gives the dogs something to do and restores a little sanity to the house. Life was a lot easier when I could just let Dot and Dash outside and let them burn off their energy chasing each other around in circles in the back yard.

As I swept yesterday's rain off the roof, I wondered how long it it will take to reconnect with the roofers again. They didn't show up at all this week. I've got to get beyond worrying about the roof and the garbage, but these things are pretty basic. I definitely need a dry roof over my head, and regular garbage pickup would be nice too. At least I had a nice breakfast this morning and all Dot's accidents landed squarely on the Wee Wee pads like they were supposed to. It's the little things that keep me sane.

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Day 2502

What was Cardinal Dolan thinking when he invited Donald and Hillary to speak at the Al Smith dinner tonight? Somebody forgot to tell these two that last night's debate was over. I usually love the self-deprecating humor at these events, but this was the most acrimonious and least funny roast I have ever seen. George Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Regan have all been hilarious at these type of events. Trump and Hillary were pathetic. They both told a few jokes and then launched into their stump speech. This was a take no prisoners evening. No wonder so many people are disgusted with this election.

I put my trash can on the opposite side of the street this evening. This isn't much of a plan, but it was the best I could come up with. Who knows. Maybe a different truck picks up the trash on the right hand side of the street. I went back to using my original rolling cart, because the robotic arm on the truck pretty well demolished my new can last week. We'll see tomorrow morning whether my talk with the sanitation department had any effect whatsoever. If my trash isn't emptied properly in the morning, I'm going to be well beyond frustrated.

Actually, I'm already frustrated because  today's rain ruined my chances of getting the roof repaired this week. The last time I called the roofers, they promised me that they'd be out again toward the end of the week. Now, they have the perfect excuse to keep ignoring me for a while longer. The coating material can't be applied unless the roof is completely dry, and the rainy season is approaching. It's going to become harder and harder to find a time when the roof is dry and the roofers are available.

The dogs were unusually needy today and it was hard to get anything done. If Dot wasn't demanding attention, Dash was. Dash always gets nervous on rainy days and it was hard to get him to go outside until the skies finally cleared. I knew he had to pee when I got up this morning, but it took four or five attempts to get him out the door. Dot didn't even bother. She just pooped in the house. It seemed like every time I tried to fix breakfast of dinner, there was another mess to clean up. There's nothing like the smell of dog poop when you're trying to enjoy your dinner.

I got another writing assignment this afternoon, but there was no need to finish it today. This will give me something to do tomorrow. If the weather cooperates, I'll look forward to going out for breakfast again. It's been a long week and I need to get out of the house for a while.

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Day 2501

Another loose dog came after Dash today. I managed to stop the dog before any damage was done, but the incident made me mad. It's amazing how often this happens. It's almost always a young person who isn't paying attention that causes the problem. They're doing yoga in the park, or listening to music with earbuds in their ears while their dog is roaming around nearby looking for something more interesting to do. Luckily this large Lab was dragging his leash behind him and I managed to grab the leash before the dog could get to Dash. Dash was terrified though. He's been attacked before and hasn't forgotten. Loose dogs are a pet peeve of mine. Take your dog to a dogpark if you want to let them off leash. Don't let them loose in an area where there are signs all over the place saying "All dogs must be leashed."

The last presidential debate is taking place right now. I have a live stream of the debate running in a window on my browser. I'll listen for about thirty seconds at a time and then I feel compelled to turn the sound off for a while. I just can't stand listening to these guys. I still don't understand how two of the most unlikable candidates in modern history could have been nominated and think the country deserves a do-over. If either of these folks gets elected, the gridlock we're experiencing in Washington DC just gets worse. Would it really be that hard to find someone the country actually likes? I can't think of a name at the moment, but there's got to be someone.

I never cared much about politics when I was younger. I can recall telling someone when I was in my twenties that I wouldn't mind having a king as long as I was part of the aristocracy. This was flippant, of course, but I just didn't think that voting even mattered. I think I finally registered to vote because my mother kept bugging me mercilessly about becoming a responsible citizen. I became a voter, but always was a bit skeptical about the whole process of arriving at a consensus. I've seen homeowner's associations and condo boards do nothing but bicker for years at a time. I played a very minor role in city government at one point and saw nothing but bickering. I think things might be a little better if lawyers weren't allowed to become politicians, but maybe that wouldn't help either.

If there was a political party that advocated giving the earth back to the dolphins and the whales, I think I'd be for them. Humans have become an invasive species, just like kudzu vines. We can't agree about anything. We eat all the fish out of the oceans. We cut down the rain forests for firewood. If we continue at this rate, we'll be extinct in 30,000 years. I hear a lot of politicians talk about climate change, but none of them even mention controlling the world's population as a solution. There are too many of us already and globalization is only making matters worse.

I don't think I'm going to change things. Somebody is going to get elected. Hopefully, I will continue to get my social security check and be able to live out the rest of my life without the rancor I am witnessing becoming even worse. I don't think the apocalypse is just around the corner, but I do think today's millennials are going to have a tough time turning this ship around. I wish them luck.

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

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Day 2500 - Halfway There

When I started this blog, I wondered whether it was humanly possible to post something for 5000 consecutive days. I'm halfway there. I still wonder if I can complete this quixotic journey. It's not been easy to get this far. There have been numerous power outages to overcome. Computers have crashed. Sometimes I've been impossibly busy and other times there's been nothing to talk about. Internet service has been spotty at times, as has my own health. I can remember posting from airports on numerous occasions and one time I posted the same day I came out of surgery. So far, I have not missed a single day.

Doing something on this grand a scale changes your life. I'm not sure it changes things for the better however. I can recall business trips where everyone else had gone out to dinner while I was sitting alone in my hotel room trying to compose the day's journal entry. Any activity after dinner still reminds me of the Cinderella story where the coach turns back into a pumpkin at midnight. I've always got a deadline to meet. I'm not sure if any readers have stayed with me throughout this improbably journey. There were thousands of readers when blogging was popular, but that number has probably dwindled to a few dozen. Blogging isn't very popular now. One of these days I'll probably just be writing for myself.

It's an interesting exercise to track how how your opinions and priorities change over time. On any given day, it seems like each post is exactly like the one that preceded it. The changes that occur over time are subtle, but they are real. Occasionally, I'll read something I wrote five years ago, and I am surprised that quite a bit has changed already. It would be nice if this was always a story about growth and affirmation. I've certainly learned things along the way, but I've also lost things. That's the way life is.

If you're a new reader, you might think I'm in a downward spiral. Beloved pets are dying. A business is becoming irrelevant. A common theme is how tired I am. I hope you don't find this discouraging. Life always has its peaks and valleys and occasionally the valleys can last for years at a time. I learned a lot when I was a globe trotting advertising writer. I'm learning even more while I sit at home caring for a sick dog.

Today didn't provide many insights, but it did add to the ongoing narrative. I cleaned toilets today and removed hundreds of spiderwebs from the exterior windows and sides of the house. Removing the spiderwebs is an odious task that needs to be done several times a year. I take a broom and sweep the webs away, usually ruining the broom in the process. These webs are thick and sticky and are filled with dead insects and live spiders. I almost always end up with spiders in my hair when I am destroying the webs. I guess the spiders are better than snakes. I have friends who live in the country that have continual problems with snakes. We just have spiders and angry squirrels.

If you're interested, I'll be here tomorrow. I think that writing keeps the mind agile and I'm definitely curious to see where this journey leads. 5000 days is a long chunk of time. I worry at times that the Blogger platform may disappear before my journey is done. Google has a history of abandoning things. I may not make it either. At the end of 5000 days, I'm going to be pretty old. Maybe this blog will eventually become a curious resource for scholars. Maybe it is just a wasted effort. Only time will tell.

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

Monday, October 17, 2016

Day 2499

A lady from the sanitation department called me this morning. She listened politely as I explained the problems I've been having with trash collection. I thought we were getting somewhere when she told me that the city had hired a lot of new drivers recently and seemed to agree with my theory that the driver didn't know how to operate the fancy robotic garbage truck. When I finished my story and asked what was going to happen next, I instantly became disappointed. "I'll talk to my supervisor about this," she told me. This is going to end like every other encounter I've had with a large bureaucracy. Maybe this supervisor will talk to his supervisor, or maybe it won't even get that far. I doubt that anything will happen. The drivers are probably protected by their union and can't be fired anyway. The driver might not even be at fault. There's always the chance that the city added fifty extra streets to his regular route and he is just doing the best he can to keep up with the added workload.

A little later, a representative from SiriusXM  called and asked if I was enjoying my free trial and wondered why I hadn't activated my subscription yet. Normally, I don't even answer these type of telemarketing calls, but this guy surprised me by calling my cell phone. I explained that I only listened to one channel in the car and their package prices seemed pretty expensive if all I was going to use satellite radio for was to avoid having to listen to all the annoying pledge drives on the local over the air public radio station. I took this opportunity to complain about the tinny, compressed quality of all the voice offerings on SiriusXM. The guy thanked me for my input and agreed that I probably wasn't the target audience they were looking for. I don't know why companies like these don't adopt an à la carte pricing structure. If I could just pay for the stations I actually listen to, I'd gladly subscribe to SiriusXM. I feel the same way about my AT&T U-Verse account. Why should I have to pay for hundreds of channels when I only watch ten at the most?

I went to the vegan take-out store to buy enough meals to augment the leftovers in the refrigerator for the rest of the week. I love this store and hope they manage to stay in business. There is no way I could cook all these interesting meals myself. Cooking for one is hardly worth the trouble. It's hard to buy small quantities of vegetables and if you buy larger quantities, the stuff goes bad before you get around to eating it. I talked to the lady who started the store today and she told me that she got the idea when friends of hers kept saying that they'd love to become vegetarian, but that it was so much easier to just get a burger. This store is easier than going to McDonalds. I'm hooked.

On my way home I dropped off one of my favorite watches at my local watch repair place to get the band fixed. It doesn't matter if your wear the watches or not. Eventually, they all just fall apart by themselves. I doubt that I'll wear this watch anymore, but it was an old friend that deserved some respect. I have no idea how the watch broke. It's been sitting in a drawer for years.

Dot seemed so tired today. I don't think the Tramadol pills are having much of an effect. I had hoped that they might help her walk a little easier, but that isn't happening. We'll continue the pills for a few days longer in case there is some sort of delayed reaction, but I think this is just an experiment that failed. I wish it were easier to transport Dot. I think the water therapy still might help, but I hate to put Dot through the ordeal of getting her to the vet and back on a regular basis if all it does is cause her stress.

Maybe something interesting will happen tomorrow. I'm not counting on it though.

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

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Day 2498

Today felt more like a work day. We got up early because Janet needed to go to the Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament. I spent most of the day tending to the dogs, but did manage to squeeze in a few weekend errands. I picked up some meds for Dash at the vet and then took my defective pants back to the REI store. Amazingly, they offered to exchange them for a new pair. I wasn't expecting this and was actually planning to drop the pants off at a tailor shop on the way home. I've noticed a pattern in recent years. As product quality has gotten worse, customer service has gotten better. I think a lot of companies have decided that it is less costly to just replace things when they break than to build them right in the first place. I've gotten four free UP fitness trackers from Jawbone. I love these things, but they aren't made very well. I'm lucky if mine lasts six months. Customer service is usually very nice about replacing the broken trackers though, so I'm a happy camper. Maybe REI uses the same strategy. Advertise clothing as tough and reliable, and if it doesn't live up to expectations, just smile and replace it.

The reason that I stayed home today was that it is inevitable that Dot will poop in her bed during the day. If I'm not nearby to quickly clean up the mess, she gets frantic and usually ends up making the situation much worse. When I'm away, I have to leave her penned in a small, well padded enclosure, so she won't hurt herself. This works well if she's asleep, or if I'm around to lets her out frequently. It doesn't work well at all if I'm gone for four or five hours. As expected, Dot did poop in her bed today, so it was good that I was nearby.

After one of these accidents, I knew she was tired and would probably sleep for several hours, so I went to the gym. This is usually how I plan my excursions away from the house. If she's had an accident, Dot typically won't have another one for at least three or four hours. She's sleeps soundly, so if she has an accident in her sleep, I can just quietly slide the soiled disposable pad out from under her without even waking her up. If I keep doing this much longer, I'll soon be able to write a book on dealing with incontinent dogs.

I've discovered that it's hard to write the blog when only one of us is home in the evening. As Dot has become less mobile, she's become increasingly needy. She's not the least bit sleepy in the evenings, and constantly wants somebody nearby. If I ignore her, she starts barking frantically. To prevent this, I'll write a sentence or two and and then go sit with her for a while or walk her around the house. As soon as I get her settled down, Dash will run to the front door, thinking he hears a car in the driveway and the cycle of barking will start all over again.

The roofers said they'd stop by next week. They probably really meant that they'd stop by next month. A representative from the sanitation department is supposed to contact me to help resolve my trash problem as well. We'll see. My guess is that none of this will actually happen.

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

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Day 2497

I should move to rural America. I dread going out on weekends now. There are simply too many people in the city. The roads are crowded with careless drivers. I see so many accidents when I'm running errands that I often wonder when my own luck will run out. There are way too many loose dogs in the park on weekends. Loose dogs make me nervous. I've worked with dogs for most of my adult life and have been bitten five times. Any dog will bite you if the circumstances are right. I don't know what people are thinking when they let their dog run loose in a public park. Their dog could get run over by a car. It could get in a fight with another loose dog. Even a friendly, playful dog could injure a child or elderly person. Dash was almost killed by an aggressive, loose dog many years ago and I've never forgotten it.

The city makes me long for empty country roads and neighbors that are at least twelve miles apart. I miss taking long walks with my dogs where I don't encounter a single other person. I have a telescope that I never use because there is too much light pollution in the city to see anything except the moon. City people aren't as nice as country people either. That's not just my opinion, it's my experience.

I mowed the grass this afternoon. Every time I mow the grass in October, I think I can put the mower away until next year. It would be reasonable to think that I've mowed my last for the year, but Texas is full of surprises. Sometimes it gets real warm in November and the grass starts growing again. I can recall even mowing grass in December on rare occasions. Hey, maybe I'll get lucky this time. I clipped things a little shorter today, just in case.

A belt loop came off a pair of supposedly indestructible pants I bought at the REI store. Admittedly, this is a minor annoyance in the grand scheme of things, but I've still got half a mind to go back to the store and demand a refund. The only reason I buy things at the REI store is that they look indestructible. I doubt that the store would give me a refund anyway. These pants aren't exactly brand new.

I'm sure you guys get those notices from Facebook urging you to re-share your old memories. I got one today reminding me of a video a friend took last year at this time showing Dot working out in the underwater treadmill. I was surprised at how much has changed in a year. Dot was much stronger then. Her gradual deterioration has been so slow that sometimes I don't even notice that she is getting worse. It's hard to even remember the days when she could run like the wind.

Dot definitely won't be going to the Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament tomorrow. Those days are long gone. Everyone used to bring their dogs to the tournament and it was fun to see all these Dalmatians in one place. I'll be staying home with Dot and Dash tomorrow while Janet goes to the tournament to help with the silent auction. I hope everyone enjoys themselves, even though I've never understood the attraction of golf. It still seems like a very strange sport to me.

I have no plans for tomorrow at all. I'm sure that Dot and Dash do however, which means that I'll have my hands full.

Lucky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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