Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Day 2543

I was a little better organized today. I tried to get as much done as I could while the dogs were asleep. Once they woke up, I knew it was going to be a lost cause. It was a nice day, so I got up on the roof and removed all the standing water. This is the worst time of year for keeping the roof dry. The large Oak, Elm, and Pecan trees in the yard are all shedding leaves. Wet leaves are heavy and a lot more trouble to move than dry leaves. The roof was covered with water and wet, soggy leaves, but unfortunately there are still a lot of leaves left on the trees. I have a feeling that I'm going to have to do this again.

Since the dogs were still sleeping when I returned to the house, so I moved on to my next task. I needed to replace a lot of pictures on a website, but since the client had already resized them for me, the job went quickly. I was done before noon. I checked on the dogs again and Dot was still sleeping soundly, so I took a shower. Dot often poops in her bed while I take a shower, and today was no exception. Luckily, she was still asleep and laying on a disposable pad, so I was able to clean things up easily. This is when my luck ran out.

Dash woke up while I was cleaning Dot up and immediately ran to the kitchen and started barking for his lunch. I lifted Dot up so she could join him, but I forgot to immediately take her outside to pee. Both dogs have a rice cake for lunch. It's not really a meal like breakfast or dinner, but it keeps them from getting bored. While Dot was eating her rice cake, she started to pee on a rug. Damn. I should have remembered the correct sequence of things. Everything is so complicated now. I have to cut the rice cake into tiny pieces because Dot has trouble chewing now and almost choked on a larger bite of rice cake recently.

After the dogs finish their lunch, I take them outside and then they typically used to go back to sleep again. Not anymore. Dot is restless in the afternoons now. She paces around and wants me to take her outside every ten minutes. If I ignore her, she barks. I can't ignore her for very long. Even if she manages to get out of her bed on her own, she quickly falls or manages to get stuck in a corner.

When I could tell Dot was getting tired, I penned her in an area where she couldn't hurt herself and went to the vegan take out place to pick up something for dinner. I was looking forward to the meal they had featured on their website, but it was all gone when I got there, so I had to choose something else. I've discovered that I don't like all vegetarian meals. Some are definitely better than others. I picked out something new that looked interesting and returned home, hoping that Dot hadn't pooped again.

Dot's bed was clean when I returned home, but the day wasn't over yet. She ended up pooping and falling in the mess while I was getting Dash ready for his evening walk. I was hoping for a relaxing walk after I got Dot cleaned up and started washing another load of dog blankets, but Dash wasn't being cooperative. We were almost home when he froze and refused to move forward. Nothing I could do would convince him to walk up the final hill that completed out journey. Finally, I gave up and we backtracked and returned home the way we came. This behavior seemed insane, but I'll give Dash the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he could smell coyotes. There are coyotes in the neighborhood again. One more thing to worry about.

By the time Janet returned from work, both dogs were exhausted and were sleeping peacefully. This is what usually happens. Janet never believes the trials and tribulations I deal with during the day.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Day 2542

I need to rearrange how I spend my day. I can't change getting up too early. We have to get the dogs fed and walked before Janet goes to work. I can't change going to bed too late either. I'm usually the only one still awake to take Dot out to pee at the end of the day. In between, there's still a little flexibility. I need to try and get anything important done between 9 AM and 2 PM. So far, it's a pretty safe bet that this is when both dogs will be asleep. After they eat their rice cake for lunch, all bets are off. I don't know where Dot got her new burst of energy, but she's active almost all afternoon now.

I wish she was steady enough on her feet so that I could just let her wander around on her own. Unfortunately, she's not steady at all. She falls down a lot, gets stuck behind furniture, and poops when you least expect it. Afternoons are a three ring circus, but it's good to see Dot active again.

My project for today was seeing which applications still worked on the laptop after the big system upgrade a couple of days ago. I haven't tested everything, but so far I've only had to delete four applications. That's actually pretty good. There isn't room on my desk to set up a second computer, so I had to work on the kitchen table. The dogs didn't like this. If I'm in the kitchen, they think it's time to be fed. If I ignore them for too long, they both start barking. Needless to say, I didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped. Maybe I've done enough. Microsoft Word works. Final Cut Pro works. And I think Pro Tools works. The web browser and e-mail work too. That's all I ever used to use when I was on the road anyway,

I meant to get the water off the roof today, but I didn't get around to it this morning when the dogs were sleeping. This afternoon, Dot would never settle down long enough for me to get anything done. I didn't want to be up on the roof if she fell or pooped somewhere. It probably wouldn't have even mattered if I was up on the roof. Dot wandered into the office just before dinner time and promptly pooped all over the carpet. I'd taken her outside at least ten times today, including once five minutes before she messed up the carpet. Why she couldn't poop while she was outside remains a mystery to me. Basically, I'm so tired of cleaning up poop I could scream.

The humidity was actually lower outside than in the house today. This is a rarity. The weather was nice, so I opened the windows and let the house air out. 25% relative humidity is a lot nicer than 85% relative humidity. I hope the dry weather continues. It would be nice to spend the Winter without worrying about mold.

I started charging batteries for this weekend's photo shoot. Tomorrow I'll unpack the strobes and make sure that they still work. I've got all this equipment, but mostly I just take pictures with my phone these days. I thought oday's sunrise was worth putting on my camera roll. Dash didn't even notice the beautiful sunrise. As always, he had his nose to the ground, trying to sniff out nasty things to eat.

Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day

Monday, November 28, 2016

Day 2541

The dogs wore me out today. Usually they sleep enough during the day so I can get my work done. Not today. Dash had an upset stomach and needed to go outside frequently. Dot was just restless. Every hour or so she would start barking for me to lift her out of her bed. We'd walk around aimlessly for a while and then she'd go back to bed again. We did this over and over again for most of the day. Dot is forgetful now. She'll go to her water bowl and then she'll go outside, and as soon as we come in, she'll go to her water bowl again. When she's restless, she'll repeat these simple activities over and over again. I can't just leave her to her own devices, because she'll quickly fall over or get herself stuck in a corner somewhere. She can also poop at any time without warning, so I'm always following behind her, holding up her rear end with the harness. I guess it's a good thing when Dot feels active, but sometimes I wonder if her restlessness is caused by pain or discomfort.

I'm used to a routine. When the routine changes I get worried. What does it mean when Dot gets restless and agitated? There have been times in the past when restlessness was the first sign of a serious illness. Usually, it just means that she's bored and wants more activity. She didn't have a fever today and seemed calm when she was sleeping, so I'm assuming that she just had more energy than usual. I could be wrong, but I can't take her to the vet every single day.

I've got to figure a better way to manage my own stress. It's hard caring for a dog that could die at any moment. There are so many things that could go wrong. Although Dot's dementia is getting worse, she still seems happy. She loves her slow walks and she eats her meals with gusto. I don't think she's even aware that she's pooping all over the place. I do my best to make her feel normal and that's really all I can do.

Now that Black Friday is over, I was inundated with a second wave of Cyber Monday e-mail this morning. I think every store I've ever shopped at in my life offered me some sort of discount or special coupon this week. Some of the deals are amazing. I bought a few little things because why not? My days of reckless consumerism are over though. I just don't have the money anymore.

I lost my reading glasses again. I think I could have a pair in every room and I'd still manage to lose them all within a month. The house is small, but when I lose these glasses, they're gone for good. I searched for almost an hour this morning and turned up nothing. Where did they go? Usually, I can never find these glasses until I buy a new pair and then they'll miraculously turn up again, often in plain sight. Some days I'm not sure whether Dot has dementia or I do.

I got a couple of website assignments toward the end of the day, so I should be busy tomorrow. Hopefully, the dogs will be calmer so I can get some work done. At the very least, it would be nice if they could just chill out while I eat my own breakfast. I don't bother them while they're eating, so why do they continually bother me when I'm eating? I never should have introduced them to bananas.

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

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Day 2540

Every couple of months, I open a stack of mail that I have no interest in. This stack is pretty large, because the only mail that I actually do open are bills, checks from clients, and the occasional letter from my sister. I never read bank statements anymore. If I'm interested, I can always go online to check my balance. Letters from Medicare and my supplemental health insurance company are mostly just irritating. Why does the government generate so much useless paperwork? They could probably cut the cost of healthcare significantly if they just eliminated all these letters. Letters from SiriusXM go directly in the trash. If you ever accepted a free trial from SiriusXM, you'll get so many letters afterwards asking you to subscribe that they could have given you a free subscription with the money they spend on postage. Why do banks keep asking me to sign up for a credit card when I already have their credit card too? Most of the mail I receive is worthless. Of course, I could say the same thing for most of the e-mail I receive. Some of the mail I opened today went in a folder, in case I might need it for taxes. The rest went in the shredder or the trash. Hopefully, I won't need to do this again for another couple of months.

It was so dark and overcast today that I spent the entire day thinking it was about to rain. The air smelled like rain. There was lots of wind, kind of like a front was moving through the area, but there was no rain. I think it is still supposed to rain after midnight tonight, but hopefully there will be no thunder and lightning. With storm phobic dogs, thunder and lightning virtually guarantees that you won't be getting much sleep.

Since dark, gloomy days destroy my motivation, just about the only thing I accomplished other than sorting through a pile of unwanted mail was go to the gym. At least the gym is brightly lit. I keep thinking that I should be getting stronger or have more stamina after all the time I've spent at the gym, but I feel the same as I always have. My wrists hurt. My shoulders hurt. And I'm always ready to go home as soon as my workout is finished. I try to be optimistic though. I'm not gaining much but maybe the whole point is to keep from deteriorating even further.

I've got to find a solution for my acid reflux problem. I thought I was cured, but really it was just the pills that made me feel better. As soon as I discontinued the Protonix, the heartburn returned. I don't want brittle, weak bones, but I don't want the heartburn either. In theory, you can cure this problem with a change in diet. You've got to give up coffee, spicy foods, tomatoes, pizza, potato chips, and just about everything else I enjoy. Like that's going to happen. I don't think I could survive without coffee and spicy foods. I'm going to go get a bone density test next week. If my bone density is still good, maybe I can start taking the Protonix again. Maybe it's not good for you in the long run, but the stuff really works.

I got an e-mail from a high-end watch winder company telling me that everything on their website was half price for one day. That's quite a savings. The rational part of my brain kept telling me that I don't even wear my watches anymore. I don't need another watch winder. The irrational part of my brain kept saying, but it's half price! Half price! I'm happy to report that the rational part of my brain prevailed.

I can't believe that the same people who spent the past year calling Trump a fascist and a tyrant are now praising Castro as a great leader. Do these people have any idea of the horrible things Castro actually did? All I've got to say is it's a strange world we live in now.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Day 2539

There's a small Cuban restaurant in the neighborhood I've always been meaning to try. Today, when I passed the place on my way to get groceries, I noticed a TV satellite truck out front and a news crew setting up for an interview. I'm sure they were going to ask the restaurant owner what he thought about Castro's death. It seemed weird that world events would have an impact on my small neighborhood, but that's the world we live in today. I made a mental note to watch the local news this evening, but I quickly forgot. I guess I'll never know why the satellite truck was parked in front of the restaurant, but I still need to stop by and try a Cuban sandwich sometime.

There was a broken hinge on the rear door that I needed to fix today. I thought this would be an easy task. All I needed to do was replace three rusted screws and reattach the hinge to the door. I hadn't counted on the fact that my body is falling apart. I had to reach above my head to extract the rusty screws. I can easily extend my left hand above my head, but my left wrist is very weak because of carpal tunnel. My right wrist is much stronger, but I have trouble extending that arm fully because of my dislocated shoulder. Just reaching up and securing the hinge with three new screws turned out to require much more effort than I thought it would. Getting old is a bitch.

I had better luck repairing a broken iPhone case a little later in the day. This task required that I remove six tiny hex screws with a watchmaker's tool and then use a drop of superglue to repair a crack in the bezel of the case. I successfully made the repair without losing any of the tiny screws or getting superglue on my fingers. I don't know what this proves, except that maybe I need to stick to jobs that require finesse rather than strength.

I found a spare external hard drive in the office this morning and instead of taking it to the storage warehouse like I usually do, I decided to use it to create a Time Machine drive for the laptop that I've been playing with this week. I don't know why I never backed up this laptop before. I've had the thing for years. I defragmented the laptop drive while I was at it and then unplugged everything and put the laptop back in a drawer. I probably won't boot the thing up again until I need it to write a blog post during a power outage.

Dot was in good spirits today, although I did have a bit of a mess to clean up during the night. I debated whether to wake Janet up and ask for help, but she and Dash were sleeping peacefully so I managed to clean Dot up by myself. I'm getting better at this, but I'm sure not getting enough sleep. All I want these days is an uninterrupted eight hours of sleep.

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

Friday, November 25, 2016

Day 2538

It didn't seem like Friday today. It was almost midnight last night before I remembered to take the trash out to the curb. This morning Janet had to remind me that I usually go out to breakfast on Fridays. Basically, my brain was mush after eating that big Thanksgiving meal. I wasn't hungry, but I did end up going out for breakfast. It's relaxing just to get away for a while.

On the way home, the low tire light came on in my car, so I took it up to the Land Rover dealer to see if I'd picked up another nail. It turned out that my right rear tire was a little low for no reason at all. They pumped it up with nitrogen and I was on my way. While I was at the dealership, I noticed that they sell Jaguars now. I guess it makes sense since both cars are manufactured in the same factory. Jaguars and Land Rovers share the same engines and use a lot of the same parts.

My inbox was filled with Black Friday announcements today. There must have been hundreds of them. When did huge sales on the day after Thanksgiving get to be a thing? It probably happened when people decided to put up Christmas trees on the day after Thanksgiving. There were lots of tempting bargains, but I only bought a new iPhone case at a ridiculously low price.

I went to the storage warehouse this afternoon to retrieve the photography gear I'll need for the Santa Paws pet picture events that start next week. I don't go to the storage warehouse much anymore, so I had trouble even remembering my passcode. Once I got inside, I had even more trouble finding all the items I'll need next week. My storage space used to be neat and tidy. Everything was inventoried and easy to find. Now, the place is a disaster. After a decade of filling the place with obsolete and unused gear, I don't even know what's here anymore. I used to think this was just temporary storage until I could retrieve everything and take it to a huge studio loft space where I could put the gear to good use again. Now I know the truth. The storage warehouse will probably never be emptied out and will eventually wind up being fought over by bargain hunters on that Storage Wars show on cable TV.

I'm dreading next month's photo events. I wish I looked forward to things instead of trying to avoid them, but that's just the way it is. I know I'll do a good job. It's just so tiring. I'm thinking of looking for a wrist brace. It's murder holding a heavy camera all day with carpal tunnel syndrome.The knees aren't doing too well these days either. I'll need to set up the Norman strobe lights and test them next week. I don't want any surprise failures. It's amazing that this all stuff works, since my equipment is as old and cranky as I am.

I'm beginning to think that I should have waited until after the holidays to discontinue my heartburn medication. I feel like I ate ten pizzas after yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner. I forget why I tend to have acid reflux problems in the first place, but right now, bone density problems seems like the lesser of two evils.

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

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day 2537 - Thanksgiving

"Be careful who you hate, it could be someone you love." I don't have any idea who originally said this, but I've always liked the thought. It certainly seems appropriate for the first Thanksgiving after a particularly rancorous election. Janet and I went out for Thanksgiving brunch at one of our favorite hotels today. There were people dining with us from all walks of life. I saw large families with children, senior citizens eating alone, young couples, mothers and daughters, groups of friends who didn't appear to be related, and then there was Janet and I. It's a safe bet that everyone in the dining room didn't vote for the same candidate on November 8, but they all seemed like very nice people.

I wonder how many of these people spent the past year posting dire warnings or hateful memes about the other side on their Facebook pages? To me, it's time to move on. I have friends on both sides of the political fence that don't seem to understand that not much is really going to change. Things didn't change much after eight years of George Bush and things didn't change much after eight years of Barack Obama. All presidents mean well, but when they push too hard, the pendulum swings back the other way the next time there is an election. Bush pushed too hard when he got the country tangled up in meaningless wars in the middle east and got Obama elected. Obama pushed too hard when he tried to disguise a massive income redistribution program as health insurance and got Trump elected. All politicians need to remember that the pendulum swings both ways. Voters are generally more pragmatic than politicians. They don't really care about ideology. A good job and a safe place to live will keep most people happy.

There was a gay couple taking their Moms out to dinner at the table to the left of us. A large Hispanic family was seated at a big round table directly in front of us. Two senior citizens were seated to our right. Somehow, I think all of these people are going to do just fine in the years ahead.

Dinner was fabulous. I don't think Janet and I will ever cook a big holiday dinner again. It's fun and a lot less stressful to enjoy a well prepared meal at a nice restaurant. Families who dine out probably also discover that there is a lot less fighting at the dinner table when you are eating in public. I was basically full after the salad course, but I went ahead and had a second course that included Eggs Benedict and a third course with Prime Rib. There was dessert too. It was a week's worth of calories in a single meal, but what the hell. We only do this once a year.

We weren't gone all that long, but as expected, Dot pooped in her bed and ate all the evidence by the time we got home. I purposely didn't check the pet cam on my phone while we were at the restaurant, because I knew it would spoil our dinner. There is nothing we could have done anyway. Even if we were only five minutes away, there would have still have been plenty of time for Dot to eat her poop. After we changed clothes, we took Dot outside and cleaned her up. The bedding went in the washing machine and all was good.

Tomorrow is Black Friday. I guess that's a holiday too. I love gadgets and gear, so it will be hard for me to ignore all the online Black Friday sales. I really don't need anything, so I should restrain myself. A better idea would be to take an extra long walk tomorrow morning and work off some of today's monster meal.

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

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Day 2536

I wanted to catch up on things today and I partially succeeded. I cleaned up the brushy area in the back yard where I fell several nights ago. I can't really see where I'm going when I have to take Dot outside in the middle of the night, so eliminating potential hazards is probably a good idea. I ordered some spare parts to fix the first Waterpik properly, even though I have a second one now. If this doesn't illustrate that fixing things is a compulsion with me, nothing will. Hey, the parts were cheap, the repair looks easy, and doesn't everybody need two Waterpiks?

I never got around to vacuuming the house over the weekend, so today seemed as good a time as any to get this chore out of the way. The dogs didn't seem to agree. Usually Dot and Dash ignore me while I'm doing chores on weekends, but today either Dash was in the way or Dot needed attention. Every ten minutes or so Dot started barking in her bed and struggling to get up. I would stop what I was doing, take her outside, and then resume vacuuming when she decided she didn't need to go outside after all. Five minutes after I finally got everything tidy and clean, Dot pooped on one of the living room rugs. I wasn't the best person in my younger years, so I just figure that this is karma.

I'm kind of irritated that my heartburn has returned after I quit taking the Protonix pills. Most of the medications I take don't make me feel any different at all. The pills I take to lower cholesterol and reduce blood sugar levels don't make me feel any different. I don't even notice a difference when my blood pressure is controlled. Now, the one pill that actually made me feel better turns out to be unsafe. For ten years I had no problems with acid reflux at all. Protonix worked. I am skeptical of a lot of things my doctor tells me, so I did a little research and it turns out he was right. Protonix seems to lower bone density and can increase the risk of a fracture in the hip, wrist, or spine in people over fifty. Damn. Now it's back to eliminating all the things that cause heartburn from my diet. Unfortunately, most things that are really tasty do cause heartburn. Pizza is the worst.

When I walk Dash in the morning, I've noticed that a lot of people in the neighborhood have already put their Christmas tree up. When did putting your Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving get to be a thing? I must not have much Christmas spirit. Putting the tree up Christmas Eve would be fine by me. The season has arrived though. Christmas tree lots are popping up all over town. Stores are busier than usual. And Janet has started watching those Christmas movies on the Hallmark channel again.

It looks like we are going to have nice weather for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Last year, there were thunderstorms in the area and Dot was vomiting, so we had to cancel our dinner reservation at the last minute while I looked for an emergency vet. Hopefully, there will be no dog emergencies this year.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Day 2535

When I first moved to Dallas, I used to like to go down to Dealey Plaza on November 22. Selling conspiracy theories has always been a cottage industry here, and in the early years there were still plenty of people alive who had witnessed the event themselves. Every year on this day they would gather in the Plaza, selling self published books and pamphlets detailing what really happened. It was a fascinating spectacle, but I don't think the crowds are as big anymore. People forget. I didn't even hear anything about John Kennedy on the news this year. The media's attention has turned to the 45th president. The 35th president is just a distant memory.

The weather seemed to change every ten minutes today. I witnessed a beautiful sunrise as I walked Dash this morning. A little later, the skies turned darker and it was raining by the time I finished breakfast. It was windy for a while and then it was calm. Throughout the day, patches of blue sky would alternate with dark storm clouds. It was all fine by me. I had nowhere to go and stayed home all day.

My project for the day was upgrading my laptop to Sierra. I don't use the laptop much anymore, so I figured that there wasn't much to lose. The laptop used to be my constant companion on business trips, but I haven't traveled anywhere on business in over three years. I'd be surprised if I ever take a business trip again. Installing the new operating system took forever, since software upgrades generally take place over WiFi these days. The process seemed so much faster when you just slapped a DVD in the optical drive and hit the install button. Eventually, the new software was installed, and surprisingly it appeared to work perfectly. A lot of the old applications didn't launch anymore, but I expected that. Gradually replacing these broken applications with modern alternatives will give me something to do this Winter. When I get everything working properly, I'll go ahead and update the desktop computer too. It's weird. As much as I hate change,  usually end up making necessary changes anyway. Like it or not, staying current in a digital world is necessary.

I didn't have much luck with Dot today. While I was working at my desk updating a website, I noticed that Dot had just pooped in her bed. I quickly extricated myself from the Aeron Chair and hurried over to clean up the mess. Before I could make it to Dot's bed, she quickly turned around and ate the poop. Why do dogs do this? It's disgusting. I went ahead and cleaned her up, but wiping her butt made her pee for some reason, so now I had a rug to clean as well as Dot's bedding. Sadly, this was just a normal day. Dot's incontinence is not going away. I suspect that things will even get worse in the days ahead.

I need to start to get ready to take Santa Paws pictures for Dalmatian Rescue. Our first event is only a few weeks away. I can't even remember how many years I've been shooting pet pictures with Santa, but it's been a long time. We have a reduced schedule this year, partially because I just don't have the stamina to do as many of these events as I used to. The rest of the pet picture team is getting older too. I wonder how many years we can continue doing this. It's a good fund raiser for the rescue group, but it is very tiring.

I'll do some experimenting with the laptop tomorrow to see whether today's upgrade was worth all the trouble. I imagine that I'll have plenty of time to experiment. It is rare to get any new assignments on the day before Thanksgiving. We changed Dot's food today, but it's too early to tell whether it will make a difference. Hopefully, the new diet won't make Dot's poop taste better. I've got enough problems as it is.

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

Monday, November 21, 2016

Day 2534

I've been tired all day. Dot had a major accident last night and when I took her outside to clean her up, I tripped and ended up cutting my leg as I tried to keep Dot upright as I fell. These emergency cleanup operations don't always go well. It's dark, so I can't see the full extent of the damage and I'm usually half asleep. By the time I got Dot clean, changed all her bedding, and bandaged my cut, I was exhausted. As I lay in bed trying to get back to sleep, I felt my heart pounding like I'd finished a strenuous workout. This isn't good.

It's really cold in the mornings now. I wear a Winter coat and compression tights under my pants on our early walks. By noon, everything has changed. When I took some bills to the post office early this afternoon, it was warm enough to wear shorts again. The temperature changes so radically during the day that I sometimes change three times a day and switch back and forth between the furnace and the air conditioner. Life would be easier if I didn't want to always feel like it was 72 degrees.

While I was running errands this afternoon, I went back to the REI store to look at some camping mattresses I noticed over the weekend. I thought one of these things would make a great dog bed for Dot. The mattresses were large and comfortable, but were only about an inch and a half thick. They seemed perfect. I wish I'd noticed earlier that these mattresses were inflatable. Inflatable things don't last very long with dogs. My trip was a wasted effort, but it really didn't matter. The whole day was a wasted effort.

I updated some websites this morning and got caught up on my bookkeeping, but by the end of the day all I could remember was getting up in the middle of the night with Dot and trying to stay awake at the computer. I just couldn't stay focused  today. Wisely, I decided to wait until another day to upgrade my computer's operating system. I'm going to need my wits about me when I embark on that foolish project.

I'm going to have to do some research and see if there is something else I can feed Dot.  She's having loose stools now, which makes my cleanup efforts ten times harder. I noticed the other day that the bird that shits on my car is back for another Winter. Normally, this evil bird drives me crazy, but I hardly even noticed it this year. I've got bigger problems to deal with now.

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Day 2533

There was frost on the ground when I woke up this morning. The leaves aren't very colorful this year, but they are definitely falling. I hope a big wind comes to blow them all off the roof, so I won't have to do it myself. The dogs love the cold weather, but I have mixed feelings. Pretty soon, the furnace will be running full time and the gas bill will go up dramatically. The office is in the coldest part of the house, so I often have to put a little ceramic heater under my desk during the day. As least we don't have to worry about snow very often. Some parts of the country are already under a blanket of snow.

I spent so much time doing little things around the house that I never got around to vacuuming. I cut up cardboard boxes so they would fit in the trash. I polished shoes. I changed the sheets on the bed and washed a bunch of dog blankets. I figured out what I did wrong with my Waterpik repair yesterday, but it hardly seemed worth the trouble to start over again. I have a new one now.

I stopped by the REI store and got a pair of pants on my way to the gym. Since I don't have business meetings anymore and rarely go out in public, these rugged outdoor clothes are just about the only things I wear. I still can't figure out where to put these new utilitarian duds. I haven't thrown away any of my old clothes and my closet is full. Neatness just isn't very high on the agenda anymore. Ever since Dot got sick, the house has been a disaster. I just put my new pants on top of the large format printer when I got home and that's probably where they'll stay.

The gym was nearly empty today. I thought it would be full, since it was so cold outside today, but apparently most people had more important things to do. I miss my favorite basketball. I still don't know why there are only three basketballs now, but since I seem to be the only person who uses the court, I guess three is plenty. I had a good workout, but I felt too tired to do the vacuuming when I got home. There was no point disrupting things anyway. The dogs were sleeping peacefully on some of the rugs I needed to clean and Janet was already fixing dinner. I'll finish cleaning the house tomorrow.

Dot had a good day. She had more energy than usual and I actually saw her wag her tail a bit during our evening walk.  I haven't seen Dot wag her tail in ages, since the muscles in her rear end don't work properly anymore. I wish I knew what caused some days to be better for Dot than others. If I knew, maybe I could help her have more good days. I don't think there is any rhyme or reason to Dot's health anymore. We've all been running on empty for a long, long time.

It's going to be a short week next week. I hope there are no dog emergencies on Thanksgiving. I'm looking forward to having a nice dinner away from home for a change.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Day 2532

My Waterpik broke last night. I was curious about whether it was possible to fix this thing and quickly found a YouTube video explaining the entire process. These guys who make YouTube videos about how to repair even the most obscure appliances and machinery are the unsung heroes of the modern age. It doesn't matter if it is a broken electric shaver or a crashed computer, there's always someone out there willing to tell you how to fix it. I've been able to fix lots of things I might have thrown in the trash as a result of these videos. Most of these self-help tutorials are not professionally made. They are quirky labors of love. Occasionally, the instructions are misguided and will get you electrocuted, but generally the information is helpful. I appreciate the people who take the time to make these videos. I mean, who would take the time to tell you how to take apart a Waterpik, of all things?

Since the Waterpik was held together with glue instead of screws, you basically had to break the thing and then carefully Superglue it back together after you made the repairs. I should have known that I was in for trouble when I learned that Superglue was involved, but I went ahead with the repair anyway. An hour later, everything looked pretty good, except that it was harder to insert the attachments now. Hmm. What did I do wrong? It the attachments couldn't be secured properly, all I had was a high pressure hose that would spray water all over the bathroom. I didn't have a lot of faith in my repair, so went out and bought a new Waterpik anyway.

Dot made a horrible mess last night. When she woke up and tried to change position around 3 AM, she strained too much trying to move and ended up pooping on herself. This poop was runny and she smeared it all over herself as she twisted around in her dog bed. By the time I woke up to help her, it was too late. It was also too cold outside to take her out and hose her off. After considerable effort Janet and I got her cleaned up so we could all go back to bed. While I was outside hosing off the soiled bedding so I could throw it in the wishing machine, I realized that I had forgotten to remove the lawn mower battery for the winter and bring it inside. The unexpected cold front totally caught me by surprise. If last night is what we are going to be dealing with in the months ahead, I'm not looking forward to Winter at all.

A couple of days ago I stopped taking the proton pump inhibitor I've been taking for years to treat an acid reflux problem. My doctor told me that Protonix could interfere with the way the body absorbed calcium and lead to bone loss and even increase the risk of stroke. I guess it made sense to quit taking the stuff, but last night my heartburn returned. Prescription medications are a bitch. You've always got to decide if the side effects are worse than the cure. I tinkered with my diet for years before deciding to take the Protonix. The drug worked like a charm, but now it appears that it is a false friend and I've got to come up with another solution. I had the same problem with Benicar a couple of years ago. Sure wish the pharmaceutical companies could come up with pills that didn't have dangerous side effects. That would be nice.

I'm thinking about upgrading all my computers to Sierra. Since this is a major move, I need to do a lot of research first. Today I tried to find out if my aging hardware would even run the new system. Next, I've got to find out how many of my applications will be broken by the upgrade. Finally, I've got to figure out how to do the upgrade when some of my hard drives are nearly full. I'm not sure if this effort is worth the trouble, but it would be nice to be current again. Each year, the software on my desktop computer gets further and further out of date. The software works fine, but the world has changed. Who knows. Maybe if I wasn't such a dinosaur, I'd start getting good assignments again.

I hope the dogs sleep well tonight. I tried to find the rest of the dead bird in the yard this afternoon, but came up with nothing. Dash has a much better nose than I do, so if it's out there, he's going to find it and get sick again. I hope that Dot doesn't have another accident like the one she had last night. She hates to soil herself, and I'm not wild about the cleanup operation either. Just sleep until morning dogs. That's all I ask.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Day 2531

Why does it always rain on Friday? I had to cancel my breakfast outing again because of inclement weather. It wasn't raining hard, but I saw some lightning off in the distance while we were walking the dogs around the block this morning and I didn't want to risk a storm phobia incident. Actually, my breakfast at home was pretty good. I cooked up some bacon to go with my toaster waffles and the dogs didn't even bark very much. Dash only seems to bark when there is a banana involved.

Dot seemed exhausted this morning. She was very slow on her morning walk and immediately went to sleep as soon as we got home. I was a little worried because she didn't even want to come out to the kitchen while I was cooking the bacon. I've learned to just let her rest when she's tired. She slept through lunch and didn't try to get up again until after 2 PM. Luckily, she seemed to bounce back a bit during the afternoon, and was back to her wobbly wandering ways by dinner time.

Dash had an upset stomach again last night. This morning I think I found out why. I discovered the remains of a partially eaten bird in the back yard. I don't know how much of this bird was eaten by Dash, but he has been known to eat things the neighborhood cats drag in the yard before. Between the two dogs, it's amazing we get any sleep at all.

I finished my second article this morning while the dogs were sleeping. Sometimes I think they sleep more soundly during the day than they do at night. When I went to the grocery store later in the morning to pick up something for dinner, neither dog even moved. They were both in exactly the same place when I returned.

The replacement battery for my phone arrived today, so I went to the battery store to get it installed after lunch. The battery store charges less than half of what the Apple store charges to replace an iPhone battery. I'm a good customer of this place. They've replaced batteries in electric shavers, lawn mowers, power tools, uninterruptible power sources, laptops, watches, and phones for me.  It's amazing how many things in our house seem to require a battery.

A cold front must have blown through town last night. I had to wear a warmer coat when we walked the dogs this morning and it never got warm enough for shorts at all. Usually, Dot responds well to cooler weather, but not today. I haven't seen her this tired for quite a while. Hopefully, she'd rebound again when she gets some rest. It's a long, slow journey. She still has her good days and her bad days, but I can see where this is headed. Every extra day we get to spend with her is a blessing.

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

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Day 2530

It is hard to get anything done when Dot is feeling needy. Every time I sat down at the computer today, Dot would start barking and whining. I would go lift her up and we'd walk around for a while. She appeared frustrated, and didn't seem to know what she wanted to do. Sometimes we'd go outside. Other times we'd just walk up and down the hall. Since Dot tires easily, she'd usually wind up back at her dog bed in about five minutes. As soon as I would return to the computer to try and get some work done, we'd go through the whole process all over again. Senility and lack of mobility is not a good combination. Throw in incontinence and you've really got your hands full.

Despite all the interruptions, I somehow managed to get one of my two articles written and shipped off to the client. Hopefully, when I write the second article tomorrow, Dot will be sleeping. I've been practicing walking Dot in the evenings without Janet and Dash because I'll be on my own when Janet goes home for the holidays. Without another dog to follow, Dot often seems confused. It took us almost a half an hour to walk to the end of the street and back this evening. She really does the best she can. It's me who needs more patience.

I hope the new battery I ordered for my phone arrives soon. My current battery is on it's last legs.  It's reached the stage where it is plugged into the charger more often than it is in my pocket. I don't know why Apple can't put a better battery in its products. They're so determined to make the thinnest phones on the market that there just isn't room inside for a decent battery. You'd think that if Tesla can offer a ten year warranty on the battery they put in their cars, Apple could come up with a battery that would last at least three years. I know they do this on purpose. They just want me to give up and buy a new phone.

I've been wondering why AT&T put fiber optic cable all over the neighborhood last Summer. I got the answer today in the mail. There was a brochure that said I was eligible for a new super high speed internet service. Download an entire movie in just a few seconds the brochure said. Of course there was a price for this added speed. Plans start at $80 a month, I read. Nope. I think I'll keep my current service. Jeez, you could rent a lot of Netflix movies for $80 a month. I guess I was naive when I thought AT&T would give me some added speed for free when they buried the fiber optic cable in the alley behind our house.

This week went quickly. The trash has been taken out to the curb, the November bills have been paid, and I'm already wondering what I'll have for breakfast tomorrow.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Day 2529

I spent the day asking questions about the various medications the dogs and I take. Dash had an appointment to check his Levothyroxine levels. He's had to take this drug ever since he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and periodically they need to check and see whether the dose needs to be adjusted. While I was at the vet, I asked about the Incurin Dot was taking for urinary incontinence. Do we need to increase the dose on this one, since it doesn't appear to be working anymore? I was surprised to learn that this drug has been on backorder for months and wasn't even currently available. There were alternate drugs we could try, but each had their own drawbacks. Maybe it might be better to just learn to deal with Dot's leaky bladder.

Later in the day I visited my own doctor to get my prescriptions renewed for another year. The doctor wanted me to stop taking Protonix because it had been linked to a higher incidence of stroke in a recent study. It would have been nice if I knew this ten years ago when I started taking the drug. This is the frustrating thing about prescription medicine. Doctors are always learning new things and this year's favorite treatment can always end up being on next year's dangerous substance list. The doctor also said my blood pressure might be too low. Jeez, I've spent years getting my blood pressure under control under the assumption that lower blood pressure is always better. Now doctors are learning that abnormally low blood pressure is often associated with brain atrophy. Yikes. I'd never even heard of brain atrophy before, but there must be an epidemic of it in this country. How else would you explain all the bad decisions we make.

Every time I see my doctor, he tells me that my Cortisol levels are too high and I need to do something to reduce the amount of stress in my life. I try to explain that there really isn't any significant stress in my life, with the possible exception of cleaning up dog poop day in and day out for years at a time. When I explained the daily routine required to care for an incontinent, crippled dog, it appeared to give the doctor stress. He said that when this happened with his dog, he had to put it down. "Well, that's the difference between you and me," I said. Dot is a happy dog. She just can't care for herself anymore.

I think I've gotten all the prescriptions straightened out for another year. Janet only takes a single statin pill every day, but Dot, Dash, and I have dozens of medications to keep track of. At least Dot and Dash don't have to take the chemotherapy pills anymore. There used to be a gas station on every corner. Now there's a CVS Pharmacy or a Walgreens on every corner. How did we live without all these pills? I certainly believe in the benefits of keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels under control, but it sure would be tempting to quit taking all these meds.

I've got a new article to write tomorrow. It looks like there will be some website work as well. I anticipate a quiet day of writing, punctuated every few hours with the smell of fresh poop. I don't think I was cut out to be a caregiver, but I'm actually doing reasonably well for a person with very little empathy. Dot seems happy anyway. I'll work on keeping the stress under control.

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

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Day 2528

I had one of my periodic meetings with my financial advisor today. We had a nice conversation about how the world has gone to hell in a handbasket. As usual, I wasn't terribly happy about my portfolio's performance. Why had my own stocks gone down during a large post-election rally? Evidently, defense, energy, and pharmaceutical stocks went up, but nothing else did. What killed me was the surge in US Treasury yields which decimated bond prices and stocks that paid big dividends. If you guessed the outcome of the election correctly, you could have made some money last week. Few people did. I suspect that most investors were like me. They hedged their bets so they wouldn't get ruined if either candidate won.

I used to enjoy investing in the stock market. I thought I was pretty good at it, but really I was just the beneficiary of a stable, relatively sane economy. All that has changed now. I see little difference between investing and gambling these days. Actually, if you followed the NFL closely, it would probably be safer to bet on football than to invest in the stock market. The are just too many variables in a global economy. If somebody sneezes in China, you can catch a cold in Texas. At any rate, my advisor and I tried to make some choices for the year ahead. We will probably be wrong.

I did some research today to see if I could upgrade my office computers without having to replace all my software. What I learned wasn't very promising. It would be nice to have Sierra running on everything so I could share information between the computers and my phone and tablet. The main problem is that the minute I upgrade, some of my most important software instantly becomes obsolete. You can't even buy Adobe Creative Suite anymore. It's is all subscription based. Even something as basic as Microsoft Word would need a subscription to Office 365. Avid Media Composer has gone to a subscription based model too. Basically, you just rent software now. Call me a dinosaur, but I may just keep running Mountain Lion forever.

So, what's worse than a dog with fecal and urinary incontinence? Maybe it's when your other dog has diarrhea at the same time. Today was a three ring circus trying to keep the house and yard clean. I don't think Dash is sick. He just has a bad habit of eating disgusting things that the neighborhood cats drag in the yard. If history is any guide, he should be back to normal in a day or two. Dash has a vet appointment tomorrow anyway for his thyroid test, so I'll see what his vet thinks.

Janet had to work late today, so I thought I'd try to walk Dot by myself. Dot really seems to need another dog to follow, so I wasn't expecting this to go well without Dash in the lead. It took us a long time, but eventually we made it around the block on our own. I wish I could still walk both dogs together like I used to, but that is impossible. Just keeping Dot on her feet is a full time job.

Tomorrow will be busy with a vet appointment for Dash and a doctor's appointment for me. It definitely isn't life in the fast lane anymore, but I do stay busy. Hard to believe that it's the middle of November already. Thanksgiving will be here before you know it.

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Day 2527

I finally reached my limit on political news and went back to watching Dr. Who re-runs while I eat breakfast. Today they showed one of my favorites: The Girl in the Fireplace. This improbable story about how a bunch of mechanical androids from the 51 century want to use Madame De Pompadour's brain to repair a stranded spaceship is surprisingly warm and poignant. The only episode I like better is Vincent and the Doctor about how The Doctor and Amy Pond travel to France to meet Vincent van Gogh. I wonder why I like these shows so much? Most people I know watch shows like Modern Family and The Walking Dead. I stick with Dr. Who and programs from my childhood like Perry Mason and The Twilight Zone.

 I decided that it was time to get a new battery for my phone, since I'm constantly re-charging it now. I was surprised when the battery store told me that they'd have to special order the battery for me since my phone was so old. An iPhone 5 is old? It still seems new to me. Apparently there isn't enough demand to stock these batteries anymore. I went ahead and ordered the replacement battery even though I'm not sure it will help me much. I really think it was the upgrade to IOS 10 that destroyed my battery life.

I mailed out my November invoices this afternoon and on the way home I stopped by the vegan take out place to pick up something for dinner. I try something new every week and am gradually increasing my vegetarian vocabulary. I continue to be surprised at how delicious some of the meals are. I still eat meat, but I'm making an effort to cut back. It's certainly not going to be a vegetarian Thanksgiving. We eat lots of meat on Thanksgiving. I think a meat-free Thanksgiving would be like Christmas without a Christmas tree.

I had several website updates to complete today. The work was fairly easy, although it took a while. Increasingly, nobody is interested in my ideas anymore. They just want me to replace pictures and text. I seldom turn down assignments, because I need the money, but I often wonder whether I'll ever work on an interesting assignment again. If the past month or so is any guide, it's not very likely.

It's amazing how little I get accomplished on days like this. I'm constantly busy but most of the activity is mindless. Every time I sit down to enjoy breakfast or dinner, one of the dogs needs attention. I've had to stop and clean up poop during dinner more times than I can remember. Tonight there was a huge mess and by the time I got everything cleaned up, dinner was cold. Something similar happens whenever I sit down at the computer to write. The dogs do sleep a lot, but it's hard to get our schedules coordinated.

The moon actually looked bigger tonight than it did yesterday. I wonder if I got the day right for viewing the supermoon? I've been wrong on these things before.

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