Sunday, August 20, 2017

Day 2796

Janet goes back for more surgery tomorrow, so today was another huge cleaning day. I'm not sure whether the kind of cleaning we do disinfects the house at all, but it does make Janet feel better. This surgery is supposed to be the final step in the reconstruction process. Recovery is supposed to be faster this time, but Janet will still have to take another leave of absence from work. I'm sure she hopes this is the last surgery she'll ever have to have.

I was going to go to the gym today, but while I was running a few errands on the way, I couldn't remember whether I'd turned the dryer off before I left the house. I skipped the gym and drove back home to check. Actually, the dryer was off, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Janet and I both worry about dryer fires, so the dryer is never on when we leave the house. I don't leave the washer running either, because once it overflowed into the utility room and made a huge mess. I don't know why I feel safe leaving the dehumidifier running constantly. There's probably something that could go wrong with that thing too.

When I returned home, I realized that I had so many things to do that I never should have planned on going to the gym in the first place. I vacuumed the house, washed the sheets and made the bed, and mowed the grass in the front and the back. I'm not sure how much longer I can continue mowing the grass myself. Every time I take the mower out it seems a little harder to push it up our sloping front yard. I was very tired today. When you get older it's really hard to tell whether you've got some strange disease that is sapping all your energy, or if you're actually doing quite well and just getting older. There's no real benchmark for this sort of thing. Some of my aging friends still run marathons. Others have trouble getting off the couch.

One of our neighbors is having an eclipse watching party in their front yard tomorrow. I'm not sure how long I'll need to be at the hospital in the morning, but if I have time I'll go take a look at the sun through the neighbor's telescope around noon. This guy is a real astronomy buff and has all the right solar filters. We'll only see about 75% totality here in Dallas, but the view still ought to be interesting.  I'm a little envious of all the people I know who are actually making the trip to the totality zone. There have been quite a few status updates on Facebook from people leaving for their eclipse destinations over the weekend. A lot of them ought to get a good view. The weather actually seems to be improving across much of the country.

We're going to have to get up really early tomorrow morning. Janet needs to be admitted to the hospital at 5:30 AM. I'll come home to feed and walk Dash and then wait for the call that everything went OK. I don't know how you can be casual about surgery. Even minor surgery seems drastic to me. The dogs have had every type of surgery imaginable and my sister had to endure an eight hour spinal fusion surgery. I've been pretty lucky. I had knee surgery back in college and then went almost forty years before I needed a lithotripsy procedure a few years ago to remove some bladder stones. Janet has a great team of doctors, but they don't make surgery any less frightening. I hope this is the last surgery she's going to need for a long, long time. I also hope she's not going to be driving me to the hospital any time soon.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Day 2795

With each passing year, birthday celebrations become a little more subdued. Janet and I both accept the fact that we are aging, but I can't say that we welcome it. Birthdays just remind us how old we actually are. That being said, it was a nice day. We slept in late, ate a rare breakfast together and walked Dash before it became too hot. Basically, it was just a regular Saturday, full of errands and chores.

I was glad that Janet liked the gifts I got her. You  can tell the difference between when someone really likes something and when they are just being polite. I looked for things that she would like and use, but would never buy for herself. The Dyson Hair Dryer was a hit. Everybody thinks this thing is ridiculously overpriced until they actually use it. It's just as revolutionary as the Dyson vacuum cleaners. Janet is far too practical to buy something like this, but she knew all about it as was happy to receive it. I think the only thing Janet uses more than a hair dryer is her phone.

I was looking for something very different today. I though I'd buy some welding glasses to view the eclipse on Monday. It turns out that very few welding supply stores are open on Saturday. I also discovered that very few welders actually use the shade 14 glasses that are considered safe for viewing the sun. The typical welding glasses you'd find at a Home Depot or Lowes are usually only shade 5, which won't protect you from anything. Oh, well. I gave it a try. I guess I'm back to making a pin hole projector out of a cereal box.

A website I built several years ago vanished when the web server crashed last week and took all the files with it. Luckily, I still had all the original files on a backup drive, so it didn't take long to rebuild the site on a new server. Time and time again, I'm reminded that electronic records aren't very permanent at all. Hard drives crash. Files get corrupted. Software becomes obsolete. I have paper records that go back to when I was in college. My electronic files aren't nearly as robust. Even though I back stuff up regularly and save almost everything, I've lost a surprising amount of information over the years. I began using computers in the early 1980's, but very little survives from that era. I wonder how long my digital photography will last. Probably not nearly as long as some of my old film negatives.

I don't know what I'm going to do about the shower. I took a good look at my handiwork today and I can't see where the water is getting in. The joints and cracks I sealed look good. Obviously, water is still seeping through small cracks in the tiles somewhere, but I can't find the crack. It's looking more and more like the only solution is to have a good tile guy come over and re-do everything.

I started hearing the low battery beep on the smoke alarm this afternoon. I went to replace the battery, but was surprised to discover that none of the replacement batteries worked. This didn't make sense. The batteries were brand new. In fact, I had just opened a fresh box. Eventually, I noticed a message on the box that said, "Use before 2014." I must have actually bought the box of batteries a few years before that. Everything in the house is like this: unused, yet so old that it has become obsolete. The challenge for Janet and I moving forward is to avoid becoming like that box of batteries.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, August 18, 2017

Day 2794

There are three restaurants in the neighborhood that I go to a lot. One is a favorite of millennials. The next seems to be favored by middle-age teachers and health care workers. The third is a time machine inhabited by really old people who still prefer reading the morning paper to looking at their phone. Each of these groups is so completely different than the next that they might as well be living on different planets. Maybe the world was always this way, but I don't think so. We have really become a tribal society. Does everyone hang out with their own tribe because it has become too difficult to communicate with the other tribes? I don't know. I ate with the millennial tribe this morning. They seemed happier than the other tribes in the neighborhood, but maybe younger people are always a bit more optimistic. I had no idea what they were talking about, but the food was good.

Janet's birthday is tomorrow. Since I have renounced gift cards after receiving a fraudulent gift card for my own birthday, I needed to go shopping for real birthday presents. Shopping for people our age isn't always easy. For the most part, you've already got everything you need. I wanted to get Janet something she would really like, but since she is actively downsizing, I didn't want to add even more to the clutter. Hopefully, I did well today. I can see why gift cards are so popular. Gift cards are easy.

Maybe I shouldn't have bragged about Dash's health yesterday. Right after I finished writing my blog post, Dash threw up again. He seemed fine all day. He ate well, took normal walks, and didn't seem to be in any kind of discomfort or distress. Just like when he has vomited previously, he went to sleep around 10:30 PM, woke up about two hours later, and seemed very restless and agitated. Immediately after he threw up in the yard, he went back to sleep and was calm for the rest of the night. This seems to happen about once a week now. It is really odd behavior. The symptoms don't seem to be consistent with vestibular disease and if he were really sick, you'd think there would be other signs of discomfort. I'll talk to the vet again when he goes in for a Phenobarbital level check next week, but I don't expect any easy answers. These periodic and seemingly random vomiting episodes have been a problem for a long time now.

I never did buy any eclipse glasses while they were still available, so I guess I'll need to make one of those pinhole projectors out of an old cereal box. I remember doing this once when I was a kid. The last partial eclipse I saw was right around sunset, so it was possible to safely look at the sun through some thick haze on the horizon. If you are a regular reader, you might remember the picture I took. Monday's eclipse will be right around midday in Dallas. You don't ever want to be looking at the sun when it's high in the sky.

I never really made plans to see this eclipse. In my heart I was hoping that Dot would make it to her next birthday and I knew she needed me. She almost made it, since her birthday would have been on the 27th of this month. I never expected that Janet would be diagnosed with cancer either. She has always been much healthier than me. Life is full of surprises and you've got to stay flexible. You've got to stay hopeful too. There will be another chance to see a total eclipse in 2027. I won't even have to leave town, since Dallas is in the path of totality. Hopefully, we'll both still be around by then.

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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 2793

It's unusual to have this much rain in August. Usually it is bone dry. The good news is that our yard still looks nice and green. The bad news is that I'm starting to worry about the roof leaking again and Dash is spending way too much time hiding under my desk. Dash slept through the overnight storms, but he definitely didn't like the thunder and lightning that greeted us around sunrise. I had to delay feeding him breakfast, because I was afraid that he might throw up if he ate when he was agitated.

Eventually the rain stopped and she took our morning walk. When I finished my morning smoothie, I got a surprising amount done for such a wet, gray day. I went to the bank, got my new vehicle registration sticker, and went searching for a silicon case for Janet's new iPad. Apple discontinued these cases, so they are in very short supply. I don't know why they quit making them, because they are a perfect match for the new keyboard cover. The Apple Store and all the phone stores have stopped selling these cases, but I found what I was looking for at a Target Superstore. It makes sense. People go to Target to save money. They don't go there to buy overpriced Apple products. There is usually a good supply of Apple stuff at Target because the Apple section of the store gets ignored.

The price of Texas registration stickers keeps going up, while the quality of the stickers themselves keeps going down. It looks like they just print these things out on demand using an ink jet printer now. I always have trouble getting these stickers positioned properly on my windshield. I like them very low, so they won't block my view, but I also like them straight, so they are parallel to the ground.  It's a good thing I have nothing better to do. It took me forever to attach my 2018 sticker to the windshield this afternoon.

It's so disappointing that my shower repairs didn't work. I did a good job of sealing the corners where the shower walls meet the floor. Water is still finding it's way under the tiles unfortunately and now it's harder for this water to get out. I think I've actually made the situation worse. I think my only alternative now is to rip out all the silicon caulk and use traditional tile grout instead. The problem with this is that we'll have to take a bath in the other bathroom for at least a week while the grout dries. I hate washing my hair in a bathtub. The shower is much better.

Dash has seemed pretty healthy this week. His appetite is good and he hasn't thrown up at all. We're not doing anything different, but are making an effort to keep him calm. I think sometimes he gets himself so worked up that he gives himself an upset stomach. The key to keeping Dash calm is just doing whatever he wants. I"m really just a dog butler these days. Actually, I've always kind of been a dog butler.

I hope I don't have as much trouble publishing today's blog entry as I did yesterday. Feedburner wasn't working and I had a lot of problems getting the feed to syndicate to Facebook and Twitter.  We'll see how it goes. I'm not sure I'll be going out to breakfast tomorrow morning. If the rain continues, I"ll just stay home and do my best to keep Dash calm.

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

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Day 2792

When I was doing some yard work this morning, I noticed a huge army of sweet ants crawling from a crack in the patio and making their way up the side of the house to the roof. No wonder I've been seeing ants in the bathroom. I found some ant and roach spray in the kitchen and killed the ants that were visible, but I'm sure there are thousands more wherever these came from. While I was trying to eliminate the ants, I also saw several wasp nests. The wasps were rebuilding in exactly the same places where I had removed their nests a few months ago. I've been doing this year after year for as long as I can remember. Keeping the insects and critters out of the house is next to impossible. It's hard enough just to keep Dash from eating the June Bugs.

It doesn't look like my repairs to the shower stall were successful. After I took a shower this morning, I noticed a small stream of water flowing from one of the corners I had just sealed with the silicon caulk. The problem is that there is a small area under the glass shower door frame that is inaccessible. I think some of the tiles have cracked under the door and are letting water seep in. The leak isn't bad, but if there is any leak at all, it will only get worse.

I spend way too much time in this house. It's disheartening to see everything slowly disintegrate around me. Thirty years ago the doors and windows opened and closed a lot more smoothly. The brick floors were completely free from cracks. And the wool carpets looked wonderful. I could never afford to restore the place to its original condition, but it sure would be nice. I have fantasies about those guys from the This Old House show on PBS coming over and fixing up the place. Real contractors aren't like This Old House though. They want to do the work as quickly as possible using substandard materials they picked up at a nearby Home Depot. Sadly, the house will probably just continue to deteriorate.

For years, Dash used to be eager to take an evening walk right after he'd finished his dinner. Now that Janet has been home for most of the summer, Dash refuses too walk without her. It makes things awkward on days like today when Janet had a company dinner. Dash wouldn't walk at all. I tried three times and he refused to leave the yard. It was almost dark when Janet returned, but Dash decided he needed a walk after all. We all walked to the end of the street and back, but he could have had a much longer walk if he'd just gone a few hours earlier.

Janet's been having trouble finding an iPad, so I told her that I'd go locate one for her. After doing a little looking around, I found exactly the model she wanted at a local AT&T phone store. The Apple Store in the mall said there would be a three or four week wait before they had this model back in stock. This doesn't make any sense. You'd think that the Apple Store would always keep a good supply of their own products on hand. It's getting harder and harder to be an Apple fanboy. I think that Apple has become too rich and powerful for its own good. They don't even try to keep customers happy anymore.

I don't know what it will take to keep me happy. I still miss Dot a lot. It would be nice to have a steady income, but I don't really want a job. I wake up each day with a small list of things to do and I usually do all of them. There is no grand plan anymore.  I'm just going from one day to the next.

Pogo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 2791

I got my car safety inspected today. I called to see if I needed an appointment and my service guy said to come on up because they weren't very busy. I shouldn't have believed him. Instead of taking a few minutes as promised, the inspection kept me at the dealership for over two hours. I used to enjoy wasting time at the dealership. I would look at all the new cars and try to imagine what I'd be driving next. Now, looking at cars is depressing. The ones I like are all ridiculously expensive.

The dealership always asks me if I'd like them to wash my car while it's there. I usually tell them to go ahead because it's free and it saves me the trouble. Typically, the maintenance on my car takes so long that I get impatient and ask them to cancel the car wash so I can get back home a little sooner. That's what happened today. I knew that Dash was waiting for his dinner, but it's a shame I didn't have more time. The car was pretty dirty.

I got a reply from the roofer today. He told me that he didn't have time to send a crew to patch the defective spots this time, but that he would drop off a can of the elastomer coating and I could make the repairs myself. This seemed kind of rude, but I wasn't completely surprised. The roofer has made many trips to my house already. I think he's probably trying to cut his losses. It's too bad that so few flat roofs come with the kind of warranty you typically get with a shingle roof. I'm kind of at the roofer's mercy.

After my recent dog bite, I have become very nervous about walking Dash. The park is so popular now that people come from all parts of town to walk their dogs. There is almost always somebody who wants to walk their dog without a leash. Some of these dogs are well behaved, but many aren't. I try my best to avoid loose dogs at all costs, but it's getting harder and harder. I don't even trust dog parks anymore. We saw another loose dog today. Luckily, Dash and I made it home in one piece.

I was balancing my checkbook this afternoon and I couldn't figure out why there was a $300 difference between me and the bank. I'm usually pretty accurate with bookkeeping. I finally figured out that my supplemental medical insurance had gone up in cost earlier in the year and nobody had bothered to tell me. I have health insurance payments directly debited from my account because I don't want to lose coverage just because I forgot to pay a bill. You've got to keep looking at your bank statements though. It's surprising how often rates go up.

I guess I could go get my new vehicle registration sticker tomorrow. I still can't remember how the new rules work, but I think you just need to wait 24 hours for the safety inspection information to be recorded in the state's database. I was thinking that Texas eliminated the safety inspection requirement earlier this year, but apparently not. The bill was passed by the Texas Senate but rejected by the House. I think the legislature is still trying to eliminate safety inspections. It seems like it would be better to keep the safety inspections, but eliminate the registration sticker.

It looks like there might be quite a few clouds across the United States next Monday. I guess it doesn't matter to me since I won't be traveling to view the eclipse anyway. It would be a shame if the weather won't cooperate. So far it looks like Idaho has the best chance of clear skies. I hope you have clear skies wherever you plan on viewing the eclipse. These things don't happen all that often.

Freckles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 2790

I finally went back up on the roof today. What a mess. In addition to the usual two inches of standing water, there were twigs and small branches everywhere. The neighbor's pecan tree is starting to drop nuts as well. As soon as I got things cleaned up, I called the roofer again. There are at least half a dozen new places where the elastomer coating has deteriorated or torn. I am so tired of water problems. Over the years, the vast majority of problems we've had with the house have been water related. There have been roof leaks, underground plumbing leaks, shower pan leaks, dishwasher leaks, and toilet leaks. Water leaks are inevitably followed by mold and mildew. I'm sick of it all. I wish there was a way to buy a house that came with a 100 year guarantee against any form of water damage.

I was finally able to contact the watchmaker who has had three of my watches for almost five years now. I told him that I had given up on him and that I would come by and pick up the broken timepieces. He immediately apologized for the lengthy delay and said that if I could give him one more month, he would have all three repaired. I have actually heard this before, but what have I got to lose. I can't even remember what these watches look like anymore. I'll call him again at the end of the summer.

It was still raining this morning when we woke up and although Dash had slept like a baby during last night's rain, he immediately became frightened when he heard a distant thunderclap. This complicated our morning routine, because Dash won't eat when he is scared. I like Dash to eat his breakfast before I start fixing mine, because as soon as he sees me fixing something, he immediately loses interest in what is in his bowl. I fooled him this morning. I got out a bunch of pots and pans as if I was fixing my own breakfast and then fixed his instead. He eagerly ate his meal, took his morning pills, and then wanted to go on a walk. I ended up eating pretty late this morning, but at least I got Dash walked before it started raining again.

The shower stall still leaks a little, but I think I made a huge improvement. The problem is that if there is any leak whatsoever, my repairs will ultimately fail. Moisture will gradually seep under the ceramic tiles again and cause the silicon caulk to come loose. I don't even care if the repair lasts forever. If the musty smell starts to go away and I don't have to mop up small puddles after I take a shower, I'm happy. When the repair disintegrates, I'll just fix things again.

I've just about resolved all my computer upgrade problems, but I still can't print on DVD's. I don't know why this bothers me so much. I haven't had a need to  make a label for a CD or DVD in almost a year. Nobody even uses DVD's anymore. Losing this capability still frustrates me. I have a printer that lets you print directly on blank discs and I used to use it a lot. Upgrading to Sierra has made this printer obsolete.

I'm helping Janet find a new iPad. It's surprising how hard it is to just go to a store and buy one of these things. Most stores, including the Apple Store, want you to buy online and then they'll ship it directly to you later. Depending on the configuration you choose, delivery can take from three days to over three weeks. It's a shame that stores don't carry much inventory anymore. Shopping was so much easier when you could go to a store and know that they'd have everything you needed right in the store.

I'm pretty confident that I have everything I need at home tomorrow. Dash has plenty of food. There's still a good supply of fresh fruit for my smoothie. There are enough leftovers from tonight's dinner to feed me tomorrow. I'm good. If I get really bored, there's always Netflix.

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

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Day 2789

I hope my shower repairs are successful. I spent a lot of time today cleaning and preparing the ceramic tile for the silicon caulk that will hopefully make the shower stall waterproof again. If I had three weeks to let everything dry properly, I would have used a Dremel Tool to remove all the old grout and then re-grouted the entire shower. Traditional grout takes so long to dry though. If you use the shower too soon, the grout just washes away. The silicon dries quickly, but unless the tile is absolutely clean, it doesn't stick to the surface very well. If the contractors had done a good job when we remodeled the bathrooms fifteen years ago, I wouldn't be having this problem. Contractors could care less what happens fifteen years later. They're long gone by then. I really need to have a new contractor re-do the entire bathroom, but I'm afraid that I'd find someone even worse than I did the last time. Sanded silicon caulk will have to do.

We really got a lot of rain last night. We did lose power for a few minutes, but luckily it came back on again quickly. Even momentary power outages are a nuisance. All the clocks need to be reset and for some reason the washer and dryer always turn themselves on automatically when the power returns. I have to remember to turn the air conditioner and any other power hungry appliances off if I am anticipating a power outage, so a surge won't knock the power out again when service is restored. In theory, my neighbors should be doing the same thing, but I doubt that they are.

Last any rate, the storm came and went without causing any damage. Dash got scared and spent about three hours cowering under my desk, but eventually he came back to bed. At least he didn't throw up. We've started giving him his evening meds a couple of hours earlier, just in case he has another episode. So far, so good. We've also started keeping a record of whenever he vomits or won't eat to see if we can detect any sort of pattern to this seemingly random behavior. I hope we can figure this out.

I was using the leaf blower this afternoon to clean up the back porch after the storm and all of the sudden I noticed that there were hundreds of small ants crawling all over me. The ants were coming out of the leaf blower. This was certainly a surprise. I was able to brush most of the ants away before they were able to bite me, but I did about a dozen ant bites. I was glad these weren't fire ants. The bites would have been much worse if they were. What makes thousands of ants take up residence inside a leaf blower? Who knows. The insects are definitely winning this summer. I'll probably have to take the leaf blower apart to completely get rid of the ant colony, but they aren't as much of a problem as the spiders. It wasn't that long ago that I removed all the spiders from around the house with the pressure washer. Now, they're back again. Nature is relentless. Ants of all sizes are everywhere. Spiders love to spin their webs on our windows. Roaches seem to use our underground HVAC ductwork as their own private subway system. I still don't like to use insecticides because of the dogs, so eliminating these pests is fairly hopeless.

I missed the Perseid meteor shower this year and will miss the upcoming solar eclipse as well. Janet has the final part of her reconstruction surgery that day and I didn't really have the money to travel anyway. With all I've been reading about the eclipse, I'm almost glad I'm not making plans to travel to the totality zone. A lot of hotels have been acused of  price gouging by raising room rates by several hundred percent on eclipse day. People are selling fake eclipse glasses online that don't provide any eye protection at all. Monumental traffic jams are still predicted in many parts of the country. And then there always a chance it will rain.

I can live without seeing the eclipse. I just want a shower that doesn't leak.

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

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Day 2788

Dash threw up again last night. It's always the same. He has a completely normal, uneventful day. He goes to bed at the usual time and then wakes up again an hour or two later with an upset stomach. Usually he goes outside and throws up and then goes back to sleep again. You'd think that if he was having digestive problems, they would show up after his morning meal as well. He eats exactly the same thing for breakfast as he does for dinner. Nothing really makes sense. Sometimes we think this periodic vomiting is related to his vestibular disease. Other times we thing he ate a June Bug. Since Dot vomited occasionally before we discovered that she had intestinal cancer, we worry about that too. Today we gave him his evening meds early, so that at least he won't throw up his phenobarbital if he vomits again tonight.

Today was busy. I decided that I really couldn't postpone fixing the leaking shower stall any longer. I got out the wet/dry vacuum and adapted an attachment so that I could suck out all the water that has seeped between the shower pan and the underside of the tile floor. It took several hours to extract about a quart of water through a crack in the tile. While the vacuum was running, I went to Home Depot and looked for some sanded silicon caulk that would match the tile grout. This won't last as long as completely re-grouting the shower, but it is much easier and if I can remove enough water from under the tiles, the repair should last at least a year. Hopefully, Janet and I will remember to not take a shower tomorrow morning, or then I will have to vacuum the water out all over again.

I woke up last night around 3 AM and though I'd go outside and look for meteors. This was supposed to be the ideal time to view the Perseid meteor shower. Surprisingly, the sky was mostly clear, but I didn't see any meteor trails. When I looked to the East where the meteors were supposed to be, all I saw were two very bright security lights on a house across the street. The combination of an almost full moon, the headlights from a stream of cars returning home after the bars had closed, and the glare from the security lights made seeing a meteor trail virtually impossible. After ten minutes of futile looking, I went back to bed.

We finally got that rain today. There was a pretty good downpour around mid-afternoon and It looks like we are going to get even more rain tonight. The last time I looked at the weather radar, it looked pretty ominous. I hope we don't lose power. It's always a pain to get this posted when there's a power outage. I hear thunder now, but at least Dash is sleeping soundly. The last thing I wasn't is to have him needing to go outside and throw up during a major thunderstorm.

Assuming that the roof doesn't leak and that we still have power in the morning, I'll probably go to the gym. Oh, wait. I need to finish caulking the shower stall before I go anywhere. Removing the water is only step one. The most important thing is making sure that the water doesn't seem back under the tiles again.

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

Friday, August 11, 2017

Day 2787

When I went to breakfast this morning, a waiter immediately came to my table and brought me a tall Diet Coke. When I told him that I didn't order a Diet Coke, he got kind of snippy and said "That's funny, you asked for one just a minute ago." I didn't feel like arguing. I had only arrived at the restaurant a few minutes earlier and the guy with the Coke was the first person to approach my table. I just told him that I'd prefer some coffee and left it at that. Was this guy stoned or just a jerk? I probably just sat on the wrong side of the restaurant. I usually sit on the empty side when I eat at this place. Today I sat on the side full of people. This was a mistake, I'll go back to the empty side next time and let the bartender serve me breakfast.

I was sure it was going to rain when I walked Dash this morning. There were ominous looking clouds in the sky all day, but it was always raining elsewhere. I was actually hoping for rain this morning to lower the water bill a bit. No such luck. When I got home from breakfast, I turned the sprinklers on and started my day.

Watching grass grow was about as exciting as it got today. I glued the tail back on a ceramic Dalmatian that sits on the coffee table in the living room. I don't know how long the tail had been broken, but fixing the broken figurine has been on my to-do list for the past several weeks. Since the repair job was a success, I thought I'd try to repair the band of one of my favorite watches. Rubber from the 70's must not have been very good, because almost everything from that era with any rubber in it has disintegrated. This repair wasn't quite as successful. The watch looks fine sitting in a case, but it would probably break again if I ever wore it anywhere.

I had a conversation today with the creative director of a company I've worked with for a long time. He indicated that the company was moving in a new direction. I don't know if this means I will have different responsibilities, or just gradually be phased out. I said that I have always enjoyed working with them and hoped I would be able to help them in the future. What else could I say? When a bunch of young people want to move in a different direction, it often doesn't include someone my age.

Dash is still eating well, but he is becoming very bossy. If he doesn't get his meals or even his pills at what he considers to be the appropriate time, he starts barking incessantly. He wants to eat his dinner earlier now and that means that he wants his evening meds earlier too. You can't really shift the meds around too much, since they need to be given at specific intervals, but Dash is definitely a force to be reckoned with. We are having to shift our entire day around just to keep him from barking.

Tonight is supposed to be the best time to view the Perseid meteor shower. They will be visible from midnight until just before dawn, but I don't know if there will be much to see. We saw some pretty impressive storm clouds rolling in when we were taking Dash on his evening walk. It looks like we still might get that rain they've been forecasting.

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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Day 2786

Little things can make a big difference. I always feel better when I get a haircut. It's a little symbolic gesture that lets me believe I am regaining control of my life. I've been going to the same stylist for decades. I don't have as much hair now and we are both getting older, but I still get a good haircut.

I used to always pay a visit to the Apple Store when I got a haircut. Now, I don't even bother. I think I have one of everything Apple makes. The stores used to have a huge array of interesting software. Now, there is almost nothing on the shelves. You're supposed to buy software at the App Store now.

When I got home I picked up the mail and discovered the check I've been waiting for hidden in a pile of junk mail. One more thing I can check off my list. I won't be getting any more checks from these folks because they fired me recently, but at least we ended things cleanly. Now, I need to find another client to replace them.

The haircut and the missing check would have been enough for one day, but I also figured out a way to get my old obsolete software to work again. The solution was so simple that I don't know why I hadn't thought of it sooner. I still had an external hard drive in the storage warehouse that had an old operating system on it. I hooked up this drive to my computer and made it the boot drive. When I restarted the computer, all the old software worked perfectly. Once I was satisfied with my solution, I put the drive away again. I won't need to use it very often, but it's good to know it's there. Now, I just need to remember to never erase the thing.

Dash is eating and sleeping well again. I wish I could figure out what his problem is. Intermittent problems are always hard to resolve. It's like when you take your car to a mechanic with a funny noise and the noise goes away as soon as it's in the shop. Whenever I take Dash to the vet he seems completely normal. I carefully explain the problem, but there is nothing to observe. The whole situation makes me nervous. I know he is going to throw up and quit eating again. I just don't know when.

I sent a revised proposal to the guy who wants a new website. He's going to start a paintball park. It's a mystery to me why people enjoy shooting each other with paint guns, but it will probably be an olympic sport soon. You can already have a paintball birthday parties for your kids and I've heard that there are corporate paintball team building exercises for business as well. If I get this job it won't be the oddest website I've built, but it would definitely be in the top ten.

This week has gone quickly. I've already hauled this week's trash out to the curb and I'm trying to decide what to have for breakfast tomorrow. I've been disappointed in my choice of restaurants for the past several weeks. I need to pick a winner tomorrow.

J-Lo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Day 2785

I didn't accomplish much today. At least Dash ate well. He finished both his breakfast and dinner with no hesitation at all. Will he throw up tonight? I've learned that anything can happen with Dash. Everything seems normal now, so that's a good sign. I did call his vet to ask if there is anything we might have overlooked, but haven't received an answer yet. Something is wrong, but I'm not sure if there is anything more we can check. Once every week or so, he just throws up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. On the days he throws up, there is usually no prior sign of an upset stomach. We watch him carefully now when he goes outside, so I don't think he's eating bugs either. It's frustrating.

I don't know why the grass is dying in the back yard either. There are no signs of grubs and the new grass has received plenty of water. I mowed today and now the grass looks even worse. There are lots of reason why we have to replace this grass frequently, but it should last at least a month or two. I'll call the landscaper, but somehow I feel that this problem will be as difficult to resolve as getting a refund on the fraudulent gift card.

When my client told me that he has put a check in the mail on Monday, I kind of expected to receive it on Tuesday. We're in the same zip code. I mean, how long could it take? Well, I didn't get the check today either. Maybe the guy was just thinking about putting the check in the mail. I'll wait until next Monday before I complain again. I believe in giving people the benefit of the doubt, but there is no reason to be this late with a payment.

I'm trying to think of something that didn't frustrate me today, but I'm coming up blank. I still can't get old Windows video files to play on my computer. The software that used to convert them isn't being updated anymore and probably won't be in the future. Nobody cares about old Windows video anymore. I don't even think Microsoft supports these files now. The price of progress is having to  abandon old habits and old routines. Upgrading to Sierra allowed me to continue using the important software I use in my business, but I lost a lot in the process. This happens every time I do a major upgrade. Eventually, I'll just forget about the old, obsolete stuff.

I made an appointment to get my hair cut tomorrow. At least this is one thing I won't be disappointed with. My hair is such a mess now that it couldn't possible look any worse. I probably should have made a vet appointment for Dash instead of getting a haircut, but it is much easier to get a haircut on short notice. I've already taken Dash to two different vets for this vomiting issue and nobody seems to have a solution. Give him a Pepsid. Change his food. Look for signs of a vestibular event. We've already tried all the obvious things.

I did get a response to the website proposal I sent out last week. The guy seems interested, but he wants a lot of complicated stuff that I know he doesn't have the budget for. I've either got to convince him to simplify his wish list or come up with more money. I'll put together a modified proposal tomorrow, but I'm not very confident that this project is ever going to happen.

I accidentally left out some ingredients in my smoothie this morning and it actually tasted better. Why did it take me three years to discover this?  I shouldn't have been surprised. I learn most things by accident.

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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Day 2784

I don't think I'll ever buy a gift card again. The gift card company keeps asking for more and more information. It's almost as if they think we're the perpetrators of a fraud rather than the victims of one. We keep providing all the information they ask for, but they don't seem that much closer to refunding our money. Why this investigation process should take ninety days is beyond me. I'm sure they know exactly what happened. There is an entire Consumer Reports website about gift card fraud. The sad truth is that this type of thing has become so commonplace that the company doesn't particularly care. Janet and I are just a statistic.

I like things to be predictable. That's a big reason why the gift card fraud is so frustrating. I've always thought of gift cards as a simple and convenient way to give someone money. If you have to worry about someone else gaining access to the card before you even use it, it suddenly isn't simple or convenient anymore. It's just one more giant hassle in a world full of giant hassles.

I wish Dash knew how much I want life to be predictable. He's driving me crazy by changing his food preference every day. Some days he likes the Hill's I/D that we used to feed Dot. Other days he won't touch the stuff and prefers the Hills I/D Low Fat that the vet wanted us to feed him when his triglycerides were through the roof. Usually, he wants a little wet food mixed in with the dry, but not always. It's really hard to predict what he's going to eat on any given day. Today, I split his dinner into two parts, because he wouldn't wait until 5 PM. He ate the first part of his dinner with gusto. An hour and a half later, he refused to touch exactly the same thing. I removed the food from his bowl, ate my own dinner, and then put Dash's dinner in a different type of bowl. I made sure he saw me stirring the bowl with a spoon and pretending to add new ingredients. This subterfuge did the trick. Dash finished his meal.

There was very little work to do today, so I used my time trying to find replacements for some of the software that refuses to work after I upgraded my operating system to Sierra. My computer used to be able to play Windows videos, but not anymore. Neither Apple of Microsoft seems to have any interest in being compatible with each other these days. It's a shame. Since most of my clients are still on Windows systems, I sometimes have a need to open and play Windows audio and video files. I did a Google search, downloaded a few open source Windows media players, but none of them worked. That's the trouble with Google. Something that got rave reviews in 2013 might not work at all in 2017.

At least computer problems aren't messy. I'm starting to think our shower is leaking again, and that is messy. We had a shower pan leak once before and we pretty much had to rip out the entire shower and re-tile everything to fix the problem. Maybe it isn't as bad this time, but there is a distinct musty smell in the bathroom that wasn't there before. I hate water problems because you can't ignore them. If you ignore a leak, it will eventually ruin everything.

The new grass is already starting to die. It's received plenty of water and it seems to be getting enough sunlight too. It definitely shouldn't be looking spotty and thin so soon. I'll call the landscaper to come take a look, but I doubt that he'll do anything. He'll just say that I did something wrong and that it's my fault. Somehow, it's always my fault.

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

Monday, August 7, 2017

Day 2783

I tried to clean up some loose ends today. I called about a long overdue invoice and was told that a check was going in the mail today. Even though I was skeptical about this claim, I didn't feel like arguing. When someone tells you that they put a check in the mail, you have a good chance of getting paid eventually. It's when they claim that they don't even owe you the money that you've got a problem. Next, I called about a watch repair that was two years overdue. When I listened to the recorded message, I noticed that the name of the company had changed. This was not a good sign. I'll have to follow up on this one if the watch repair guy doesn't return my call. I was going to enquire about the estate of a relative that has been tied up in probate for even longer than the watch repair, but I've been told that this kind of delay is not that uncommon. Maybe I'll wait another six months and see what happens.

I've become accustomed to the fact that nothing goes smoothly anymore, but some delays seem ridiculous. Should any type of repair take three years?  Does the little notice on my invoices saying "30 Days Net? mean absolutely nothing? When I was told that it would take 90 days to get a refund on the fraudulent gift card recently, I kept thinking that this really meant six months and a lot of frustrating phone calls. You've got to keep trying though. That's the only way you get results these days.

Dash wouldn't eat his breakfast this morning. He has always been a finicky eater. We keep two brands of food on hand, knowing that if he won't eat one, he will usually eat the other. I knew that we had inadvertently picked the wrong brand this morning when I offered Dash a handful of the other brand and he gobbled it up. Unfortunately, the dry food in his bowl had already been mixed with wet, so I couldn't just put it back in the bag. I put the uneaten mixture in a different container and saved it for later. At lunch, I made a big show of preparing the food he refused to eat at breakfast and served it in a different bowl. This time, Dash gobbled it up. As difficult as Dash can be sometimes, he is still easier to deal with than a late paying client.

I've been wondering why I haven't received any updates for one of the websites I manage. I was going to ask where the updates were and then I noticed that I already had them. They arrived two weeks ago. The delay I'd been fretting about was actually my fault. How could this have happened? It appeared that I had updated my local version of the site, but that the changes had never been uploaded to the server. I still don't know whether the upload had failed or I simply forgot to finish what I started. At any rate, I apologized for the mistake and made sure the changes were actually on the server this time.

The website snafu and Dash's weird eating habits occupied most of my morning, but by mid-afternoon I was dead in the water again. I looked for a movie to watch on Netflix, but the one I chose wasn't nearly as good as The Expanse. That's what happens when you watch a really good series. I want to watch Season Three and Season Four, but they haven't even been filmed yet.

I don't have any big plans for tomorrow. I don't have any little plans either. I guess we'll just have to see what happens.

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

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day 2782

I was in no hurry to do anything today. We woke up late and took a leisurely walk with Dash. When we got home, I made pancakes while Janet cooked some bacon. Dash's appetite has returned and he is eating all his meals again. It was a relaxing, largely uneventful Sunday morning.

Instead of vacuuming or doing yard work, I went to the gym after breakfast. This week's workout seemed a little easier than last week's, so maybe my body is starting to repair itself. They are doing some remodeling at the gym and they removed the water cooler for some reason. I didn't realize how much water I drink. Every time I finished a routine, I really missed that water cooler. The progress I made today made me seriously think about going to the gym three times a week. I've certainly got the time. I've got the incentive as well. Too many of my friends have already died. The older I get, the more I realize that my top priority needs to be staying healthy. I've had my chance to make money. I think that ship has already sailed.

I noticed that the Apple Store has started selling RED cinema cameras. I don't know why this seemed significant to me, but it certainly says something about the ubiquitous nature of film in our society. When a store in the mall starts selling the same equipment that major Hollywood cinamatographers use, it means that everyone wants to make a movie. Most of my Facebook feed is videos now. To me, this is irritating because it slows my computer down, but I think this is what people want.  I wonder if I'll ever make a movie again? I made some good documentaries back in the 70's, but the desire just isn't there anymore.

This lack of desire puzzles me. I'm still curious about things and like to learn, but there is no desire pushing me forward. I guess I could just listen to TED Talks for the rest of my life, but I'd like to expand my horizons a little more than that. I certainly don't want to sit in a chair and watch college basketball for ten years like my Dad did. Piano lessons are an option. I'd consider joining an astronomy club, but you can't see the stars during the day and I hate driving at night. I've just started thinking about what to do next, so this is a work in progress. Just don't ask me what I'm passionate about. You'd be very disappointed in my answer.

It's supposed to rain all next week. This would be a good opportunity to clean out my office. I don't even know where to start. The Beta-SP editing bay is just a waste of space now. The stuff is too expensive to throw away and too obsolete to ever be used again. I've thought about buying flight cases for the equipment and putting it in the storage warehouse, but that would just be throwing good money after bad. I wonder how long it will take me to realize that the equipment is worthless? Ditto for the large production printer and all the film cameras. They are all worthless. I don't think people even collect this stuff.

To be honest, I probably won't do a lot of downsizing during the rain. Removing thirty years worth of stuff is pretty overwhelming. It's more likely that I'll just worry about the roof leaking while I'm watching Netflix movies.

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

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Day 2781

We moved the rescue Dalmatians to a new boarding kennel this morning. This was a big undertaking, since there were quite a few dogs, along with their food and supplies. I haven't been very active with the group lately, so it was good to see some of the volunteers again. All of us were surprised that the kennel wasn't making more of an effort to keep our business, especially since Dalmatian Rescue had called this kennel home for quite a few year. Things change, I guess. What started out as an ideal boarding facility had gradually deteriorated and now our dogs were spending most of their time locked in their pens and weren't allowed to share the daycare area during the day, or even play with the other dogs. It was time to move them to another facility where they could enjoy a better quality of life while they were waiting for their forever homes.

I'm always amazed that dogs like these had been abandoned in the first place. They were all beautiful and most were well behaved. One was a fence jumper that we had to be careful transporting, and several others were timid and shy, but they would all make wonderful family pets. Janet an I used to spend a lot of time walking and socializing these rescue dogs on weekends. Maybe now that the new kennel isn't quite so far away, we might be able to do this again.

My new passport arrived in the mail today. That didn't take long. Now, I can go anywhere again, even though there is no place I'm eager to visit at the moment. I was surprised that the State Department didn't return my old passport. They used to always do this. It isn't a big deal, but I like to keep the old passports so I can see how much I've aged every ten years. I sure don't look the same as I did on my first passport photo.

We took Janet's car to transfer the dogs this morning. Wow. This is a very nice car. I've always assumed that I'll be driving Land Rovers forever, but this new Audi is making me rethink things. It drives like a dream and the electronics seem like something out of a science fiction movie. Cars have changed a lot in the last five years. Things are changing so rapidly that maybe my next car will be a self driving car.

We're supposed to get more rain next week. I hope we do. Even though it is still hot and muggy, we have had a cooler, and much wetter summer than usual. The grass and ground cover still looks nice and green in our yard, which is very unusual for August. Last year, things were pretty brown by now. I'm counting on the rain to keep things growing. I certainly don't feel like doing yard work. Cooler August temperatures are a relative thing. It's still too hot for me.

I wish I hadn't been in such a hurry to watch both seasons of The Expanse. It would have been nice to watch something this afternoon. After we finished transferring the Dalmatians to their new kennel and I did my normal Saturday grocery shopping, I didn't want to go outside again. With nothing to watch, I took a nap with Dash. He didn't feel like going outside either.

I'll probably go back to the gym tomorrow. I'm finally getting enough sleep. Now, I need to start getting enough exercise.

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

Friday, August 4, 2017

Day 2780

Today wasn't bad. Nothing exciting happened, but nothing bad happened either. I got a good night's sleep. Dash was eager to take his morning walk as soon as Janet left for work. The weather was warm, but not oppressive. By the time I got dressed to go out for breakfast, I was convinced that it was going to be a good day.

I've started going back to the very first restaurant I discovered when I began eating out on Friday mornings. The place has been through half a dozen management changes over the years, but the food is still pretty decent. Although the novelty of eating out has worn off, it still felt good to get out of the house for a while. I picked up some food for the weekend at the grocery store after breakfast and was back at the house before 10 AM.

I thought today might be a good day to get the lawnmower out. My legs are almost back to normal and the grass definitely needed mowing. Like my experience at the gym last Sunday, I quickly realized that I was still out of shape. It's disappointing that you have to work so hard to stay fit as you age. When I was in my 30's, the whole process seemed effortless. I guess it can be done. There is an old man I see almost every morning when I walk Dash. He runs back and forth on the streets surrounding the park for hours. He was in horrible shape when I first noticed him four years ago. Now, his muscles are well defined and he looks much better. I don't have that single minded resolve, but I do walk. My fitness tracker says I'm back to 10,000 steps a day again.

I watched the last episode of The Expanse today and now I've got to wait until sometime in 2018 to see season three on the Syfy Channel. I really enjoyed the first two seasons of this show. Too bad it only took me three days to watch them all. I looked on Netflix to find something else like this, but all I found were dystopian post apocalypse movies. Apparently it is much easier for filmmakers to stay right here on earth than to create realistic simulations of life in space. The CGI work in The Expanse is pretty amazing. I've seen a lot of science fiction and these are the most realistic computer generated images I've seen yet. Hey, I wasted three days, but I'm glad I saw this show. I was genuinely impressed by the effort it took to put this all together.

I saw something on the local news today about a group of cyclists getting attacked by dogs while training for a race. They showed pictures of some of the bite marks and they looked exactly like mine. The riders got bitten in a rural area north of Dallas where there are no leash laws, so the owners of the dogs won't even be punished. It's ironic and a little sad that I love dogs and yet I am somewhat fearful of them. I have good reason to be. I've been bitten five times in my lifetime. I was even nervous about taking Dash to training class. Most of the dogs in class were wonderful, but fights did break out occasionally. Once or twice a dog had to be banned from participating in class. I had hoped that dog class would be a relaxing experience, but it never was. I felt the same way that I do when riding DART trains. You have to remain alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.

Sadly, the world is not a very relaxing place anymore. I used to hitchhike all around the country when I was in college. That would be insane now. Our national parks are overcrowded. Road rage is a fact of life. Airline delays are normal. And entire cruise ships can get food poisoning. No wonder people buy 70" flat screen TVs and have HelloFresh meals delivered to their house. I'm probably not the only one who prefers to stay inside.

Pebbles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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