Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 2856

We tricked Dash into walking this morning. Janet walked with us down the alley and into the park. As soon as Dash started smelling interesting things in the park, he didn't even notice that Janet had turned around and gone back to the house to get ready for work. The rest of our walk was completely normal. It still seems odd that Dash hates to leave the house, but once our yard is out of sight he seems to enjoy himself. I'm probably the same way about vacations. It's like pulling teeth to get me to go on a vacation. I'll come up with every excuse in the book to avoid leaving home. Once the plane has left the runway, I'm fine. The only way to explain this is that I probably have the attention span of a dog. As soon as I'm somewhere new, I completely forget about the old.

The refrigerator part arrived at the repair shop today, but they won't be able to come out and install it until Monday. This means that I'll probably have to take the freezer section apart again and defrost the evaporator coil one more time this weekend. This sucks, but I'm really not surprised at the delay. Now, I have to decide whether to quietly install the new parts I ordered myself before the repairmen arrive, or ask them to install them for me. One way or another, I'm determined to get this refrigerator working again.

Janet's doctor isn't taking new patients anymore, but there are other doctors at the practice. I made an appointment to meet one of them next week. They call this initial visit a "meet and greet." I've had the same primary care physician for a long time now, but it's probably time for a chance. I'm definitely not getting any younger. I was so impressed at the quality of care Janet received during her cancer treatment that it seems crazy not to have access to the same type of care myself. I always used to think that Dot and Dash had much better doctors than I did. Maybe this new concierge practice will   put me in the same league with the care that Dash is receiving at the cancer center.

I wish I'd never upgraded my computer to Sierra. All my aging software worked perfectly with Mountain Lion. Now, I run into little snags and hiccups almost every day. The most irritating problem is that Dreamweaver won't save login information for web servers anymore. I have to manually enter user ID and password information every time I upload something. There are a lot of passwords to remember and if I forget them, I can't count on the clients to remember them either. Old Quicktime movies won't play anymore either. I would be tempted to reinstall Mountain Lion, except that it's usually not a good idea to go backwards. I'm sure that since I've changed hard drives when I upgraded the system, it would be almost impossible to return things to exactly the way they were. I also need to remember why I upgraded in the first place. My accounting software wasn't going to be supported anymore. In my line of work, you need Microsoft Word, you need Photoshop, and you need accounting software.

After I took today's mail to the post office, I stopped by a little neighborhood Cuban restaurant and picked up a Cuban Sandwich to go. Everyone seems to make a Cuban Sandwich a little differently. This one was supposed to be very authentic, but how would I know? I'd been curious about this restaurant, since it gets very good reviews. I drive by this place every week and it only took me a year to stop and order something. The sandwich was pretty good.

I can't decide whether to go out for breakfast tomorrow. I guess it will all depend on how much trouble it is to get Dash to take a walk.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 2855

I think I've messed up my day count. This is Day 2855, but according to Blogger I've actually written something for 2865 consecutive days. Where did the missing ten days go? I don't have a clue. I'm sure what happened was that one day I made a typo in the title and then the next day I just added one to that number and kept going. I really don't have the time or the inclination to search through a year's worth of blog posts to find the gap, but this odd mistake will be added to the long list of things that irritate me. I'm so meticulous and always spell check everything. How could I make a mistake like this?

Dash didn't walk at all today. He wouldn't leave the yard this morning and since Janet had to go to a funeral after work, he wouldn't take an evening walk either. I tried everything to get him to take an evening walk. At one point I left all his gear on for an hour or so, hoping that he could get used to it. The knee brace wasn't the problem. He walked around the yard with his knee brace and boots just fine, but as soon as I put a leash on him, he started heading for the house. The days are getting shorter, so this is only going to get harder in the months ahead. I don't know what this reluctance to walk is all about. The knee brace isn't bothering him and he can walk normally while wearing it. He doesn't mind the rubber boots either. He wears these around the house at times and seems to forget he has them on. For some reason that only Dash knows, he just doesn't want to leave the yard anymore.

I finished my article today, but it took longer than I expected. When Dash doesn't get enough exercise, he is constantly pestering me to let him outside. As soon as he's out, he just wanders around for a minute or two and then wants to come in again. In and out we go, all day long. I can't just leave the back door open. An open door is an invitation to all the squirrels, raccoons, and feral cats that wander through our yard. There are plenty of bugs that would fly through the open door as well.

After I shipped my article off to the client, I got caught up on my website revisions. I wish now that I'd never bothered to convert everyone's site to a mobile friendly format. None of my clients even seem to care that their site automatically resizes for tablets and phones. The mobile sites are more complex and harder to change. The worst thing is that I can't use Dreamweaver anymore and need to make my changes using a cloud based design program. Modifications that used to take a few minutes can now take up to an hour. The sad thing is that I've got plenty of time to do all this because there aren't that many clients left.

Today's picture is pretty pitiful, since Dash wouldn't walk anywhere with me. It's just a crow in the back yard. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I might have to take a picture of my morning smoothie. I hope I can figure out how to get Dash walking again. He used to love long walks and certainly needs the exercise. He shouldn't do anything strenuous with the blood clots in his heart, but his doctor said that slow walks would actually be good for him.

The parts I ordered for the refrigerator arrived this morning, but I've still heard nothing about the important mother board that the appliance repair folks ordered. All I ordered were some rubber gaskets and a temperature sensor that the repairman said never goes bad. I could have ordered the motherboard myself as well, but I was afraid I might have to pay for two boards if the repair shop wouldn't send theirs back. Lord knows when this thing will get fixed. I'm still convinced that I could have watched a few YouTube instructional videos and fixed the refrigerator myself weeks ago.

It looks like I might have to take some money from the retirement account to pay the Mastercard bill. That's what happens when business dries up. I guess this is what the retirement account if for, but I'd hoped to leave it untouched for a few more years. Sometimes I wonder if planning ahead even matters. You could have everything all worked out and then there's a nuclear war with North Korea or that super volcano under Yellowstone National Park explodes. Then what? I don't even think the preppers have an answer for that.

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 2854

I am becoming increasingly disorganized. Part of my brain has already retired. Another part is still trying to keep track of deadlines and responsibilities. I kept forgetting today that I had an article to write and several websites to update. The jobs were minor and inconsequential, but they were still real jobs. Back in the day, I would have had these tasks finished before noon. They still aren't finished.

I kept forgetting I had work to do because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Dash to walk. I was unsuccessful again. Our boy just doesn't want to walk in the morning anymore. Later in the week, Janet has a light day, so we are going to experiment and see if he'll take an early walk with both of us. He still walks fine in the evening, so maybe he's just being stubborn.

I woke up early this morning because I was cold and then remembered that I had wanted to see the conjunction of Mars, the Moon, and Venus. I took a pair of binoculars outside and easily spotted all three. Mars is very faint because it is on the other side of the solar system. It won't be close to Earth again until next summer. After accounting for the visible planets in the morning sky, I went back to bed. Astronomy is appealing, but not quite as appealing as sleep.

If I ever invited you to connect on Alignable, I apologize. I initially thought that this might be a cool way to network and get business, but it just seems to connect me to nail salons and real estate agents. I'm getting so much spammy mail from these folks now that I'm thinking of deactivating my account. I should have known better. I never liked LinkedIn, so it should have been a no-brainer that I wouldn't like this either.

With Dash refusing to walk, I'm not getting as many steps in during the day as I'd like. It was easy to take over 12,000 steps a day when we took two walks in the park. Now my total is much less. Without these daily walks, there aren't as many photos either. I miss these long morning walks, but strangely I don't feel like walking without a dog. I've walked with a dog companion at my side for so many years that it just doesn't seem right to walk alone.

I guess I'll finish my article tomorrow. There isn't a deadline, but writing will give me something to do during the day. I don't think there's much of a chance that the refrigerator repairman will be coming over tomorrow. Chances of the roofer coming over are even less.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. Dash is eating well now and seems to be happy enough just spending his day doing nothing. I wish I could say the same.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 2853

It was a beautiful morning, but Dash refused to walk again. Does his leg hurt? Is he feeling dizzy or nauseous? Is he just being stubborn? It's hard to tell. I don't want to push him too hard, but he still needs a certain amount of activity. When he first wakes up, he does exhibit some telltale signs of vestibular disease. Maybe he doesn't feel steady on his feet. All I know is that he used to love to walk. This evening, he seemed eager to go outside when Janet returned from work, but the sun had already set. Our evening walk was very short. It's a shame that I've got all the time in the world and Dash doesn't want to do anything unless the entire family is nearby.

The refrigerator part didn't arrive today. This was the second time this part hasn't arrived on the date that was promised. I asked the company today when the part was really going to arrive, so I could plan accordingly and they just told me that they would call me when it got here. This is really frustrating, since I know how to get the part overnight. The appliance repair company refuses to work with anyone other than their own parts supplier. I suspect this is because their very slow supplier doesn't require them to pay immediately. I think I would have been happier if I'd just bought the parts myself and learned how to install them by watching readily available YouTube videos. I'm gradually learning exactly how the refrigerator works, but there is no joy in this learning process. I hate dealing with repair companies in a world where nobody keeps a parts inventory. Plumbers, HVAC repairmen, and electricians are all the same. There are no parts on the truck anymore. They diagnose your problem and then they order the parts.

I sent out my October invoices this afternoon. My monthly billing was so small that it probably wouldn't even pay the electric bill. It's hard to justify continuing the business. I did get a new writing job today and there's a potential new website job as well, but this isn't a profitable endeavor anymore. When I was eating breakfast this morning, I watched a GoDaddy commercial bragging about how anyone could build a sophisticated business website in less than an hour using one of their super cheap website builder widgets. How do you compete with that?

I had to pick up more phenobarbital for Dash today. Maybe the increased dose he is taking now is causing some of his problems. I'll never know for sure, because all the vets tell me that going without phenobarbital isn't an option for Dash. Maybe they are right. Once we took Dash off phenobarbital about five years ago when we were convinced he was cured. About a month later he had one of the most violent seizures he's ever had. There really aren't a lot of easy answers with this dog. We've got to deal with thyroid cancer, vestibular disease, epilepsy, a partial cruciate tear, and blood clots in the heart, all at the same time.

If I get up really early tomorrow morning, I should be able to see a very thin waning crescent moon centered between Mars and Venus. Is this worth setting an alarm clock for? It probably depends on how late I go to bed tonight. I still like astronomy, but like everything else, enjoying this hobby seems a bit of a hassle.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 2852

It was one of those 20,000 step days. My mind doesn't get a lot of activity on Sunday, but my body certainly does. After breakfast this morning, I moved the big pile of wood in the alley out to the street so the city would pick it up on Bulky Trash Day. When I was removing the Elm tree branches from the roof a few weeks ago, I scratched myself up pretty bad. This time I made sure to wear long pants, a jacket, and gloves. Wood is pretty heavy. It took me over an hour and a half to get everything moved to the curb. Hopefully, no more trees will fall on the roof for the foreseeable future.

Dash threw up again last night. He threw up a lot. This was surprising, since he had acted perfectly normal all day and didn't seem to have an upset stomach. This was the first time he's thrown up for well over a month. I was beginning to think we had gotten past this hurdle. Throwing up periodically must have something to do with Dash's vestibular disease. There is no real cure for this disease and several vets have told us to expect episodes of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. I'm used to solving problems and it's frustrating to have so few options with Dash. Many of the ailments he is suffering from just don't have a cure.

When Dash vomits, it is always very late at night, after he's been asleep for a while. He acts frantic and wants to go outside and eat grass. After he throws up, he goes back to sleep as if nothing had happens and is usually good the next day. We didn't give him a Cerenia pill last night. We'll see what happens tonight. With any luck, he'll be good for another month.

My beloved weather radar app quit working on my old series one iPad this morning. I tried again tonight and it still wasn't functioning. I haven't been able to update this app for over three years, so I suspect that the company finally quit supporting the older hardware. This happens a lot on my phone, tablets, and computers. You are basically forced to update hardware because the software quits working. The weather radar app still works fine on my phone, but I liked checking the weather on the iPad. Probably my phone is the next to be rendered obsolete. I just noticed that I can't update the system to IOS 11. The phone is too old.

Even though I was tired from lugging heavy logs around, I decided to go to the gym anyway. I'm much older than my phone and a trip to the gym is the closest thing I can find to a software update. I thought I had a pretty good workout, but my fitness tracker said otherwise. I did the same routines, but I didn't burn nearly as many calories as I did last week. I'm sure it was the yard work that made the difference.

I haven't turned on the large format printer in over a month. It may be impossible to unclog the thing now. I'll give it a try tomorrow and order some more ink if I succeed. I've basically grown tired of buying expensive ink for this thing just to make test prints to keep the printer from clogging. Maybe it's finally time to take the printer to the curb. This printer made beautiful very large Giclée prints in it's day, but I think that ship has sailed. If I could bring myself to part with this obsolete printer and the equally obsolete Beta-SP tape machines, I'd have a lot more space in the office.

I wonder if my refrigerator part will arrive tomorrow? Promises apparently don't mean much in the appliance repair business.

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 2851

I'm so tired of continually fixing things. Today I noticed that the refrigerator was about ten degrees warmer and I knew it was time to defrost the evaporator coil again. The refrigerator seems to cool things normally for one and a half to two weeks before the coil freezes. It's not that hard to thaw the coil with a hair dryer, but it is a nuisance. I have to take all the food out of the freezer and put it in a large ice chest before I can begin. The shelves have to be unscrewed and removed so I can access the metal back panel. When this panel has been removed, I can see the evaporator coil. It takes about twenty minutes to thaw the coil and mop up all the dripping water. Then I put everything back together and the refrigerator works fine for a while.

I'm really disappointed that the appliance repairmen weren't able to diagnose the source of this problem on their first visit. The repair strategy seems to be to replace parts one at a time until everything starts working again. To the repairman's credit, he isn't charging me for service calls anymore, but I'm convinced that there's got to be a better way to repair things. In anticipation that the logic board he ordered won't solve the problem either, I ordered a few parts myself today. Two can play this game. If his part doesn't work, I'll ask him to install one of mine.

We tried the dog booties I repaired a few days ago on Dash's evening walk and I was pleased to see that the glue and patches held together. This is good news and means that I'll be able to extend the life of these protective shoes. Now I've got to start repairing the other boots, because they're all starting to become worn. The good news is that Dash can walk normally while wearing his boots and knee brace. The bad news is that he'll only walk when Janet and I both go with him. When Daylight Savings Time returns soon, our evening walks are going to become more difficult. Janet doesn't return from work until after dark in the Winter, so Dash doesn't have much time to get used to walking alone with me.

I've noticed that the neighbors have started piling up stuff on the curb for bulky trash pickup. This means that I've only got a few days to move all the elm tree branches from the alley to the curb. I should have done this today, since it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I just didn't have the time. By the time I'd finished dealing with the refrigerator and the dog boots, my day was finished.

I picked up one of my watches this morning and the bracelet fell apart in my hands. This seemed symbolic of everything in my life. I got my watch tools out and put the bracelet back together, but I don't know why I even bothered. I never wear these watches anymore. It just seems strange that I spent so much time collecting them. You should never have a lot of old mechanical things. Old machines require constant maintenance. Vintage cars, vintage houses, vintage watches, and even vintage guitars are nothing but trouble.

I hope nothing breaks tomorrow. Like I said, I'm tired of fixing things. Even my Sunday trip to the gym is an attempt to fix something. I'm falling apart too.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 2850

It was a fairly benign Friday the 13. Nothing really bad happened. I didn't tempt fate though. I didn't climb up on the roof today or attempt to remove wasp nests. All I wanted was a quiet, peaceful day where nothing went wrong.

It's often hard to tell if something is wrong with Dash, or if he's just being stubborn. Today he refused to take a morning walk, even though the weather was nice and he ate all his breakfast. I don't try to force him to walk because so many thing are wrong with him now. Maybe he was feeling weak due to his heart condition. Maybe his leg hurt. It's hard to tell with Dash. He's often reluctant to leave the house, but once he arrives in the park, he has a great time smelling every bush along his path. I wish I knew whether he was in a mood to walk before I spend ten minutes getting him suited up in his protective gear. I initially thought he might be reluctant to walk because he didn't want to wear the knee brace. He walks just fine wearing the brace though. When he's in a good mood, he's not even aware he's wearing it.

I try to give Dash a pass for his occasional moodiness, because I can feel the same way myself. Some mornings I'm really eager to go out for breakfast on Fridays, and other mornings nothing interests me at all. Today I mostly went out because there was nothing in the refrigerator that didn't require a lot of preparation. If we still had peaches and strawberries, I probably would have just stayed home and made a smoothie.

When I returned from breakfast and grocery shopping for tonight's dinner, I got started on repairing Dash protective boots. I cut several pieces out of the rubber tire patch material and then glued them in place using the Shoe Goo that I purchased the other day. I debated whether to use rubber cement or the Shoe Goo and decided that the Shoe Goo would last longer. If this doesn't work, I'll use the rubber cement next time. The flexible cement has to cure for 24 hours, so we'll try the boots out tomorrow. If the repair seems to be holding up after a few walks, I'll repair the other boots Dash has already ruined.

I actually had a website problem to solve today. Sadly, the problem isn't actually solved yet, but at least I got the process started. I remember a time when you could call technical support and resolve fairly complex problems on the spot. Most of those knowledgable people have disappeared. Now, it's rare to talk with anyone who can actually code or solve IT problems. The friendly guy I talked with today just took down my information and said he'd pass it on to his supervisor. He didn't have a clue how to fix problems with forms and databases.

Dash walked just fine this evening. I think he just wants the whole family to walk with him. I don't know what we're going to do when Daylight Savings Time begins and it gets dark an hour earlier. It's already sunset when Janet returns from work. Life was so much easier for Dash when Dot was alive. She was always the alpha dog who showed Dash how to behave. Now, he just seems lost.

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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Day 2849

Dash's exam was ambiguous at best. The blood clots in his heart are still there and haven't changed in size. The doctor said that the whistling sound his heart murmur made was softer this time, but was unsure if this was significant. Everyone was pleased that Dash's appetite was returning and that he had more energy, but this change didn't seem to be directly related to the blood clots. Dash is supposed to continue taking the Plavix and we scheduled another echocardiogram in a month from now. The vet did say that blood will still clot while taking Plavix, so we shouldn't worry if Dash cuts his paw again. This won't keep me from worrying, but it was somewhat reassuring.

As usual, Dash's exam took longer than we expected, so Janet and I both got a late start. After a very late breakfast, I strung several garden hoses together and was finally able to water the new grass in the front yard. The rest of the day was consumed with mostly unsuccessful attempts to repair Dash's protective booties. I hand stitched the boots back together and then discovered that the Shoe Goo I bought yesterday wasn't really appropriate for repairing the holes in the rubber fabric. What I really needed was a cap made of stronger rubber that would fit over the tips of these boots.

I took the little boots to my shoe repairmen and asked if he could make something to reinforce the toe. He seemed confused at first and then I drew him a picture of what I needed. He brought out some thin rubber used to resole women's high heeled shoes and it seemed like this material might work. Then he quoted me a price for the repair that was higher than what the booties cost new. At this rate, it would be easier to just keep buying new booties and throw them away when they became worn.

As we were exploring repair options, the repairman started asking me about Dash. Then he started talking about his own dog. He was very frustrated with his dog because it always pooped in the house. I resisted the urge to say "that's nothing" and regale him with my own stories of canine incontinence. I didn't want to argue with the guy, but he clearly didn't have the patience required to deal with sick dogs.

After I struck out at the shoe repair shop, I went to Home Depot where I struck out again. All they had was a rubber hall runner that was way too thick and stiff to be useful. It finally occurred to me to go to an auto parts store, where I bought a big package of rubber inner tube patches. Lord knows whether these will work, but we'll find out tomorrow.

The shower started leaking again today. I wonder where the water goes on the days it doesn't leak? It's probably going somewhere. Probably next year sometime I'll discover a patch of rotted sheetrock in a completely different part of the house. Water is sneaky. It can flow just about anywhere.

It was still dark outside when I got up this morning to get the car ready for Dash's trip to the vet. Orion and all the familiar Winter constellations were visible in the pre-dawn sky. Seeing these familiar faces again was somehow reassuring. I just wish that everything was as regular and predictable as the slow and stately movement of the stars.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Day 2848

The refrigerator part that was supposed to arrive today won't be here until next Monday. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I disappointed? Of course. It takes a lot of patience to get something repaired these days. No wonder so many people just download a YouTube video and try to do things themselves.

In an attempt to keep the refrigerator working until the repairmen arrive, I pulled it out from its cubby hole in the kitchen, removed the back panel, and tried to clean the condenser coil. You're supposed to do this once a year, but it's just too difficult. I'm not even sure that I found the condenser coil, but I cleaned something that was very dirty and looked like a coil. After working in the cramped space behind the refrigerator for an hour, I found it difficult to extricate myself. The knee joints just aren't that flexible anymore. I have a feeling that I'll have to defrost the evaporator coil with a hair dryer later this week. I've done this several times already. If I keep this up, I could probably become a refrigerator repairman myself.

The cancer center called and rescheduled Dash's appointment several times today. The first schedule change was because the technician doing the echocardiogram wasn't going to be at the clinic in the afternoon. The second schedule change was because there was an out of town emergency appointment that required an ultrasound scan as soon as the dog arrived. We're still going tomorrow, but our appointment is a lot earlier than it originally was. My biggest concern is getting Dash to poop before we put him in the car. Since there won't be time for a morning walk, this might be a problem. We really hope that the echocardiogram shows some improvement in Dash's heart. He does seem to have more energy and is eating better, so maybe the Plavix pills are working.

I found some stuff that is supposed to be good for repairing shoes. It's called Shoe Goo. I was going to attempt to repair Dash's protective booties today, but I discovered that a seam had torn and needed to be sewed back together first. I wish I knew how to use Janet's fancy new sewing machine. I used to use the old Singer machine to make small repairs all the time, but this new machine seems very unfamiliar. I just don't want to risk breaking it. Dash's boots will still get repaired. It just might take a little longer.

It's getting to the point where I am reluctant to even turn on the television. The news has become an endless parade of disasters. Where is the good news? All I see are floods, hurricanes, massive wildfires, mass shootings, and threats of nuclear war. It almost feels like we are living in some dystopian science fiction novel. There is no real solution to this mess, so perhaps the best thing is to turn off the TV and concentrate on things that are closer to home.

Dash's health is certainly close to home. I really hope we get a good report tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Day 2847

I was surprised at how cold it was this morning. The furnace was running when we woke up and I needed to wear long pants and a jacket on our morning walk. Typically, these nice October mornings don't last very long. As soon as the sun comes up, the temperature is quickly above ninety again. Today was different. I don't think it got above seventy degrees all day long.

Since the weather was nice and cool, I thought it would be a good day to fix the big gash in the front yard. I measured the bare spot where the runaway car had ripped away the grass and went to buy some St. Augustine sod. I'd forgotten how messy is is to carry grass around in your car. I used to haul sod in the Defender quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever done it in this car. I had quite a bit of cleanup to do when I got home.

I can't say that I did a super job on the yard, but at least the dirt is covered up now. With this chore marked off my list, I went looking for a cheap orthotic insert for my dog walking shoes. I found something at CVS that looked identical to the expensive REI inserts for 1/3 the price. If I was willing to go to Walmart, I might have found something for even less.

Now that we're feeding Dash what he wants, he's eating quite well. I hope the loss of appetite scare wasn't just an elaborate ploy to get us to change his diet. Dash can be pretty clever when it comes to getting what he wants. I feel confident that what we're feeding him now is healthy and nutritious. The only thing I don't like is that his poop is softer and harder to clean up. He may be getting too much protein as well. We don't want to deal with crystals in his urine again.

I've noticed that the refrigerator is starting to get a little warmer again. If the replacement part doesn't arrive in the next day or so, I'll have to manually defrost the evaporator coil again. It's easy enough to melt the ice with a hair dryer, but it takes a while to remove all the food from the freezer and unscrew the back wall plate so the coil is exposed. I wonder why this coil freezes up so quickly? I remember having an old fashioned refrigerator without the frost-free feature in one of my first apartments and I think I could go six months without having to defrost the thing.

I guess I'll just watch the new Blade Runner movie on my computer. It's going to be available on iTunes soon and I don't feel like dealing with theaters or driving at night. I can really understand the appeal of Hello Fresh, Netflix, Amazon, and all the other things that bring the world to your doorstep. When you look at what the world has become, there's a lot to be said for just staying at home.

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

Monday, October 9, 2017

Day 2846 - Columbus Day

I was thinking about seeing Blade Runner 2049 and was surprised to discover that there wasn't a matinée. The film was showing at multiple theaters but all the showtimes were at night. Some theaters only showed the movie late at night. Maybe this is why some folks have been disappointed with the box office returns for this movie, even though the reviews have been great. The audience for this film is me. You have to be old enough to have seen the original Blade Runner before you're going to be looking forward to the sequel. What were they thinking by not having a matinée? Let the Millennials watch movies whenever they like, but remember that old science fiction fans sometimes prefer a matinée.

When I was growing up, I never would have dreamed that Columbus Day would become controversial. For most of my life, this has been a bland, largely uneventful day. I don't understand the desire to rewrite history. Columbus was no saint, but he is still revered in many countries. There wouldn't be a Latino culture today without Columbus and the Spaniards that followed him. Sure, the Native Americans were here first, but it wasn't like indigenous people were leading peaceful, bucolic lives before the Europeans arrived. They'd been fighting with each other for centuries. You could make a pretty strong case that the Aztec's were even more brutal than the Europeans.

Every culture throughout history has done horrible things. Some of the horrible things have turned out to be significant. If we try to erase history, how can we possibly learn from it? I wouldn't make Christopher Columbus a role model, but I wouldn't throw red paint at his statue either. Many of the people we admire today will be reviled by future generations. That's just the way life is. Truthfully, I'm amazed that there is still life on this planet at all. Even the animals are mean and nasty. Cute and cuddly dolphins are actually stone cold killers who routinely murder their own babies. We prefer to think that all dolphins are like Flipper though. It's just easier that way.

I love dogs, even though I've been bitten five times. I've learned that you can't just divide the dog population into good dogs and bad dogs. Given the right circumstances, any dog could bite you. I think people are the same way.

We learned today that Dot was going to be the cover of the 2018 Dalmatian Rescue Calendar. She's a beautiful cover girl. When I saw the proof of the calendar, it made me want to cry. Such a wonderful tribute. I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of these calendars around our house next year.

I called Janet's doctors this afternoon and asked how to become a patient. It's taken me a long time to make this switch, but I probably should have done it a long time ago. I'm not getting any younger and staying healthy is increasingly becoming my top priority. I feel a bit disloyal abandoning my primary care physician, but I've gotten to the point where I'd be nervous depending on him if something serious happened. There are no perfect doctors, but I hope that a year from now, I will still think I made the right decision.

Dash did pretty well today. I'm getting better at putting on his protective gear by myself in the morning and he seems to be walking more naturally using the knee brace. He never did throw up last night and ate a pretty good breakfast. I'm really hoping that his next echocardiogram will show some improvement.

Maverick is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Day 2845

Dash's new boots are doing a good job of protecting his feet, but they're already starting to wear out. This is probably because we're using the indoor version of the boots while we walk him outdoors. The outdoor boots are stronger, but they are so stiff that Dash can't walk while wearing them. Maybe they work for some dogs, but I don't know how. I'm going to have to go looking for some of that rubbery stuff that you can use to repair running shoes. I could probably patch the worn spots in these boots for a long time if I could find another can of this stuff. Nobody is very interested in stocking things that can be used to repair shoes. They'd much rather just sell you a new pair of shoes. The dog boot folks would probably love to sell me a pair every week, but they are much too expensive for that.

I stopped at REI on my way to the gym to look for the rubber sole repair goop, but of course they didn't have any. There were hundreds of shoes to choose from, but nothing to repair them with. They did have orthotic inserts, which I was also looking for, but they seemed way too expensive. $50 for a little extra arch support? I don't think so. One of the orthotic insert brands said it was made from recycled wine corks, as if this would justify the price. Jeez. These are just cheap house shoes I'm trying to fix. I refuse to pay more for the insole than I did for the shoe.

I've been doing better at the gym lately. I don't know what this means, but I'll take it. I'm still not any closer to my goal of three trips to the gym a week. Dash has a major vet appointment this week where  we will recheck his heart to see if the blood clots are becoming smaller. The refrigerator repairmen are scheduled to come out again and install the new mother board that is supposed to fix all my problems. I need to go buy some St. Augustine grass to fix the front yard. That pretty much takes care of the week. On the odd chance I get some work, I'll really be busy.

Janet cleaned the brick floors yesterday, so I finished the job by cleaning the carpeted rooms today. It's amazing how dirty our house gets, considering how careful we are not to track mud and dirt inside. Dash is pretty clean too, although he does shed a lot. Dalmatians actually shed more than long haired breeds. If you have a Dalmatian, you'll find dog hair everywhere. I've found it inside my computer, inside the refrigerator, and once an appliance repairmen told us that the reason our dryer had quit working was that dog hair had gotten into the main bearing of the dryer drum.

Dash went outside and started eating grass right after we gave him his evening  meds. This always makes us nervous because the medicine he is taking now is very important and we don't want him throwing up before the meds have a chance to work. We brought him inside and have been trying to keep him calm. It is not an easy task. For the past thirty minutes or so the house has been very quiet. I think this means Dash is asleep. I don't want to wander out to the front of the house and check though, because I might wake him up and start him barking again. He needs to stay calm for at least another hour.

Let's hope we make it through the night without an incident. I'd actually like to make it all the way through next week without an incident. Especially Friday the 13.

Madison is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Day 2844

Dash tried to get us out of bed this morning. This is a good sign. Lately, Dash has been so lethargic that he'd sleep all day if we didn't make a real effort to get him outside to pee in the morning. We won't really know what's going on until we go back for another echocardiogram next week, but it appears like Dash's condition is improving. For the first time in over a month, he wanted to walk down by the shoreline this morning. Even though this route usually results in Dash getting covered with sticky pollen and burrs, it was nice to see him enjoying himself. When we returned and cleaned him up, he ate a good breakfast. Things are looking up.

When I went to the grocery store this morning I saw several people who looked a lot like Stephen Paddock. It's disconcerting to think that almost any of the hundreds of ordinary looking people we see everyday could be consumed by hidden demons. How would you know? "See something, say something" wouldn't have worked in his case. Every time I turn on the TV, someone is speculating about this guy's motive. Maybe he didn't even have a motive. They say Paddock mostly played video poker when he was in Vegas. People who play the slots a lot seem really detached. They are completely different than the animated, shouting people gathered around the craps table. Being too detached isn't good. Detachment leads to neighborhoods where nobody knows their neighbors. Video games replace board games and texting replaces conversation. Maybe when you become too detached, people don't even seem real anymore. Of course anger is not much better than detachment. Anger leads to road rage and needless political arguments. I don't have any answers. How do you become a productive member of society when the society itself is crumbling around you?

I stay sane by walking my dog. I watch clouds and try to identify flowers and plants I see. I count ducks and listen to bird songs. I never wear ear buds or use my phone on these walks. What would be the point? When the dogs were young and strong, I used to walk for hours. Dash is much weaker now, but I think he still enjoys his time in the park. As long as we don't encounter aggressive loose dogs or bicycles, we're good.

Once again, I postponed doing any serious household chores. I filled the car with gas, ran my usual Saturday errands and came home. I was pleased that Dash ate well today. I'm really curious to see what next week's echocardiogram reveals. I wouldn't think that the Plavix would work this quickly, but maybe it does. Dash is still sleepier than usual, but that's OK. I was feeling sleepy as well. Dash and I took a nap together this afternoon. It certainly seemed like a better idea than vacuuming.

I need to see if it's too late in the season to buy St. Augustine Grass. I still need to repair the big gash the car that crashed through our front yard made. I need to start pestering the roofer again too. It's important to get the repairs finished before the rainy season starts. None of this will happen tomorrow. If tomorrow is like today, I'll be lucky to make it to the gym.

Hershey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Day 2843

When I noticed Dash heading for the back door this morning, I rushed to get him ready for his walk. It's all a matter of timing. If I can catch him when he needs to pee, it's pretty easy to get him out the back door and headed toward the park. It's too bad I can't get his knee brace fitted and his boots on a little quicker. Sometimes he's out of the mood before I can get him ready. Today I was pretty fast and Dash was still eager to take a walk. In my haste today, I forgot my watch and my phone. In today's world I hate to be without a phone. It's not like I'm eager to talk to anyone, but its nice to always have the ability to call 911 if the need arises.

I almost didn't go out to breakfast this morning, but I knew that the day would just seem longer if I stayed at home. Going out for breakfast on Friday doesn't seem as interesting anymore. It's amazing that I was able to find a place that I liked for almost three years. Now I rarely go to the same restaurant twice. I anticipate going out to breakfast and then I am disappointed by it. I have a feeling that I'm just not as interested in eating anymore. It's not just breakfast. I'm not that interested in dinner either.

I'm glad that Dash still seems interested in eating. He's still picky and won't eat dry food in the morning, but he seems to love the Castor and Pollux Venison recipe. This brand gets good reviews but I think it might have too much protein for Dash. He needs to be on a low protein diet so he won't get urinary and kidney stones. We'll worry about these details later. The important thing now it to just keep him eating something reasonably healthy until we can get his heart issues resolved.

I've got to figure out how to rekindle my interest in the world. I'm not interested in anything these days. When work kept me busy, I didn't have time to wonder what I was interested in. Now, I've got plenty of time and not much desire. I have little desire to travel. I don't feel like going to movies. I rarely pick up a book. I haven't had a gallery show in years, I don't write songs anymore, and I don't even play the guitar very much. This can't be good. I keep feeling that this is temporary, but then months go by and I still feel the same way.

I need to start using my time to straighten out the mess in the storage warehouse and begin making some substantial repairs to the house. The trouble with doing physical things like this is I get tired a lot more easily than I used to. Unfortunately, if I wait another year to face these realities, the job will become even harder. The time to start downsizing is now. The only good thing about my lack of desire is that I've lost the desire to collect things too. At least I'm not accumulating stuff anymore.

I still care about Janet and I still care about Dash. Perhaps it it good that I've lost most of my youthful obsessions. Dash is certainly going to keep me busy in the day to come.

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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Day 2842

It's getting harder and harder to see and touch something in a store before you buy it. Specialty products are almost never available in retail stores anymore. Everything is online. We ordered some new protective boots for Dash because the description sounded perfect on the website. When the boots arrived in the mail today, they were a lot different than I imagined. They were certainly sturdy, but they were also stiff and heavy. Dash doesn't lift his rear legs very well anymore, which is why we wanted him to wear the protective boots in the first place. When I got him fitted with the new boots, he immediately started stumbling. The boots were too stiff and heavy for him to walk normally. We'll have to return these boots, but if we could have tried them on in a store, we never would have bought them in the first place.

The boots we're a failure, but at least Dash is walking today. He wouldn't walk early in the morning like he normally does, but while I was having my smoothie this morning, I could tell he was ready to go outside. I put my drink in the refrigerator, got Dash's harness, put on the old boots, and off we went. He actually took a pretty decent walk and his boots only came off twice. I'm learning to keep a careful eye on his rear legs when we walk. The boots aren't hard to put on, but they are almost impossible to find if they become lost in the grass.

I went ahead and purchased the new mother board for the refrigerator. I figured that if this expensive part didn't solve the problem, the remaining parts that might cause the evaporator coil to freeze are all pretty cheap. I miss the days when washers, dryers, and refrigerators were controlled by simple mechanical switches. Now, just about everything has a computer inside of it. You can't fix these mother boards. You can only replace them. I've already had to replace the mother board in the dryer when a power surge fried it.  

Power outages and surges are common in our neighborhood. I have surge protectors and filtered power for the computers, put it's too much trouble to protect everything this way. I depend on electricity, but I don't really trust it. I have experienced too many power outages and had too much equipment ruined by leaking bad batteries. I'm intrigued by the idea of electric cars, but I don't think I'd ever buy a Tesla. The thing is powered by 6216 lithium ion batteries. What could possibly go wrong.

It's been a long day, even though very little happened. I fell asleep after dinner and almost forgot to take the trash out. Actually I forgot is was Thursday as well. We may not need to start Dash on the Cerenia pills again. He is still challenging to feed, but I can tell he is eating better. I must be eating better as well, because I'm starting to gain weight again. That won't stop me from going out for breakfast tomorrow. I'm hungry for pancakes and sausages.

Lightning is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Day 2841

Time slows down when you're waiting for a repairmen. They never tell you when they are going to arrive, preferring to keep you guessing. If you think they're going to be early, they'll be late. If you think they're going to be late, they'll arrive when you're taking your morning shower. I wish they'd just tell you how many service calls were ahead of you. Maybe then I could plan my day a little better.

Since the most likely components to fail have already been replaced, the list of things that could still cause the refrigerator to malfunction is growing smaller. I did a little research and found two more parts that could cause the evaporator coil to freeze. One of these parts costs $14 and the other one costs $250. You can guess which one the repairman said I needed.

It's kind of hard to decide at this point whether to give up on the refrigerator and buy a new one or just keep replacing parts until it finally works. The repairman said that if I bought a new refrigerator, I shouldn't expect it to last more than five or six years. "They don't build these things to last anymore," he said. I'm sure this is true. We live in a throw away society. Our whole economy depends on people replacing everything they own every five or six years. My parents had a refrigerator that lasted twenty five years. I don't think that's even possible anymore.

I'm inclined to buy the part and hope for the best. The weekend we went looking for refrigerators, I didn't see anything I liked that would fit in the small space we have available. If Janet has strong feelings one way or the other, I'll just do what she wants. That usually ends up being the best solution anyway.

Dash seemed to have a little more energy today. He still wouldn't take a walk this morning, but his appetite has improved. I don't know if we'll ever convince him to eat dry food again, but if he's healthy I don't even care. After sleeping most of the day, Dash seemed eager for an evening walk. When Janet got home from work we took him to the park and were genuinely surprised at how perky he seemed. Maybe the Plavix is starting to work. Since it is still important to keep Dash calm and rested, we actually had to slow him down this evening. I wasn't expecting that.

Last night the battery charger for my Anton Bauer batteries quit working. This morning the wireless mouse for my computer quit working. I wonder what will quit working tomorrow? Surprisingly, the shower didn't leak today. Go figure. As long as Dash keeps eating and continues to hang in there, I'm not going to worry about the little stuff.

Jersey is today's Dalmatian of the Day


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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Day 2840

Dash was really lethargic today. He had no energy and wouldn't even take a morning walk. I guess this is understandable, considering his heart condition, but it makes me sad to see him this way. There is nothing we can do at this point. We just have to be patient, keep Dash eating the best we can, and hope that the Plavix works.

Although Dash mostly just slept today, he is continuing to eat. I'll take this as a good sign. His diet has changed, but I think he is getting enough nutrition. He eats a Castor and Pollux stew in the morning. We have several varieties on hand. If he turns his nose up at Venison, we'll try turkey or chicken. There's too much gravy in this stuff to hide his morning pills, so we're still using banana bread at this point. At lunch time he'll eat a mix of dry food mixed with a rice cake. He won't eat the dry without the rice cake. Go figure. By evening, he'll eat just about any wet food, so we usually feed him Hills ID since we still have a lot of that on hand. It's complicated, but the good news is that he is continuing to eat without the Cerenia pills.

The refrigerator is starting to fail again. I don't think the new heater the repairmen installed last week is working. The symptoms are always the same. After about a week, the evaporator coil becomes frozen and cool air stops flowing from the freezer to the refrigerator. I never really realized that this is how a refrigerator works. A thermostatically controlled vent lets cold air from the freezer into the refrigerator. When the evaporator coil freezes, this vent doesn't work anymore and the refrigerator starts to warm up.

I made an appointment for the repairman to come out tomorrow. While I was waiting to get the appointment scheduled, the dispatcher told me that she had the same brand of refrigerator and that they were impossible to fix. I'm not sure her boss would have wanted her to say this, but it's probably true. Tomorrow's repair visit is free, but if the repairman can't figure out why the defrost heater isn't working, I'm probably looking at buying a new refrigerator anyway. This is all very disappointing.

A former client asked me if I could check and see if a security breech warning she received was a scam. I did a little research on Google and concluded that it probably was. I didn't want to contact the company though because I was afraid that the scammers might start targeting me. It's a shame that the  world has come to this. I feel like I'm under siege. Almost all my phone calls are from telemarketers. Most of my e-mail is spam or thinly veiled phishing schemes. Facebook is a sea of fake news. Even gift cards aren't legit anymore. A gift card I received for my birthday was drained of funds before I even opened the packaging. If you're surprised that I'd like to find a time machine and travel back to the 1950's, you shouldn't be.

I was always worried that Dot would get too excited and frantic when repairmen came to the house. That's not the case with Dash. He can sleep through just about anything. I'm just worried that he will go to sleep sometime and never wake up.

Hobbs is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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