Saturday, September 30, 2017

Day 2837

We have time to experiment on weekends. We walked Dash before we tried to feed him this morning to see if it would improve his appetite. It didn't seem to make a whole lot of difference. He is eating a little more consistently now. He'll eat the Castor & Pollux stew in the morning, but still wants to take his morning pills with banana bread. After 11 AM he'll usually eat other brands of wet food, including the Hills ID he is supposed to be eating. By evening he'll sometimes even eat dry food. It's complicated feeding him, but I do think Dash is getting enough nutrition now.

The knee brace we ordered came in this morning's mail, so we gave that a try on our evening walk. I think we must have attached it wrong, because it didn't seem to stay in place very well. The rubber booties we've started using to protect Dash's paws seem to stay on a lot better in dry weather. It's also a lot easier to find them again when they slip off when Janet and I are walking together. I'm still worried about Dash getting a cut. The vet said that the blood will still clot when using Plavix, but it will take longer. A nurse told me this morning to apply compression to the wound for five minutes and use an ice pack. I'm not sure how practical that is with a frantic dog. Hopefully, we'll all be careful and Dash won't get cut.

Today was filled with routine weekend errands. I filled a prescription, got gas for the car, went to the bank, and picked up the things we buy in bulk from Sam's Club. Premium gas seems to be in short supply again. I had to go to three gas stations before I found one that had premium. Peaches and strawberries must be going out of season because I've noticed that they've been getting more expensive for the past several weeks. I always forget something when I'm out shopping. Today I forgot laundry detergent and peppercorns.

I got a letter from my supplemental insurance plan saying that they were planning to discontinue several benefits that I've grown to like. I bet this is going to continue happening as long as I'm alive. Healthcare is such a mess that I can't imagine that it will ever get better. I just hope that it gets worse slowly. One of the few benefits of being older is that I don't have to worry about a lifetime of lousy care. The insurance system worked pretty well when I was younger and Medicare works reasonably well now. I just hope the program stays solvent for the next twenty years.

Now the the reality of Dash's medical condition has set in, I think we're going to be OK. We don't have a lot of options, but we still have a wonderful dog. We'll take things one day at a time. We'll monitor his condition the best we can. And we'll do our best to keep Dash's life enjoyable and fun as long as we can. If we're lucky with the Plavix, his condition may even improve.

If I want my own condition to improve, I really need to start going to the gym more often. I'm going to try to go tomorrow. I've got to finish my article tomorrow as well.

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

Friday, September 29, 2017

Day 2836

I stayed home this morning and made pancakes. Every time I put a pancake on the griddle, Dash went to the back door and scratched to get out. Even though the pancakes got burnt, Dash still took his sweet time to do his business. Yup. It was another rainy day.

Dash wasn't eating dry food today, but he was eating wet. I got him to eat most of a can of Castor & Pollux stew that he likes while I was finishing my own breakfast. I remember asking the vet yesterday what I should be feeding Dash. "Let him eat whatever he wants," the vet said. I'm convinced that this is vet code for "your dog is going to die."

By the time I finished breakfast, the rain had subsided to a gentle mist and I decided to take Dash on a walk. "Slow walks are good, overexertion is bad," the vet told me yesterday. I didn't think this was going to be a problem. Dash always walks slowly now. I put on his protective boots and off we went. About halfway through our walk, I noticed that one of the boots was missing. I wanted to turn around so we could find it, but Dash stubbornly wanted to keep moving forward. Before we made it home, he lost the second boot as well. I realized then that protecting Dash wasn't going to be easy.

After Dash had gone back to sleep, I retraced my steps through the park and managed to find both missing boots. Dash's dewclaw has healed, but in addition to the small rubber boots he'll be wearing on walks, I still have him wear the cone when I leave the house. Now that he's taking Plavix, I don't want him licking or injuring anything.

I had to go pay my storage warehouse rent today because my year is up tomorrow. I always pay a year in advance because I get the thirteenth month free. I was complaining to the manager about the relentless rent increases I get every year and he tried to convince me that I was actually was getting a good deal. "Almost everybody pays month-to-month and we raise their rent every nine months." "Your rent only goes up every thirteen months," he said.  As he was trying to figure out how to give me the thirteenth month free on the company's new accounting software, we both started complaining about all manner of things. That's just what old men do.

The manager told me that he was working at the storage warehouse because he'd been laid off from his last two jobs because of his age. "You don't fit in with our corporate culture anymore," one of the companies told him. "I'm right there with you," I told the manager. It sucks to be cast aside because someone thinks you are too old. Maybe I'll end up working at a storage warehouse someday myself. If you're not already a Walmart greeter, that's where most of the old people seem to wind up.

Dash was moody today, but he eventually did end up eating enough. I had trouble writing my article, because every time I sat down at the computer Dash started slapping at my leg. He wanted me to come in the bedroom with him and take a nap. A nap sounded good, but I had lots to do today. I'm still waiting for the vet to tell me what to do in case Dash starts bleeding. I'm not sure what to feed him anymore either. Today seemed like the first day in a new long march. I'm determined to give Dash the best chance possible to stay alive. A lot of his future is up to luck, unfortunately. The blood clots in his heart could move or break apart at any time.

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

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Day 2835

The news isn't good. Dash has two blood clots in his heart. I asked the vet how large and he told me that one of the clots was about the size of a quarter. How is that even possible? The vet said that the whistling sound Dash's heart murmur makes and all the seemingly unrelated symptoms we described to him made sense once he saw the clots on the echocardiogram. Dash's heart isn't pumping enough blood. This leaves him fatigued and probably uncomfortable at certain times of the day. He said the heart problem could also explain the loss of appetite.

We expected to find something wrong when we took Dash to the cancer center for an extensive series of tests today. We just didn't expect this. I thought Dash's cancer might have returned. Maybe the loss of appetite was a long term side effect of his vestibular disease. I never expected to find two giant blood clots inside his heart. I asked the vet how he planned to remove the clots and he just gave me a sad look.

"If you try to break up the clot, the smaller pieces could travel to the brain or lungs," he told me. "What about surgery," I asked. "There are no blood banks for dog blood," the vet said. "Without an adequate supply of blood, you can't hook the dog up to a heart lung machine during surgery like you would with a human patient." He said there have only been a small handful of successful open heart surgeries on dogs in the entire world.

This was not encouraging news. The vet wants Dash to start taking Plavix, to prevent additional clots from forming. He said that at least 50% of the time, the body will eventually reabsorb the existing clots and the dog will be fine. I filled the prescription and we starting giving Dash Plavix tonight. I don't think we have any other alternative. The downside to Plavix, and most other blood thinners, is that the blood no longer clots. If Dash cuts himself, he could bleed to death. When I think of all the times Dash has gotten cut, including his dewclaw injury just a few weeks ago, keeping him from getting cut seems like an impossible task.

It rained a lot this morning. I got up on the roof and removed the standing water before Janet and I took Dash to the cancer center. Since the leaves are starting to drop from all our trees, the roof was a mess. The leaves turn the water on the roof into little duck ponds that never drain. It's very discouraging. I did get a writing job today. Ordinarily, this would be good news. Dash's vet bill this afternoon was ten times what I'll make from the writing job. It kind of makes me wonder why I even bother.

It was not a great day, but you can't give up. I got some little rubber boots for Dash so he won't cut his paws on walks. He's done that several times before. I'll do my pitiful writing job and hope to get more of the same. I'll call the roofer again and hope that he keeps his promise to make things right.

At least it's Friday tomorrow. I'm not even sure if I'll go out for breakfast. I'm not very hungry. I'm just tired and discouraged.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Day 2834

It was difficult to get ready this morning. The anti-nausea pills seem to have no effect on Dash's appetite. I had a lot of trouble getting him to take his morning pills before I had to leave for my dental appointment. I need to remember to start making all appointment later like I did when Dot was alive. It's not fair to rush a sick dog.

Dash spit out his pills twice when I put them in a ball of wet dog food. I retrieved the pills and finally got him to eat them by putting them inside a small slice of banana bread and mashing the bread into a ball. Dash won't eat bananas any more, but for some reason, he still loves banana bread. I was worried that I had given his pills on basically an empty stomach, but just before I had to leave, I tried another can of food and this time he ate it. Save by the bell again.

Every time I go to the dentist there seems to be a different dental hygienist. Janet says a lot of dentists don't hire their own hygienist anymore. They just get them as needed from an employment service that specializes in that sort of thing. That would explain the frequent turnover. Of course it might just be a terrible job. I wouldn't want to poke around in people's mouths all day long.

We fitted Dash for a knee brace today. I'm not sure if this will work, but it's worth a try. The vet said it really helped her dog. Dash is a little old for TPLO surgery, so maybe the brace might prevent his cruciate ligaments from deteriorating further. Failing knee joints have nothing to do with Dash's loss of appetite. They are just one more thing that has gone wrong.

It rained today. This was a surprise. It's been over a month since we've had any rain. The plants in the yard can definitely use the moisture, but I still wish the roofer had made it over to inspect things before the roof got wet again. At least I was able to remove the large elm tree branch from the roof. It would have been a real mess if that was still up there.

We're trying to train Dash to sleep on the floor, so he won't ruin his knees by jumping on and off the bed. Dot was ready and willing to sleep on the floor when her legs became weak, but Dash is a lot more stubborn. It's going to be an uphill battle to train him to do anything new at this point. I really wish that Dash had managed to stay healthy a little longer. I'm still exhausted from three continuous years of being Dot's nurse.

We should learn more about Dash's heart tomorrow. We've got an appointment at the cancer center for a consultation and an echocardiogram. If he's retaining fluid around his heart there is medicine he can take. Lasix can help eliminate the retained fluid and reduce the chances of congestive heart failure. There are side effects though. There are always side effects. I wish the specialists would tell us tomorrow that Dash is just a spoiled dog who wants to eat people food. I think his condition is a lot more serious than that though. There are too many signs that something is wrong.

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Day 2833

There are so many things wrong with Dash that we're going to have to go through a process of elimination to determine what is causing his eating disorder. The first step is to determine whether he really has nausea. We'll give him Cerenia for five days and see whether his appetite returns. Cerenia is a very effective anti-nausea medication, so if he still isn't eating this weekend, the cause probably isn't nausea. The vet discovered that his heart murmur had changed and suspects that it might be caused by fluid buildup around the heart. He does have an enlarged heart, so this is entirely possible. I've scheduled an echocardiogram for later this week. We'll check his heart and also his abdomen to see if there are any tumors evident.

On top of all this, the vet thinks that Dash may have partially torn a cruciate ligament in one of his knees. She suspects that this, rather than his vestibular disease, might be causing him to drag his rear legs on long walks. So many things are wrong that it impossible to know how to treat Dash until we learn more. The vestibular disease could be causing nausea. Poor appetite has many other causes too, so it might not be nausea at all. The agitation he often shows before he goes to bed at night could be caused by Pericardial Effusion. Evidently fluid buildup is worse at night while the dog is sleeping and over time they can become nervous about going to sleep. Maybe this explains why he gets upset about going to bed at night. It's also possible, but somewhat unlikely, that Dash has sundown syndrome, or even cushings disease.

It's all kind of sad. Dot and Dash used to love to run like the wind when they were young. I was hoping that after Dot passed away Dash would get another chance to be active again and really enjoy himself. He liked being around Dot so much that he had to slow down to her pace as she got sicker. Now, it appears he is sick as well. Dash has a really good team of doctors, so I'm hoping that they'll be able to return him to good health. He's not getting any younger though, so his days of running like the wind might be over.

The refrigerator repairman came back this afternoon and finished the job. When the repairman began taking things apart, I was surprised to see that the evaporator coil had already become frozen again. Jeez. It's only been a few days since I spent hours thawing everything out. Hopefully the new parts that were installed today will fix this ongoing problem. The repairman installed a new heater that periodically defrosts the coil when ice starts to form. He also installed a new thermostat that will tell the heater when it's time to start the defrost cycle. I can't decide whether refrigerators are crude simple machines, or hopelessly complex. I'm glad someone invented the refrigerator. Modern life would be pretty difficult without one.

I've got a dental appointment tomorrow morning. It's only a routine cleaning, so I shouldn't be long. It still makes me nervous to leave Dash, but sometimes it can't be helped. I'm hoping he'll just sleep while I'm away.

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

Monday, September 25, 2017

Day 2832

If I'd waited just one more day, I wouldn't have had to repair the refrigerator myself yesterday. The appliance repair folks called and said the thermostats finally arrived. They want to come out and install them tomorrow. Oh, well. It was a learning experience.

It's going to be a busy day tomorrow. In addition to having the appliance repairmen out at the house, I've got a vet appointment for Dash. I hope the vet can shed some new light on Dash's ongoing problems. I"m worried that something is seriously wrong. I doubt that she'll have a definitive diagnosis, but maybe we can narrow down the range of possibilities. Dash has some very obvious symptoms. We just have to connect those symptoms to a plausible ailment.

I have a feeling that we'll be going to see a specialist again. All Dash's basic vital signs look good. If there is some new form of cancer lurking inside of him, it's probably going to take a MRI to discover it. The dog frequently has nausea in the morning and is not interested in eating. This could be a symptom of idiopathic vestibular disease. His rear legs seem weak and sometimes he drags his feet. This could be an early sign of degenerative myelopathy. His cancer could have returned too. Basically, almost anything could be wrong at this point. We've just got to find out what is causing all these problems.

I mowed the grass again this morning. Fall has definitely arrived, so hopefully this is the last time I'll have to mow this year. You never know in Texas though. We could get a lot of rain and the growing season could start all over again. I'm amazed at how tiring it is to mow the grass now. This task used to seem so easy. One of these days I'm going to have to give up and hire someone to maintain the yard. I'm not ready yet though. I keep thinking that the activity will do me good.

I wrote a letter to my luddite sister this afternoon. You'd think it would be easier to just call her on the phone, but this is how we communicate. I can't recall ever calling her on the phone. I think there are too many phone calls and far too few letters. Writing a letter helps to focus your thoughts. It's also a good way to avoid getting tangled up in family fights.

Dash is getting pretty good at leaving his injured dewclaw alone, but I still put the cone on him when I go to the post office or leave the house. We've made real good progress this week. I'd hate to ruin it all by leaving him to his own devices for an afternoon. Maybe after another week the wound will have healed enough so that we can retire the cone permanently.

On my way home from the post office I stopped at the storage warehouse to see when my annual rent was due. Just as I thought, it is due at the end of the week. Damn. One more big bill to pay. I have a feeling that I am going to be perpetually poor. The stock market continues to do well, but it isn't enough to replace a regular income. I've got to cut expenses. One obvious way would be to get rid of a lot of stuff in the storage warehouse so I could rent a smaller space. Lots of luck with that. I guess I've got another year to think about what I can part with.

I sure hope the vet can figure out how to get Dash eating again. Making sure he eats enough to stay healthy has become an all day activity.

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

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Day 2831

I fixed the refrigerator this morning. I remembered what the appliance repairmen did the last time they were here and did exactly the same thing. I was a little worried about electrocuting myself since I didn't unplug the refrigerator before I started taking it apart, but the repairmen left it plugged in too. The repair won't be permanent because there is still a thermostat that needs to be replaced, but I think I did a good job. Everything is working perfectly now and I saved $175 by not calling in another emergency repair.

It took me about two hours to get the refrigerator running properly again. I put all the frozen food in an ice chest while I was working and nothing thawed. I could do this again if I have too, but I would prefer to have the two thermostats replaced so the automatic defrost circuit works properly again. I wonder why it is taking so long to get those parts? Either the repairmen have forgotten about me, or the parts are on backorder. I'll call tomorrow and remind the guys that I'm still here.

Dash is still not eating well. I eventually got him to eat enough to make sure he is still getting proper nutrition, but it was an uphill battle. Feeding Dash these day involves lots of little meals and judicious food substitution whenever he refuses to eat something. I sure hope that his vet can come up with an explanation for this odd behavior. He'll turn up his nose at something and then two hours he'll scarf the same thing down like it was his favorite meal. He won't eat wet and dry food mixed together anymore, but he will sometimes eat dry for if it's mixed with a broken up rice cake.

Walking Dash has become equally problematic. I'll put his harness on, lace up my boots and then he won't go out the back door. It took four tries to get him interested in an evening walk. The first three times he refused to leave the house. The fourth time he walked eagerly out the door and headed straight for the back gate. I don't know what's going on in that dog's head anymore.

Once I was sure that Dash was ready for a long nap and wasn't going to lick his injured dewclaw, I went outside and began cutting the pile of branches I had thrown off the roof yesterday into smaller pieces so I could take them back to the alley. Cutting up the Elm Tree branches took me even longer than fixing the refrigerator, but I did get the job done. Now there is a neat pile of wood in the alley that will have to sit there for another month before I can take it to the curb for October big trash pickup.

Dash was happy to see Janet when she returned from the Dalmatian Rescue Golf Tournament this evening. She brought him some hand made dog treats she won in the silent auction. For some reason Dash had no problem at all eating these.

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Day 2830

It never ends. I was just getting ready to go to the grocery store this afternoon when I heard a horrendous noise. I went outside to see what had happened and discovered that a big chunk of our elm tree has just fallen on the roof. I wasn't expecting this. There was no wind today and the large branch that had fallen was alive and filled with leaves. I didn't do anything immediately, but knew how I was going to be spending the rest of the afternoon as soon as I returned from the store.

I guess I should have expected this. The day certainly didn't get off to a good start. Dash wouldn't eat anything this morning. He even turned up his nose at the canned food he normally loves. This was kind of a crisis, because it is essential that he takes his phenobarbital pills to prevent seizures and they must be taken with food. I finally got him to take his morning pills inside several balls of cheddar cheese. We needed him to eat more than a little cheese, so we scrambled an egg for him. He ate the egg and then immediately went back to sleep.

Dash's poor appetite has me worried. I called his regular vet and made an appointment for early next week. Then I called the emergency vet who bandaged him up last Tuesday to see whether the antibiotics she prescribed might be part of the problem. Since Cephalexin does cause loss of appetite with some dogs, she decided to stop the medication and see if we notice any changes in the next 24 hours. I think this will be OK, since the dewclaw wound is healing nicely and doesn't seem to be infected. Hopefully, the antibiotics are causing the problem. Otherwise this might be tough to diagnose. I'm always worried that Dash's cancer could have returned. That could certainly cause a loss of appetite.

When I returned from the grocery store today, I pulled a heavy duty reciprocal saw up to the roof with a rope and began sawing apart the elm tree that had fallen. This was a very large branch and I was surprised that it didn't seriously damage the roof. I guess the little branches with green leaves fell first and cushioned the blow. This job would have been a lot easier with a chain saw, but I'm scared to death of chain saws. I won't go near them after a friend of mine practically sawed his face off with one. Wood is heavy. I feel like I sawed about a thousand pounds of wood this afternoon. Too bad we've already had big trash day for September. I don't know what I'm going to do with all this wood until the next big trash day.

I was dreading this evening because Janet is away at a Dalmatian Rescue event. Luckily, it wasn't as bad as I expected. I managed to get Dash to take a decent walk on his own. He took all his evening pills and I was even able to get him to eat a small dinner. I had to hand feed him, but considering the problems we had this morning, this is progress.

The refrigerator doesn't seem to be working again. It seemed too warm this evening when I was preparing dinner. Maybe Janet just left the door open a long time when she was loading in new groceries. We'll see if it cools down again by morning. I guess it would make sense that there would still be problems. The appliance repairmen still haven't returned to install the new thermostats they ordered. It's entirely possible that the coil has frozen again. I'll have to call the repair shop on Monday and see what the delay is. They should have been able to find a thermostat by now.

I hope Dash is feeling better tomorrow. It might be a really long day. I don't know any magic formula to get Dash eating again. I guess if things continue to deteriorate, I can always try feeding him whatever I'm eating. I'll have to make a point of eating something healthy though.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Day 2829 - Autumnal Equinox

It's officially Fall. The days are getting shorter and the leaves are starting to turn. Last year at this time we were taking early morning walks in the dark. Sadly, Dot is no longer with us and there is no need to get up early. I just walk Dash by myself later in the morning after Janet has gone to work. Usually, Dash still enjoys these morning walks, but today I had trouble getting him to leave the house. He was in a weird mood all day. He didn't eat his breakfast. He didn't want to walk. And he was lethargic for most of the day.

Something is wrong, but I don't know what it is. There's a good chance that the antibiotics he's taking for his dewclaw injury have affected his appetite. This has happened before. Maybe the increase in his phenobarbital dose is a factor as well. It's never good when a dog won't eat normally, but hopefully this isn't serious. Dash's blood work and vital signs are good and his vet doesn't seem worried. I worry about everything though. You don't want to take chances with a dog who is already dealing with cancer, vestibular disease, and epilepsy.

I finally fed Dash some canned food around noon because he refused to eat his breakfast at all. The fact that he ate the canned food leads me to believe that the stubborn dog is just holding out for a tastier menu every day. Every dog we've ever had has lost their appetite toward the end of their life, so I still need to get to the bottom of this. If his appetite doesn't return when he's finished with the antibiotics, we'll need to run some more tests.

My appetite is still good. I had a nice breakfast and then went shopping at Central Market for dinner. That was my outing for the day. When I returned with the groceries I didn't leave the house until it was time for Dash's evening walk. Dash walked fine this evening. He seems to need someone to follow. When Janet goes with us, he will always follow her.

There are several big Dalmatian Rescue events this weekend, but I'll be staying home with Dash. I feel a bit guilty about not volunteering, but I don't trust leaving Dash alone all day with a cone on his head. I don't feel comfortable boarding him either. It would be so easy for him to open up that cut again. We could take him with us to one of the events, but Dash is terrible in the car. After cleaning up an explosion of poop after one trip in the car recently and cleaning up blood after he tore out his dewclaw during another car trip, I'm nervous about ever taking him in the car again.

Sometimes I feel like I'm destined to be housebound as long as we have dogs. Even short trips are problematic. I need to go to the dentist next week to have my teeth cleaned and the forecast says there will be thunderstorms that day. Jeez. It's been clear all month. Why would it rain the one day I need to go somewhere? I can't leave Dash during a thunderstorm. We'll see. Maybe the forecast will change.

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

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Day 2828

I'm going to have to start writing earlier so I can watch the new Ken Burns documentary in the evening. Maybe The Vietnam War is more memorable for me than some of Burns other films because everyone my age grew up right in the middle of that moment in history. This film makes you realize that there is nothing new under the sun. All the turmoil that is going on in today's society was going on in the mid-60's too. Listening to the Lyndon Johnson tapes is amazing. Nobody really knew what they were doing. I guess it is not surprising that no president made tapes in the Oval Office after Richard Nixon. Ineptness sounds so much worse when you hear it on tape.

I'm going to have to go back and watch this entire series on Netflix sometime later. It is an eye opener. Jeez. If I ever get hooked on history and stop watching science fiction, it will be all the confirmation you need that I've become an old man. Children love Dr. Who. Old men read history. My Dad was a voracious reader and always had a tall stack of history books on his bedside table as he grew older. I'm sure you can learn a lot from history, but I'd like to think you can learn from fantasy too. I guess I can be a fan of Ken Burns and still be looking forward to Season Three of The Expanse.

I can't say that Dash loves his new soft cone, but he tolerates it. I think it is much more comfortable for him while he is sleeping. The one good thing about the old plastic cone was that it was transparent. This new one restricts his vision a bit more. He has a little trouble eating out of his bowl with it on, so I make sure to remove it whenever he is eating. The one thing I can't do is forget about him for any length of time while the cone is off. It doesn't take him long to rediscover the dewclaw injury.

The shoe repairman did a great job on my boots. They look as good as new. The only problem is that I know I'll be reluctant to wear them for a little while because they look too nice. I have plenty of clothes, but I tend to wear the same things over and over again. The things I actually wear are incredibly beat up. Maybe the worn clothing is more comfortable, or maybe I don't want to ruin the nice looking stuff. I don't know. I'll probably start wearing the boots again regardless of how I feel. They are the only comfortable off-pavement shoes I have. I'm sure it won't take long to return them to their beat up status.

I've figured out that it takes three days for water to start leaking out of the crack in the shower tiles. A little water must seep under the tiles every time I take a shower and on the third day, enough has accumulated to reach the level of the crack. I sucked the water away again with the wet/dry vacuum but am still unsure how to repair things. Is this a job for a plumber or a tile guy? I think the leak is in the drain itself, but I'm not sure. If I hire a tile guy, it will turn out that I needed a plumber. If I get a plumber, it will turn out that it was just bad grout in the tiles. That's just the way it goes.

I can't decide what I want for breakfast tomorrow. I make a lot of substitutions now. Some of the things I'm hungry for aren't on any menu. Maybe if I'm nice, someone will cook them for me anyway.

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Day 2827

It says something that it's easier to put Dash in the car and take him to the vet than it is to try to remove a bandage ourselves. As bad as Dash is in the car, he's even worse when we try to mess with his feet. Dash was actually good at the vet tonight. He was probably grateful that we didn't try to take the bandage off ourselves. Now we have to be careful that Dash doesn't reopen the wound. This is easier said than done, because he loves to roll around on his back on the floor and scratch himself. It's real easy to rub his paw on the carpet and open a cut while he is doing this. There is really no way to stop him from rolling like this. It's become a habit.

I got a check today for my last outstanding invoice. Nobody owes me anything anymore. That's kind of a sobering thought. I've had a healthy accounts receivable balance for as long as I can remember. I'm sure I'll still get work from time to time, but the signs are all pointing in the wrong direction. My business is winding down. Whether I like it or not, I've had my turn and it's time for a new generation to take the reins.

I went to pick up my dog walking boots today and the shoe repairman said they weren't ready yet. "But the little ticket you gave me said to pick them up Wednesday," I said. The shoe repairman smiled and assured me that they will be ready tomorrow. Oh, well. I like the shoe repairman, but being late is endemic these days. Everybody is late.

I paid my September bills today. Being free of bills never lasts long. My storage warehouse rent is due at the end of the month. I always pay by the year because I get a free month if I pay in advance. The storage warehouse rent goes up every year. I guess they know it's going to be way too difficult to move to a different storage facility for most people. I grit my teeth and pay. I don't know what to do with this stuff. The storage warehouse costs more per month than my apartment did when I was working in Seattle. It was a nice apartment too. Everything costs too much now. I have a friend who has a horse and the stable costs more than my old apartment too.

Janet is watching The Vietnam War in another room. I hear bits and pieces of the show as I wander around the house. Someday Ken Burns will probably make a documentary about the Iraq War and it will be equally sad. All these wars we've had since World War II have been pointless. A lot of brave people died for nothing. North Vietnam won the war and now all my shoes seem to be made there. The country has become a big trading partner with the United States. It's even become a tourist destination.

I'll go pick up my boots after breakfast tomorrow. I eat breakfast so slowly that  it will give the shoe repairman plenty of time to finish his work. Dash has a new soft cone on its way via Amazon Prime. He probably won't like this cone any better, but at least he won't be knocking things over quite as often. Tomorrow doesn't look like a very exciting day, but as long as nothing bad happens, I'm good. My expectations are very low these days.

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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Day 2826

Dash is getting older. He doesn't always lift his leg when he pees anymore and often ends up peeing on the front leg with the injured dewclaw. After this happened again for the umpteenth time, I thought I'd try to clean the leg with a damp cloth to prevent him from licking it. This was a mistake. When I was cleaning the leg, he jerked away from me, causing the broken dewclaw to start bleeding again. He wouldn't stay still so I could bandage the area and immediately ran to the bedroom and started rolling on the white bed comforter. I managed to put the cone on his head so he wouldn't try to bite me and then gently dabbed the area with a gauze pad soaked in saline solution. Luckily, Dash's blood clots fairly quickly. I still can't manage to wrap an ace bandage around the area, but the bleeding has stopped and if I leave the cone on so he can't pick at things, maybe we'll be back to normal in the morning. This wound is having a tough time healing, but I don't know what to do. The vet specifically said not to leave the area bandaged too long. I just wish Dash would leave it alone.

It's two hours later now. I was wrong again. We just got back from the emergency vet. While I was writing the first paragraph, Dash started bleeding again. He had gone to sleep in the bedroom and when he woke up I noticed that there was a puddle of blood on the carpet. He hadn't been licking the wound because he was wearing the cone. Somehow he had spontaneously started bleeding again while he was sleeping. Janet and I tried without much success to create a makeshift bandage so he wouldn't bleed all over the car again and then it was off to the emergency vet. They're getting to know Dash pretty well at the emergency vet. This was the third time we've had to take him there this summer.

The vet said she didn't think Dash needed stitches. She was a little worried that the dewclaw wound hadn't healed properly after ten day and gave us more antibiotics and some pain pills. I wish we could just leave this new bandage on, but it has to come off after 24 hours just like the initial bandage. We're kind of back where we started. I don't look forward to keeping Dash calm and living with the cone for at least another week. Dash is a great dog, but he isn't a very good patient. Anything out of the ordinary freaks him out.

Before this evening's dog crisis, I had started watching the new Ken Burns series about the Vietnam War. The documentary was very good. I was surprised at how much I had already forgotten about this time in history. It's a shame that the show comes on right when I start writing the blog every night. I'll have to find some other way to watch the rest of it. I had a low draft number when I was in college during the late 60's and probably would have been drafted if I hadn't fallen while rock climbing in Colorado one summer and been declared 4F. My knees are still a mess after all these years, but that's one injury that I don't regret.

Dash is finally calm and is sleeping again. The emergency vet did a really good job of bandaging him up. I need to go buy some styptic powder and ace bandages in the morning. There's got to be a better way of dealing with emergencies like these. Ironically, we had tons of bandages left over from Janet's surgery, but none of them were the right size and we couldn't stop the bleeding anyway. No matter how prepared you think you are, you really can't plan for everything.

Rhett is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, September 18, 2017

Day 2825

Dash is getting so weird about meals. Today, he turned up his nose at everything I offered him. We still have quite a variety of dog food on hand, since we had to switch Dot's diet quite often toward the end. We always feed out dogs high quality, nutritious food, but I think Dash would prefer a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Dash was never a picky eater while Dot was around. If he didn't eat quickly, Dot would eat everything in his bowl. I guess he can relax now and contemplate what he'd really like.

Today was worse than usual. Dash didn't finish his breakfast until well after lunch. I began to think that he might have some sort of medical problem, but eventually he got real hungry and ate everything in his bowl as if it was his favorite treat. Dinner was the same way. He had barely touched his dinner by the time I had to leave for a meeting, but somehow Janet convinced him to eat while I was gone.

At least Dash isn't fixated on his dewclaw anymore. The only time he had to wear the cone was when I left the house to take some mail to the post office. I still don't completely trust him. In fact, I'd better go check on him now. He's been awfully quiet for the past thirty minutes.

It was a quiet day, but surprisingly I did manage to talk with a few people. I went to an animal rescue meeting this evening to begin planning for the group's next big event. Most of the volunteers in this group have known each other forever and it's always nice to see everybody. We don't seem to meet as often as we used to, but maybe we've just become more efficient.

I wish I could become more efficient. Without the deadlines that forced me to be productive for so many years, I don't get nearly as much done. Other than my meeting tonight, I seemed to spend my entire day watering the grass, paying a few bills and trying to get Dash to eat. There just isn't much incentive to do things fast anymore. Sometimes I even look for ways to slow things down. I think I've almost perfected slowing breakfast down. Often, it's almost lunch time before I am finally finished.

The roofers haven't come over yet. The refrigerator repairmen hasn't returned either. I don't even want to call the watch repairman, because I'm certain he hasn't fixed my watches either. Jeez. We haven't even gotten our refund on the Visa gift card yet, and that problem started months ago. I wonder if anything works smoothly anymore. I haven't seen much evidence that it does.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm not expecting much. I think I'd be happy is Dash just eats his breakfast.

Puppies are today's Dalmatians of the Day
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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Day 2824

There are pumpkins everywhere. It isn't even October yet. I've even seen Christmas lights in a few stores. Couldn't we just give it a rest? I'm sure that some of these early pumpkins will rot before Halloween even arrives. I used to dutifully get pumpkins every year to decorate the front porch. They would often sit there until February when I would eventually notice that they had turned into a pile of mush.

I don't buy pumpkins anymore. We don't cook a big turkey on Thanksgiving either. There is still a tree at Christmas, but it is a very small simple tree. I think I have finally mastered downsizing the holidays. Now, if I could just figure out how to downsize everything else.

I'm going to miss those pictures of Saturn from Cassini. I wonder what the team in charge of this mission is going to do now? They spent more than a decade working together to learn about the planet and now their spacecraft is gone. I wonder if I'll see other missions on this kind of a grand scale in my lifetime? People still thought big when Cassini-Huygens was conceived in 1988. More than 5000 people worked on the project during it's lifetime. The 22 foot tall spacecraft weighed over 12,000 pounds and traveled almost 5 billion miles to take hundreds of thousands of pictures and discover 6 new moons. I wish were still doing things like this. We still could if we weren't tearing ourselves apart with hatred and bickering.

Maybe this is why I'm not all that excited about the iPhone X. We've gone from discovering the universe to discovering new ways to take a selfie. Who am I to criticize though. The folks in silicon valley who are discovering new ways to communicate with emojis are still doing more than I am. All I did today was go to the gym and use the wet/dry vacuum to suck more water from under the shower tiles.

I was looking for some alternate dog walking shoes while my boots are at the shoe repair shop. In a dusty corner of my closet, I found a pair of my Dad's boots I used to wear when it snowed. I forgot I even had these boots because it hasn't snowed much lately. What was amazing is that even though these boots were over fifty years old, they were still in better condition than most brand new shoes today. My Dad wore these shoes trapping animals in Alaska. I've worn them off and on for decades and they still look like they could last a lifetime. I know I sound like a broken record talking about shoddy, disposable products, but it's true. Nothing is built to last anymore.

I think I spotted the tip of a new nail starting to grow where Dash ripped his dewclaw out. He still doesn't want me near the area, so I try to clean the wound with saline solution while he is asleep. I'll be glad when his dewclaw has grown back. Dash is not a good patient. I still have to have him wear the cone whenever I'm not watching him closely.

My allergies didn't seem so bad today. I still used a lot of Kleenex and Visine, but it wasn't like yesterday. It's weird how the amount of pollen in the air can vary so much from day to day. I'm going to have to start checking the pollen count every morning.

Princess is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Day 2823

My Fall allergies have returned with a vengeance. It's a shame, because the weather has been beautiful lately. They say that most Fall allergies are caused by ragweed pollen. Since we had a lot of rain this Spring and Summer, the ragweed in North Texas is even worse than usual. I hate taking antihistamines, but I may have no choice this year. My eyes have been itching and my nose has been running constantly for several days now. These allergies are making me miserable.

Using a dehumidifier is supposed to help with allergies. I've got that covered. Running the air conditioner at night is supposed to help too. These things aren't helping much. It probably doesn't help that Dash sleeps right next to me and his fur is probably covered with pollen. There is so much pollen in the park now that our shoes are sticky when we return from our morning walk. I wipe Dash's legs off with a wet rag, but I'm not sure how much good this does. I always forget about Fall allergies when the weather starts to get nice. Them several weeks later I remember that there aren't really any good seasons in Texas.

When we were walking this morning, we discovered that we were on the same path with thousands of runners. We learned later that this was the annual Tour des Fleurs half marathon. Even though the path was crowded with runners, Dash still wanted to criss-cross from side to side like he always does. I didn't think the runners would appreciate this, so we eventually convinced Dash to walk down by the shoreline instead. This is probably why my allergies are so bad today. It was a windy morning and there were ragweed plants everywhere. The one benefit of taking this alternate route is that I saw some Buttonbush flowers. Of all the weird and wonderful flowers I see in the park, these are probably the weirdest.

When I was running errands today, I took my dog walking boots to the shoe repairmen to get some new heel taps put on. The shoe repairman didn't want to take a credit card for such a small repair, so I told him to keep the boots and dye them brown again. This made him happier, but when I got home I realized that I won't have any comfortable dog walking shoes for a while. I should have thought about this. The sturdy boots will look nicer now, but what will I wear tomorrow morning?

Dash has gotten in a bad habit of wanting something to eat every hour from 8 PM until it is time for him to go to bed. We started giving him his evening meds earlier in case he throws up in the middle of the night. The unintended consequence of doing this is that Dash still expects something to eat when he used to take his pills. When Janet was recovering from surgery we were going to bed earlier too, so we would give him a rice cake at 9 PM. Now that life is more or less back to normal, Dash expects something to eat at 8, 9, and 10 PM. If he doesn't get what he wants, he starts barking very loud. Training an old, stubborn dog to behave again is not easy, but we're working on it.

I finally vacuumed the house today. We've only got one dog now, but there's still a mountain of dog hair. House cleaning was my exercise today. Tomorrow, I'll need to go to the gym.

Phantom is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, September 15, 2017

Day 2822

I'm getting so tired of telemarketers, Caller ID spoofing, Phishing attempts, and data breaches that it seems like it would be easier to be off the grid entirely. I just don't understand why some people go to such extraordinary lengths to make life difficult for others. It's only going to get worse. After the whole Equifax debacle, I think it's just a matter of time before 100% of the population has their personal information compromised.

The older I get, the more scammers I seems to attract. It's irritating. My Dad was the victim of a telephone scam. That was back in the day when people were trusting and just picked up the phone whenever it rang. Now, even with Nomorobo and assorted call blocking apps provided by the phone companies, the telemarketers still manage to break through. I'm beginning to understand why people prefer to send text messages. Answering your phone has become a liability. I don't even trust my Caller ID anymore. You never know who is on the other end of the line.

Today I had to block my own phone number. Apparently it is pretty easy for spoofers to makes calls seem like they are originating from your own phone. They can also make them appear to be coming from someone in your own neighborhood. I don't understand why the phone companies can't get a handle on these scams. Probably for the same reason that Facebook can't seem to get a handle on fake news. Perhaps humans are just too inherently evil to be trusted with technology. When I was a kid, people even trusted door-to-door salesmen. The Fuller Brush Man was a well respected member of the community. What have we become? My mailbox is filled with junk mail. I'm inundated with telemarketing calls, and I never open my front door to a stranger.

Almost lost in today's batch of junk mail was a letter from my sister telling me that she has stage three cancer. She seemed upbeat and pretty matter of fact about her prognosis, but I was stunned by the news. Way too many people I know are dealing with cancer. It hits pets pretty hard too. Dot and Dash were both diagnosed with cancer and so was Spot, our very first Dalmatian. I'm kind of nervous about going in for my own annual physical. I feel healthy, but lord knows what the doctors might discover this time.

I really shouldn't postpone my physical, but I've been postponing everything lately. My excuse for postponing my physical is that I'm thinking of switching doctors soon. Maybe that's a good excuse. I have no real excuse for postponing jury duty. I just don't want to serve on a jury. A lot of small home repairs have been postponed because I don't have the money to pay for them now. I'd postpone tomorrow if I could, but time just keeps marching on.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Day 2821

What happened to our nice Fall weather? It felt like Summer again today. I wonder if the abrupt change in temperature confused the White Pelicans I saw arrive yesterday? These birds spend the Winter at the lake every year. I thought that their arrival was a sure sign that cooler temperatures were here to stay, but I guess I was wrong. It's hard to predict the weather these days. The Farmers Almanac says that Texas is going to have a cold Winter with lots of ice and snow. I find this hard to believe, but stranger things have happened.

Nothing strange happened today. In fact, very little happened at all. Sometimes I wonder if I'll be able to continue this narrative for another 2,179 days. It's not always easy to write about nothing. Dash seems better at dealing with uneventful days than I am. He's either sleeping, begging for food, or trying to lick his injured dewclaw. I've been trying to give him a reprieve from wearing the cone all day by putting a towel over his front legs while he is sleeping. Usually this works pretty well, but Dash is sneaky. A couple of times today, I caught him with his head under the towel, still licking the dewclaw.

I got a check in the mail today that was immediately offset by two bills that were considerably larger than the money I received. I took the check to the bank, paid the bills, and took them to the post office. It's hard to get ahead this way. At some point I'm either going to have to get a job or start spending my retirement savings. The future is so uncertain that it seems unwise to start using your nest egg too soon. I'm not sure it is wise to go looking for a job either. Who would hire me? I've survived on my own for so long that I'm probably not employable. When I'm honest, I have to acknowledge that it's a collaborative world and I'm not much of a team player. I used to think it would be fun to work part-time at an Apple Store in my retirement years. I'd be a natural, I thought. I know more about Apple products than just about anybody, but Apple customers aren't like they used to be. It's not a small group of tech savvy geeks anymore. Lately, when I go into an Apple Store, I am repelled by the way the company has changed. It's all about the phone now. The computers are an afterthought. I'm not sure how excited I could get about selling you a phone that lets you send messages using an animated animal emoji that mimics your facial motions. I don't even want to stay connected.

It's weird how quickly the news organizations have forgotten about the hurricanes. Just a few days ago every reporter in the country was standing out in the rain seeing who would be first to get blown over by a gust of wind. Now, they are all back to bashing Trump again. It's almost as if the storms never happened. If your home was flooded, the story definitely isn't over. It's probably just beginning. I keep wondering if there's a part of the country where you never have to worry about tornados, floods, hurricanes, or forest fires. A lot of my favorite places out West have been plagued with wildfires this season. Maybe there are no idyllic places left.

I always used to think of Crested Butte as an an idyllic place. My family used to spend summers near there when I was young. The other day I read an article about how Airbnb was destroying communities like Crested Butte, making it impossible for the locals to find affordable housing. Apparently, investors have bought up everything in town and are using the properties as short term vacation rentals. Nobody even knows who their neighbors are anymore. There are two sides to everything and the new sharing economy doesn't benefit everyone. LimeBike has arrived in Dallas and I'm already starting to see the green and yellow bicycles abandoned all over the park like somebody's trash. In theory, another customer will eventually hop on one of these bikes and ride it somewhere else, but it isn't happening yet. For the record, I'm not really fond of Uber either. Maybe I'm just old fashioned.

Nicholas is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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