Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Day 2868 - Halloween

When did Halloween become an adult holiday? I remember trick-or-treating as a kid, but cosplay, elaborate costumes, and role playing must have come much later. It was all about the candy for me. My little friends and I would wander around our neighborhood in the dark for hours, unaccompanied by adults, filling our bags with as many treats as we could. It was a different world then. Nobody worried about being abducted and a Halloween terrorist attack was beyond comprehension. I miss those days.

You'd never know it was Halloween at our house. A few people in the neighborhood have decorated their yards, but there aren't many children anymore. We haven't had trick-or-treaters in years. When the dogs went to obedience class we would make costumes for them. There was an annual Halloween costume party and once Dash won first place. That was quite a while ago. Now we don't even put a pumpkin on the porch.

The only thing that was scary today was the threat of rain. I was determined to get the roof fixed before it rained, so I drove 30 miles to a roofing supply store and bought a bucket of the special elastometric coating. I would have preferred that the roofers had taken care of this, but they never showed up. I drove very slowly on the way home, because I didn't want the top-heavy bucket of silicon liquid to tip over and spill. The messy stuff would have ruined my car.

I really thought I had enough time to make a quick repair of the damaged area, but the weather forecast was wrong. Shortly after I finished re-coating the hole in the elastomer, it started to rain. The coating didn't have time to dry and my repair quickly washed away in the rain. Now, I'll have to wait until the roof completely dries out again and start over. It's frustrating. I'm still hoping that the roofers will eventually show up and take care of this for me.

I made a reservation for Thanksgiving dinner at the same restaurant that double charged us last year. Janet says the billing error was just an accident, but it did take forever to resolve. I guess a double charge on your credit card is better than food poisoning, but I hope there won't be any problems this year. It's hard to find a good place for Thanksgiving dinner. I wonder why we ever bothered to cook a big turkey? Eating out is so much easier.

I made an appointment with my new doctor for my annual physical. I feel healthy, but you never know. Like everyone else, they want me to fast before I have my lab work. Since I can't go very long without eating, I always schedule blood work for early in the morning and then find a restaurant for breakfast on the way home. I'll get the blood tests done later this week and go see the doctor next week to go over the results. I'm curious whether this new guy will want me to continue all my meds. I'd love to cut back on the pills I take. A second opinion is always good. I've been taking some of these pills for so long, I can't even remember why I take them.

The refrigerator is empty, so I'm going to have to go grocery shopping tomorrow. At least the refrigerator is cold. I think the latest repair actually worked.

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

Monday, October 30, 2017

Day 2867

I don't watch baseball very often, but I'll have to admit that last night's World Series game was pretty darn good. It certainly beat watching another Perry Mason rerun that I'd seen five times already. I've been trying to get to sleep a little earlier, but Dash has other ideas. He's usually fast asleep when I go to bed, but just when I get comfortable, he wakes up, drinks a lot of water, and than goes to the back door, waiting for me to let him out to pee. I have to get dressed and go outside with him, so he won't eat cat poop. By the time I lock up and go back to bed again, Dash has already returned to bed and stolen my place. This happens every night.

This morning, I was determined to do something productive. I turned on the large format printer for the first time in over a month and ran the cleaning cycle. As I expected, the printer was hopelessly clogged. I ran the cleaning cycle three times and just as the lines were starting to clear, I ran out of ink. I called my supplier and ordered some more ink. It's insanity to keep this printer running when I no longer use it, but it is a perfectly good machine. I can't bring myself to toss it.

Since rain is in the forecast this week, I redoubled my efforts to get the roof fixed. I called the roofer again, and then I found a commercial supplier who carries the special coating material used on the roof. Ouch. The stuff is expensive. I ordered a five gallon can, because what choice do I have? After I committed to buying the material, the roofer finally returned my call and told me that he'd have his foreman drop some elastomer product by the house. It's probably just as well that I bought my own elastomer. The roofer didn't exactly say when he was going to come by. Given his track record, it could easily be Christmas before I see him again.

I noticed a raw spot on one of Dash's paws where the hair was starting to wear thin. It looks like the boots might be rubbing against his paw while he walks. Good grief. Now I'm going to have to make socks to go with the boots. I thought the insides of the boots felt soft and smooth, but something must not fit as well as I thought. This is getting complicated. If I have to put on socks, and shoes, and the knee brace, along with his regular harness, it's going to take forever to get him out the door in the morning.

Since I wasn't able to obtain any of the roof coating today, I turned my attention to the shower drain. I thought if I cleaned out the inside of the drain, I might be able to see a crack that was allowing water to seep under the tiles. It was a messy job. I sure wish soap manufacturers would invent a soap that didn't leave a film of soap scum behind. I thought the soap scum was bad on the tiles, but it was even worse on the inside of the drain. I did find one area that might be leaking, but it's in an awkward place and I don't know how to seal it. The best solution would be to have a plumber replace the entire drain and then get a tile guy to repair the damage the plumber made. I don't even want to think about something this drastic yet. Maybe I can just use some of the roof coating material that I'll hopefully receive tomorrow to seal the small crack.

I hope it doesn't rain tomorrow. It sure would be nice to repair the hole in the elastomer before the rain turns it into an even larger hole. With my luck, I'll have everything I need to make the repair the day after it rains.

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

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Day 2866

For months now, I've been sleeping on top of the bed. I think I started this when Dot was sick. I'd just take my shoes off and lay down next to Dash. This way, I was always ready to help Dot go outside at night. I'm a lazy person, and after a while it just seemed easier to sleep this way. I'm always the last one to go to bed and it wasn't worth waking Dash up after he was already asleep. No matter what time it was, he would think it was morning and go to the kitchen and bark for food. I was happy enough sleeping this way, but last night it got very cold and I got under the sheets again. I was surprised at the difference. I think I slept a lot better last night.

Although I'm a creature of habit, I can make changes. In addition to sleeping under the sheets, I've started going to the gym a lot earlier. I used to go in the afternoons on Sunday and now I go right after breakfast. I don't know why, but I seem to have more energy when I exercise early in the day. I get more done too, since I have the afternoon to clean and do projects around the house.

Since I've finished repairing all three sets of Dash's protective boots, I thought I'd try my hand at repairing my own shoes. I used to wear heavy duty leather hiking boots when I walked the dogs, but since Dash has been so flaky about walks lately I've had to wear something I could put on quickly before he got out of the mood. I had a pair of pull on rubber rain shoes that fit the bill, but I've worn them out in less than a month. Tire patches seemed perfect for reinforcing these things. I glued three large patches in strategic places on each shoe. I'll let the rubber cure for 48 hours and then I'll put them through their paces. These shoes are incredibly ugly and Janet is embarrassed when I wear them in public but they may turn out to be the perfect dog walking shoe. After I added some orthotics for arch support, they are quite comfortable. They are completely waterproof and I can put them on in seconds. The soft rubber didn't hold up very well on the trails, but maybe my tire patches will solve that problem.

When I went to the gym today, there was an open newspaper next to one of the machines I use. I noticed a headline that said "In the future people are going to need bigger brains to survive." This sounded intriguing, so I read the article before I started my workout. The premise was that advances in artificial intelligence and robotics are occurring more rapidly than our own ability to deal with the changes they are causing. Apparently it is just a matter of time before artificial intelligence is smarter than we are. I can believe this. Robots are designing other robots now. Our entire society moves around with their faces glued to their phones. Who is the master and who is the slave? I think I share Elon Musk's worries about AI. In less than fifty years it is going to change everything.

My machines are simple. I can take most of them apart and put them back together again. I actually understand how a lot of them work. This is changing rapidly unfortunately. I remember modifying my first computer by soldering new stuff to the motherboard. I couldn't begin to do that anymore. I have no idea how WiFi works and I kind of think the cloud is evil. I think I am more comfortable in a world where I can fix a pair of shoes with tire patches and get a refrigerator running again by defrosting the evaporator coil with a hair dryer.

Dash had a good week. I hope next week is even better. I still don't really know what has changed. We've basically have let him choose his own food and are dressing him up in rubber boots. That's not enough to cause the changes we've seen. He's still got the two large blood clots in his heart and is dealing with vestibular disease. Even with the best doctors, health often remains a mystery. I guess the best thing is just to be happy for the good days and be prepared for the bad days.

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Day 2865

There was frost on the ground this morning. That's close enough to Winter for me. I was cold when I woke up this morning, but was happy to hear the furnace running. Cold weather brings back memories of recurring furnace problems, ice storms, and power outages. My memories of snow are fading. It just doesn't snow down here anymore.

We got an early start this morning. Even though Janet got up extra early to go to this year's Race For The Cure, Dash still wanted her to feed him breakfast before she left. Since Dash was wide awake, I ate breakfast early as well. We were both ready to walk before the sun came up. Dash has a coat he usually wears in the Winter. So far, I can't figure out how to put it on over all his other gear. Luckily, it wasn't that cold this morning. I did wear a down ski jacket and wool hat though. I like to stay warm.

When I took an Instagram picture this morning, I noticed that something had changed. The format of the pictures was different. Why do people keep changing things? The old Instagram pictures were the perfect size for the blog. These new ones looked like they would have to be cropped and enlarged. After I thought about it a bit, I realized what Instagram had done. They'd changed their latest app update to optimize pictures for the newest iPhones. Since I have an older phone, I got left in the dust.

There were more app update surprises when I checked my blood pressure later in the day. The Withings app on my phone now had a Nokia brand. Didn't Nokia used to make phones? When I put the wireless blood pressure cuff on my arm, I got a message saying that I need to update my hardware before I could proceed. If I knew it was going to be this much trouble, I would have waited until next month to take my blood pressure.

At least nothing has changed with the refrigerator. It still appears to be keeping food cold. Based on the last tike I defrosted the evaporator coil, the temperature should be warming up again if there was still a problem. The temperature in the refrigerator is still 40 degrees and there is no visible ice on the back side of the freezer compartment, so maybe everything is working properly again. I hope so. There are plenty of other problems to solve.

We forgot that today was National Drug Take Back Day. There was a pile of expired meds that we wanted to get rid of and the collection location was near our house. It's too bad we forgot. Everybody probably has expired meds in their medicine cabinet. You usually end up taking all the antibiotics you were prescribed, because doctors make a point of telling you to take them all. Pain pills are different. They usually just say "take as needed" on the bottle. Dentists are notorious for prescribing too many pain pills. You don't tend to throw these pills away when you quit taking them. Instinctively, you keep them in the medicine cabinet, thinking "Well, what if I'm in pain again. I may need them." Usually you forget about them after a while and they go bad.

I looked on the DEA website to see if there was another collection location and it just said to throw the unused pills down the toilet. What? I thought the whole point of the take back program was to keep you from throwing pills down the toilet. I've always thought throwing pills down the toilet could pollute the water supply. Shows what I know. It turns out that the real pollution problem comes from people peeing. I guess this makes sense. Millions of people are taking millions of meds and their bodies aren't processing everything. Neither is the sewage system. One more reason there are to many people in the world.

On that happy note, I'll call it a day. I got one more pair of rubber dog boots repaired today and found everything on my grocery list. not bad. It was a little cold, but I'm not complaining. The furnace still works.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Friday, October 27, 2017

Day 2864

I went to an old school roadside diner for breakfast this morning. People were reading newspapers. Old men sitting at the counter were talking about guns and cars. I really wanted to like the food because everyone was so friendly. Alas, my search for the perfect breakfast continues. I just don't think my stomach can handle gut buster meals anymore.

I was prepared to stay home and eat oatmeal, but Dash was very cooperative this morning. As soon as I put his gear on, he was ready to walk. We still haven't pinned down what the problem was a few weeks ago, but Dash definitely seems to feel better now. His appetite has improved. He seems interested in walking again. He still sleeps a lot during the day, but he has more energy. At any rate, we took a nice morning walk, Dash enjoyed the cool Fall weather, and I still had plenty of time to go out for breakfast when we returned.

I've become addicted to my fitness tracker, so I started looking for a replacement for my defective UP band on the Internet. Everything seemed too big, too expensive, or didn't track things the way I liked. I was surprised at how frequently Fitbit discontinues things. One of the smaller Fitbit trackers I had my eye on has already been discontinued. Other models I'd seen in stores recently were gone too. As it turned out, I didn't need a new tracker after all. About 5 PM this afternoon my old UP band started working again.

Since it was a slow day, I repaired another set of Dash's rubber boots. Basically, I'm creating an entirely new pair of custom boots by adding new rubber in strategic areas. I think I could manufacture these things now, but I bet the market is very small. The augmented boots seem to be holding up well. They are very light and Dash walks normally while wearing them. These boots don't fall off like the original designs we tried. Most importantly, Dash's rear paws aren't scraped and damaged anymore. I'd like to think that the knee brace and the protective boots are one of the reasons that Dash is interested in walking again.

I'm a grumpy person, but sometimes I'm surprised at how little it takes to make me happy. I'm glad that Dash is feeling better. Even though my breakfast wasn't very good, I'm glad I ventured out and tried a new restaurant. I was pleased that I don't have to go looking for a new fitness tracker. I liked my old one anyway. Even though Dash's rubber boots initially seemed like a waste of money, I have managed to bring them back from the grave and they appear useful now. These are little things, but they were enough to make it a good day.

Tomorrow, we'll be getting up really early. Janet is participating in this year's Race For The Cure and will be wearing a pink Survivor shirt. It's been a tumultuous and at times difficult year, but this is really something to be happy about.

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

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Day 2863

I think Jawbone has pulled the plug on my fitness tracker. It hasn't been saving steps or heart rate data for the past several days. I guess I should have expected this. The company is going bankrupt. They stopped manufacturing fitness trackers over a year ago and don't even answer their phone anymore. Customer service is non-existant. I guess it was only a matter of time before they decided to shut down the servers that sync your data.

It's a shame I'll have to quit using my latest UP band. It hasn't even broken yet. The product quality for these things has always been terrible, but I really like the little tracker. I've had numerous Jawbone trackers, mostly because they inevitably quit working after a year or so. Jawbone used to be really good about replacing defective trackers, but I think they became overwhelmed when their entire customer base started demanding replacement bands. The UP3 is still one of the smallest, least obtrusive activity trackers you can buy. It's easy for me to wear one on my right hand and still wear a watch on my left. I'm going to miss this worthless product.

I used to jokingly tell friends that I should become a product tester for manufacturers. If I really like something it is almost guaranteed to fail. It I hate it, there's a good chance it will become a runaway success. I'm the guy who used to own two Citroën automobiles. Back in the tape era, I used to favor Betamax. Every store I've bought furniture from has gone out of business. While other professional photographers use Nikon and Canon, I have stubbornly stuck with Olympus. It's uncanny how consistently I become fond of unpopular products.

Sadly, my taste for unpopular things even extends to restaurant menus. I stopped to pick up some Thai food for dinner on my way home from the post office this afternoon and discovered that my favorite go-to meal had been removed from the menu. This happens surprisingly often. One of the reasons I don't enjoy my Friday morning breakfast outings as much anymore is that I've never been able to find anything as good as the Migas the little neighborhood restaurant that went out of business made.

We put on Dash's knee brace and protective boots before Janet left for work again. He doesn't seem to want to walk early in the morning anymore, but if I let him wander around the house for a while while I'm eating breakfast, he eventually gets in the mood. When I see him head toward the back door, I'm ready. My coat and Dash's leash are on a chair near the door. I already have my dog walking shoes on, so it only takes a few seconds to hook him up and go. Usually Dash feels like walking while I'm in the middle of breakfast, but that's OK. I just finish my meal when we get back.

I'm not sure if Dash's heart condition is improving, but he certainly is happier now. He gets a can of Castor and Pollux stew in the morning and a can of Hills ID in the evening. We usually walk about 10 AM and he gets a snack early in the afternoon. He still sleeps a lot and doesn't play much anymore, but that's OK too. He's getting old.

There was no work today, so I wrote a letter to my sister. If more people started writing letters and quit depending on their phone, many of the problems we have with hacking and identity fraud would simply go away. A connected world creates a lot of problems. I'm sure my little fitness tracker would still be working fine if it was self contained and didn't have to store all it's information in the cloud. I don't like to depend on a server in California or India. I wish the strawberries I like were raised locally. I wish my clothing was made in a local factory. I'm not a fan of globalism at all. With my track record, this means that globalism is exactly what we'll get.

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

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Day 2862

Janet helped me get Dash's orthopedic and protective gear on before she left for work this morning. I let him wander around the house while I was fixing breakfast, hoping that he'd forget he had it on. This plan seemed to work. He quickly became far more interested in begging for treats from me than in obsessing about his knee brace. About halfway through breakfast, Dash headed toward the back door and I knew he was ready. I was ready too. I put my smoothie in the refrigerator, grabbed a leash, and off we went. Could it be that Dash just wants to walk a little later in the day? Who knows. We took a nice long walk and then I finished my breakfast.

Since this little excursion went well, I decided to take him to the vet to get his anal glands expressed. As usual, he was terrible in the car, but at least I didn't have to worry about poop. He'd already taken care of that on our walk. While we were at the vet, I had the nurse trim his remaining dew claw. Since he tore the first dewclaw riding in the car, I'll always be apprehensive that this type of accident will happen again.

By the time I got Dash home and finished washing the breakfast dishes, it was almost noon. I'd already spent almost half a day dealing with a lovable but very stubborn dog. I fired up the computer to see if there was anything important that I needed to deal with. Of course there wasn't. It was time to get ready for the refrigerator repairman.

I was planning to have the repairman install the new temperature sensor I bought, so I watched a YouTube video to locate where the old sensor was. Locating and installing the sensor seemed simple enough, but after watching the video, I learned that the repairman was right. This particular sensor had nothing to do with my problem.

When the repairman arrived, he had the correct part this time and it only took him about thirty minutes to install it. We didn't bother to defrost the evaporator coil this time, because I'd already done this less than two days ago. The repairman said he was confident that the refrigerator would work this time, since we'd replaced all the parts connected with controlling the defrost cycle. I hope he's right. Having to deal with food that could spoil and go bad is almost as irritating as having to go to the laundromat when your washer breaks. When the repairman left, he told me not to worry. The parts are guaranteed for a year and if the evaporator coil still keeps freezing, he'll keep coming out until the problem is resolved. I thanked the guy and told him I hoped I wouldn't see him again for a long time.

A stray cat has been pooping in our yard and Dash is obsessed with finding and eating the stuff. Now, I've got to shadow him every time he goes outside to pee, so he won't sneak off and eat cat poop. The elusive poop is very hard for me to find, but apparently very easy for Dash to smell. I don't know how I'm going to put an end to this nuisance. The smell will go away eventually, unless the cat keeps coming back. Feral cats should know better than to hang around this neighborhood. There aren't many mice anymore and some of the cats routinely get eaten by coyotes.

I contacted the roofer again and tried without much success to get him to commit to finishing the repairs. This is the only major issue left on my Fall to-do list. There are a couple of holes that need to be patched immediately. I'd much rather have the roofing crew repair the damage, but I'd settle with another five gallon drum of the elastomer material at this point.

If I wasn't so apprehensive about leaving Dash, I'd go see Bladerunner 2049 tomorrow. I'm not very busy. This would be a good time to go. The film has done so poorly at the box office that it probably won't be around much longer. There are even matinee showings now. It won't be long before it will be at the dollar theaters.

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Day 2861

I love my new doctor. It was refreshing to make an appointment and actually see the doctor at the scheduled time. I'm used to sitting in the waiting room for hours, then waiting some more in the exam room, only to end up seeing the doctor for a few minutes. The waiting room at my old doctor's office seems like a scene from The Walking Dead. This new place was quiet and sedate. Everyone was friendly and there was even valet parking. Best of all, this new doctor took the time to listen to me, instead of rushing around trying to see five patients at once. Janet told me that concierge medicine was a completely different experience. She was right.

After three unsuccessful attempts to get Dash walking this morning, I decided to leave his harness on, just in case he felt like going out again later. I finished my breakfast and when I was doing the dishes, I saw him scratching at the back door. I was ready to go, so I quickly grabbed a leash and off we went. This time I didn't waste time putting the knee brace or the protective rubber boots on. This seemed to do the trick. Maybe Dash just hates all the protective gear. I made sure that we walked on grass, so he wouldn't injure his paws and kept the pace slow, trying to avoid a knee injury. We had a nice slow walk along the shoreline. Dash seemed to be enjoying himself and walked very normally. This evening when Janet came home, we put the protective gear back on for our evening walk. He still walked normally. I just need to get him used to wearing the protective gear in the morning. Based on my experience so far, this may take a while.

I had trouble sleeping last night. This is so rare that it was kind of alarming. I'd hate to have insomnia  on any kind of a regular basis. When you're lying in bed and can't get to sleep, time seems to move much slower than usual. I occasionally had insomnia many years ago when my company was busy. I would just get up, turn on the computer and go to work. There's little point in doing that now. There's no work to do. I think I'd rather lie in bed and listen to my dog snore than look at Facebook at 3 AM.

I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up something for dinner on my way home from the doctor's office. I used to think that all grocery stores were basically the same, but they definitely cater to specific audiences these days. Whole Foods seems to be for upscale vegans. Central Market is for upscale meat eaters. Sprouts is for people who like the idea of a small neighborhood market. I guess Albertsons and Kroger are for older people who haven't realized that shopping has changed. I have no idea who Walmart is for and I don't intend to find out.

It's time to clip Dash's nails again. It's weird that something so simple can be such a problem. I hate taking Dash in the car, but I'm terrible at clipping his nails myself, so he always has to go to the vet. Sometimes the techs clip his nails too short and they bleed. This happen more often than you'd think with Dalmatians, since some nails are black and you can't see the quick. Bleeding of any sort is not good, since Dash is taking Plavix. I can't ignore his nails though, since he might pull out a dewclaw again. This whole procedure only takes a few minutes, but I've already spent hours thinking about it. I worry too much.

I'm really hoping that tomorrow will be the end of the refrigerator repair saga. I need to get this thing fixed before something else breaks.

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

Monday, October 23, 2017

Day 2860

The refrigerator repairman arrived right on time. The first words out of his mouth were "We've got a problem." He showed me the box with the part I've been waiting for. "This control board is for a Bosch refrigerator," he said. "You've got a GE." Good grief. The part arrived last Thursday. They had four days to notice that it was the wrong part. They even put the wrong part on the truck and nobody noticed.

I'd already taken all the food out of the freezer and put it in an ice chest before the repairman arrived. I'd even taken all the shelves out of the freezer so the guy could get started right away. I really wasn't expecting him to arrive with the wrong part. I told the repairman I was getting tired of this. I showed him the parts I had ordered myself and said I could have a control board shipped to the house overnight if I need to. There was just no excuse for this level of ineptness. The guy went back to his truck and called his supervisor. He came back a while later and said his company could have a new part shipped overnight as well. He could come back Wednesday and install it. I didn't believe him, but I said "Sure, go ahead."

The repairman left to go to his next job and I took the freezer apart and defrosted the evaporator coil with a hair dryer again. I also installed one of the parts I bought. The other part was more difficult to install, so I'm going to have the repairman replace it when he returns on Wednesday. Why do I think I'm going to get a call on Wednesday morning saying that the control board hasn't arrived yet.

Dash wouldn't walk again this morning. Maybe if Janet hadn't had to go to work early, we could have tricked him into leaving the house, but it wasn't meant to be. I really don't understand this new aversion to leaving the house in the morning. When Janet returned this evening, Dash was eager to walk. I wish this dog could tell me what's wrong. The vets can't explain his behavior, but something has definitely changed.

I had an animal rescue meeting tonight. I thought I wouldn't be able to attend because of the refrigerator repair, but since the repairman didn't actually do anything, I had plenty of time. Not much was accomplished at the meeting, but at least I made an effort to show up. Janet was able to come home early, so Dash got an evening walk as well. It wasn't the kind of day I expected, but I really can't complain. The refrigerator will be fine for another week after I defrosted the coil. Dash ate his dinner and seems happy. I even have plenty of time to finish tonight's blog entry.

I meet my new doctor tomorrow. At least I assume he'll be my new doctor. Who knows. Maybe I won't like the guy. I hope this transition goes smoothly. The last thing I need right now is one more unexpected hassle. I've been postponing my annual physical since last Summer in anticipation of this switch. If I become a patient of this new clinic, I'm going to be immediately due for a lot of tests.

I need to figure out how to get the roofer out here before it rains again. There's an alarmingly large hole in the elastomer that needs to be patched. The house is wearing me out. The roof needs attention, the shower still leaks, and the refrigerator is driving me crazy. I wish everything would return to normal, but does normal even exist these days? I don't think so.

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Day 2859

It rained a lot last night. Even though it was a beautiful day, the yard was muddy and the roof was filled with standing water. Dash didn't waste any time finding the mud and immediately tracked it inside when he went out to pee before breakfast. He also discovered where a stray cat had been pooping near the back fence and tried to eat the stuff. Yuck. These events set the tone for the day and I didn't even notice how pretty it was outside until much later.

Since water was still spilling over the eaves when I got up, I knew I wasn't going to be able to escape climbing up on the roof and removing the standing water. Fall is the worst season for the roof. The standing water doesn't evaporate like it does in the Summer, and falling leaves often block the water from spilling over the edge of the roof. The only alternative is to remove as much as I can with the sump pump and push the rest over the edge with a big push broom.

It was cold this morning, so I waited until later in  the day to remove the water. That gave me a chance to go to the gym like I usually do on Sunday. I've been going to this gym for over four years now and I still haven't seen a huge improvement. On the other hand, I'm four years older and I haven't gotten any worse. I guess you could call that progress. I've thought about hiring a personal trainer for a month or two, just to see if I've been doing everything wrong. How would I know? I never asked anyone about my exercise routine. I'm the only one that seems to use the hand bicycle, even though it provides a great upper body workout and elevates my heart rate just as much as the treadmill. Shooting baskets probably doesn't provide any benefits at all, but it's the one thing I actually enjoy.

There is absolutely nothing I enjoy about getting up on the roof. It is my own private version of Dante's Inferno. Every time it rains, I find new holes that need to be repaired. Today I found two new bad spots that should be covered with the elastomer material as soon as the roof dries, but unfortunately I've already used the five gallon drum the roofers gave me. I'm been corresponding with the roofers and they promise they are going to come back and fix things, but that could be weeks or even months away. Several people have suggested that I add a pitch to the roof, so the water would drain. These people haven't seen the house. It would be easier to start over and build a new house.

The next time the roofers supply me with a container of the silicon product they use to seal the roof, I'm going to try dipping a pair of Dash's protective boots in the stuff. The material is very flexible when it dries and is completely waterproof. The elastomer might work better to reinforce the boots than the tire patch material I'm using now. Actually, the repairs I've made to Dash's shoes so far are very durable. It just takes a lot of time to shape the patching material so that the boots still fit properly.

I can't say it was an exciting day, but I did get a lot done. If I'm lucky the refrigerator will get repaired tomorrow. I'm hoping that the repairman will get tired of coming out to the house again and again and finally do the job right. It's rare when this happens. The roofers never should have coated the roof with a material that wouldn't hold up under standing water. The plumbers who repaired the water leak under our foundation shouldn't have dumped all the dirt they couldn't fit back in the tunnel they dug under the Photinia bushes along the edge of the yard. That's where all the mud is coming from. The tile guys the contractor hired for our bathroom remodel should have known how to set tile so water wouldn't leak at the corner of the shower. I even showed them little curved tile pieces that made a better transition between horizontal and vertical surfaces. They said these weren't necessary. I could go on and on.

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Day 2858

It doesn't look like I'll have to take the refrigerator apart this weekend after all. The temperature is holding steady. I have no idea why the temperature is getting cooler again, but I'll take it. I think we're probably good until the repairmen shows up Monday afternoon.

Dash let us sleep in until about seven-thirty this morning. He ate a good breakfast and then took a surprisingly long walk. This improvement is as much of a mystery as the refrigerator, but I'm happy to see our guy in good spirits again. I know he isn't entirely happy about the protective gear he has to wear. It's helping though. He doesn't lift one of his rear legs very well when he walks and he had ground down several of his nails all the way to the quick. Two of them were even starting to bleed. The protective boots keep his paws safe and the nails are starting to grow back again. I hope the knee brace is equally effective. Dash walks a little stiffly wearing the brace, but I think this is what is supposed to happen. By restricting his range of motion a bit, his knee will have a chance to heal.

I guess fresh peaches are finally out of season. I've been enjoying them in my morning smoothie, but they're getting harder to find at the grocery store. Peaches are more expensive now and are starting to taste mushy. I guess peaches are harder to grow in a greenhouse. Strawberries and blueberries are available all year long. I know there is a season for those berries as well, but it doesn't seem to matter.  You can almost always find good strawberries.

I upgraded the newer iPad to IOS 11. I kind of hope that I don't like the new operating system. If I do, I will be forced to get a new phone. My old phone can't be upgraded anymore and is stuck forever at IOS 10.3.3. My old original iPad is stuck way back at IOS 5.1.1. Apple used to be much better at making sure that their software worked with older products. Like most manufacturers, they've discovered that planned obsolescence is much more profitable. Computers are one of the few tools that become obsolete even when they are still working perfectly. I still have some hand tools that my Dad got from his father. A good hammer will last for a hundred years. A good computer probably won't last for five.

When I was recording some purchases in Quickbooks this afternoon, I noticed an entry from 12/10/17. That hasn't even happened yet. It took me quite a while to figure out where this entry actually belonged. We've all gotten so used to spellcheck that we become complacent and don't think we make mistakes anymore. I'm amazed at how many mistakes I make. I'm a typo factory these days. I wonder how many other undiscovered errors are hidden away in Quickbooks, Word, and Excel? I've even gotten the day count wrong on the blog and I don't have a clue where the error is.

A storm is headed our way. We really need the rain, but I'm always apprehensive about bad weather. I've been watching the storm approach on the weather radar and hope that nothing bad happens. I think the cold front and accompanying rain are supposed to arrive around 2 AM. Maybe we'll just sleep through it. That would certainly be better than having Dash freak out when he hears thunder. I don't want any more large branches falling on the roof either. Let's not even think about a power outage.

The good thing about the rain is that it's supposed to be clear and much cooler by morning. That would be nice. A clear Fall morning is exactly what I need.

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

Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 2857

When I was at breakfast this morning, I heard people at two different tables arguing about politics. This isn't a good sign. People should be talking about Halloween costumes and home improvements at breakfast. Football and Fall weather are OK, but it's way too early to talk about politics. I guess it's a sign of the times. I didn't hear the entire conversations, but these didn't seem to be Democrat vs Republican arguments. I got the impression that everyone was disgusted with both sides and thought that the entire system was broken. Actually, most people would probably agree that the system is broken. They just can't agree on how to fix it.

I tried to order something off the menu again with very limited success. I wasn't asking for anything exotic, but my request seemed to confuse the waiter. I should have stuck to the menu. I probably should have just stayed home. I wasn't even hungry this morning.

Our plan to get Dash walking again didn't work today. We should have headed toward the park where the smells were stronger, but we headed down the street instead. Janet was able to turn around and go home, but Dash didn't walk much further after that. When I stopped to clean up his poop about halfway down the street, he used the opportunity to turn around and head for home again. I tried to get him turned around so we could continue our walk, but his will was stronger than mine.

This evening, we tried an experiment. Janet tried to walk Dash by herself to see if he just liked to walk with her better. He refused to leave the yard. I watched her try several times to get Dash moving before I joined them. As soon as Dash saw the whole family was together, he headed for the back gate and we took a very normal walk. I can't really explain this behavior, but I can't seem to change it either.

It was a very slow day. I had to go to the grocery store twice, because part of the store was closed when I went after breakfast. Come back after 10:30 AM the sign said. I had a coupon Janet wanted me to use, but I probably didn't save any money, since my car gets such poor gas mileage.

I repaired another pair of Dash's protective boots this afternoon. This has turned out to be a very messy job. The Shoe Goo I'm using to repair things seems to be fairly durable, but it's hard to apply neatly. Someone needs to invent a better way to bond rubber to rubber. Rubber cement might work if the surfaces were smooth, but they're not. I guess it doesn't really matter if my repairs aren't pretty. The boots just need to stay together.

The refrigerator isn't warming up as quickly as I thought it would. Should I take things apart and defrost the coil this weekend, or just let the food get a little warmer and wait for the repairman on Monday afternoon? Those are the kind of decisions I make these days.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

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