Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Day 2960

I drove halfway to Oklahoma to look at a refrigerator and came back with nothing. If you've never been to a Nebraska Furniture Mart, you ought to go sometime. The store was amazing. They had the odd size refrigerator I was looking for, in addition to hundreds and hundreds of other models. I've never seen so many appliances in a single place in my life.

I almost bought the refrigerator I had traveled so far to see until the salesman opened one of the freezer drawers and said "there's just one more thing" as he pulled out an odd looking filter attached to a long hose. It almost seemed like an episode of Columbo. Unlike most refrigerators, this one had an external water filter that needed to be placed somewhere else in the house. It was apparently too complicated for the regular delivery crew to install, so I would need an additional extra cost professional installation team. "This thing looks European," I said. "How is it going to hook up to my plumbing?" The salesman assured me that they had successfully installed many of these refrigerators, but I wasn't very confident. I tried to have a plumber install a German kitchen faucet once and it was a nightmare. I have also had similar problems with a French toilet.

Since just about every refrigerator in the world was out on the showroom floor, I asked to see what else was available. There were a few choices that would fit in the space I have, but all of them had a full width door. I needed a side by side refrigerator or a french door model, so the door won't stick out so far when it is opened. Like I've said, my space is very limited. I had the sales guy print out specifications for everything I'd looked at and I took them home for Janet to look at. She went on the Internet and picked out something entirely different. It's a good thing I didn't buy anything today.

I got a good look at the lunar eclipse this morning. The eclipse was just starting when I had to take Dash outside to poop during the night. A few hours later, I had to take him outside again to pee and the moon was a thin crescent. I was hoping to get a nice photo of the red "blood moon" at totality, but it was too near sunrise and the moon was already obscured by haze near the horizon. I took a photo anyway, but you can barely see the moon at all.

The weather was really nice today, but Dash wouldn't take an afternoon walk at all. I wish I knew what that dog was thinking. At least he got a fairly decent morning walk. Tomorrow we go back to the cancer center for our monthly echocardiogram. I really hope his condition has improved or at least has stabilized. Dash is taking some powerful blood thinners now and I'm always worried that he'll get cut and I won't be able to stop the bleeding.

I guess I'll go and look at the refrigerator Janet likes on Friday. There probably isn't time tomorrow since it is a vet appointment day. I just want to put this refrigerator mess behind me. I've come to terms with the fact that I'm not going to be able to find exactly what I want. If I can find something that keeps food cold and won't block the door to the utility room, I'm fine. Part of me still wants to fix the old refrigerator, but we won't even go there. I've already lost that battle.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Day 2959

Finding a refrigerator that will fit in our house is like looking for a needle in a haystack. I spent most of the day visiting stores and talking to people on the phone and still haven't found what I'm looking for. It's frustrating. I found one model that looks like it would be a perfect fit for our kitchen alcove, but nobody in the Dallas/Fort Worth area has one on their showroom floor. I'd hate to buy a refrigerator without seeing it in person first. One thing I've already learned is that there are a lot of surprises. The descriptions on the internet aren't always accurate, for starters. When you are trying to fit something in a space with only a half an inch of clearance on either side, measurements must be accurate.

Even how the door opens is important. Depending on where the hinges are placed, some doors will still open when placed next to a wall and others won't. Some models require two to three inches clearance behind the refrigerator and others can live with one inch. I think this is why I tried so hard to repair my existing refrigerator. It is really hard to find something that will fit in my kitchen.

If General Electric still made the model I currently have, I would just buy another one. This side by side model lasted a long time and came with with an icemaker in the door which isn't even available in smaller refrigerators anymore. I saw refrigerators today that had built in internet browsers, WiFi cameras, and little doors so you didn't have to open the big door to grab a can of pop. There was even one refrigerator that has a built in Keurig coffee maker. All this useless stuff and I couldn't find a single model with the icemaker I wanted. I couldn't find anything with as much space as my current refrigerator either.

I had a scare last night. I woke up about 3 AM and Dash felt very cold and was shivering. He was still asleep, but something didn't seem right. His breathing was too slow and I began to worry that one of the blood clots had broken apart and gone to his brain. I covered him up with a blanket and the tremors gradually subsided. About an hour later Dash woke up quickly and headed straight for the back door. I wasn't fast enough unlocking the door and he ended up pooping on the living room floor again. Dash isn't incontinent yet, but we are headed in that direction. At least his breathing seemed normal again though. I cleaned up the poop and we all went back to bed.

Dash wanted to walk today but he didn't seem to have much energy. Our walks were very, very slow. I'm glad we're going back for another echocardiogram and exam this Thursday. I hope his new medications are working and that we'll be able to go back to a single blood thinner soon. Dash bleeds way too easily now. It makes me real nervous. Last night he brushed against a low branch while I was taking him outside to pee and ended up getting a cut on his back. The scrape was very, very minor, but he bled anyway.

It was really disappointing to have a big stock market sell off today. It was inevitable, and quite normal that this would happen, but I'd be a lot happier if the market would just keep going up indefinitely. Even a 5% correction makes me fret these days. There doesn't seem to be any room for error anywhere. I've got to keep Dash calm and hope the blood clot doesn't shift. I've got to find a refrigerator that fits in our impossible alcove. I've got to find a way to make my investments last in an increasingly volatile world. Maybe I'm imagining things, but life seemed a lot easier thirty years ago.

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

Monday, January 29, 2018

Day 2958

The refrigerator broke again. This was very discouraging, considering the time, effort, and money I've already spent repairing this thing. The appliance repair folks weren't much help. Despite three separate services calls and hundreds of dollars worth of parts, they still made no promises. They told me the first part they installed wasn't under warranty anymore because they installed it more than 90 days ago. The second part is still covered, but they have no idea whether it is causing the current problem. The third part, which actually ended up getting the refrigerator running again for several months isn't covered at all because I purchased it myself. Basically, I'm screwed. They could keep coming back forever and never solve the problem.

I think it's time to abandon this refrigerator and buy a new one. The main reason I haven't already done this is that our current refrigerator is much nicer than what is currently available. Nobody makes the size we have anymore. You can get a basic, slightly smaller model, or a wide variety of larger models that won't fit in the kitchen alcove where the current refrigerator sits. To make matters worse, the small refrigerator is actually more expensive that the larger fancy models because it is considered a low volume "specialty" appliance.

I give up. I'm tired of taking the freezer apart so I can thaw out the frozen evaporator coil. It took over two hours to do this today. The refrigerator is working again, but since something is causing the automatic defrost cycle to malfunction, the coil will just freeze again in a week or two. I have no confidence in the appliance repair folks anymore. They've had three chances to fix this problem and they've failed every time. I can keep replacing parts and hope for the best, or I can buy a new refrigerator.

After spending the morning getting the refrigerator running again, I spent the afternoon driving around looking at new ones. I finally found two refrigerators that will fit in my aging mid-century modern kitchen, but neither was what I was hoping for. I think my entire house has passed it's '"use by" date. The plumbing is old and hard to replace. The utility room is too small for my front loader washer and dryer. The electrical system is not really designed for modern power hungry appliances. You've already heard about my ongoing roof problems. Nobody is interested in fixing old things either. I really don't want to buy a new refrigerator in the same month that my car insurance is due, but what are you going to do?

At least Dash was fairly normal today. He slept through the night and had a good appetite. He even left me alone while I was disassembling the freezer and removing all the ice from the evaporator coil. We took a nice long walk this morning, but I sure wish Dash was a little faster. Since I hadn't fixed the refrigerator yet, I kept imagining food spoiling during our entire journey. At some point during the day, I noticed that I had a stripe of dried poop on my pants leg. It probably happened yesterday when Dash had diarrhea. I immediately threw the pants in the laundry, wondering how long I'd been walking around that way.

I hope nothing goes wrong tomorrow. Days like today really wear me down. Eventually the refrigerator problem will get resolved and then something else will break. Something always breaks. I hope I can count on my car for a while longer. A new car is a lot more expensive than a new refrigerator.

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

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Day 2957

Time flies. Three years ago I was out at Vandenberg Air Force Base as a guest of NASA to watch the SMAP launch. I didn't realize that this would be my last trip for a long, long time. Six years ago, Entrecard disappeared. Again, I didn't realize that this was the end of something. Blogging was never the same again. Things keep changing, but as always, I never realize the implications until much later. If there are changes or surprises in store for me in 2018, I hope they are good ones.

The gym seems to have lost a few members. Maybe some people quit when the price went up. Since I don't know any of these people, there is no way to know for sure. I'm doing my workouts earlier now. It leaves more time later in the day to do other things I don't like to do. If Saturday is a day for errands, Sunday has become a day for exercise. When I returned home today, I vacuumed. Vacuuming is more work than it seems because I always have to move so much clutter, just so I can clean the carpets. It would be tempting to just vacuum around all the junk on the floor, but it would defeat the whole purpose of cleaning. Dust hides under clutter.

It was beautiful outside today, but the nice weather made it difficult to walk Dash. On pretty, warm days the park is filled with joggers, cyclists, and people walking their dogs. It is impossible for Dash to walk in a straight line. He is always zig-zagging around, following his nose. If we are on a road or trail, I have to keep an eye out for bicycles. The cyclists are silent and never slow down for dogs. I have to keep an eye out for loose dogs too. Way too many people think it is perfectly OK to let their dog off leash in the park. There are signs all over the place saying that all dogs must be on a leash, but apparently nobody reads signs. I have seen these loose dogs get into fights with other dogs, but the owners never think it is their fault. I prefer days like yesterday when it is cold and misty with nobody in sight.

I was thinking of starting to watch Black Mirror on Netflix today, but there wasn't enough time. My simple Sunday routine eats up the entire day. There's an early dog walk, followed by breakfast and a trip to the gym. Sometime I go to the grocery store on the way home from the gym, but I didn't today. Afternoons always include some chore that I can't put off any longer. Today it was vacuuming. Often it is getting the water off the roof. To get Dash to eat properly, I have to split his dinner into two parts, with a walk in the middle. This ritual take longer than you might think. With the time I had left, I repaired my walking shoes while Janet was fixing dinner and that was about it.

The Grammy Awards are on TV now in another part of the house. I don't know who any of these people are. Where are the new bands like Pink Floyd, Procol Harum, and King Crimson? For that matter, where are the singers like Percy Sledge, Marvin Gaye, and Janis Joplin? I don't know if I'm old school or just old, but I still prefer "Dark Side of the Moon," to "XXX,"

January is almost over. Dash has another appointment for an echocardiogram this coming Thursday. Then there's Groundhog Day. It always feels like Groundhog Day to me.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Day 2956

Dash looked so sleepy last night that I didn't bother to wake him up to go pee before I went to bed. Big mistake. He woke me up three times during the night needing to go outside. Since it started raining during the night, I had to clean him off each time so he wouldn't get the bed muddy when we went back to sleep. Dash is no quicker doing his business in the rain than when it is dry. It was a long night, but at least he didn't throw up.

I was tired this morning, but as soon as we started our morning walk I wished we'd gotten up earlier. There was a heavy fog that was lifting rapidly. I took a few pictures as we walked, realizing that the fog was probably much more dramatic an hour earlier while I was still asleep. I love walking through fog. I guess this is the way I like to see the world.

By the time we returned home, the sky was already clearing. I had missed my chance to photograph ghostly sailboats again. I would have preferred to miss my chance to run Saturday errands, but no such luck. Saturday has always been a day to run errands.

I needed to pick up some bulbs for the sconce lamps in the living room. These are the only lamps in the house that still use incandescent bulbs. For several years I have been watching the price of these halogen bulbs gradually increasing as the price of LED bulbs continued to decrease. LED bulbs used to be super expensive and now they are quite reasonable. Today for the first time, the the price of the incandescent bulbs was actually higher than the LED bulbs. Sign of the times, I guess. In a few years, I probably won't even be able to find these bulbs at all.

It's hard to believe tax season is already here again. I'm already starting to receive tax documents in the mail. I have to be careful not to throw these things away. Most of them look exactly like junk mail. I almost threw some documents away this morning. They need to stamp "important tax document" on every envelope for people like me. I get so much junk mail that I don't even open most of it anymore. The chances are pretty high that I occasionally throw away something important.

I wish there was something interesting to watch on TV while I was doing chores around the house. The cable news stations just talk about politics. The local news just talks about overnight crime. I can't stand daytime talk shows like Ellen or Steve Harvey. I'd like a channel that just showed TED talks. They have something like this on the radio. Why not on TV?

It's alarming how little interests me these days. I guess the flame is still flickering though. I can't wait to watch the Falcon Heavy launch on February 6. I'd love to see this thing in person, but watching on my computer will have to do. There is something really appealing about sending a red Tesla Roadster to Mars. If the weather is clear next Wednesday I'll get up early to watch the lunar eclipse. The whole thing won't be visible in Dallas, but I should be able to see something before the moon sets around sunrise. Maybe there are other interesting things in February as well. Right now, I'd settle for another foggy day.

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

Friday, January 26, 2018

Day 2955

I bet I could determine my mood fairly exactly if I just took a light meter outside in the morning and measured the ambient light. The higher the number of foot-candles, the better my mood. Today was so dark and grey that I doubt the meter would have registered much. I was a little surprised that we didn't get rained on when we took our morning walk. Typically, when the sky is this dark, Dash and I get wet.

I thought going out for breakfast might improve my mood, but I picked the wrong restaurant. I ordered a couple of breakfast tacos and as soon as my order arrived, I realized that I should have stayed home and fixed a bowl of oatmeal. I had a table facing a busy street, so I watched people going to work while I ate. There were more pickups on the road than cars and most of the cars were SUV's. There were very few pretty cars. I would have preferred to see more British cars, but Japanese cars were winning the popularity contest. Three out of four cars passing my window were Japanese. My tacos weren't all that great, but I'm easily amused. My impromptu restaurant window survey was probably a better use of my time than sitting at home scrolling through my Facebook page.

When I returned from breakfast I washed the car. I didn't let the fact that it is going to rain tonight stop me. Hey, I have no plans to go anywhere tomorrow anyway. It seems like I'm always thinking about water. When I took a shower, I realized it was time to get out the wet-dry vacuum and remove the water that had accumulated under the tile shower floor. I wonder where this water would go if I never removed it? Every three or four days I'm able to extract over a quart of water using the vacuum. I wish I had a machine that could see through the tiles. There has to be a leak somewhere, but I still have no idea where this water is coming from.

On slow days I spend a lot of time updating computers and programming electronic devices. I seldom watch movies, but I clearly want to be ready if I ever get the urge. I frequently fiddle with Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, and Netflix trying to build the perfect user profile. The Roku stick works well, but Apple TV is always a problem. For something that was four times more expensive than Roku, Apple TV is very unreliable. I still haven't been able to watch something from start to finish without losing the WiFi signal. Apple TV crashed on me three times today. Eventually I just gave up because it was time for Dash's dinner anyway.

The mail carrier left someone else's mail in our box again today. This happens frequently. It makes me wonder how much of my own mail is getting lost the same way. I'll probably never know. I always write "wrong address" on the envelope and stick the letter back in the box. The misplaced mail is gone the next day but I have no idea if it ever gets to its destination.

The garbage truck with the robotic arm knocked over my trash can this morning. This probably isn't as bad as misplaced mail, but clearly people aren't paying attention. I had to repeat my breakfast order three times because the guy at the counter kept think I'd ordered something different. That one was probably my fault. People say I mumble.

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

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Day 2954

I hate to admit it, but I get most of my news from Facebook. Even though I consider myself articulate and well read, it's just too easy to scroll down my news feed while I am drinking my morning coffee and see what's going on. There's a guy who always re-posts interesting stories from the local newspaper so I don't have to read it myself. Several friends I met at Vandenburg Air Force Base let me know whenever there is an upcoming rocket launch I can watch online. A woman I went to high school with always posts obituaries of classmates who have died. There are puppy pictures to amuse me and plenty of expensive watches to drool over that I could never afford. I don't even mind the political posts and the ads. They are a public service to a lazy person like me. I may not agree with your politics, but your opinion can tell me who to vote against in the next election. The ads are great because somehow Facebook already knows what I like. I click on everything I see about guitars, Land Rovers, and video equipment.

It kind of bothers me that Facebook is planning to change this familiar news feed. They are planning to show less news and ads and more family and friends. This doesn't really work for me. There is only one family member I still communicate with and she isn't even on the Internet. I'm not even sure I have any friends. Like I said, I'm here for the news and the ads.

When I see something on TV these days, I've usually already heard about it on Facebook. I wonder if reporters even go looking for stories anymore. It would seem that they spend most of their time looking for material on YouTube. If you ever see a story on TV about a panda or a dog that can do arithmetic, I can almost guarantee that it was on Facebook first.

Even though it was boring inside today, it was a beautiful day outside. Dash and I had a nice long walk this morning. It is encouraging that he still seems to have a lot of energy and continues to love his walks. I wish he was more interested in walking down by the shoreline, because there are more interesting animals to photograph. Dash gets to choose though. We walk wherever he feels like going.   Sometimes we just walk in circles. There were no exotic birds or pretty sunsets today, but luckily there are always a few pesky squirrels.

I keep hearing that fewer and fewer people are writing checks and using the mail. I will probably be one of the last to keep these quaint traditions alive. I like going to the post office. I paid the water bill today and wrote another letter to my Luddite sister this afternoon. Most people just put their outgoing mail in their mailbox, but I don't trust our mail carrier. I always take my mail to the post office myself.

What am I going to do tomorrow morning? I've tried everything on the menu at half a dozen neighborhood restaurants and still can't find something I like. Jeez. Why did my favorite place have to go out of business? I ate the same thing for almost three years and loved it. I guess I could drive a little further to find my Friday morning meal, but that kind of defeats the whole purpose. I like to stay close to home.

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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Day 2953

It was all about Dash today. We got up early to take him to his vet appointment and hoped for the best. Not only is Dash terrible in the car, he's usually not very good when we get where we're going. Today we needed to do three things that he hates. He has an eye infection and will need to take eye drops for a week or so. He always runs away when I try to put the drops in his eye. He was also way overdue for a nail trim and needed his anal glands expressed. He hates these things too. The only thing in our favor was that we were seeing Dash's favorite vet today.

The eye exam went well. Most dogs don't like it when you shine a light in their eye and Dash was no exception. He was well behaved though, so we dodged a bullet. The vet did a test to make sure his tear ducts weren't impacted or clogged and then prescribed some antibiotic drops. I wish I could apply the drops as well as she does. You've got to be quick and decisive.

The vet told us that our friends at the cancer center had good reason to be concerned about trimming Dash's nails, sharing stories of nail trims that went horribly wrong. It is apparently not uncommon for dogs to bleed profusely when their nails are trimmed too close to the quick. The vet was very careful and conservative about how much she trimmed, but one of Dash's nails still bled a little. This is going to be an ongoing problem. We can't ignore Dash's nails, because the longer they get, the greater the risk that he will tear one out. We definitely don't want another episode like the one where he tore his dew claw out in the car. Dash doesn't like it when you mess with his feet though, so nail trims will never be easy. At least there were no problems when he had his anal glands expressed.

After his adventure at the vet, Dash was eager to go back to bed. We skipped our morning walk and I ate a late breakfast. By the time I washed the dishes, took a shower, and cleaned up the dog poop in the yard, it was time for lunch. I don't actually eat lunch myself, but Dash always does. We started giving him a rice cake for lunch years ago because it kept him occupied without making him fat. Now we add some dry food to the rice cake, because it is the only time of day when he will eat kibble. When you start a ritual with a dog, you can never end it. They always remember.

Dash we eager to go outside after he had eaten, so I was able to take him on a nice long walk. The only problem with a noon walk is that it fouls up the evening walk. Apparently, Dash needs a certain amount of time between walks. Just as I expected, Dash refused to leave the yard when it was time for his regular evening walk. I put all his gear on twice, but he just wasn't interested. He didn't refuse to eat though. He was hungry all day.

I turned on the computer out of habit, but there was nothing going on. I've finished my writing jobs for the week and nobody seems interested in changing their website. I need to find something to watch on Netflix because I've certainly got the time. Maybe I'll watch Black Mirror. They say it's like a modern version of the Twilight Zone.

Space X did a static firing of the Falcon Heavy rocket today. This means that it will probably be heading toward Mars with Elon's Tesla Roadster sometime next week. Now this is something I definitely want to watch. There is also going to be an eclipse of the moon toward the end of the month. I may not be interested in much, but astronomy, space, and dogs still keep me tethered to the world.

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

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Day 2952

My routine seldom varies. Sometimes I'm amazed that doing simple, often mindless things can take so long. It takes far too long to make the bed in the morning. I can make my smoothie fairly quickly now, but it take me forever to drink two eggs, a scoop of oatmeal, a large mixing bowl full of fresh fruit, a banana, a little vanilla ice cream, some half and half, assorted seasonings, and a cup full of ice cubes. My recipe makes a quart.

Walking Dash takes much longer than eating breakfast. We walk several miles each morning at a snail's pace. Dash can't move very fast anymore, but he still enjoys smelling things and being outdoors. I don't even turn on the computer until we've returned from our walk and I've finished doing the dishes. There is no hurry. I know I'll have plenty of time to finish any assignment I might have. It take me longer to find the dog poop in the yard than it takes to finish my writing assignments these days.

Today I finished my second article. It's hard to believe that I used to routinely write 4000 word annual reports when today's assignments rarely top 400 words. The assignments are still moderately interesting and I'm happy for any work I get. It took me less than two hours to finish today's job. There's a good chance it will be the last thing I write this week.

When I was working today I discovered a strange file on my computer. I thought I might have a virus,  so I quarantined the file and started doing some research on Google. It turned out that the file was something Apple installed the last time I upgraded the operating systems. Apple installs hundreds of weird files on your computer and they never bother to explain what they do. A lot of them report back to Apple, because about every ten minutes Little Snitch informs me that my computer is contacting an Apple server. If you think you still have any privacy at all, you're living in a dream world. Apple, Google, and Facebook know everything. Probably Microsoft knows a lot too, but I wouldn't know. I've never used Windows.

I noticed this morning that there a brand new channel on my TV right between Fox and MSNBC. It's called Newsy. Something was really different about this channel. There were no pundits and very few opinions. There were just little snippets about various events in a seemingly random order. The channel is billed as news for millennials. Surprisingly, many of these short segments were actually quite interesting. If this is really the way millennials like to get their news, Fox, MSNBC, and the broadcast networks might as well pack up their tents and go home. Maybe I have the attention span of a millennial, because I actually liked this odd format.

My foot didn't hurt as much today. This gave me an excuse to postpone making a doctor's appointment a little longer. I hate making a big deal over something that might be completely normal for someone my age. On the other hand, I'd hate to ignore a broken bone in my foot. I'll procrastinate a little longer and see what happens. I have no such reservations about making an appointment for Dash. We're going to the vet tomorrow morning to check out a minor eye infection and get his nails trimmed.

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

Monday, January 22, 2018

Day 2951

I'm mad at the FDA. I got a letter today saying that Nokia was removing the ability to measure Pulse Wave Velocity from my nifty WiFi scale. The company is apparently worried that they will be in violation of several new FDA rulings regarding medical devices. Why? I have read numerous reviews from well respected doctors saying that the Nokia scale is surprisingly accurate for a consumer device and that Pulse Wave Velocity measurements are a valuable tool to evaluate hypertension and heart health. Since the ability to measure Pulse Wave Velocity was the only reason I bought the scale, this decision makes me angry. It also illustrates the tenuous relationship we now have with the things we buy. Tesla can instantly change battery life and the performance of its cars through software patches. Apple can download U2 songs to your phone whether you want them or not. Apparently Nokia can remove features from its products whenever they wish. This all started with music and movies. You don't really own anything anymore. You are just allowed to use it. Now I have one more reason to hate bureaucracies, digital rights management, and any and all information stored in the cloud.

I still don't understand why the FDA wouldn't want people to have valuable information about their own health. I have a feeling that there is a lawsuit at the bottom of this decision. Maybe there are doctors who feel this new generation of home health tools will cause their patients to self diagnose. Who knows? The sad thing is that Nokia wasn't even forced to remove the Pulse Wave Velocity feature. They proactively trashed their own popular product because they were fearful of future regulations.

Probably this product will reappear for dogs soon. There aren't nearly as many regulations for pets. Sometimes I wish there were fewer regulations for humans, but more for pets. I'm never really sure whether what Dash is taking is safe. Vets have often suggested Gabapentin for our dogs. Apparently it is very effective at reducing some types of pain. I never gave Gabapentin a second thought until I started reading about how horrible it was in articles about the opioid crisis. It is an addictive drug with some frightening side effects. I would never give it to Dash after what I've read.

Life has become entirely too complicated. Some things are over regulated. Other things are under regulated. Everybody means well, but very few of us actually know what we are doing. Just look at our legislators. They are supposed to be our best and brightest, but they continue to act like idiots.

I try to keep things simple. I walked and fed Dash today and finished one of my two articles. I also sent an e-mail to Dash's vet with some questions about his upcoming exam. It wasn't a terribly busy day, but I didn't feel bored or unproductive. The weather still has me confused. It was warm enough yesterday that I could wear shorts and a t-shirt. Something apparently changed overnight. When I woke up this morning, Winter had returned.

I'll finish my remaining article tomorrow and probably brood about Nokia some more. What is wrong with that company? Don't they realize they are no longer in the cell phone business because of their cautious, backward attitude? I wish they had never bought Withings. Withings had some really cool, innovative products and now Nokia is ruining them.

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

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Day 2950

It only rained for about twenty minutes today, but it would happen to be the same twenty minutes when I decided to give Dash his afternoon walk. Dash seems to have lost his ability to detect approaching storms. So have I, it appears. We get caught in the rain a lot. Today's rain was a real soaker. I was worried that I may have ruined my camera and phone. Luckily there was no thunder and lightning. Everything still worked when we got home, but Dash and I were very wet.

Ironically, I'd gone to the gym this morning specifically to avoid the rain. In retrospect, it would have been smarter to have walked Dash earlier in the day and let the car get wet during the afternoon. As always, we may have made it home before the storm this afternoon if Dash wasn't so slow. He still insisted in smelling every bush along the trail even though we were both getting drenched.

I had a good workout today. It still seems odd that my body reacts the same way every Sunday. The first twenty minutes, my aches and pains are in control and I just want to go home. The next twenty minutes I'm kind of in a zone where I'm not really aware of time. My mind wanders and I start to notice what the other gym members are doing. During the last twenty minutes, I often feel surprisingly good and absentmindedly wonder whether I should stay and exercise a little longer. I never do.

I was planning on vacuuming the house this afternoon, but it took so long to dry Dash off after we got caught in the storm that I quickly lost interest. I had to do something, so I recharged a bunch of battery powered devices and took a nap with Dash instead. From time to time I would turn the television on and then turn it off again. I can't stand to watch the news channels anymore. Eventually, The Great British Baking Show caught my interest. Watching bread bake is much more interesting than politics.

Yesterday, we experimented and fed Dash later than usual. We also made him wait for his bedtime snack until ten-thirty PM. There was some barking and bad behavior due to this delay, but the reward was that Dash didn't need to go outside and poop in the middle of the night. We all were able to sleep without interruptions until morning. It was so pleasant to get a decent amount of sleep that we're going to trey the same strategy tonight. We have been so worried that Dash was refusing to eat that he has become very spoiled. Once he realized that he was calling the shots, he began wanting to eat earlier and earlier. Things have gotten out of hand. We've got to work on reestablishing a more reasonably feeding schedule without getting Dash all worked up and putting his heart at risk. Life is always interesting with a Dalmatian.

I have articles to write but I still have this antiquated notion that Sunday should be a day of rest. I have no idea why going to the gym qualifies as rest and writing doesn't. I guess I only feel like I'm working when I'm following someone else's orders. When I'm calling the shots, it's never work. Maybe Dash feels the same way. He certainly likes to call the shots about his meals and feeding schedule. Dash is a very stubborn dog. If he and I can compromise on an appropriate dinner time, it should be a no brainer for congress to get the government running again.

Molly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Day 2949

I've been complaining about the cold weather for weeks and today it was over 70 degrees. I find these sudden changes confusing. I put on my winter coat this morning, just like I usually do. As soon as I opened the back door, I realized I'd made a mistake. It felt like Spring today.

In addition to my normal Saturday errands, I went looking for dog socks today. These are not exactly a big seller in pet stores, so they are hard to find. Dash needs the socks, because they keep the rubber boots he has to wear from rubbing at his skin. The socks work great, but they wear out quickly. If I could ever find a good supply, I'd just buy them by the dozen. Eventually, I found what I was looking for and bought all the large sizes the store had.

I had to renew my Sam's Club membership today so I could get gas. I got a business membership when I started my company and I think the cost was $15 a year. Now the cost is $45 a year. Everything is this way. Little by little, the cost for almost everything keeps rising while the pundits on TV keep telling me that inflation is at historic lows. I don't get it. If inflation is so low, why has the cost of everything I use on a regular basis doubled in twenty years?

My laptop seems really slow, so I thought I'd rebuild the directory like I did on the desktop computer earlier this week. The procedure took a lot longer than I thought, but it worked. I don't know what I was expecting, but the changes certainly weren't dramatic. The computer still seems slow. I have a feeling that the problem wasn't the directory after all. The laptop is just too old to be running Sierra. I should really stop installing new operating systems on old computers. It destroys the performance.

My own performance has been even worse than the laptop this weekend. I had big plans to clean the house and fix a few things around the office, but none of it got done. By the time I walked Dash, took a shower, and fiddled with the computers for a while, I was done. I don't know where the day went. I couldn't have spent that much time looking for dog socks.

Dash got me up three times last night to go outside. I hate this new schedule of his. He eats his dinner really early now and then he needs to poop in the middle of the night. Sadly, we may have caused this problem ourselves. We noticed that when Dash eats early, he is less likely to throw up at night. He hasn't vomited in over a month, so something must be working. I guess eight hours of sleep at night just isn't in the cards for me. I've started napping with Dash during the day and it seems to work fine. You've got to stay flexible when you have a Dalmatian.

April is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, January 19, 2018

Day 2948

Another uneventful Friday. My pancakes were delicious. Maybe next week I'll make an omelet. I'd almost forgotten that my special omelet recipe made it into the South by Southwest cookbook a few years ago. I was probably the least famous person in this celebrity studded cookbook, but it was still cool to be selected. The only downside to today's meal was that I used up the last of the Italian sausage. There's only one place in town that makes this stuff the way I like it, so I'll have to drive across town to pick up a new supply next week. Let me know if you hear of any amazing new breakfast restaurants. Until then, I'm content to eat at home.

I talked to a dealer I've known for years about helping me liquidate one of my collections. I didn't think he'd be interested, but he seems willing to help for a percentage of the sale. Before we can get started, I need to provide a complete inventory of the collection. Lord knows how long that will take. Most of the stuff is in unmarked boxes in the storage warehouse. I don't even know what I have anymore. If making an inventory was a pleasant task, I would have done it years ago. I guess I should have known that you can postpone unpleasant tasks, but you can seldom avoid them entirely.

People who collect memories probably have an easier time decluttering than people who collect stuff. We all become forgetful as we grow older. When you forget your memories, your problem is solved. When you forget where you've put all your stuff, the problem just becomes more difficult. I hope I can take care of this collection by the end of the year. Then next year, I'll start on another one.

It was much warmer today. Dash didn't need to wear a sweater under his harness and I didn't need to wear a second coat under my down jacket. The fact that I would call a windy, forty degree day "warm" just goes to show you how cold it's been for the past week. I'm ready for Spring. Unfortunately, I don't think Winter cares what I think. We've had plenty of ice storms in February and March.

I got two more writing assignments today. Two articles isn't enough to pay the electric bill, but it's nice that a few people still remember me. I could write two articles a day indefinitely, but I was in no hurry to start writing immediately. I'm going to save these jobs for next week. Hey, I already wrote something last Thursday. With assignments so few and far between, I need to spread these things out.

Am I the only one who's grown tired of all the drama in Washington DC? All the TV stations have a countdown clock showing how many hours are left before the government shuts down again. Who cares. These shutdowns are meaningless. The government starts back up again in a few days. All the government workers get paid. Both sides blame each other for the mess and then the whole cycle starts all over again. The next time the government shuts down, we should just leave it closed indefinitely and see what we can do without. Congress would be the first to go. They aren't doing anything anyway.

Daisy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Day 2947

I got a haircut today, so I'm probably good until March. Maybe by March I'll have enough money to get a new iPhone X. I only visit the mall when it's time for a haircut, so I'm always curious to see what's new at the Apple Store. I wish I actually need a new iPhone or one of the grossly overpriced new iMac Pro desktop computers. Sadly, my old iPhone 5 and 2010 vintage iMac work just fine. It's hard to justify buying these gadgets for the company anymore. There just isn't that much work these days.

It's becoming equally hard to justify an expensive haircut. What's left of my hair doesn't grow very fast and during the Winter it's usually hidden under an ugly wool hat anyway. Maybe I just enjoy familiar routines. I've been getting my hair cut by the same stylist for over fifteen years and have been using Apple products for much longer than that. It's reassuring to visit the mall every once in a while and realize that it really hasn't changed all that much since I moved here in the mid 1970's.

When I returned home, Dash was still asleep in exactly the same place on the bed where I left him several hours earlier. Sometimes it worries me that he spends so much time sleeping, but even healthy dogs sleep a lot. He must be a light sleeper, because as soon as I opened the refrigerator door, he woke up and came out to the kitchen. I think Dash likes familiar routines even more than I do. Now that he's become a picky eater, I make a big show out of fixing his meals. I wash his bowl and carefully spoon out his food in precise little patterns. It takes three times as long, but Dash gets all excited while I'm fixing things and almost always eats everything. I know this silly little ritual makes a difference, because occasionally when I'm in a hurry I just quickly dump the food in his bowl and he gets mad and won't touch it.

The weather was weird today. When I was driving to Northpark this morning the sky was clearing and the temperature was rising. I thought is was going to be a nice day. It was still pretty nice when I took a walk with Dash after lunch, although I noticed some clouds on the horizon. Everything changed around 3 PM. By the time I gave Dash his evening walk, the sky was dark, the wind was blowing, and the temperature had dropped twenty degrees. It's hard to get used to these sudden changes. In my mind I was already anticipating a pleasant Friday, and then seemingly out of nowhere, Winter returned.

I can't decide whether to go out for breakfast tomorrow. The pancakes I fixed at home last Friday were pretty good. When I enjoyed going out, I never thought about the cost. Now that I don't look forward to these outings as much, the restaurant meals seem like a waste of money. Skipping one breakfast a month would pay for the increase in my gym membership. Skipping the entire month would buy me a new pair of hiking boots. If I skipped the entire year, I could probably get that iPhone I've been thinking about.

Dash's schedule has changed. He doesn't poop on his walks any more and has decided that he prefers to do his business in the middle of the night while I'm asleep. I took him outside twice last night and probably will do the same tonight. I thought I was going to get a lot more sleep after Dot passed away, but it hasn't worked out that way.

Dovey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Day 2946

Today was so similar to yesterday that I briefly wondered if anyone would notice if I just copied a few paragraphs from my previous post. Believe it or not, it's much harder to write about days where nothing happens. The arctic weather continues and Dash and I have had enough of it. It's still too cold to take Dash on a morning walk and this change in our routine makes us both a little restless. Without a walk, Dash slaps at the back door every five minutes and then wants to come right back in again as soon as I let him out. I don't know what to do with the extra time either. Long walks give us both something to do.

I did finally make an appointment to get a haircut tomorrow and to take Dash to the vet next week. Dash is so difficult to transport in the car now that we have to schedule vet visits when Janet can get away from work for a while. I wish I knew what was going on in Dash's mind. It used to be so easy to take him to the vet myself. I hate to wait until next week, but luckily there is nothing seriously wrong. We just need to take care of some routine things that the specialists at the cancer center don't normally do.

I should have waited to pay bills yesterday, because I got some more in the mail today. I used to let the bills stack up and pay them all once a month. Then I started getting late charges. Companies have shortened the due date. They all want you to pay online now and if you pay by mail, you have to be quick. I don't know why I am so resistant to paying online. Sending and receiving mail is just a part of normal daily life that I don't want to give up yet.

When the temperature climbed to the low 30's, I took Dash on an afternoon walk. The sun was out and Dash was enjoying smelling things. I thought we were going to have a nice long walk, but a loose dog spooked Dash and made him want to come home early. I've seen this guy and his dog before. The man thinks he's trained his dog so well that he doesn't need a leash. I was amused when the dog wandered off pursuing a scent and didn't follow his owner home. I don't know why Dash was upset, because this dog was no threat to anyone while she was off chasing rabbits. I had to show the guy where his dog had gone. Why don't people understand that a leash makes everything so much easier? A leash is safer too. The small dog was chasing rabbits but it could have found coyotes instead.

I balanced my checkbook a few weeks ago. Today it was time to balance the credit card purchases. I added everything up and was one dollar off. Why are these mistakes so hard to find? I must have looked at the figures three or four times before I found the missing dollar. Online banking would eliminate these chores, but I just can't bring myself to give up paper. Things just don't seem entirely real unless I can see them on paper.

I was pleased to see the DOW sail through 26,000 today. It has definitely been a good year for stocks. I watch the market the same way some might watch a NASCAR race. I've got my favorites and I check their positions with every lap. Unfortunately there is no finish line. I wish there was a finish line with investments when you could just relax with the knowledge that you had won. You can always get out of the market if you're feeling nervous, but you hate to get out too soon. I think the economy is good and the upward trend will continue for a while. I could be wrong.

I could be wrong about everything. It's kind up humbling to realize what a guessing game life actually is. Maybe it's good that we don't know what's in our future. I think it's uncertainty that allows us to hope.

Chief is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Day 2945

The only thing on my mind today was staying warm. Not only was it the coldest day of the year, it was colder than any day last year. Even Dash knew it was too cold for comfort. As soon as he did his business in the yard this morning, he came running back inside. I kept the little ceramic heater running in the office today and it warmed the place up a bit. The office is still the coldest room in the house though. It's just too far away from the furnace.

It's hard to avoid cabin fever on days like this. I paid some bills, answered a couple of messages from clients, and picked up a new supply of phenobarbital for Dash at the vet. That was about it. I wish Dash didn't have to take the phenobarbital, but it's pretty effective at preventing epileptic seizures. We can't afford to have another seizure at this point. Dash is far too fragile.

It was still well below freezing by mid-afternoon, but I could tell that Dash wanted a walk. Although it was clear, there was a stiff wind that made it feel like we were headed toward the South Pole. I was freezing, but Dash seemed to be enjoying himself. Along the way, I spotted a large hawk being pestered by three crows. It seemed to be a metaphor for something. The hawk ignored the crows and appeared to regard them with total distain. I'd like to think that animals live in a peaceful, bucolic world, but from what I've observed, they are just as mean and nasty as we are.

Just about everything I was going to do today got postponed until tomorrow. I didn't make a vet appointment and I didn't get a haircut either. It would have been a perfect day to watch Netflix movies, but I couldn't even bring myself to turn on the television. Two long walks, a writing assignment, and a couple of website updates fill up a day pretty well. Without these things, I just flounder around.

It's weird that South Texas got a lot of snow and ice and we didn't. The weather doesn't make sense anymore, but of course nothing else does either. While I was fixing lunch, I watched a press conference where the president's doctor was describing the results of his latest physical. The assembled press corps seemed visibly disappointed that the president was in good health. It was painfully obvious that most of them just wanted him to die. This may seem normal to you, but it seemed very weird to me. I've watched enough old Perry Mason shows to know that this kind of hatred doesn't usually end well.

When I was going to pick up Dash's phenobarbital at the vet, I was listening to a program on NPR where the guy being interviewed thought that it was easier to reach goals when there was a lot of emotion, positive reinforcement, and empathy involved. It all sounded like bullshit to me. I don't rely on any of these things. To me, you've just got to keep moving. If you have the discipline to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how you feel, you will look back occasionally and realize that you've traveled much further than you ever thought possible.

Shelby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, January 15, 2018

Day 2944

Don't ever get a white comforter if you have an old dog who likes to sleep on the bed. It's amazing how quickly this thing gets soiled. The comforter is too big to fit in our washing machine, so we have to take it to a laundromat. Once you go to this much trouble, you might as well wash everything else as well. We managed to do a few other things, but it was definitely a day for doing laundry. I doubt if things will stay clean long, but right now the bed looks very nice.

The roof is finally dry as well. Since there is another cold wave and possibly snow on the way, it was time to clear away the leaves and standing water. In the summer I would never bother to sweep the water off the roof if it was going to rain the next day. Winter is different. I've discovered over the years that ice buildup is bad for the roof, so I always try to remove any standing water when freezing weather is in the forecast. They say that temperatures will dip into the teens tomorrow. I hope the forecast is wrong.

I had a small victory with the computer today. On Saturday I tried to rebuild my directory and the Diskwarrior software kept crashing. I was ready to buy an upgrade, but I needed the serial number from the old software to get a lower price. I launched the program again to get the number and this time it worked. Go figure. I have an optimized directory now and my hard drive is healthy again. I have no idea why the software wasn't working on Saturday, but luckily you only need to rebuild your directory every six months or so. Blind luck saved me some money today.

While I was cleaning the house this afternoon, I watched a Jay Leno's Garage marathon on TV. Car shows are relaxing. I watch them the same way Janet watches Hallmark Christmas movies. It's weird that Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld both have shows about cars now. It must be nice to be able to buy an unlimited number of cool cars. At one point Seinfeld owned 46 Porsches. Leno has an even larger collection of exotic automobiles. I think one of the reasons I started collecting model trains years ago was that I knew I'd never have the money to collect cars. Now that I think about it, Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee might be the perfect way to introduce me to Netflix binge watching. I think all 56 shows are on Netflix now.

I can't decide whether to take Dash to the vet or get a haircut this week. Dash needs his nails trimmed. On the other hand, I need a haircut too. I wish I was better at trimming Dash's nails myself. He's terrible riding in the car now. I can't risk clipping a nail too short either because of the bleeding problem. I was thinking about making an appointment at the vet for tomorrow, but I don't know if it is going to snow. I'm definitely not driving Dash around on icy roads. Jeez. Simple things have become so complicated. It might be easier to just get a haircut.

Betty is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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