Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Day 2988

It's been such a gloomy week that it's hard to believe Spring is on the way. The signs are everywhere though. The Redbud and Dogwood trees are starting to bloom. I've started to see a few Grape Hyacinths. It won't be long before there are a multitude of wildflowers to photograph.

For now, all we have is more rain. Maybe that's why so many things are starting to bud and bloom. Plants probably love this weather. The winter hasn't been too cold, but it has been exceedingly wet. There seems to be a pattern to the rain. It usually rains during the night. Then the rain stops or slows to a mist during the early morning hours. Around 10 AM the rain often starts again and continues off and on for the rest of the day. At least this schedule allows me to give Dash a morning walk. If the rain continues through the afternoon, Dash and I both have cabin fever.

Even though I knew the car was going to get dirty, I drove to the tailor shop in the rain to pick up the jacket that was getting a new zipper. The well worn jacket is nice to wear around the house on a cold day. Hey, if I'm willing to drive somewhere in the rain, you know I'm pretty bored.

While I was listening to the rain and wondering what was happening on the roof, I put together my proposal for the website I've been asked to maintain. I tried to be honest about the many pitfalls this project faces, without being overly negative. I still can't decide whether I even want this job. It would be nice to have a monthly retainer for a while, but I'm not sure I can fix this site. It's a mess. I think it would be easier to start over and create a new one.

Janet wasn't very enthusiastic about the tall, skinny refrigerators I showed her. It's back to square one. I still have trouble believing that there is only one refrigerator in the entire world that will fit in our small alcove and still hold enough food to keep someone who cooks happy. I rarely cook, so anything that fits in the space and looks cool is fine with me. I know there is going to be an unpleasant surprise if I order something that I haven't seen in person, but that appears to be only choice we've got. The Maytag that is still the top contender is on back order until the end of March too. I have a feeling that I'm going to have to defrost a few more times.

I've been having problems sending e-mail because my mail client keeps saying that the server certificate in not valid. I hate all these new security issues. Mail servers didn't used to need a certificate. At any rate I called Bluehost and was lucky enough to get a nice tech support person this time. They said the problem was because I was using an Apple computer. Isn't that always the problem? I learned how to reconfigure my mail settings so the problem shouldn't happen again and now everything should be OK again.

I hope the rain clears out tonight. We've got an early appointment to take Dash to the cancer center for his monthly echocardiogram in the morning. I wish Dash would let the nurse clip his nails while we were there. I don't know what we are going to do about his nails. They are getting pretty long.

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Day 2987

I was prepared for thunderstorms, but it was just another dreary wet day. Dash seems to enjoy walking in a light mist, but he sure gets dirty. It took me about as long to clean him up as it did to walk him. I did a terrible job of guessing when it was going to rain. We got wet on both our walks and then I got rained on again when I went to the vet to pick up meds.

I need to remember to check the pills while I'm at the vet. When I got home I realized I'd picked up the wrong prescription and I had to go back again. The first trip the roads were dry. The second trip I got caught in a downpour. That's the way the weather was today. The on again off again rain caused me to forget to turn the pump off on the roof. I hope I didn't burn it out. OK, I shouldn't blame the rain. I was probably just forgetful again. I'm getting so forgetful I'm going to forget my own name one of these days.

I've been asked to put together a proposal for a new website job. I should be happy, but part of me doesn't even want the assignment. I'm getting tired of designing websites. I spent a lot of time learning to build responsive websites after static sites went out of fashion. Now, less than three years later, I'm hearing that responsive sites have become passé. The world has moved on to adaptive websites. What the hell is adaptive design? Apparently, nobody looks at websites on a computer anymore. It's all about the phone. I'll put together a proposal and bid on the project, but I'm getting too old for this.

Instead of trying to figure out what adaptive design was all about, I glued stuff back together with superglue. My fitness tracker is falling apart, so I glued the cracked silicon band with superglue. A corner has chipped off my iPhone case, so I glued that back together with superglue as well. Superglue is great stuff as long as you don't get it on your fingers. I was pleased that both of my repairs were a success. I may be a failure at fixing refrigerators, but I'm pretty good at fixing plastic iPhone cases.

I discovered a whole new category of refrigerator today. I don't know why I haven't noticed these before, but I kind of like them. Some people call them urban refrigerators. They are very slim and quite tall. Looking at the pictures, I think they would fit anywhere that didn't have a low ceiling. We'll see if Janet likes these. There's a good chance she won't. These beautifully modern refrigerators seems to be designed for tall people who don't eat very much.

I had to open three different cans of food today before I could find something that Dash would eat. Meals are becoming quite complicated. I miss the days when Dash would eagerly gobble up anything I put in his bowl.

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Day 2986

I had to defrost the refrigerator again today. Didn't I just do this? I can't even remember whether it was a week ago or two weeks ago. Either way, this process is a pain in the neck. I have to take all the food in the freezer and put it in an ice chest. Then I have to remove all the shelves and the ice maker bucket to gain access to the back panel. Six screws are removed and then the metal back panel easily slides out to revel the frozen evaporator coil.  I turn the refrigerator off and then thaw the coil with a hair dryer. I put some thick bath towels on the bottom of the freezer to sop up all the water. The whole process takes about an hour.

I was so frustrated when I finished that I drove to Home Depot determined to end this madness and buy a refrigerator today. The appliance salesperson was helping another customer, so I started looking at refrigerators again. I noticed that all french door refrigerators have a weird folding flap that seals the two doors when they are closed. This flap makes it virtually impossible to open the left door first. Couldn't somebody have come up with a better design? I found the refrigerator that has replaced the one I currently have. It was exactly the same except it was one inch wider and won't fit in my kitchen. Why did you have to do this General Electric? That extra inch didn't make the refrigerator any more useful. All it did was make me mad. Eventually, I got tired of waiting for the salesperson to sell the other customer something, so I went home with nothing again.

Dash was a picky eater again today. I had to open several cans of food before I could find something he liked. He wouldn't take his afternoon walk either, even though it was one of the nicest days we've had this month. I wish I knew what was going on in his head. Janet thinks some of the problems started when the vet increased his Phenobarbital dose. I think he may be be experiencing some mild nausea from the vestibular disease all the time. It's really hard to tell, because even when Dash was young and healthy, he was always a moody and stubborn dog.

Another round of thunderstorms begins tomorrow morning. I'm getting so sick of this weather I could scream. I have no idea how long the wet weather will last, but we've certainly had enough rain for the month of February. At least I heard from the roofers today. They promised that they'll be back when things dry out. Hopefully the roof will last that long.

We take Dash in for another echocardiogram later this week. I wonder if these expensive scans are even useful at this point? They were supposed to track the effectiveness of the blood thinner medications he's taking, but the blood clots haven't moved or changed in size for several months. I don't know if the Plavix is even working. I guess we'll continue these monthly checkups. They may not help Dash get any better, but at least they provide a heads-up that lets us know what's happening.

I'm going to try to get to bed earlier tonight. I'm not getting enough sleep. I think I'd do a lot better if I just didn't bother to get up in the morning.

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

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Day 2985

I went to the gym an hour earlier than usual, hoping to get some time on the court before the mid-day pickup game started. My plan failed. Half of the players were already there, warming up and practicing. For over two years this basketball court has been empty on Sundays. Now it appears to be a popular place for a friendly game. I don't know what has changed but the enjoyable days of having the gym practically to myself might be over.

Having the park to myself is definitely over. Today, another walk was ruined by two loose dogs. Dash has a long memory. Ever since he was attacked by an aggressive loose dog, he equates unleashed dogs with danger. Dogs on a leash are fine, but if he sees a loose dog anywhere, the walk is over. I don't blame him for being frightened. The dog that attacked him many years ago almost killed him.

It would have been a nice day for a walk. This was the warmest weather we've had all month. There were patchy clouds and intermittent sunshine. It was really a pretty nice day. I think we get another day of nice weather tomorrow and then the thunderstorms resume again.

We decided to try to get Dash's nails trimmed this afternoon. Dash won't let me get near his nails, so we have to go to the vet. I don't know why this once simple task is next to impossible now. The specialty vets at the cancer center don't want to clip his mails anymore. One one vet we know is quick enough and confident enough to get the job done, but she only works on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when Janet is at work. It takes two of us to transport Dash these days, so that option is usually out unless we can get an appointment for first thing in the morning. We tried and failed to get the nails clipped today. Dash made such a fuss that the vet tech was only able to trim a single nail. I never dreamed that trimming a dog's nails could be so difficult. Dash needs to be calm because of the blood clots in his heart. The person doing the trimming needs to be quick and confident too. Since Dash is taking powerful blood thinners, we can't risk any bleeding from a nail clipped too close to the quick. I'll have to come up with a Plan B. We certainly didn't accomplish much today.

I'm waking up tired again. There was a short period after Dot passed away that I was getting enough sleep, but now it's Dash's turn to keep me up at night. Almost every day he wakes me up in the middle of the night to go outside. I've grown to anticipate this, so I wake up at 3 AM, even if he doesn't. At least Dash isn't incontinent yet. It's only a matter of time. Incontinence is one of the cruel indignities of aging. Many of our dogs became incontinent toward the end. So did my Dad. I'm certainly not looking forward to this stage of life. It's bad enough getting up at night to pee.

I still haven't bought a new refrigerator. The roofers never replied to my latest e-mail and there's more rain on the way. I've got to fix the tiles in the shower stall, but I don't want contractors in the house. These should be easy problems to solve, but I can't even think about them when I've got a dog who doesn't want to eat and refuses to let anyone clip his nails. Worst of all, I've still got jury duty. I'm dreading jury duty.

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

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Day 2984

I saw a little patch of blue sky this afternoon. A lot of dog owners must have seen that same patch of blue, because there were more people walking their dogs in the park than I've seen all month. I noticed that there were no loose dogs today. Probably the people who are fond of letting their dogs run free aren't so fond of muddy dogs. Although we saw the sun for a while, the park is still pretty soggy.

I was surprised that the weather improved today, because we woke up to thunderstorms again. The rain quit as we were finishing breakfast, but it was still pretty foggy. It would have been a good morning to photograph ghostly sailboats, but Dash comes first. By the time we returned from our walk, the fog had already lifted and I was starting to see shadows on the ground.

I don't think it's time to celebrate yet. Thunderstorms are supposed to return on Tuesday. Hey, at this point I'll take what I can get. They say it's going to be a nice day tomorrow. I can't decide what to do about the roof. On one hand, it's probably better to leave the water up there until the rain finally quits for good. On the other hand, I've got an actual leak now, so removing the water is more of a priority. Getting rid of the water is a good thing, but I risk damaging the elastomer coating if I'm up on the roof in wet weather. My whole life is like this now. It's almost impossible to make a decision about anything.

I can't figure out why more people don't use the little app I use to bypass the checkout line at the grocery store. Whenever I get groceries on Saturday, I'm the only one in the store using this app. Everyone else is standing in long checkout lines. The app is free and saves a ton of time. What's not to like? I guess I should be glad that few people use this convenient app. If everybody chose to bypass the checkout line, the app would probably crash all the time and it would just irritate me.

Just as I was starting to get into watching the Olympics, it's over. I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed watching curling. It's kind of a mash up of shuffleboard, billiards, and bowling. Since the curling competition is finished and here doesn't seem to be any more halfpipe or skating excitement, I found myself watching a Time/Life infomercial about music from the sixties this afternoon. I kept trying to guess the names of the bands before they showed them on the screen. Say what you will, but music from the sixties and seventies was still the best. I won't be buying the overpriced 9 CD set. I think I've already got all these tunes on vinyl in my storage warehouse.

Dash was much better today. I still don't know what triggers his periodic vestibular episodes, but I'm glad he is still able to fully recover from them. Vestibular disease seems to affect dogs differently. Some never recover from their initial seizure and others are more like Dash. He has had dozens of vestibular events, but has been able to bounce back from each of them. The blood clots in his heart have nothing to do with the vestibular disease. Dash's heart problems are a totally separate issue.

It's time to go to the gym again. I've been saying that I need to go more often for years now and yet I never do. It's ironic that my excuse is always that I don't have the time. I should have plenty of time. I don't do anything. I think I've become so good at doing nothing that it consumes my entire day.

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

Friday, February 23, 2018

Day 2983

Dash gave me a scare today. We had just gotten started on our morning walk when I noticed that something seemed wrong. Dash was unsteady on his feet and didn't want to move. I suspected that he was having a mild vestibular event and immediately tried to get him back home. Luckily, we had not gone very far, so he was able to wobble his way back to the house. When we got inside, Dash seemed very tired and almost immediately went to sleep. He had no interest in food. Sleep must have helped because he woke up feeling fairly normal around noon.

I always worry that Dash might have a vestibular seizure when we are away from home. In the Summer, the best thing to do would be to sit with him in the grass and let him rest until someone could come for us. This probably wouldn't work very well on a rainy day in the Winter though. If a seizure is severe, I need to get him to a vet immediately. For mild seizures it is best to just keep him calm and wait until the symptoms subside. Luckily, major seizures are very rare. Dash has had several, but the vet said he may never have one again. Of course, he could have a bad episode tomorrow. Vestibular disease never really goes away.

The rain wasn't as bad today. There was a storm when we got up this morning, but things got better as the day progressed. It never really quit raining, but for most of the day all we got were light showers. I was able to take Dash on a short mid-adfternoon walk and later in the afternoon I was even able to inspect the roof. I was hoping to find the source of the leak on the back porch, but finding a leak is hard when everything is underwater. I plugged in the sump pump and began sweeping away water. I knew I wasn't going to be able to clear away all the water. I just wanted to reduce the load on the roof. Dealing with the roof is very discouraging in the Winter. Mother Nature always wins.

When the rain subsided a bit, I went to the grocery store and got some food for the weekend. I hate a muddy car, but there is no way to avoid driving in the rain when the rain never quits. I have to remember that the rain will stop eventually. Maybe I can go to a carwash later this Spring. Maybe the roof will be dry enough for the roofers to fix things by Summer.

The post office needs to get its act together. Today's mail looked like it had been dropped in a puddle. Everything was so wet that the envelopes had all come unglued. Even though there was a big pile of soggy mail, it was mostly just catalogs and political flyers. Nothing of significance was ruined. One of the reasons that I always take letters directly to the post office is that I have no faith in our mail carrier. This certainly isn't the first time we've received a box full of soggy mail or letters addressed to our neighbors.

The house always seems cold in wet weather. According to the thermostat, the temperature is the same as it always is, but it sure doesn't feel that way. I wonder is it's psychological? I just can't get warm enough on day like this. I've got the little ceramic heater going in the office and I'm wearing my down booties, but I'm still cold. Maybe I've just got poor circulation. If I don't keep my feet really warm, I feel like no blood gets to my toes at all.

We've had far worse Winters in the past, but this this extended rainy spell has got me nostalgic for Summer. Sure, it gets too hot, but we've got air conditioning. Somehow, our air conditioner always seems to work a lot better than our furnace. Not to worry though. The weatherman says it's going to warm up this weekend. I hope he's right.

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

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Day 2982

Is it time to build an ark? This rain is starting to seem biblical. The wet weather is definitely wearing me down. It's not easy to get Dash to walk on a nice day. When there is a never ending line of thunderstorms passing through town, it is next to impossible. This morning it was foggy when I woke up. Janet and I got Dash suited up and ready to go. I was optimistic, since Dash actually wanted to walk this morning. We went outside and the rain started as soon as I unlocked the back gate. We didn't even make it out of the yard.

Dash didn't want to get wet any more than I did, but he hadn't done his business yet. I must have opened the back door for him ten times while I was eating breakfast. Each time he would go outside, get wet, and then come back inside without doing anything. The conditions have to be just right before he will poop or pee. I could tell Dash was frustrated, but as I've told him many times, I can't stop the rain.

We didn't get a break in the rain until just before noon. The ground was soggy and there was still a light mist, but this looked like as good as it was going to get. According to the weather radar, it looked like we had about an hour to complete our walk. Unfortunately, Dash took an hour and ten minutes and we got wet on the way home anyway. I feel like I've spent most of the day cleaning clothes and drying Dash off.

The leak on the back porch is growing bigger. There is nothing I can do unfortunately. It is dangerous to go up on the roof in weather like this. I doubt that I could find the source of the leak anyway. I'll just have to cross my fingers and hope that we don't get a leak inside the house. Eventually, things will dry out, but eventually seems a long way away right now.

The temperature in the refrigerator is perfect now. I don't know how long this will last. After I defrost the evaporator coil, the temperature is initially too cold. Then it slowly warms up until I have to defrost all over again. I wonder why things freeze up so fast? When I was growing up, my parents had a refrigerator that needed to be defrosted manually. We only had to do this every six or eight months though. I'm lucky if I can go two weeks with this refrigerator. There is no easy solution. The one refrigerator that will fit in our kitchen is on back order until the end of March. If I buy it, I have to pay for it right away even though I have to wait a month for delivery. That doesn't seem fair.

Nothing seems fair at this point. I try to keep my mouth shut because other people think my problems are trivial. Nobody wants to hear about a running toilet if they're having trouble getting health insurance. Nobody wants to hear about water on the roof if they're afraid of losing their job. I understand all this and yet it is still difficult for me to be upbeat and positive.

I think I'm a lot like Dash. We are both grumpy about everything and still remain amazingly resilient.  Whatever happens, we manage to make it through the day and are ready to start all over again the next day. I'm sure the glass will still be half empty tomorrow. There is a lot more rain in the forecast.

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Day 2981

The rain is relentless. I woke up several time last night thinking that I heard dripping water. I never sleep well when I'm worried about roof leaks. As it turned out, the dripping noises were all outside. So far, the house is still dry. I was hoping that Dash would go do his business when I was checking on things, but he had other ideas. I knew he needed to pee because he refused to go outside at bedtime. Dash is a stubborn dog though. He was determined to wait until it quit raining. When he finally gave up and decided he needed to go, Janet and I didn't wake up and he pooped in the house.

Today was almost an exact replica of yesterday. There were thunderstorms throughout the night, followed by a brief dry period around sunrise that allowed me to walk Dash. The rain resumed while I was fixing breakfast and continued for the rest of the day. While we were walking this morning, I noticed that the water level in the lake was really high. Most of the piers and boat docks were under water. If this weather continues the way the forecasters predict, we are going to have some serious flooding.

On days like this, the mail always arrives soggy. I almost wish that our mail carrier would just save the mail and deliver it on a dry day. Most of the mail is political flyers these days. I'll be glad when the March primaries are over. We get so many of these flyers that our kitchen trash basket fills up too fast. The candidates must be convinced that negative advertising works. A few of the ads are positive, but most of them just say that their opponent is a lying crook. Nobody has won me over so far.

I've noticed a small leak under the back porch. Since the porch is covered by the same roof that covers the rest of the house, this makes me nervous. Hopefully, this leak is localized and won't spread. There is no way to remove the standing water at this point. The rain is coming down much faster than my pump can remove it. I had a pump running on the carport all day long and it didn't begin to remove all the water. Mother Nature can make you feel powerless and ineffectual pretty quickly.

All this water is going to make it even harder for me to get the roofers to come back. There are plenty of people in Dallas with far worse problems than mine. I see their demolished houses every time I turn on the TV. I have a feeling that my maintenance won't be scheduled until Summer. The roofers are probably already looking at two months of emergency roof repairs before they can get to jobs like mine.

I had a few errands to run today and tried to wait for a break in the rain. I shouldn't have bothered. It was dry when I started the car, but another downpour started before I was out of the driveway. One benefit of a heavy rain is that your car doesn't get muddy. When I returned home today, my car looked like it had just been through a car wash.

If you wonder why I take so many pictures of Cormorants, it's because there isn't much else. The park can be pretty bleak in the Winter. I can always count on the Cormorants. Rain or shine, they always sit on the same rotting log. I wonder if they get bored?

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

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Day 2980

The rain was horrendous today. At least it was just rain. A nearby town south of us got hit by a tornado and several towns north of us are being warned about freezing rain overnight. There was widespread flooding across town, but luckily the roads were clear and above water during my short excursion to the post office and pharmacy. I really didn't want to leave the house at all, but Dash was getting low on Plavix and I had bills to pay.

Since the rain didn't start until around 9 AM, I was able to give Dash his morning walk. Who knows when we will be able to walk again. The rain is still pounding down on the roof and according to the weather forecast, the wet weather will continue for the rest of the week. Needless to say, this is not my favorite time of year. During our rainy season, we typically get a year's worth of rain in just a few months and then when Summer rolls around, it is bone dry. It would be nice if our allotment of water was divided more evenly, but that's not the way it works in Texas.

As you might expect, Dash wasn't very happy today. He hates rain almost as much as I do. This wasn't your garden variety rainy day either. There were intermittent high winds and plenty of thunder and lightning. On days like this, Dash's safe place is under my desk in the office. I wish I had a safe place. I spent the day wondering whether a gust of wind would knock over one of our Oak trees, or if the roof would spring a leak again. Everything is fine so far, but that doesn't keep me from fretting.

After paying this month's bills, I couldn't bring myself to buy a refrigerator. I felt broke. I can't postpone this decision much longer unfortunately. Something is obviously wrong with the temperature controls. After I defrost the coil, the refrigerator section is too cold. It doesn't matter if I turn the thermostat to the warmest setting; the temperature is still too cold. Then, as the evaporator coil gradually becomes covered with ice, the refrigerator slowly becomes warmer. Eventually it quits working. This process takes several weeks, but it shouldn't be happening at all. As soon as the rain stops, I'll buy a new refrigerator. I don't feel like buying anything on a rainy day.

On the way to the post office, I stopped at the tailor shop to get a new zipper put in an old fleece jacket. "Are you sure you want to do this," the tailor asked, indicating that the repair might cost more than the jacket was worth. I like the worn old jacket, so I told her to go ahead. "This jacket is at least fifteen years old," she told me, "because they don't make this fabric anymore." As if to prove this to me, the tailor went to the back of the store and returned with an equally worn fleece jacket. "I have one just like yours," she said.

I spent a lot of time watching the weather radar today. I kept thinking there would be a break in the rain, so I could take Dash on an afternoon walk, but the rain was relentless. Every time it looked like the skies might be clearing, a new storm cell would develop, keeping the rain falling. The ten day forecast doesn't look promising. I wonder how they can predict these things ten days in advance anyway. Today looked pretty random to me.

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

Monday, February 19, 2018

Day 2979

Part of the greenhouse roof blew off this morning. Jeez. I didn't even think it was a windy day. Apparently, it didn't take much. One minute the roof was fine and the next minute it was on the ground. As if I didn't have enough to fix already. I knew it was going to be a rainy day, so I hurriedly tried to get the roof section back in place. I managed to cover the hole, but a proper repair will have to come later.

The damaged greenhouse wasn't an auspicious way to begin the day, but is was a sign of things to come. We did manage to get Dash walked before the rain began, but while we were fixing breakfast, I noticed that there was a coating of ice on the back wall of the freezer again. It was time to defrost the evaporator coil. I had been overly optimistic. I was hoping that the refrigerator would operate normally for a few more weeks because things have been going well this month. Apparently, the coil freezes faster when the humidity is high. When I disassembled the freezer, I found that the coil was frozen solid. This process only took half as long as it did when the humidity was lower.

All bets are off. When the refrigerator was working well in January, I thought I knew exactly the part I needed to get things running reliably again. Now that the coil is freezing rapidly, I don't have a clue. I'm ready to give up. Maybe I'll go out and buy the new refrigerator I don't really want tomorrow.

I can't get the toilet to stop running either. It doesn't seem that cleaning the parts helped at all. Plumbers tell me that I should give up and buy a Toto toilet. Of course, it was a plumber who told me to buy the ridiculously complicated toilet I have now. Am I asking for trouble to go from a French toilet to a Japanese toilet? I should have just kept the old toilet that came with the house. It used a ton of water, but it was virtually indestructible.

Dash's eating habits are driving me crazy. At the end of the day he's usually eaten enough to satisfy his nutritional needs, but he doesn't eat consistently anymore. He'll eat a little and then turn up his nose at the rest. I'll have to put the food back in the refrigerator and try something else. Often he'll like something in the afternoon that he hated in the morning. This reluctance to eat seems to have something to do with his sense of smell. He carefully smells his food and even his water bowl before he eats or drinks. He didn't used to do this. If it doesn't smell exactly right, he won't touch it. Dash spends a lot more time smelling thing on his walks now too. It is as if he has developed a hyper sensitive nose. I know dogs can smell things a lot better than we can, but this is getting ridiculous.

I hope the weather forecast is wrong. It's going to be a very long week if it doesn't quit raining. There is no point to even examining the roof now. I know it is covered with standing water. I've just got to hope that the elastomer coating holds up. I've learned the hard way that the coating is very fragile when it's wet. I can do more damage by tramping around on the wet roof than the rain can.

It's hard not to get discouraged. This is not what I imagined retirement would be like at all.

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

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Day 2978

I need to find a better time to go to the gym. For the past two weeks there has been a full court game underway when I arrived, so I haven't been able to shoot baskets. This is disappointing, since my time on the basketball court is the only real fun I have at the gym. The rest of the time is just burning calories and trying to raise my heart rate.

Dash was listless today. He did take a walk, but wasn't very interested in eating. I had to try several different varieties of dog food before I could get him to eat anything. Usually, Dash's appetite returns after a walk, but not today. I don't know what was wrong. He didn't seem nauseous or  show the usual signs of a vestibular event. Dash just wasn't hungry. A Dalmatian who won't eat is always alarming. Typically, they are always hungry.

The rain continued today. There was only a light mist when we took our morning walk, but there were several downpours later in the day. Now that the rain has returned, the dehumidifier is struggling to keep the house dry. I have to empty the water reservoir twice as often as on a dry day. Rain seems to amplify all the other problems in the house. When I think about it, every single house issue is related to water.

There is standing water on the roof. There is a leak that allows water to accumulate under the shower tiles. One of the toilets runs and I can't find parts to fix it. Even the ailing refrigerator is basically a water problem. If the evaporator coil didn't freeze, everything would be fine. I wish the rain would quit so at least the air would feel dry. I'm losing my patience with water.

I could really tell that I had shoulder and knee problems while I was at the gym today. Maybe rain makes my arthritis worse. My shoulder still aches. I wonder how bad things need to get before I consider surgery? Lots of people I know have had knee replacements. Some recover completely and others don't. I've always been fearful of surgery. Most of the surgery the dogs have had was unavoidable, but they never made a full recovery. Surgery is very invasive. I had knee surgery back when I was in college and my knee continues to feel weird to this day. I had something called Slocum's Procedure, which has since fallen out of favor among orthopedic surgeons. It is amazing how many types of surgery have fallen out of favor over the years when doctors discovered that the proceedure basically didn't work.

Tomorrow is one of those holidays that doesn't really feel like a holiday. Janet gets a day off and we won't get any mail, but other than that, it's just a normal day. There aren't even any President's Day savings on the refrigerator I still need to buy. Washington's birthday is really on February 22, but in 1971 we decided that it was easier to give people the day off on a Monday, so a lot of minor holidays began being celebrated on Monday. It was also easier to just take away Lincoln's holiday and call combined birthday celebration President's Day. Not that is matters, but I remember when Washington and Lincoln each had their own holiday.

I have a ton of bills to pay tomorrow, but they will all have to wait until Tuesday. There is no mail delivery tomorrow. It would be nice if there was no rain as well.

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

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Day 2977

Dash didn't want to go outside when we woke up this morning. He shouldn't have been so indecisive. Ten minutes later it was pouring rain. The rain didn't last long, but there was plenty of time for Dash to get soaking wet. We dried him off and ate our breakfast. The morning walk could wait until later.

According to the weather forecast, this is the beginning of an entire week of wet weather. I'd better hurry up and find something I want to watch on Netflix. Without any deadlines to keep me busy, I'm going to have a severe case of cabin fever.

Dash did get his walk when the rain stopped and then I got started on my Saturday errands. I picked up some Phenobarbital for Dash and got Carvedilol for myself. For some reason the pharmacist wouldn't renew the Carvedilol prescription until today, even though I ran out of pills on Thursday. Medicare is very inflexible. It didn't matter that I didn't have any pills. What mattered is that they thought I should still have some. Once again, veterinary medicine is so much more straightforward.

I still haven't bought a new refrigerator. The big President's Day sales are a joke. Not a single refrigerator I've looked at during the past three months has seen a price reduction. They're all exactly the same price as they were before. I'm really tempted to buy a supply of spare parts and just attempt to repair my current refrigerator myself if it breaks again.

When I went to the grocery store today I noticed that strawberries have gone down in price. I wonder why fresh fruit prices fluctuate so wildly? There always seems to be a steady supply of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries, but the price is always different.  Fruit that grows on vines seems to be available year round, but fruit that grows on trees is very seasonal. I'll be glad when peaches are available again. My morning smoothies always taste better with peaches.

I should have cleaned the house this afternoon, but I didn't feel like it. I must not have felt like doing much, because very little was accomplished today. Some days are like this. At the end of the day you wonder if anything happened at all. At least Dash got a nice afternoon walk before the weather turned cold again.

I finally got the nerve to look at my brokerage account. I'm still down quite a bit, but last week's mini-rebound certainly helped. I've learned over the years that's it's best to ignore a sell off. When you panic, you always end up selling too late and then buying again too soon. I'm hoping that sanity will return to the market soon. The economy is still good.

The United States doesn't seem to be doing so well in the Olympics. I may be wrong, but didn't we used to win more medals?  The Japanese own figure skating now. I watched Yuzuru Hanyu win the gold while I was going to sleep last night and he was amazing. I guess it's been a long time since Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.

It's time to go the the gym again tomorrow. I've really got to start going twice a week.

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

Friday, February 16, 2018

Day 2976

I hate waiting for repair people. They never arrive when they say they will. You can wait and wait, but it never makes any difference. It's only when you give up and decide to take a shower or walk your dog that the service technician knocks on your door. I guess I shouldn't be critical. I'm always late myself. I can't even get to a simple meeting on time. The AT&T guy was three hours late today, but at least he showed up. My fiber optic installation is now finished.

I wish they'd told me ahead of time that the technician wouldn't need to come inside the house. This could have saved a lot of waiting. I still managed to get everything done. I got my grocery shopping finished early this morning before the technician was scheduled to arrive. Instead of going out for breakfast, I tried the breakfast buffet they had at the grocery store. I'd never tried this before because it didn't look very good. Surprisingly, the taste of the scrambled eggs, bacon, and biscuits and gravy I picked out tasted much better than they looked.

The refrigerator repair guy called me back today. After talking with him for a few minutes I realized that I now know just as much about repairing refrigerators as he does. The guy agreed that changing out all three thermistors might be a good idea. He also said that the temperature control for the fan might have gone bad. There were no guarantees though. Apparently the way appliance repair works is you just keep replacing parts until the problem stops. I don't know why I'm so surprised. This appears to be the way most car repairs work too.

I wish there weren't so many people walking their dogs during the middle of the day. Dash and I used to have the park to ourselves during the week, but now it's crowded all the time. The dogs on a leash are fine, but almost every day we run into someone who is letting their dogs run loose. I could tell that Dash really wanted a walk this afternoon, but as soon as he saw two dogs running off leash, he refused to go any further. It is so frustrating to have to abort a good walk. These people with their loose dogs have no idea how long it takes me to get Dash suited up in his protective gear and ready to go. I tried again just before sunset and this time there was no danger.

The news was all about Russia today. I don't know why the Russians went to all that trouble to get us fighting among ourselves. We do a pretty good job of that on our own. I think a lot of the outrage about this is bogus. The United States and Russia have been meddling in each other's affairs since the beginning of the cold war. It's not like we don't don't do the same thing to them. Personally, I think that if the FBI hadn't been so obsessed with Russian Twitter accounts, they might have had time to follow up on that Florida school shooters disturbing online profile.

Dash was a picky eater again today.  He'd enthusiastically start to eat something and then ten minutes later he would spit the same thing out. On any given day, I have no idea what is going to appeal to him.  I think Dash takes living in the moment to extremes. One minute he wants a walk. The next minute he refuses to leave the yard. Feeding him is so difficult now. I fed him half a can of dog food around 3 PM. He rapidly ate and then we took a walk. When we returned, I gave him the rest of the can and he wouldn't touch it. This inconsistency tests my patience almost as much as repair people.

It is supposed to rain all next week. I hope the forecast is wrong. You know how I feel about rain.

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

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Day 2975

I had the best of intentions today. I was going to fix some things around the house, touch base with my remaining clients, and clean up all the dog poop in the yard. Since I got up later than usual, I didn't get off to a roaring start. By the time I finished taking Dash on a morning walk and made my morning smoothie, it was almost 11 AM. I don't think I was always this slow, but it's hard to remember.

The first task on the agenda was fixing a running toilet. This Porcher toilet was made in France about fifteen years ago and is almost impossible to find parts for. Unlike most toilets, you can't just go to Home Depot and buy a new float arm or fill valve. I feel like this thing was engineered by the same people who made Citroën automobiles. It is truly bizarre. The best I can do is carefully take apart the aging mechanism, clean everything as well as I can, and then put things back together. Today, I slowed the leak, but didn't stop it entirely. It was the best I could do.

I tried to find out whether the AT&T technician was going to come out today and hook up the permanent fiber optic cable, but just ended up wasting a lot of time on the phone. The help desk people in Indonesia don't really have a clue where the service guys in the trucks are. I don't really care when the guy comes out. I just wanted to make AT&T aware that there was a buried line in my yard that wasn't hooked up. The two guys that dug the hole yesterday said someone would come out today and finish the job. Not surprisingly, no one showed up.

I've been trying to talk to the guy who replaced the thermistor in my refrigerator a couple of months ago. This repairman seemed more knowledgable that the others the appliance repair shop sent out and I was hoping he could tell me whether it was worth one more try to fix my existing refrigerator. There are two more thermistors in the refrigerator. If all it took was replacing all three of them to get things running reliably again, it might be worth it. I still can't find a new refrigerator that is as good as the one I've got. I can't find the repairmen either. So far, he hasn't returned my call.

It is amazingly warm for February. I think the temperature was over 70 today. I can never get used to this rapidly changing weather. When I'm walking Dash, I always seem to be wearing too much or too little. Today was confusing. The grey overcast skies definitely looked like Winter, but the temperature felt like Spring. Dash seemed confused too. He kept sniffing the air on his morning walk and wouldn't take an afternoon walk at all.

Once again we are wondering how we can stop school shootings. I don't think it will be easy. We live in a world where Call of Duty is the most popular video game. Violent video games and movies have been a favorite of kids for almost thirty years. Mental illness is so common that it almost seems like a lifestyle choice. It is unbelievable how many people are taking anti-depressants and other psychotropic drugs these days. Social media has created a world where everyone demands instant gratification. Nobody has any patience anymore. Worst of all, when anyone talks about restricting guns, people rush out and buy even more guns. It's kind of a hopeless situation.

Personally, I think technology has advanced much more rapidly than our ability to comprehend it. Sure, we have self driving cars and everyone is connected to everyone else, but in the process we've managed to destroy a society that has worked pretty well for thousands of years. If we don't slow down, things are only going to get worse.

Lucky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Day 2974 - Valentines Day

I don't understand AT&T at all. A couple of guys came out to bury the fiber optic line today. After they'd been working for a while I went outside to see what they were doing. Much to my surprise, they were laying an entirely new cable. "Why aren't you burying the cable that is already hooked up," I asked? "That's just the temporary cable," one of the guys said. They didn't hear me when I mentioned that both cables were exactly the same. "Aren't you going to hook the new cable up," I asked when they were finished. "We don't know how," one guy told me. The other guy said that someone else would come back later in the week to connect the new cable they just buried. Jeez. That's three trips for one cable. I don't get it.

I ended up getting cupcakes after all. I'm superstitious and I hate to mess with tradition on symbolic holidays. As usual, there was a long line at Sprinkles. Every single woman in line was texting someone or checking their Facebook page. None of the men were. This probably means something, but I'm not going to hazard a guess.

I went to pick up a prescription on the way home from the cupcake store. "Medicare won't let us fill this prescription until Saturday," the pharmacist said. "But I'm out of pills," I told her. "You shouldn't be,"  the pharmacist told me. I couldn't convince her that I only had two pills left. I think they miscounted the number of pills they gave me 90 days ago, but there is no way of proving it. Whatever. I guess I'll just skip a few days.

I did get Dash's prescription filled. It's always easier to deal with veterinarians than with my own doctors. I often wonder why veterinary medicine is so much more straightforward and affordable than human medicine. Probably it's because insurance isn't involved. Once insurance companies enter the picture, prices tend to skyrocket.

I was going to pick up something for dinner at Central Market, but I couldn't find a parking place anywhere. Not only were all the spaces filled, there were dozens of car circling around waiting for people to leave. One long line was enough for today, so I gave up and went home. There wasn't much in the refrigerator, but I made some pasta with a leftover meatball, some olive oil, and a piece of cheese. My creation was surprisingly good. It's too bad I don't like to cook because my own meals are almost always better than the take out dinners I live on during the week.

I've started watching the Olympics because it's getting hard to avoid it on TV. Curling is surprisingly interesting. It took me a while to figure out what the brooms and all the sweeping was about. Did the sweeping make the rock go faster or slower?  Apparently, sweeping the ice decreases friction and makes the rock go faster and straighter. The game is kind of like shuffleboard, but involves a lot of finesse and strategy. Admittedly, curling is not as exciting as watching Shaun White do back-to-back 1440s, but it's an intriguingly pleasant game I can watch while I'm eating dinner.

I wonder when the fiber optic technician is going to return. I never dreamed this installation would be so complicated. A fiber optic connection is very fast, but I'm not even sure I need fast anymore. I rarely upload or download huge files anymore. I'd rather have rock solid reliability than speed. I was actually happy enough with the 2800 baud modem I used back in the 1990's.

Dot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Day 2973

My fitness tracker tells me when I dream at night. It appears that I don't get much deep sleep, but I dream quite a bit. I wish I could click on this dream timeline and recall the dreams. I occasionally remember dreams, but most evaporate a few seconds after I wake up. The few dreams I do remember all involve being lost. I walk endlessly down hotel corridors looking for my room. I can't find my car in parking garages. I get separated from Janet on cruise ships and can never find her again. Sometimes I am walking Dash and he runs away. I wonder why this is such a common theme?

Maybe I am lost. I certainly flounder around a lot during my waking hours. Today I felt like I was sleepwalking. Each day seems like the previous one. I walk Dash. I make my morning smoothie. I clean up the dog poop in the yard. I turn on the computer and pretend like I'm working for a while. Dash gets lunch. I take a shower. If there are bills to pay, I take them to the post office. Dash gets an early dinner at 3:30 and then we take an afternoon walk. He gets the remainder of his dinner at 4:30 after we return and then I see if there are any leftovers in the refrigerator for my own dinner. The only time I watch TV is while I'm eating. Today I sent out my February invoices. This didn't take long. There are fewer and fewer invoices each month.

My day has become so repetitive that the thought of doing something new makes me apprehensive. I've been taking care of sick dogs for so long that I associate something new with something bad. As long as Dash stays the same, we're fine. New behavior is usually alarming. I feel the same way about the house. If things stay the same, we're fine. Something new usually involves a water leak or a broken appliance. If I were starting the blog today, the title would probably be "What new kind of hell is this." I dread the thought of anything new.

I do try to take a new photo every day. Maybe I'm hoping that if the narrative becomes too repetitive, the photo will keep things interesting. Today, I encountered a very inquisitive squirrel. I don't know if he was looking at me or Dash, but we were definitely invading his territory. I'm looking forward to Spring and a return of the wildflowers in the park. There are very few things to photograph on cold, grey days like this.

I'm going to need to go to the store tomorrow. I've run out of coffee and the refrigerator is looking bare. I usually get Sprinkles Cupcakes for Valentine's Day, but neither of us eats dessert anymore. It hardly seems worth the trouble of standing in line for overpriced cupcakes if we aren't going to eat them.

I've noticed that my WiFi only crashes if I'm looking at Facebook. That's weird. I can be doing anything else on the computer and the connection is solid as a rock. I wonder what this means? I think all the autoplay movies in my timeline are causing things to go wonky, but it could just be that I'm spending too much time on Facebook.

Tessa is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Day 2972

Why can't you purchase individual TV channels? Janet and I only regularly watch five or six channels, but for years have been forced to buy an expensive cable package with hundreds of unnecessary channels just to get the ones we like. Cutting the cord sounds appealing, but it's turning out to be just as difficult to find our favorite channels on popular streaming packages. You'd think Hulu Live, Sling TV, or Direct TV Now would include PBS in their lineup. PBS is almost as basic as local news. Nope. Even the most expensive packages don't offer PBS. Nobody offers MeTV either. I like this weird little channel because it has all the old Perry Mason and Twilight Zone shows I watch while I fall asleep. Very few people offer NASA TV. This just seems like a public access channel like CSPAN. I though you had to offer public access channels. Maybe I'm stuck with paying too much for cable. It was a slow day and I had a lot of time for comparison shopping. I couldn't find anything I liked.

I'm still trying to figure out why my WiFi connection crashes occasionally. A quick Google search revealed that lots of other people were having the same problem. So many people were complaining about connectivity issues between AT&T and Apple computers that you'd think one of these companies would have come up with a solution. Nope. Neither of these corporate giants would even acknowledge there was a problem.

Here's where things get difficult. If you want to learn how to fix your car, your refrigerator, or your broadband router on the Internet, you've got to sort through dozens, or even hundreds, of wacko solutions offered by ordinary folks and hope that one of them doesn't make things even worse. You'd think people would agree on how to fix something, but they never do.

Fake news isn't limited to politics. It's everywhere. Most diet plans you read about online are fake news. So are restaurant reviews, miracle cures for cancer, and stories about the best food for your dog. When did people become so confident about information that is at best just an opinion? I try to avoid telling people how to fix things. At least I realize that my opinions are probably no better than all the others out there. So far, I don't have the nerve to reconfigure my router based on something I heard on the Internet.

Hey, I did manage to get my refrigerator running again from watching a YouTube video. I've learned a lot about fixing old watches online too. The problem is that I never actually become an expert by watching a YouTube video. Most things I fix end up breaking again. I read a lot about routers today and I still don't really understand how they work. Why can't AT&T or Apple give me reliable, trouble free WiFI? I shouldn't have to do their work for them.

Maybe I should limit myself to simple things. I'm pretty good at doing laundry and finding dog poop in the yard. My morning smoothies are better than anything you'd find at Smoothie King. I make a mean omelet when I'm in the mood too. Maybe this is enough.

At least Dash had a good day. He ate well, took two nice walks, and only got me up once last night. So far, we haven't has any shivering episodes. I was the only one shivering today. It is still very cold.

Lucy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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