Saturday, June 30, 2018

Day 3110

We walked Dash very early today, so there'd be plenty of time to photograph new rescue Dalmatians after breakfast. The kennel seems a long way away now, but that's just because I don't drive much. For most people in Dallas the drive would just seem like a normal commute to work. There was only one new dog to photograph, but that was just as well because the kennel was very busy. Hopefully, this little guy will get a home soon. Charlie was a friendly boy and Janet wanted me to make him today's Dalmatian of the Day.

I'm sure this isn't the hottest Summer on record, but it sure seems that way. Maybe there have been warmer days, but there sure haven't been larger electric bills. Our June bill was the highest I can remember. This probably says more about the rising cost of electricity than it does about the weather. I think we'd pay just about anything to keep the air conditioner running unfortunately. The heat is merciless. We're all getting older and can't take it anymore. I'll keep changing the furnace filters and hopefully the house will stay cool for the rest of the Summer.

I went to the storage warehouse and brought home some of Dot's low dog beds for Dash. He's having trouble getting on the bed now and is increasingly starting to sleep on the floor. Dot did the same thing as she got older. Hopefully, a few strategically placed dog beds will help keep him comfortable. Our brick floors can be pretty tough for an old dog.

I like Sam's Club and Costco's prices on bulky items, but I sure wish they came in smaller sizes. I got toilet paper today and I think I have enough to last the rest of the year. We have a small house and it takes forever to figure out where to store the big boxes of paper towels and toilet paper. The cabinets are full, but I'm confident that we're good on coffee pods, mineral water, toilet paper, and towels.

The storage warehouse still looked pretty full when I went to get the dog beds this afternoon. I wonder if I'll ever be able to remove enough stuff so I can move to a smaller space when my rent comes due again. I've cleared out a bunch of stuff, but it still looks the same. This is going to take a lot of work. The storage warehouse management doesn't give customers access to their dumpster anymore either. That sucks. How can you throw stuff away if there's no place to put it?

It's hard to believe the year is half over. I certainly haven't accomplished very much. I wish I realized earlier how difficult it was going to be to simplify things. If you haven't used something in five years, I would encourage you to throw it away. It doesn't get any easier after ten or twenty years. I wonder what ever gave me the idea that at a certain age you could just magically transition to a house on the beach?

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

Friday, June 29, 2018

Day 3109

The "Service Required" light has come on in my car again. There's nothing wrong with the car. It runs fine. The light is programmed to come on whenever the dealer wants you to come in for required maintenance. They know that if you see the warning light every morning, you are eventually going to make an appointment for the expensive service. The trick works every time. Even if the car is working perfectly, I eventually begin to worry that something "might" go wrong. The service light didn't bother me much when the car was under warranty. Now that the service costs an arm and a leg, I'd rather just keep driving until I hear a funny noise. I'll go ahead and make an appointment though. You win, expensive dealership. I'm superstitious.

I talked to the owner of a vintage guitar store today. A friend recommended this place, and sure enough these guys knew their stuff. Sadly, my guitars aren't particularly special. They are old though. The store was interested enough to want to take a look at them. I made an appointment to get an appraisal and hopefully I can move some of these things from the storage warehouse to a consignment agreement. I've decided that it makes sense to consign as much stuff as possible. Climate control isn't very good in the storage warehouse and for the most part, the stores provide much better insurance. You've got to do your homework though. There are good dealers and shady dealers for almost everything.

I couldn't decide where to go for breakfast this morning, so I went nowhere. While I was getting groceries for the weekend, I picked up a pathetic looking breakfast taco to eat. By the time I got home, I wasn't even hungry for that. It's a shame that I've lost my interest in going out for breakfast on Fridays. I can think of an excuse to avoid every restaurant within a ten mile radius these days. Maybe I've just become too picky, but I think something has fundamentally changed. I don't have much of an appetite anymore.

The security light in the back yard has started to work again. I don't know what is going on. Some days it works perfectly and other days it turns itself on and off randomly. The electrician hasn't come out to replace the photocell yet, so I've probably got a few more days to ponder this mystery. I still think a big spider is causing the problems. Since bugs are attracted to light and spiders are attracted to bugs, it makes sense that a lot of spiders are living near the light. The only problem with this theory is that if a big spider were sitting on the photocell, the light should come on. It goes off instead. I don't know what would cause the lamp to randomly go dark in the middle of the night, especially if it still returns to normal the next evening.

Janet and I are going to go photograph new rescue dogs this weekend. That still seems like a useful thing to do. So many things I do these days have no purpose whatsoever.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Day 3108

Just heard that a million gallons of raw sewage is headed toward our lake. Evidently a construction crew ruptured a sewer line in a suburb North of here and the sewage flowed into a creek that feeds the lake. Life in the city I guess. We never let our dogs swim in the lake anyway because of an abundance of snakes and the ongoing threat of Leptospirosis. Lots of people do let their dogs swim in the lake though. Maybe when they start seeing dead fish, they'll know something is wrong.

It's going to be a long, hot Summer. The temperature routinely gets above one hundred degrees during the day now. It's still cool enough for Dash if we begin our morning walk at sunrise. Later in the day it gets pretty dicy. Even though Dash still wants to walk in the evening, it isn't safe to go very far. We barely made it to the end of the block this evening.

I'm going to miss watching The Expanse after breakfast on Thursdays. Season Three is over now. I watched the season finale today and although a few major issues were resolved, I was still left wondering what was going to happen next. Since we'll probably have to wait at least a year or two before the series reappears on Amazon Prime, I may have to start reading the James S.A. Corey books. The story The Expanse is based on is an eight book series. The TV show has only made it as far as book three. There's a long way to go before this saga is complete.

I barely got started on the new website project and the client already wants to go in a different direction. It's not even worth the trouble to get upset. Few people are interested in my ideas anymore and I'm not interest in arguing. I'll see if I can figure out how to do what these guys want. If not, it's no great loss. I'm more or less retired anyway.

I keep wondering what is happening with my train collection and whether my artwork has made it safely to New York yet. Why am I still thinking about these things? I'll never see this stuff again. I need to move on and start thinking about the next things I need to part with. I'm nostalgic by nature. Looking back isn't always good though. Instead of focusing on old memories, it would probably be better to start making new ones.

It's been a long week, but at least it's Friday tomorrow. Maybe we'll see another Scissor Tailed Flycatcher on our walk. These birds are always interesting to watch. Maybe the electrician will show up and fix the light in the back yard. Maybe I'll be inspired to find an interesting place to eat in the morning. Hey, Dash's poop still looks normal. That's encouraging. When a dog's poop is more encouraging than the evening news, you know we live in a world that has gone wrong.

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Day 3107

The yard looks nice again. I thought the guys were only going to replace a few squares of obviously dead St. Augustine sod, but they ended up replacing about half the grass in the yard. The landscapers were very nice and I felt a little bad about calling them multiple times about the bad grass. I was polite but persistent. You have to be. I've learned the hard way that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Now it's time to focus my attention on the leaky roof, the stuck sliding glass door, the faulty backyard light, the noisy toilet, and a half dozen other things that are falling apart around the house. There are lots of little things that need attention this Summer, but the big thing is still Dash. I worry about Dash every day.

I talked to two different vets today about blood thinners and internal bleeding. Both of them agreed that Janet and I did the right thing to discontinue the low dose aspirin Dash was taking when we started seeing dark stools. Evidently baby aspirin has a greater tendency to irritate the stomach and intestinal lining than Plavix. Low dose aspirin can easily cause internal bleeding in both humans and animals. We're going to stop the aspirin for now, but continue the Plavix. So far, this plan seems to be working. Dash's poop has already returned to its normal color and there are no longer any obvious signs of bleeding. We can only hope that we are still keeping the blood clot from growing.

I'm way behind on the website project I'm supposed to be doing this Summer. I've been waiting for input, but I finally decided that I could get started without it. I didn't really accomplish much today, but I did manage to recover my password and gain access to the server. I created a space for the new site to reside and now I've got a place to come back and work whenever I'm in the mood. As my deadline for completing this project approaches, I imagine that I'm going to be in the mood a lot more often.

As soon as the new grass got installed, the yard squirrels started to eat it. When the squirrels aren't eating the grass, they are digging holes to bury acorns under it. With all the critters that call this place home, it's amazing that I have a yard at all. I have a feeling that critters are responsible for the faulty security light in the back yard as well. There are thousands of spiders in the yard and they are constantly building webs. I wouldn't be surprised if there a thick spider web covering the photocell that turns the light on and off. This would certainly explain the erratic behavior of the photocell, but I'm not sure about the solution. You can't tell spiders what to do.

I'm recording the two hour season finale of The Expanse tonight. I wonder when I'll find time to watch this? Dash doesn't usually sleep this long. Whenever I watch, I'm sure I'll have to stop and start the show over and over again, so I can take Dash outside to pee. Dash will sleep for a long time if I'm sleeping with him. If I'm trying to do something else, he's constantly interrupting me. Like any Dalmatian, he thrives on attention. I probably spoil him, but why not. Dash has so many problems that he deserves all the happy moments he can get.

I can't decide whether to stay up late tonight. Saturn is at opposition and less than one degree away from the full moon tonight. It ought to be quite a sight. The only problem is that there are so many trees in our area that I won't be able to get a good view of this rare alignment until almost 1 AM. If I want to see Saturn's rings, I'll need to get the telescope out too. I wonder if I can even find the telescope? I know it's here somewhere.

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Day 3106

Years ago I thought nothing about hitchhiking around the country to save a little money. It was fun. Hitchhiking not only seemed safe, it actually was pretty safe. When I wanted to sell something back in the day, I would routinely run a classified ad in the local paper, confident that the buyer would be a nice, honest person. Times have certainly changed. A friend was trying to tell me today how to sell guitars on Craigslist without getting scammed or robbed. Jeez. There were so many precautions to take that it made my head spin. No thank you. Why would anyone trust someone on Craigslist or eBay these days? It's sad. These once promising marketplaces have become a minefield.

Maybe some of the bright young people who work at Space X still see a world filled with limitless opportunities. I tend to see Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Where has civility and simple decency gone?  We live in a world where people follow the UPS truck and steal packages off your porch. Real estate agents are frightened to show a house alone these days because of all the stories about assaults and robberies. Even police officers have stopped riding in their squad cars without a partner.

Dystopian science fiction has become way too close to real life. I think I prefer the simple minded black and white worlds of Perry Mason, The Kingston Trio, and Leave it to Beaver. Strangely, few people seem to want to follow me back to the 1950's. Hey, I'd gladly trade my cell phone for a world where you didn't have to lock your door at night.

Time only moves forward unfortunately. I still spend my days waiting for the roofer and the landscaper. I actually got a text message this morning saying that the dead grass will be replaced tomorrow morning. We'll see. I'm not going to get my hopes up though. I've heard promises before.

They did the wrong test on Dash's poop at the vet. I'm glad to know that he doesn't have parasites, but I still don't know whether there is any internal bleeding. I'll have to get another stool sample and have them do the test again. I thought I was pretty clear about what Dash needed, but maybe not. Janet says I mumble a lot and people don't really listen to me.

Dash has started eating grass again this evening. We've got our fingers crossed and hope he doesn't throw up tonight. If we're really lucky, we'll all sleep well and his poop will look normal in the morning. I try to focus on simple things like this. The world close to home still makes sense. Everything else is starting to seem like an episode of Black Mirror.

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Day 3105

The walls are looking pretty bare. The art shippers arrived today, packed up the pictures, and took them away. I hope I don't regret this decision. I've had these pictures on the wall for a long time and some of them have become old friends. I think it's time though. If Janet and I ever want to move somewhere else in the future, we certainly don't want to haul a bunch of stuff we don't need to a new location. Downsizing isn't easy, but I think it's necessary. I've seen many people wait too long and leave a horrible mess for relatives to clean up later.

I've always been a collector and somewhat of a packrat. I never thought I'd reach a point in my life where I could willingly part with stuff. Surprisingly, it's not that hard. The older you get, the less meaning a lot of your possessions have. A lot of stuff, especially clothing and old computers, I should have gotten rid of years ago. Right now, living minimally again seems like a worthy goal. I'm sure Janet will be encouraging me to continue this quest. She's been wanting me to get rid of stuff for as long as I can remember.

I took a sample of Dash's poop to the vet today so they could test for occult blood. Hopefully, the lab will have the results tomorrow. Something isn't right and I hope it isn't internal bleeding. Bleeding isn't uncommon when you are taking blood thinners. It could be something else though. There are dozens of reasons that dogs could have occult blood in their stool. I wish there was a simple explanation for the dark stools. I'd much rather learn that we were feeding Dash the wrong food than learn that he has a tumor.

I didn't get a lot accomplished today because I spent most of the day waiting for the shippers to arrive. The whole process took longer than I thought because the two guys that came to the house had to create a special package for each picture. I was impressed. The guys definitely knew what they were doing. I looked up the shipping company on the Internet and these are the same guys that move presidents out of the White House on inauguration day. A little different than sending something by UPS. When the truck left, the guys said they were headed to Fort Worth to pick up another shipment. "Lots of luck," I said. I don't think they realized how bad Dallas traffic gets during rush hour.

The security light in the back yard is working again. I didn't even have to call the electrician. After about 48 hours, the light seemed to fix itself. I'm not sure what happened, but I suspect that a rat or a squirrel fell asleep on top of the photocell. It could have been a giant spider too. We've got some pretty big spiders. Since the light and the sensor are on top of a tall pole, I never really know what is going on at the top. Hopefully, this thing will keep working for the rest of the Summer. Electricians are expensive.

I'm going to have to go to the storage warehouse and look for something to hang on the bare walls. There's plenty to choose from. I still have quite a few of my own photos that never sold at my last gallery show. I think that show was twelve years ago.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Day 3104

Now I'm worried that there is blood in Dash's stool. When other dogs of ours have had these unusually dark stools, it was seldom a good sign. Maybe the Plavix has caused some internal bleeding. Maybe Dash's cancer has returned. I'll take a sample to the lab for occult blood testing tomorrow and hope for the best. If this is caused by something Dash is eating, it would be good news. We can change what Dash is eating. I'm not sure we can stop the Plavix though.

I didn't do a lot of thinking today. I never do on Sundays. We took a long sunrise walk before it became to hot outside. We all ate breakfast and then I went to the gym. I like my new schedule. I seem to have more energy when I go to the gym early. I tried a new method of shooting free throws that a friend recommended, but it didn't make much of a difference. I tried to move a little faster on the treadmill and arm bicycle as well. There isn't much point in doing these exercises if I don't elevate my heart rate a bit more.

If I counted Sunday chores as part of my workout, I'm actually getting a lot of exercise. I mowed the grass today and vacuumed the house. While I was vacuuming, I took some of the pictures that are going to the auction house off the wall and dusted behind the frames. Most of these pictures haven't been off the wall in decades, so there was an immense amount of dust on the back. The dust didn't hurt anything, but I was embarrassed for anyone else to see it. Now, when everything is packed up to go to New York, the pictures will be clean on both sides.

I think I might just wait until Fall to get the sliding glass door fixed. We don't use the atrium much anyway. I had to have this door fixed once before and the repair people had to remove it for a day to fix the track. I don't think it's a good idea to remove this large door in the Summer. A day without the door would quickly make the inside of the house the same temperature as the outside. I don't think Dash could handle this. I wouldn't enjoy it very much either. I often postpone things for no reason at all, but I think this is a pretty good reason to do nothing.

I can't figure out why my phone is getting a stronger signal now. Usually reception is so bad that I often have to take the phone outside when I get a call. All the sudden I've gone from one bar to four bars. The logical thing would be that AT&T has improved our service, but Janet's phone hasn't changed at all. She still gets poor reception inside the house. This is as much of a mystery as when my Apple Watch shuts itself off while I sleep. I think technology has developed a life of its own. I have no idea what my devices are doing these days.

There is something really important that I need to do tomorrow, but I can't remember what it is. I think all Monday's begin this way.

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

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Day 3103

When I took Dash outside to pee last night, the yard was uncharacteristically dark. The security light had gone out again. Jeez. I just had the electrician fix this thing less than a month ago. Dash pooped somewhere, but I couldn't see anything. The yard was too dark. Little things like this drive me nuts. Why is it so hard to get things fixed these days? For what I paid the electrician, that light should have stayed working for years.

When I went to get groceries this morning, I couldn't find any Swiss cheese. The cheese aisle must have had fifty different varieties of cheese, but no Swiss. It wasn't like I was trying to find anything exotic. I was under the impression that Swiss was a very common cheese, but from the looks of the cheese aisle, Irish cheese and Greek cheese are more popular. In case you were thinking that the store was just out of stock, it's been this way for almost three months. The absence of my favorite cheese was just as frustrating as the faulty security light in the back yard. In both cases, I don't know what is going on. Who knows? Maybe there is a tariff on cheese.

I keep looking around the office and wondering if I still need all the stuff surrounding me. Probably not. I'd be more amenable to a major housecleaning, if it wasn't so much trouble. Books are heavy. Obsolete tape recorders and computers are even heavier. It's much easier to just let everything collect dust a little longer. There needs to be a painless way to downsize without dealing with yard sales or Craigslist. I used to be a big fan of eBay, but that seems almost as bad as Craigslist these days. Lets face it. I've become so adverse to dealing with strangers that I'll probably just do nothing.

It's getting harder to find things to photograph on our walks now. The Spring wildflowers are starting to disappear and the animals stay hidden during the hot Summer days. We got up extra early this morning in an attempt to avoid the heat, but it was still uncomfortable. It's going to be a long, hot Summer.  I think Dash had more energy this morning than I did.

I hope I have more energy tomorrow, because it's time to go to the gym again. I wonder what it's going to take to step up my game and go several times a week. It's easy to convince myself that I already get enough exercise walking Dash. It's even easier to convince myself that the traffic is too bad to leave the house. Hey, if I was really concerned about exercise, I could just do planks on the office floor. It's actually pretty amazing that I even go to the gym at all.

The landscaper still hadn't replaced the dead grass. I wonder who I'm going to see first: the roofer or the landscaper?

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

Day 3102

We had our first 100 degree day of the year. I'm sure it won't be our last. It seemed ridiculously hot today. I kept thinking that we don't usually get this kind of weather until July. Then I realized that it is actually pretty close to July. Needless to say, Dash didn't get an afternoon walk. He had trouble yesterday when it was ten degrees cooler. We're just going to stay inside and hope the air conditioner keeps working.

I've started ordering breakfast from the side dish menu. These little plates with a single sausage link or a few pieces of toast seem just about right. The waiters don't seem happy. I think they want me to order a much larger meal. Not to worry. I'm still going to leave a good tip. I'm just not very hungry these days.

The art shippers called this afternoon. They're on their way. It's going to seem weird not to have these pictures on my walls any more. They've followed me around to two different states and three different houses. It's time to say goodbye though. Possessions can be an anchor around your neck. It might be more enjoyable to travel than to worry about whether a roof leak is going to ruin a painting.

I was going to clean the atrium today and I couldn't get the sliding glass door to open. Jeez. I was going to fix this thing last year, but never got around to it. Now, I've got one more thing on my to-do list. The list just keeps getting longer. Yesterday, I added a whistling toilet in Janet's bathroom. The toilet still works fine, but loud noises are usually a good indication that something bad is about to happen.

Anyone my age has probably watched the Carpool Karaoke episode with Paul McCartney by now. The video was plastered all over my Facebook wall this morning. This touching tribute to Paul's Liverpool roots brought back a flood of memories that had nothing to do with Liverpool. I grew up with the Beatles. It's amazing that after all these years, the Beatles and the Stones are still relevant. I was lucky to come of age in the golden age of music. The 60's and the 70's were a high water mark. Listening to a new album by The Lumineers just doesen't compare to hearing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for the first time.

I got a letter from my sister today. I'm glad she's feeling well enough to write again. Her cancer is not in remission, but she seems in much better spirits. We followed dramatically different paths in life, but some things seem to be converging as we grow older. We both share the same distain for Uber and Airbnb. It's pretty obvious that we have joined the "Get off my Lawn" crowd.

When Dash woke me up last night to go outside, he ended up giving me a scare. He had a mild case of diarrhea and wandered all over the yard in a squatting position. When he was finished, he had trouble resuming an upright position. He seemed stuck in his pooping posture. I had to help him up and gently walk him around the yard a bit to get him moving again. When he came inside, he wasn't able to climb up on the bed and went to sleep on the floor. Luckily, he was walking fine this morning. Dash's rear legs are getting weaker and weaker. I hope he can make it through the Summer.

I hope I can make it through the Summer too. Right now, living in Iceland seems pretty appealing.

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

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Day 3101 - Summer Solstice

It certainly seemed like the longest day of the year. I didn't get that much accomplished, but I've been busy all day. It takes me so long to get things done now. By the time I walked Dash, ate breakfast, paid a few bills, and watched last night's episode of The Expanse, it was time to get my hair cut. I'd made the appointment for 2:15 this afternoon, thinking that it would give me plenty of time, but I was almost late.

By the time I got home again, it was already time to feed Dash his dinner. I always feel better after a haircut. I may not look any younger, but at least I don't look like a madman. Maybe if I cut my hair more frequently, the transformation wouldn't be so severe. I used to go shopping when I made this periodic trip to Northpark Mall. Now, I don't even bother to stop at the Apple Store. I never thought I'd grow tired of computers, but I think the day has finally arrived. I certainly don't need any more clothes. After taking three bags of stuff to the Goodwill the other day, my closets are still filled with things I've never worn.

Dash is back to normal again. I'm glad he is able to bounce back from these frightening vestibular episodes. His appetite has returned and the nausea has gone. It makes a huge difference when Dash is willing to eat. Some of his meds are absolutely essential and when he has an upset stomach, it is nearly impossible to give him his pills. After a while, you really learn to appreciate the good days.

Summer Solstice in Texas just means that the heat lasts a little longer in the evening. There was a time though, when this day was pretty special. When I was growing up in Alaska, my Dad packed the family in the car and we drove to the Arctic Circle one Summer to see the midnight sun during the solstice.  It was a long time ago, but I still remember how cool it was to see the sun above the horizon at midnight. With 24-hour days in the summer and auroras almost every night in the Winter, it's not surprising that I developed a lifelong interest in astronomy.

I was really disappointed to hear that the Supreme Court is going to allow states to collect sales tax from online sales. For many years, I've bought all my computers and cameras online primarily to avoid the sales tax. Buying online has saved me a lot of money over the years. I feel sorry for small Etsy businesses. It's going to be a nightmare for them to calculate all the different tax rates that various different municipalities are charging. I'm glad I was around at the beginning of the Internet. Ten years from now, it's not going to seem very special at all.

I have no idea where I'm going for breakfast tomorrow. I wish I still enjoyed this little Friday morning adventure. Like the early Internet, it was fun for a while. What I can't figure out is if I'm losing interest in food, why am I still gaining weight?

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Day 3100

Every time I think we've turned the corner with Dash, something happens to remind me that he's still a sick dog. He must have had another vestibular episode last night. When I took him outside to pee around 1 AM, he was drooling a lot and wanted to eat grass. I thought he was going to throw up, but he didn't. We went back to sleep, but he had no appetite the next morning. It was really hard to get him to take his morning meds. He wasn't interested in anything. Eventually we were able to wrap the pills in small pieces of a leftover quesadilla. He still seemed eager to walk, but when we got home he wanted to throw up again. It was way too soon to throw up because his phenobarbital hadn't gotten into his system yet. I wouldn't let him eat grass in the yard, gave him a Pepsid AC, and went back in the bedroom with him until he eventually fell asleep on the bed. This was a little risky, since I didn't want to clean vomit off the bedspread. The plan worked though. When Dash woke up three hours later, he seemed fine.

When we went out to dinner yesterday I put on a shirt that Janet said was fifteen years out of style. It probably was. I have trouble throwing stuff away, so I told her she could go through my closet and get rid of anything she'd be embarrassed to see me wear in public. Janet loves to get rid of clutter, so I wasn't surprised that she took me up on my offer. This afternoon, there were three large trash bags filled with an odd selection of old polo shirts that looked like they belonged to a guy thirty pounds heavier than me. Jeez. Did I ever wear those shirts? I guess I must have. There were also a ton of old t-shirts I must have picked up at trade shows. Janet seemed delighted to pare down my collection of ugly sweaters. I must have been fond of loud, colorful sweaters at some point. I could never throw away this stuff myself, but I won't miss anything. Truthfully, I'm glad the stuff is gone.

When I went to the bank this morning, I stood in line behind a man who'd brought a shopping cart into the lobby with him. He looked like a homeless guy, but he must have had a business of some sort. I watched as the teller handed him bag after bag of coins. When he had filled the grocery cart with coins, he left the bank and started pushing the cart down the sidewalk. I have no idea where he was going. It's a strange world we live in. You never would have seen this at a bank twenty years ago.

I made an appointment to get a haircut tomorrow, but I forgot to check the weather forecast first. It looks like there are supposed to be thunderstorms. I hope the forecast changes overnight. Weather forecasts change every few hours here in Texas, so it might be clear tomorrow. If there are storms, I'll have to cancel my appointment. Dash's storm phobia has gotten worse and I can't risk leaving him alone in a storm anymore.

Dash ate his dinner tonight, so hopefully he is feeling better. We still don't know what triggers these vestibular episodes. They seem to occur when you least expect them and they are always alarming. The vet says he will experience these periodic sensations of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. Luckily, they don't seem to happen too often. Lets hope he has a normal day tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Day 3099 - My Birthday

How did this happen? I'm seventy years old. That seems impossible. Just yesterday people were still calling me a forty-something. Where has the time gone? I shouldn't complain though. I'm still here. My Mom never reached this age and my Dad already knew he had Parkinson's Disease by the time he turned seventy. All things considered, I'm still pretty healthy and there is no reason not to enjoy my remaining years.

Birthday's are pretty low key these days. My insurance agent and dentist are the only people who send cards anymore. Lots of people send birthday greetings on Facebook though. I love the birthday feature on Facebook. Without it, I could never remember anyone's birthday.

Janet took me out for dinner tonight. We ate early, so there would still be time to walk Dash when we got home. Our meal was great. I never would have discovered this place even though it is located nearby. My knowledge of restaurants is limited to breakfast. Janet still works though and takes people to lunch. She knows where all the cool restaurants are.

She also knows what I like. My birthday gift was a trip to the Houston Space Center. This is perfect for an aging space nerd like me. When Janet retires (again) later this Summer and can stay with Dash, I'm going to enjoy visiting mission control, standing next to a Saturn V, and maybe even having lunch with an astronaut.

I wonder if the landscaper knew it was my birthday? Much to my surprise, he and his assistant came over today. They were very nice and said that they would have been here earlier if they hadn't been so busy. The replacement grass wasn't installed today, but they measured what was needed and said they'd be back on Friday. Sounds good to me.

Dash seemed very relieved when we returned from dinner tonight. We weren't gone that long, but he isn't used to being alone anymore. He knows he is a special needs dog and one of us is always around in case he stumbles or has a seizure. I thought that Dash would probably poop in the house while we were gone, but he waited until we returned to poop in the house. Poor guy. He doesn't enjoy having an accident. Incontinence goes hand in hand with aging though. In dog years, Dash is a lot older than I am.

I can't say that turning seventy is as much fun as turning 25 or 30, but it does have a silver lining. I am now permanently exempt from jury duty.

Inky is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, June 18, 2018

Day 3098

I was surprised that Dash and I got caught in the rain this morning. I'm obsessive about checking the weather and I wasn't expecting rain at all. Although we both got wet, it was a gentle shower and ended up taking the edge off the Summer heat. When Dash was younger, he hated walking in the rain. Today, he didn't even seem to notice. He maintained the same slow pace he does on dry days.

I'm continuing to look for things to consign at auction. Today, I took a small picture out of its frame to see if there was a signature on the back. In the process, I discovered how dusty a nearby bookcase had become. One thing usually leads to another around here and pretty soon I was carefully vacuuming all the nik naks on the shelves. Nothing has changed in the office for years. I need to throw away a lot of useless, obsolete stuff and give the place a thorough cleaning. Given the extent of the clutter, it seems like an impossible task. I always wondered how my Dad's place became so cluttered in his later years. He and Mom were neat as a pin when they were younger. So was I. In my early thirties, I was a devoted minimalist and nothing was ever out of place. I guess there is a little Grey Gardens in all of us as we age.

I sent the landscaper a text message today. Nothing else has worked. I hate to be a pest, but I hate being ignored even more. It continues to amaze me that so many people in the service industry provide terrible service. When my business was active, I tried my best to be responsive. I usually avoided making promises though. Promises can be hard to keep. It's OK to say you're not going to be able to get to something for a while. Just don't say you're coming over tomorrow and never show up.

I wonder if future generations will ever collect old computers. I have lots of old computers. Most things that are collectible now were considered worthless at some point. Who ever thought that baseball cards and school lunch boxes would become valuable? My Mom threw away a big box of baseball cards I had as a kid. She just thought they were junk. I wish I still had every guitar I ever purchased. I got rid of a few that later proved valuable. As I survey the office now, it's hard to tell the treasures from the junk. It's very tedious to research everything too. That's probably why the bookshelves are so dusty now. I still want to downsize, but it is a lot of trouble. I bet I'll still be thinking of downsizing next year when things are even dustier.

Rugby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 3097 - Father's Day

Since my birthday is always close to Father's Day, my Mom used to tell Dad that I was his Father's Day gift. I think this annoyed my Dad. I was often a thorn in his side. I abandoned a childhood love of physics and astronomy to go to architecture school. Just when my Dad was getting used to the idea of his son as an architect, I abandoned architecture for a career in advertising. Dad had little use for advertising. He was a devout Lutheran and he never really understood when I abandoned the church. We were not always close, but I always admired my Dad. He was an honest man, a Navy veteran, and a proud member of the greatest generation.

Dad was a scientist who enjoyed watching The Three Stooges on TV after work. He was an avid reader and often gave me books he thought I should read. We never shared the same taste in books. To this day I don't know why he enjoyed Don Marquis so much. He probably wouldn't understand why I liked John Kennedy Toole. I've tried to read The Old Soak and A Variety of People and always lost interest after a few chapters. I never thought Don Marquis was funny. I usually lost interest in watching college basketball with Dad as well. Dad loved basketball. The one time when he seemed a little interested in my advertising career was when I told him I was producing a series of commercials with famed basketball announcer Dick Vitale.

I'm not a Dad myself, but I did a few dad-like things today. I reluctantly hooked up the pressure washer and did my best to clean all the spider webs off the living room windows. Spider webs are almost impossible to remove. The pressure washer will remove paint from the window trim before it will dislodge the pesky spider webs. The webs are full of spiders too. I have to remember to wear a hat when I do this chore, or I will end up with a mess of spiders in my hair. The windows look better now, but this is such a messy job. Water always seeps around the edges of the large single pane glass and I have to mop up water spills on the inside of the house. I wish there was a special paint that repelled spiders. It would be worth repainting the house just to get rid of these nasty insects.

I got a lot of exercise today. We started the day with a long sunrise walk. Dash really enjoys these early morning walks. I went to the gym right after breakfast and did pretty pretty well throwing free throws on the basketball court. Dad would have been surprised that I enjoy shooting baskets. Hey, it's a pleasant way to develop hand eye coordination. I still don't follow the sport. I couldn't fill out a NCAA tournament bracket to save my life.

I don't know how long the windows will stay clean, but I'm not looking forward to cleaning the rest of the house with the pressure washer. I usually do this once a year. Cleaning the exterior of the house and tending to the yard are largely symbolic gestures. Mother nature won this battle many years ago.

The landscaper still hasn't showed up with the replacement grass. I should introduce him to the roofer. These two guys are peas in a pod.

Bali is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Day 3096

Summer is noisy. In the morning I'm greeted with a cacophony of lawn mowers and leaf blowers as the lawn care companies descend on the neighborhood to take care of chores that everyone but me seems to have abandoned. The evenings are filled with the sound of Cicadas. Why are these bugs so loud? Their song starts in the afternoon and continues unabated through the night.

I'm pretty quiet myself. The noisy neighbors would never know I'm here. I never play loud music and I don't even make much noise when I mow the grass. My electric mower is very quiet, but it isn't self propelled like a lot of gasoline mowers. I was very tired after I finished mowing the grass today. I've thought about using one of those lawn care companies myself, but they seem expensive to me. I try to tell myself that chores like mowing the grass are just as effective as going to the gym. I'm pretty sure that I burn more calories mowing the lawn that I do on the treadmill at the gym.

The landscaper didn't replace the dead grass today. Why do people make promises they never intend to keep? Eventually, the dead sod will get replaced, but it will probably take ten more phone calls to get any results. The landscaper is probably hoping that that healthy grass will fill in the dead spots and he won't have to replace so much. Either that, or he is waiting until he has some left over grass from another job.

I've been doing some research on the Internet to find out more about the art I'm trying to consign. It's amazing how much information is out there. Pick a subject and you can find out volumes about it in a matter of minutes. Today, I discovered the name of a painting I've had for thirty years. It has a history.    This thing has been hanging in my office for all these years and I knew nothing about it. The only problem about looking up things on the Internet is that a lot of the information is inaccurate. I've been looking up the names of flowers I see in the park for years, and about half the information I find is total nonsense.

I made some updates to an animal rescue website this afternoon. This time the edits worked. I still don't know what went wrong with my upload yesterday. I'm not even going to bother calling technical support until Monday. You can never get a problem resolved on the weekend. I don't know who they hire to work the weekend shift, but they need to take a refresher course in website maintenance.

Dash continues to do well. Three months ago nothing seemed to be working, but now he seems almost normal. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, but that's probably the wrong attitude. You can't spend all your time walking on eggshells. Dash wants us to treat him like a normal dog. No, scratch that. I think Dash really wants us to treat him like royalty. He likes being spoiled.

Hershey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, June 15, 2018

Day 3095

I spent most of the afternoon thinking it was Saturday. How could this happen? The day started out like Friday. I retrieved the garbage can from the curb after the trash truck arrived and then went out for breakfast. I guess that wasn't enough. All these days seem the same now.

I had a request for a small website update today and when I uploaded the changes to the server, the site still remained unchanged. This was a new one on me. I was able to access the FTP server. I could see that the revised files were actually in the client's folder. Nevertheless, I couldn't see any changes on the web. This turned an easy little fix into a head scratching mystery. I'll have to call the hosting company tomorrow. How can the new files be on the server and the old files still show up on the web? Yes, I emptied my browser cache, like I'm always telling clients to do. I wonder if this has anything to do with thinking it was Saturday.

I was finally able to contact the landscaper today and he told me that he could probably come out this afternoon. I left the gate open, but he never showed up. In the guy's defense, he did say that if he wasn't able to come today, he'd come tomorrow or Sunday. The probably means that he'll come sometime this Summer. I want him to come quickly, because if he comes in July, he'll just claim that the grass was dead because I didn't water it properly.

I saw some Gladiolas today and I couldn't remember what they were called. I asked Janet and she couldn't remember either. We spent the rest of our walk with Dash trying to recall what this silly plant was. This should have been easy, because I used to buy these flowers every week and put them in a vase on the coffee table. Eventually, we remembered. Jeez. What did old people do before there was Google to jog their memory?

It's taking me longer and longer to decide what I want for breakfast on Friday. I ended up with a waffle, even though I didn't want something that sweet. I guess I really wanted a breakfast taco, but I don't like the ones that are available in the neighborhood anymore. They are either too dry or taste like they were made last week. The place that made the breakfast tacos I've been craving went out of business two years ago. Increasingly, I'm finding that everything I like is gone. My favorite stores have gone out of business. There are no more Citro├źns and Land Rover Defenders on the streets. The comedians on TV aren't funny anymore. What's a guy to do?

Dash has been doing really well this week. For the past several days he's slept all the way through the night. His appetite has been good and he has more energy on his daily walks. It's so surprising that the blood clot in his heart has returned. By all appearances, he is getting better and yet the echocardiogram says he is getting worse. I'm glad Dash isn't as worried as we are. He seems to be enjoying himself this Summer.

Shadow is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Day 3094

I turned on the TV twice today. Once to watch latest episode of The Expanse and later to listen to the results of the IG Report. The Expanse was much more enjoyable. Predictably, everybody used the IG Report to vindicate what they already believed. The supposedly "objective" report seemed to prove nothing. One side said it proved that the FBI was out to get their man, while the other side said it proved that the FBI cost their candidate the election. Nothing will change. I think that we are so hopelessly divided that we'll never see a consensus again. It's like we are right in the middle of a weird, bloodless civil war.

Of course everyone is fighting in The Expanse as well. This is supposed to be 250 years in the future, so maybe humans will never learn to get along. At least there are space ships in The Expanse. Spaceships make everything better. So many science fiction shows like The Expanse explore what happens when humans make contact with extraterrestrials. I wonder if we ever will? I kind of like the theory that nobody has contacted us yet because when civilizations reach a certain level of sophistication, they blow themselves up, destroy their planets, and become extinct. When you look at what's happening with our world, it certainly makes sense.

I got a call from someone who was trying to move their domain registration from Network Solutions to somewhere else. They couldn't remember their Network Solutions password, so they couldn't access their dashboard to initiate the move. I said I'd help, but much to my chagrin, I couldn't remember my own Network Solutions password either. I wish everyone still used the passwords they had in 1995. Everything was so much easier then. Nobody can remember all their passwords anymore. They'll write them down on a sticky note and forget everything a few months later. I had a special application that saved all my passwords in an encrypted form, but after a system upgrade rendered the application inoperable, I lost everything. I routinely ask for a password reset every time I visit certain sites.

Dash pooped in the house again this morning. He was trying to go outside, but he was so quiet about heading for the door that I didn't hear him even though I was nearby. I smelled what was going on before I saw it. I don't know why Dash is on the verge of incontinence, because in many ways he seems to be getting better. He's eating well now and seems to enjoy walking again. The most alarming thing now is that he often wakes up coughing during the night. The cough goes away after he's been awake for a while, but this shouldn't be happening. The cough probably has something to do with his ongoing heart problems, mostly because everything seems to be connected to his heart problems.

I found some Shoe Goo today but I ran out of time and never got around to fixing Dash's boots. Maybe Tomorrow. I was going to make an appointment for a haircut tomorrow, but I never got around to that either. Jeez. What did I actually do today? Maybe those two TV shows were it.

Daisy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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