Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Day 3141

There is a suspicious rust colored stain on the living room ceiling that wasn't there a few days ago. I think the roof is leaking again. This really isn't supposed to be happening. I actually thought the roofers did a pretty good job when they made their repairs recently. I went up on the roof to remove the standing water from yesterday's surprise rain and look for signs of a leak. I couldn't find anything. Where is this water coming from? I'm about ready to give up. This house is a series of never ending problems. Maybe all old houses are this way, but I'm beginning to think that it would be a lot easier to just live in a hotel.

The weather was nice this morning. The temperature was only in the high seventies when I woke up. Dash could smell the difference in the air. He was ready to walk as soon as he'd finished taking his morning meds. I was surprised at how eager he was this morning. He didn't even want to wait until Janet had left for work. We had a nice walk and then he went back to sleep. That's what he does these days. He eats and sleeps and occasionally poops in the house.

There has been a campaign to save some historic trees in an older shopping center near my post office. When I went to the post office today, I noticed that the developer had chopped down the trees anyway. So much for listening to the customers. I think most of the neighborhood wanted to keep the trees. I'm not even sure what the developer was trying to prove. I think all they are are going to do is add a few more parking places. What was that old Joni Mitchel song? "You don't know what you've got till it's gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Now that Janet has returned, it is time to stock up on groceries again. I went to the store after breakfast this morning and bought a bunch of fresh fruit. Janet thought I might have got too much, but it all looked so good. The strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and peaches were all really fresh today. I should go shopping on Tuesday more often. All the produce looked much better than it does on Saturday.

I wish I could teach Dash to sleep on the floor. He's really having trouble climbing on the bed now. The special step we built at the base of the bed helped for quite a while, but now he's having trouble even getting on the step. He's so stubborn about trying to do things that were easy when he was younger that I'm afraid he's going to hurt himself.

Dash goes to the cancer center tomorrow morning for another series of tests. We're hoping that his blood clot hasn't gotten worse after we were forced to discontinue one of his blood thinners due to internal bleeding. The internal bleeding problem seems to be gone, but we're still worried about the blood clot in Dash's heart. My sister is undergoing a similar series of tests to see how she's responding to a new cancer treatment. I hope everyone's test results are good. There's way too much illness in my little corner of the world.

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

Monday, July 30, 2018

Day 3140

We got a surprise today. It rained. I wasn't expecting rain, but another guy I see walking dogs in the park told me it was going to start raining in one hour. He said he needed to get home quickly because his dog was storm phobic and freaked out when it rained. I told him that Dash was the same way. We talked for a few minutes about the problems of caring for old sick dogs and wondered whether we'd ever have the energy to care for another dog again when our dogs were gone. My neighbor and I both love dogs and are both seventy years old. We didn't have an answer to that question.

Janet is coming home today, but her flight got delayed and she's still sitting in an airport somewhere. Dash is going to get a nice surprise later tonight. We actually did pretty well with pills and meals, but I can tell that Dash is more enthusiastic about eating when Janet is home. I was actually amazed that I was able to get the socks and protective rubber boots on by myself since Dash never stays still. We did OK though. I actually thought that Dash would want to take a walk this evening since the rain cooled things down considerably. He wasn't in the mood though. Maybe he already knows that Janet is on her way home.

I'm curious how well the roof repairs held up to today's rain. It rained pretty hard for at least an hour, so this was a good test. I didn't have the nerve to go look today. Maybe I'll climb up and inspect things tomorrow. I really hope the repairs worked. It was very hard to get the roofers to make these repairs. If they don't work, I know that it's going to be even harder to get them to come out again. I'm pretty sure that they're done with me now.

I'm still looking for a replacement for the location tracker app I've grown to depend on. I've downloaded three different apps that claim to have similar functions, but they all seem kind of buggy. Why did Facebook have to kill this app?  Probably for the same reasons they stopped supporting Networked Blogs. Everything they've done since the Cambridge Analytica mess has seemed to make the platform worse. I wish they'd just left things alone. Most of us knew all along that they were selling our data and just didn't care.

It's hard to believe that it's almost August. Unfortunately, August is just as hot as July. The weather won't get nice again until October. Until then we will continue to have sky high water and electric bills while I fret about the air conditioner breaking down. Dash has done better this Summer than I expected. It really helps to get an early start in the mornings. I'll be up at 6 AM again tomorrow, ready for our early morning walk. I won't have to worry about getting him to take his pills though. Janet will take over that task when she returns. She's better at it than me anyway.

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Day 3139

My cousin sent me some old letters he'd found that my Dad had sent to his Mom during World War II. No wonder my parents weren't all that happy with me when I was this age. The letters weren't all that exciting, but Dad was definitely a loyal son. He wrote his mother every single day for long periods of time. I'm not sure my parents even had my address when I was this age. All I wanted was to be independent and to be left alone. I thought the letters would be about the horrors of war, but they were mostly about the monotony of Navy life and about missing family holidays. Dad was a good son. I guess I never realized how much his family meant to him. Times have certainly changed. My Dad's generation began moving away from home to pursue new opportunities after the war. Their children, including me, moved even further from their roots and family ties continued to become weaker. I wonder what this all means. If I knew, I could give a TED talk or something. Ease of travel and globalization have had a huge impact on who we are and what we'll become. All I know is that there are very few people who still write their parents every day. There are probably even fewer who do this in longhand with a fountain pen.

It's kind of ironic that I actually write every day just like my Dad. These are just notes to myself though. The loyal son has become the self absorbed son. No apologies though. Writing is good. The older I get, the more important writing becomes. Putting words together is good for the mind. Maybe it will keep me from becoming senile.

If the blog helps the mind, hopefully going to the gym helps the body. I did so well shooting free throws today that I started shooting from the three point line. This was much harder, but I did manage to sink a few shots. I wonder how my gym stays in business? The building is huge, but there are seldom more than a dozen people inside. Since the gym is part of a large hospital complex, maybe it doesn't need to turn a profit. Who knows. With the cost of health care these days, this gym is probably doing OK even if it's empty.

Dash had a good day. He got up on his own this morning, took his morning meds, and then dutifully walked to the back door and pooped outside. I wish I could convince him to do this every day. We had a nice morning walk, but yesterday's cooling breezes have disappeared. It kept getting hotter and hotter as the day progressed. By dinnertime, it had become far too hot for an evening walk. Dash didn't seem to be upset. Somehow he knew that yesterday was a good day for walking and today wasn't.

One of my favorite apps on my phone is going to disappear tomorrow. I've been using it for years to track everywhere I go. Facebook bought the app a few years ago and stopped maintaining it. Now they've decided to completely abandon the tracker and erase everyone's data. I've spent the weekend looking for a replacement app that does the same thing. Nothing I've found seems to work as well. Bummer. Now I've got one more reason to distrust Facebook. It wouldn't have killed these guys to keep this obscure little app going just to keep people like me happy.

Dash slept all night last night, which meant that I slept pretty well too. Coincidently, the security light in the back yard stayed lit all night as well. I look at things like these as good omens. I hope we have a repeat performance tonight.

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

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Day 3138

The weather has cooled down a bit. The small difference in temperature made a big difference for Dash and I. There was a nice breeze and for the first time in weeks, Dash was able to take two walks. It's amazing now nice ninety degrees feels when you've gotten used to one hundred and ten.

I stayed busy today. I looked for a new and more reliable back yard security light. I bought some bug spray specifically designed to kill spiders. I went to the grocery store and got some of the things Janet usually gets on Saturday. These errands didn't really complete my list, but I didn't want to leave Dash too long.

When I got home, I defrosted the little emergency refrigerator we got when our kitchen refrigerator was broken. This little fridge was just supposed to be temporary, but it's become a necessity. Dash has so many things that need to be refrigerated now that he needs a refrigerator of his own. It's too bad that these little dorm room refrigerators aren't self defrosting. I guess that why they are so cheap.

Since the weather wasn't too oppressive, I mowed the grass and sprayed the Asian Jasmine ground cover in an attempt to get rid of the chiggers and mosquitoes. I hope this works. Until I get the security light issue resolved, I'm going to have to wade through this thick ground cover every night to flip the breaker switch and turn the light back on after it shuts itself off.

I think the SAMe pills are making Dash a little friskier. I'm not sure this is a good thing. He got excited about taking an evening walk today and tried to run to the back door. Dash's legs aren't steady enough to run anymore and he immediately fell over. When he falls on the slippery brick floors, he struggles to get up. If he would relax and let me help him up, everything would be fine. Unfortunately, Dash almost always chooses to panic rather than relax. We'll have to see how this goes. I like seeing Dash in better spirits, but I don't want him to injure himself.

I usually have no trouble sleeping, but last night I was wide awake. I had to take Dash outside to pee around 2 AM and I had to wait so long for him to do his business that I couldn't get back to sleep again when we finally came back inside. It would be terrible to have insomnia all the time. I'm usually so tired when I go to bed that I'm asleep almost instantly.

Should I go to the gym tomorrow? Probably. Will I go to the gym tomorrow? Probably not. This week has been tiring. At the moment, a long nap seems a lot more appealing than exercise.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

Day 3137

I didn't go out for breakfast this morning. There was too much to do at home. Getting Dash ready in the morning is quite a challenge. He is very reluctant to get up, but as soon as he does start moving, he immediately needs to poop. There is a clear path to the door but he hasn't been able to make it outside yet. I have to try to give him his meds before I clean up the poop, because if I wait too long he'll go back to bed and we'll have to start all over again. So far, the only pill pocket that works is a little cube of rare steak. There are lots of pills, so he gets a fair amount of steak. This usually spoils his appetite and he won't eat his breakfast.

I clean up the poop as quickly as I can and get him ready for his morning walk. I wish we could get started earlier, but we're doing the best we can. We've only been walking about half as far as we usually do, because it's already starting to get hot when we leave the house. I'm glad that Dash has the good sense to head for home early when the weather is hot. Usually he will finish his breakfast when we return to the house, but sometimes I end up saving it for lunch. When Dash has cooled down and goes back to sleep, I fix my own breakfast.

Dash has been very slow and lethargic this week. I don't know whether it's the heat, or if something had gotten worse with his heart. Whatever is going on, it's troubling. I don't want to overwork him, but I don't want him sleeping 24 hours a day either. We've got to strike a balance. We go back for another big recheck at the cancer center next week. I really hope his condition hasn't deteriorated.

I took my last remaining synthesizer to the repair shop today. I'll probably try to sell this one too. It isn't as rare as the two I've already consigned, but there isn't as much wrong with it either. I think all this one needs is a new backup battery. Why this battery is soldered to the main logic board in a hard to access place, I'll never understand. Probably I just wasn't supposed to keep the thing this long.

The keyboard technician told me that the damage to all my synthesizers was probably caused by heat.  The storage warehouse just wasn't cool enough. The fact that you should never keep musical instruments in a storage warehouse has been an expensive lesson to learn. I should have sold all these things immediately when they were no longer being used. Most of the guitars weren't as damaged as the synthesizers, but heat took their toll on them as well. All three of the good guitars will need some major setup work.

It's discouraging to realize that my desire to keep things has always been at odds with the realities of living in a small house. There never was room for this stuff. I always thought that the storage warehouse was like a giant pause button. Maybe I could keep things in suspended animation until a mythical much larger house materialized. Life doesn't work that way though. Time marches on whatever you do.

I just finished giving Dash his evening meds, but he hasn't touched his dinner yet. Usually he will get hungry before we go to bed, but you never know. I guess I should look on the bright side. He hasn't thrown up yet.

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

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Day 3136

Our new schedule got off to a shaky start this morning. Dash didn't want to get up. I tried everything I could think of to rouse him, but nothing seemed to work. It's important to get an early start, because if we sleep in, it quickly becomes too hot to walk. I was almost out of options, but I thought I'd try waving a fresh piece of steak in front of his nose. That worked. He quickly became excited and headed toward the kitchen. The steak not only stimulated his appetite, it also stimulated his urge to poop. I was going to cut up the steak and use it as pill pocket to administer his morning meds. We'd finished half the pills when Dash got a funny look on his face and went racing for the back door. He didn't make it.

I cleaned up the poop, finished giving Dash his meds and got him dressed for our walk. Amazingly Dash stood still through this ordeal. I learned quickly that Dash needs to be standing on carpet when I suit him up. The brick floors are too slippery and he falls over. By the time we left the house, the sun was already peaking over the horizon. An hour makes a big difference. We had to shorten our walk this morning because of the heat, but we'll try to do better tomorrow.

6 AM until 9 AM can be pretty hectic, but after that, nothing happens. Dash sleeps most of the day. After I finished my breakfast and washed the dishes, I went back to the camping store and bought the dog boots I saw yesterday. Will these boots be any better than the boots Dash already has? Who knows. It's worth a try though. We've finally found boots that will stay on his feet, but nothing really lasts that long. After about three months of wear, they start to fall apart. I can keep the boots going for six months by fixing the worn areas with Shoe Goo, but the holy grail is something that would last as long as my own shoes. We've got a long way to go.

Our vet recommended giving Dash SAMe to help prevent dementia and cognitive disfunction. I used to take this stuff for my liver, but I guess it has many functions. I started giving him these pills recently. He's no Einstein yet, but hopefully the SAMe will help. Dash is definitely becoming more forgetful and is showing some early signs of dementia. This is one of the saddest parts of aging. It happened to Dot. It happened to my Dad. And it will probably happen to me.

I found the telescope, but it was much smaller than I remembered. My image stabilized binoculars actually provide a much better view of the sky. I didn't want my search efforts to go to waste last night, so I took the telescope out and looked at the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, and a bright red ball called Mars. It's too bad the sky never really gets dark here in Dallas. There's a lot more up there to see.

Dash has taken his evening meds and appears ready to call it a day. Hopefully, things will go a little smoother tomorrow. It's a learning experience.

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

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Day 3135

As expected, Dash is a handful. So much of his care is a team effort these days. The day started out normally enough since Janet didn't leave for the airport until after Dash had taken his morning meds and finished his sunrise walk. It was only after Dash discovered that his friend wasn't coming home from work at the regular time that things became more complicated.

Dash lives according to a very rigid schedule. He usually finishes his dinner while Janet is eating hers. Since he couldn't do this tonight, a large part of his dinner is still untouched. I did get him to take his evening meds, but it required putting the pills in a little ball of white angel food cake and then coating the whole thing with peanut butter. To be fair, Janet often has to do this too. It just isn't easy to get the little guy to take his meds.

I thought a short evening walk might get his appetite going. After struggling to get his protective gear on by myself, he refused to leave the house. This wasn't entirely surprising either. He's gotten in the habit of wanting someone to follow on his walks. Either Janet or I will walk ahead and the other person will hold the leash. This usually works pretty well. It might have just been too hot this afternoon, but we walked yesterday at this same temperature without any problems. Hopefully, Dash will finish his dinner later this evening. I'm trying to keep an eye on him, but there's a good chance that he'll poop in the house while I'm finishing tonight's blog post.

I got a call from the computer repair shop saying that the battery I'd ordered had arrived, so I took Janet's laptop in to get it installed. I hope this little repair shop does well. It's not too far from the house and the staff are friendly and knowledgable. Unlike the Apple Store, these guys are actually interested in keeping my older computers running. While the battery was being installed, I went next door to a hiking and camping store and looked at overpriced gear. I happened to see a new brand of dog boots that actually looked quite sturdy. I would have bought some, but I couldn't remember Dash's shoe size. I'll have to measure his paws again.

When I was taking Dash out for one of his middle of the night bathroom breaks last night, I noticed how bright Mars had become. The planet is close to opposition now and is making its closest approach to Earth in fifteen years. I went back in the house, got my binoculars, and was amazed to see a red disc about the size of Jupiter. I've never seen Mars this large before. Sometimes you can't see a disc at all. It might be worth actually setting up the telescope for this. The only problem is that the only time I can get a clear view of the planet through the thick tree canopy in the back yard is about 3 AM. Personally, I'd rather sleep at this hour, but Dash will probably get me up anyway.

The UPS guy delivered the new printer ink this evening. There's no point in installing the cartridges yet. I don't have anything to print. I think I could put my time to better use looking for the telescope. Where did I put that thing?

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

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Day 3134

I think I'm getting used to the heat. The temperature was only 95 degrees today and it actually seemed cool. Janet didn't have to work this morning, so she got me up early and we were able to give Dash a nice morning walk before the sun ruined everything. Walking before sunrise really makes a big difference.

I'm still wondering how I'm going to maintain this routine while Janet is gone. It takes two of us to get his boots and leg brace on in the morning. One person holds Dash still and lifts his legs one at a time while the other person puts on the socks and protective boots. I've been able to get Dash dressed alone before, but it continues to get harder as he gradually becomes weaker. We'll do the best we can. I know Dash loves his walks, so maybe he'll be cooperative.

I finally went up on the roof and inspected the repairs this morning. Generally, the workmanship looked pretty good, but there were a few glaring errors. There are several telephones lines on the roof. A series of wood blocks elevates these lines, keeping them about five inches above the roof's surface. The roofers removed the blocks and poured the elastomer material directly over the lines. Now, they have become embedded in the roof. There is no way I can remove these wires without ripping a hole in the silicon coating. There is also a mysterious air bubble in one section of the new coating. Where did that come from? I hesitate to complain about these things. All in all, the roofers did a pretty good job and I know they don't want to hear from me again.

The large production printer ran out of ink today while I was trying to clear the clogged lines. Against my better judgement, I called my supplier and ordered some more of the expensive ink. It's doubtful that I'll ever be making large Giclée prints again. I hate to give up on the aging printer though. Unlike some of my obsolete equipment, this thing still works as long as I keep it clean.

The light in the back yard stayed on all night and automatically shut off at sunrise. Weird. There is no rhyme or reason to this thing. Some days it works and other days it doesn't. I like things orderly and predictable, so this stupid light is driving me nuts. If I was a superstitious person, I'd have to conclude that the light was haunted. We'll see what it does tonight. I hate to keep bugging the electrician if the thing is actually working.

I think I've got Dash's complex diet and pill routines memorized. If not, Janet has written everything out for me. She, more than anyone, knows how forgetful I am. All Dash's daily pills are neatly packaged in sandwich bags, labeled with the appropriate day of the week. There is a bag for morning meds and a different bag for evening mets. The refrigerator is filled with tasty things to make improvised pill pockets out of. If Dash isn't eating chicken, there is steak. I think we'll be OK.

I wish I wasn't such a nervous person, but I've spent the past three years caring for sick dogs. There are so many things that can go wrong.

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

Monday, July 23, 2018

Day 3133

It's going to be a long Summer. I tried to get up early this morning, but Dash and I didn't make it out the door until 7 AM. This was about a half hour later than yesterday, giving the sun just enough time to creep above the horizon before we returned home. It's amazing how quickly things start heating up once the sun is up. I feel like I'm in some dystopian science fiction movie where the mole people only come out at night to avoid  a malevolent sun that is starting to go supernova.

I think the new coating on the roof has had plenty of time to dry. Maybe it's time for a little rain. Unfortunately, there is no rain in the forecast. I think we'll have triple digit temperatures for the rest of the week. Dash did OK on his walk, although he did get a little hot. I'm glad we didn't wait until 7:30 to get started.

The battery store was open this morning, so I got the uninterruptible power supply for my computer repaired. Damn, this thing is heavy. I've got another uninterruptible power supply that needs new batteries as well, but I'll save that for another day. While the technician was replacing the batteries, he told me that the store no longer replaced laptop and iPhone batteries. This was disappointing news. This place only used to charge half as much as the Apple Store. I asked the guy why they decided to quit offering this service. He said Apple products were difficult to work on and they weren't making enough money.

Since the battery store wouldn't replace the battery in Janet's laptop, I had to take it to a more expensive computer repair shop. They said the computer was old and they would have to special order a replacement battery. I kind of expected this, but I didn't expect them to make me come down to the store and give them a deposit. I still don't know why they wouldn't take a credit number over the phone. While I was at the store, I noticed some old Apple towers on display like I used to use. "Do people still buy these," I asked? The store manager laughed. "No, she said. A customer brought these in for recycling and I thought they would make an interesting history lesson." Oh, well. So much for the computers in the storage warehouse. I told the manager that if she wanted a history lesson, I could bring her enough old Macs to start a museum.

I had a conversation with the electrician this afternoon about the light in my backyard. He can't figure out what is going on either. There is no logical reason why the light would come on normally at dusk every evening and then arbitrarily shut off again around midnight. I asked the electrician whether he could just hard wire the light so I could turn it on and off with a switch in the house. He said yes and then added that I probably wouldn't like the expense. Instead of running a wire to the house, he recommended a WiFi switch on the pole, so I could turn on the light with my phone. Jeez. Whenever I'm looking for a simple solution, people inevitably recommend something complicated instead.

I think I know why I'm gaining weight. When there's nothing to do, I tend to find myself in the kitchen eating crackers. I'll check the stock market on TV and then grab a few crackers. I seem to do this on an hourly basis. To avoid boredom and reduce the risk of getting fat, I took a nap with Dash this afternoon. I think this confused my Fitbit. It doesn't seem to be used to people who sleep during the day.

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

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Day 3132

It was 111 degrees at our house today. Yikes. That's only two degrees away from the all time record for Dallas. Any way you look at it, the weather is brutally hot. Lately, our entire day revolves around surviving the heat. There were still a few stars in the sky when we got up this morning. There wasn't much of a breeze, but the temperature was only 85 degrees. Dash seemed to appreciate our attempts to protect him from the heat. He was enthusiastic about his early walk this morning and for the first time in over a month wanted to explore the shoreline. This was actually very encouraging. Dash has so many medical problems that it's nice to see that he can still enjoy some of the things he loved to do when he was younger.

I'm not sure the backyard plants are going to make it, but we're trying our best to keep them alive. The water from the sprinklers probably benefits the squirrels and birds as much as it helps the yard. There were dozens of squirrels enjoying the water while we were eating breakfast. You'd think with a large lake nearby, these critters would migrate to the shoreline, but they seem to prefer their favorite trees.

I went to the gym right after breakfast. Why not. The gym has a better air conditioning system than we do and the place is nice and cool. Only the regulars were exercising this morning. The park wasn't very crowded either. The longer the heat continues, the less you want to do. After a while, the only thing that seems appealing is eating a big bowl of ice cream.

Janet's laptop had a weird problem today. The trackpad popped out and the case wouldn't close. I've had lots of Macs, but had never heard of this happening before. I did a little research and discovered that this was actually a very common problem. When Macintosh laptop batteries get old they have a tendency to swell, and this can cause the trackpad, which sits directly above the battery, to pop out. Luckily, the fix is pretty easy. The computer just needs a new battery.

One day next week is going to be battery day. I promised Janet I'd get the laptop fixed and I still need to replace the backup batteries in my uninterruptible power supply as well. Since batteries were on my mind, I recharged my own laptop and replaced the batteries in the wireless mics for the video camera as well. I haven't used the microphones for a while, but you never know.

Since Janet is leaving to visit her family soon, she's been trying to teach me the routine she uses for giving Dash his daily meds. It's a complex system since Dash hates taking pills and we never know what he will eat from day to day. On good days we can still hide the pills in a meatball of Hills ID dog food. When that doesn't work, we have to resort to more exotic treats. Sometimes peanut butter works. Other times we've tried to hide the pills in angel food cake. When nothing else works, we always keep some fresh steak in the refrigerator. When I master Dash's meds, I've still got to figure out how to get his protective boots on by myself.

The security light went out again last night. Jeez. This thing was fixed for the second time just last week. The light comes on normally at dusk and then shuts itself off around 1 AM. The circuit breaker is not tripped and the light comes on normally again the next evening. I have no idea what is going on. The electrician doesn't have a clue either. The only thing I can think of is that the special LED bulb is not compatible with the photocell. Who knows. Maybe the light just won't work during a heat wave.

Since it's not getting any cooler tomorrow, I'm going to have to try getting Dash to take a walk while Janet is getting ready for work. Usually he won't walk until after she leaves the house, but it will be too hot by then. Dash is a stubborn dog, but maybe he'll listen to reason. Leaving early is for his own good. We'll see.

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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Day 3131

People are adjusting their schedules to beat the heat. We set an alarm this morning so we could walk Dash before the weather became unbearable. The sun wasn't even up yet and the park was already full of joggers, cyclists, and people walking their dogs. I can't recall seeing so many people out so early. I'm sure everyone had the same idea we did. If we'd waited even one more hour to walk, the temperature would have been ten degrees higher.

Once the sun came up, I had no desire to leave the house. There were the usual Saturday errands unfortunately, so I tried to get them finished as soon as I could. I thought I'd drop off an uninterruptible power supply at the battery store while I went grocery shopping. After disconnecting the heavy box and lugging it to the car, I discovered that the battery store is no longer open on Saturday. Bummer. I've gone to this place on Saturday morning many times before. Why do people keep changing things? Now I'll have to go back during the week to get the UPS repaired. We're prone to power spikes and surges in our neighborhood, so I definitely need this thing.

It's like Russian Roulette when I get gas at Sam's Club now. They never tell you when they run out of premium gas. You have to run your credit card and select the grade you want. If no gas comes out of the pump, you're out of luck. Even worse, you're still charged one dollar for every attempt you make. I have several of these one dollar charges on my latest statement. It's irritating, but not worth the trouble to protest. Luckily, there was plenty of premium this morning. I guess I could just get gas somewhere else, but I'm a creature of habit.

When I turn the sprinklers on in the morning, a wide variety of birds, squirrels, and even bugs come out of their hiding places to enjoy the water. There were tons of birds using the birdbath this morning. I feel sorry for the critters in the park. This weather must be tough on them. We don't see many animals when we take our morning walks now. I hope they survive. I have a feeling that even the ducks are getting hot.

Every once and a while I still wonder if there still are any uses for my old video equipment. I did a Google search this afternoon and discovered that nobody is even talking about BetaSP anymore. Crickets. Some of the last entries about how obsolete this stuff is were made in 2012. It's weird how $20,000 cameras can be worth absolutely nothing literally overnight when the technology changes. You can't even give this stuff to schools anymore. Nobody wants it. The only articles I could find at all were about the importance of transferring old archive material to a digital format before all the tape machines disappeared. I have a feeling that ship has already sailed. Jeez. I still have a couple of old 2" master tapes from my documentary series. I bet there aren't any working Quad machines left in the entire country.

After I became completely depressed about being surrounded by ancient, obsolete equipment, I got started on my weekly routine of recharging batteries. Batteries are such a pain. While the batteries were recharging, I watched cooking shows on PBS. Why am I fascinated by cooking shows when I don't like to cook? Probably for the same reason I'm fascinated by owning a Tesla while I hate batteries.

Dash seemed like a happy camper today. He's been doing surprisingly well this week, considering that it feels like a furnace outside.

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

Friday, July 20, 2018

Day 3130

Persistence pays off. The roof has finally been repaired. Lord knows how long I've been complaining about this roof. I'm sure the time is measured in years, not months. I'll have to wait until the elastomer coating dries completely before I can inspect things, but at first glance, it looks like the guys did a good job. I really hope that these repairs work. I'm tired of having problems with the roof. I'm tired of complaining too. Truthfully, I'd like to forget about the roof for a while. In retrospect, I wish the roofers had told me in the beginning that the high-tech membrane roof wasn't appropriate for my type of building. An old fashioned tar and gravel roof would have worked much better. That's ancient history now. The roof is what it is.

Every year on this date I grow nostalgic about the moon landing. I feel really old when I hear adults who aren't that young themselves talk about viewing the landing with their parents when they were seven. I was in college at the time. 1969 was a great year. The moon landing and Woodstock both happened during the same summer. I miss those times. There was a spirit of optimism that had nothing to do with political parties. We were a country then. Now we're just a bunch of warring tribes.

We had our second consecutive day of record heat with temperatures topping out at 108 degrees. They say the heat wave should peak tomorrow when temperatures could reach 110 degrees. We're also setting new records for electricity and water usage. I hope the power company can meet the demand. I'm not sure that Dash could handle a power outage. We were without electricity for four days in July when we first moved here. It was miserable. Even without a power outage, I worry about the air conditioner. It's been running non-stop for several days now. I had an HVAC company as a client once and they told me that there were an unbelievably number of air conditioner failures during Summer heat waves. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. This oppressive heat can't last forever.

Our morning walk went well this morning. We got started before sunrise and there was a nice breeze. I shortened our route and we only walked about half the distance we usually do. This seemed to do the trick. Dash was normal when we returned home. The roofers got started early too. They were up on the roof before I left for breakfast. It was smart to get started early. The temperature was only 87 degrees at sunrise but quickly rose to triple digits within a matter of hours.

It goes without saying that I stayed inside most of the day. I did go out for breakfast and got some groceries on the way home, but that was about it. I ordered the same meal I had last Friday, but it tasted different. There must have been a different chef this morning. I don't know why consistency is so important to me. Breakfast was actually fine. I just wish it was exactly the same as last week.

We're setting the alarm to get up extra early tomorrow. It's going to be the only way to give Dash a decent walk.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Day 3129

We broke a 93 year old record. The temperature was 108 today, making this the hottest day of the year as well as the warmest July 19th on record. I'm not looking forward to tomorrow. They say it is going to be even hotter. I walked Dash really early this morning, but we should have stayed inside. The temperature was already above 90 degrees at sunrise. Even though we walked slowly, Dash became overheated. I was worried about him when we came home. I found him panting in the bedroom with his tongue hanging out. I covered him with a cool damp towel and watched him until his breathing became normal again. He seemed fine while we were walking, but this heat can be deceptive. I shouldn't have taken him out this morning. We'll either take a very short walk tomorrow, or no walk at all.

Our air conditioning system is struggling. It does fine when the exterior  temperatures are in the low 90's, but we were way above that today. Realistically, you can only expect an air conditioner to lower the temperature by twenty degrees. When the temperature is 108, it is difficult to keep things at 75 degrees inside. I'm worried that there will be a power outage. Our power grid is old and everyone is using their air conditioners at once. It's not a good combination.

I was surprised that the roofers even showed up today. The crew power washed the roof to prepare the surface for a new elastomer coating. The roof does look clean, but unfortunately it's wet again. Now, even more of the old coating is peeling away. I guess it doesn't matter since all the damaged areas will be recoated tomorrow. I wish the guys would just replace the entire roof, but that's not going to happen. If I can get them to repair all the bad spots, this is probably as good as it's going to get. I hope the guys get started early. If they wait until the afternoon to begin, it is going to be unbearably hot.

Dash is fine now, but he really gave me a scare this morning. With his bad heart, we really can't take chances. As much as he enjoys his walks, I think we're going to have to stay inside until the weather cools down a bit. I wonder how long that will take? The ten day forecast shows triple digit temperatures as far as the eye can see.

Texas weather is basically horrible. Every Summer I can't wait until Winter arrives and every Winter I can't wait until Summer. Spring and Fall only seem to last around two days. Every time I start to get complacent, there's a tornado warning to remind me that things can get even worse. I wonder where the good weather is hiding? I used to think I'd like to live in Colorado, but that part of the country is having terrible wild fires now. Hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires, and drought. There always seems to be something just beyond the horizon waiting to spoil the party.

I actually enjoyed my breakfast last Friday. Maybe I'll go back to the same restaurant again tomorrow. It all depends on when the roofers arrive and whether Dash remains calm without his morning walk.

Jade is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Day 3128

I guess I don't watch local news enough. I just discovered today that the hazy skies we've been experiencing lately are caused by dust from the Sahara Desert. When I first noticed the haze, I thought something was wrong with my eyes. Then I thought there was a big forest fire somewhere. When I walked Dash in the morning it seemed like I was looking at the world through a pair of dirty reading glasses. I use this analogy because I often have the same hazy view when I look at my computer screen. I need to clean my glasses more often. How could a cloud of dust travel 5000 miles and then just stop when it arrived in Texas? I hope the weather changes and the cloud starts to blow westward again. They say the dust contains diatomaceous earth. Not good. Silica is not very healthy for dogs or people to breathe.

No roofers today. Honestly, I don't blame them for not showing up. It is beastly hot. In some parts of town the temperature hovered around 110 degrees. The only way the roofers could work comfortably would be to get started very early and leave before 10 AM. It's not going to get any cooler tomorrow, so we'll have to see what happens. I'd really like to get this roof fixed, but you could fry an egg on it right now.

Dash got cheated out of his morning walk. We were doing just fine until he saw a loose dog. The dog was well behaved and was sitting next to his owner at a picnic table near the lake, but I couldn't convince Dash that everything was OK. He is terrified of unleashed dogs. The dog was at least fifty yards away when he spotted it, but that was enough. He immediately turned around and headed for home.

A small business I used to work with recently became part of a large national chain. The website they replaced mine with didn't even last a year. Now, there's a third design that follows the corporate style manual. It must be getting harder and harder for a small business to thrive. I see so many places either go out of business or sell to someone larger. It's a shame. I almost always like the small businesses better. Camera stores, veterinarians, ad agencies, hobby shops, and plumbers are all forced to grow or die. My own business probably died because I chose not to grow at a critical point in time. It's OK though. I had some very good years and I could never work for someone else.

I must spend more time outdoors than I realize. When the weather becomes oppressively hot, I start to get cabin fever. Dash sleeps all day. I can't stand what's on daytime TV. And cleaning the house gets old pretty fast. What's a guy to do? I guess I never realized how much time I used to spent working. It's basically always been boring around the house, but I had so many deadlines to meet, I never noticed.

I wonder what happens when my downsizing quest is complete. Will life be any different when the storage warehouse is empty and the house is tidy again? Probably not.

Beemer is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Day 3127

I think the gods of keeping things too long are punishing me. When I went to the storage warehouse to pick up some more things to sell, I got a nasty surprise. The protective foam inside a mixing board's flight case had completely disintegrated, turning the inside of the case into a sticky mess. Even worse, when I finally found a guitar that had been hidden behind several large boxes the last time I looked, I discovered that the neck had cracked. It's not uncommon for a guitar neck to warp, but I'd never seen one with a large crack like this. I managed to get the vintage mixing board cleaned up, but the guitar was hopeless. I took it to the vintage guitar guys anyway, in hopes that it could be fixed. They just looked at it in dismay. They said the best I could hope for was that a British theme restaurant or sports bar would buy it as a decoration to hang on their wall. The guitar was not playable.

No wonder antiques are often so expensive. It's really hard to keep something old in new condition. If it's made of cloth, it will get eaten by moths. It is is made of metal, it will rust. If it's made of glass, you will probably end up breaking it. I'm not exactly batting 1000 in my attempt to downsize. Some things survived the ravages of time and others didn't. Now I know what the phrase 'use it or lose it" really means.

Retrieving things from the storage warehouse and cleaning them up took a lot of time, so I didn't get much done today. It could take months to clean out the warehouse. So far, it's been discouraging work. Nothing looks better than when I stored it away. Where did I ever get the idea that I could unpack this stuff decades later and it would still be as good as new? I'm still determined to unload some of this stuff, but I'm not going to get rich doing it. A lot of things need to go straight in the dumpster.

I feel sorry for the roofers if they still have to work in this weather. It's really hot. I think we set a new temperature record today. I wouldn't be surprised if the roofers canceled the repairs because of the heat, but if they do come out this week, the roof is definitely dry.

Dash and I walked around sunrise again today. I think everyone with dogs in the neighborhood had the same idea. The park was surprisingly crowded this morning, but luckily all the dogs we encountered were friendly. You almost have to walk early these days. Once the sun is high in the sky, the heat is brutal. Several people asked me about Dash's boots this morning. Their dogs weren't sick. They just wanted something to protect their dogs feet from the hot pavement. I should carry business cards for Ultra Paws with me. I'm sure I've brought them some business this Summer.

My water bill is going to be huge this month. I'm having to water the grass and shrubs almost every day. Even though it's hard to keep things green, I hope that things stay hot and dry until the roof gets fixed. As soon as the roofers get finished though,  I'm going to join the rest of Dallas and pray for rain.

Riley is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, July 16, 2018

Day 3126

I'm slowly discovering that if you want results you have to use the right form of communication. If you send a voicemail to someone who prefers to text, nothing will happen. If you send an e-mail to someone who prefers to talk, nothing will happen. It's complicated. The electrician prefers to talk on the phone. The roofer and the landscaper would rather text. The art galleries and auction houses communicate almost exclusively via e-mail. So far, only the art conservator and the vintage guitar guy want to talk face-to-face. Maybe that's why I like those old Perry Mason shows. There was no voicemail or texting. The internet didn't even exist. People just called Perry on the phone and he picked it up and answered it.

I never used to think of myself as a nostalgic person, but I'm definitely nostalgic now. Forty nine years ago today, Apollo 11 left this earth on a journey to the moon. I remember that time well. A few days later we would hear that "the Eagle has landed" and the world would rejoice. I wish that same spirit prevailed today. It's not surprising that we've never been back. We don't have shared dreams anymore. Maybe you have a dream, and I have a dream, and the neighbor down the street has a dream, but they are definitely not shared dreams.

I'm going to have to start getting up earlier. It's so hot now that even our morning walks are uncomfortable. Dash still enjoys his walks, but I worry about him becoming overheated. Although I've tried to teach him to drink from a water bottle, he always waits till we come home to drink. Nothing is easy with this dog. Today one of his boots fell off and I had a hard time getting in on again. I've got to get better at this pretty quickly. When Janet visits her family, I'm going to have to get Dash dressed for walks by myself.

The roofers didn't show up today, but I'm still confident that I'll be seeing them later in the week. There is no reason to delay these repairs any longer. Everybody has finally agreed that the repairs are necessary and the weather is perfect. There is no point in spoiling the moment by continuing to complain. This thing is going to get done. Anyway, there's plenty of time to complain next week if the guys don't show up.

I wonder what I used to do in July? I probably just worked. Without a deadline to keep me busy, it's hard to get motivated. When the steering wheel is to hot to touch, you certainly don't want to drive anywhere. There's no point buying anything while I'm still actively trying to get rid of things. There's no point in watching TV, because at soon as I turn the set on, I immediately want to turn it off again.

Maybe I'll think of something to do tomorrow. I didn't do that well today. I picked up a prescription, paid a few bills and the day was over. I probably should have done some cleaning, but I didn't. Dash doesn't seem to worry about being productive. After a walk and a meal, he is content to sleep. I think that dog has the right idea.

Laura is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Day 3125

There are two types of people who go to the gym. There are the ones who spend half their time obsessively cleaning the equipment with disinfectant rags and there are the ones who don't. I find myself in the latter category. I've always found that the kids who ate dirt and food they'd dropped on the floor tended to be a little healthier. You need to build up your resistance to things. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm still alive. Some of my friends aren't.

I wonder when we started to worry about germs on treadmills? It wasn't always this way. Autism was almost unheard of when I was a kid. So were peanut allergies. If peanut allergies were a big deal in the 1950's, half my childhood friends would be dead. Every Mom in creation fed their kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches constantly. Times are changing though. Southwest Airlines recently discontinued serving peanuts on flights. This was their signature item for decades. Who knows. Maybe peanuts weren't a big deal when I was a kid because everyone was still worried about polio and nuclear war.

Maybe germs and peanut allergies were always a problem, but we just didn't understand what was going on. I was listening to NPR on my way to the gym and there was a guy talking about how we have it all wrong about how the dinosaurs died. Conventional wisdom says a giant asteroid hit the earth, kicking up a huge cloud of dust that cooled the planet for centuries. The colder weather slowly killed the dinosaurs and lots of other things too. Not so fast, says this guy. New science says that when the asteroid hit, the impact sent a column of super heated gas, 100 times hotter than the sun, out past the moon. When the gas was pulled back to earth by gravity, it heated the atmosphere to almost 1000 degrees for several days, killing everything instantly that wasn't living in a cave. Which of these conflicting ideas is true? Probably neither. Humans don't really know all that much. We just like to think we do. If there are aliens out there, they might look at us the same way we view ants.

Personally I'm not very worried about germs or aliens this Summer. Spiders have got me bothered though. We've been invaded by spiders this year. I can't remember them ever being this bad. They're inside. They're outside. They're everywhere. I cleaned the webs from the house with the pressure washer less than a month ago, and the webs are all back. When I let Dash out to pee late at night, I always have to be wary of spiders building webs across the doorway. I've gotten them in my hair more than once. Most of the spiders are harmless, but we do have Brown Recluse Spiders in the area. Our first Dalmatian got bit by a spider and had a terrible allergic reaction. I don't want that to happen again.

Dash was much better today. He pooped on his walk like a normal dog and ate all his meals without throwing up. It was too hot to take much of an evening walk, but we're doing the best we can. If you get out early in the morning before the sun comes up, it is actually pretty nice.

I spent most of my time inside today. When I returned from the gym, I cleaned the house and watched a little TV. For some reason I've become fond of The Great British Baking Show. This is odd, because I don't really like to cook. I was pretty good at decorating cakes once. Back when Janet and I had more energy and time, we used to make the dogs some pretty amazing cakes on their birthdays.

I wonder whether the roofers will show up this week? They promised, but you know how that goes. Hopefully, they will realize that the weather is perfect for making repairs and that it will be easier to just get the job done than have me pestering them for the rest of the Summer

Lizzy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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