Friday, August 31, 2018

Day 3172

I actually did go to a new restaurant this morning. Never been there before. This was a Mexican restaurant that catered to a Hispanic audience. All the menu items were listed in Spanish. Not a problem. Even a gringo like me knew what Huevos con Chorizo were. The food was pretty tasty but I'll probably go back to eating waffles next week. Like I've mentioned many times, I'm set in my ways.

I did so many chores today that it wasn't long before I started thinking it was Saturday again. I'm surprised at how easy it is to get the days confused now that Janet isn't working on a regular basis. It used to be that if the alarm went off at 5:30 AM, I knew it was a work day. If the alarm didn't go off and we slept in late, it was the weekend. I could always tell which day of the week it was by how many bananas were left in the fruit bowl. It's all different now. I'm going to have to become more aware of what's going on around me.

Mowing the grass was more of a chore than I'd thought it would be. I let the grass grow too high in the front yard and the mower wasn't really up to the job. I think I'm going to have to get a new 24 volt battery for the mower. By the time I finished mowing the small yard, the battery was dead. Too bad the battery wouldn't hold out for a few more months. I'd rather wait until next Spring to buy a new battery for the mower, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. The grass is going to continue to grow for quite a while. Batteries are such a nuisance. I like the idea of driving a Tesla, but I can't imagine depending on a car that ran on batteries. What could possibly go wrong?

I made the mistake of washing some of Dash's dog blankets with a batch of black t-shirts. Now I've got dog hair all over my clean clothes. I guess it doesn't matter. I always have dog hair on my dirty clothes. Why should the clean clothes be any different?

Dalmatians shed so much that you have to make an effort to control the dog hair. I vacuumed today and the entire Dyson canister was filled with dog hair. It's like this every week. Despite all the shedding, Dash always has a thick, healthy coat. It makes you wonder where all this hair actually comes from.

The friend who is selling my trains wants to lower the prices on some of the items. I told him that he's the expert and to price things accordingly. Even if I don't get what I initially expected from this collection, it's still a lot better than having a bunch of strangers fight over my stuff on a future edition of Storage Wars. I wish it was easier to unwind a lifetime of collecting. Everything will eventually find a good home with another collector, but it's going to take a while.

Dash used to walk well ahead of me on our walks. Now, I have to be right by his side so I can grab the handle on his Ruffwear harness and keep him from falling when he stumbles. Dash stumbles a lot these days, but it hasn't deterred him from walking. Our slow trips through the park are the favorite part of his day. I think one of the reasons he spends so much time smelling things is that his eyesight isn't good anymore. He is developing cataracts, but surgery is out of the question. Since Dash is no longer a candidate for anesthesia there are a lot of things we can't do anymore. I'd love to get his teeth cleaned again. Unfortunately the dental procedure requires anesthesia. Both of his vets say it is too risky.

I'm going to think it's Sunday tomorrow since I did a lot of my Saturday chores today. Oh, well. At least something got done. I'm not sure if I'm becoming forgetful or if time just doesn't matter anymore. It could be a little bit of both.

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Day 3171

I sent in my application to join the InSight team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for the spacecraft's November landing on Mars. A little while later, I received a conformation from NASA thanking me for my interest while telling me that I was application number 61005. Wow. The last time I did this in 2014, there were only several hundred applicants. Now there appear to be over sixty thousand. Times have definitely changed. I probably don't have a chance in hell of being selected. Only 30 people will be given social media credentials.

Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained. At least I made an effort to venture out of my comfort zone and expand my horizons beyond picking up dog poop. We'll see what happens. If Dash's condition remains stable, everything should be fine. I had to decline an invitation to view an Orbital ATK Cygnus launch at Kennedy Space Center when Dot became very sick, but I'm going to remain positive for the moment. What have I got to lose? It would be pretty cool if I made the final cut.

Dash got me up several times last night, but he ate well today and seems to be in good spirits. So far, there has been no pooping in the house. Lets hope this continues. I wish Dash had more energy, but he's actually doing amazingly well, considering the severity of his heart condition. I wish there was a cure for Dash's heart problems and vestibular disease. There isn't. We do the best we can managing the symptoms, but it is stressful knowing that your faithful companion could die at any time.

One day at a time has become my motto. When you take things one day at a time, long-term goals become irrelevant. There are just good days and bad days. Today was a reasonably good day. Dash didn't fall down. He didn't poop in the house. And he seemed happy.

Dash's mood must have been contageous, because I felt pretty good as well. I got off my butt and applied for the NASA media credentials. I even had an appetite and went out and got some delicious barbecued ribs for dinner. This was probably my first mistake of the day. Damn. I've already got heartburn. I wish I had the discipline to eat like Janet does. Her post-cancer diet is about as healthy as you can get. I don't do so well. My health regimen is basically occasionally eating her leftovers.

This month has flown by. I can't believe it is almost Labor Day. Pretty soon I'll have to start watching out for School Zones again. I don't drive much, but wherever I go, there always seem to be lots of schools. It really slows things down when you get stuck in one of those lines of people waiting to pick up their kids. Traffic in the city seems to double when school is in session.

I set the bar pretty low, but I think I was adventurous today. I wonder if I can be as adventurous tomorrow and try eating breakfast at a brand new restaurant. We'll see.

Tessa is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Day 3170

They've discovered two bats with rabies in our neighborhood. That's a little disconcerting. We haven't had a rabies scare in ages. I don't think I have much to worry about. I rarely see bats in the yard and Dash is current on his rabies shots. He's totally lost interest in going after dead things in the park as well. We never used to have disease scares. Now people worry about getting Leptospirosis from contaminated water in the park. Almost every year there are new reports of someone being diagnosed with West Nile Virus in the area. Now, we've got rabies too. Good grief. We've even had to deal with the Ebola Virus here in Dallas a couple of years ago. I must have led a charmed life as a child. We never worried about anything.

My Dad was a zoologist who studied bats. He used to band them, set them loose in our yard, and see how long it took them to fly back to their caves. We were quite familiar with bats growing up. I don't think the subject of rabies ever came up. I don't think our neighbors were as interested in bats as Dad was. One Summer he released a few that refused to fly home. For the rest of the Summer the bats were a common sight at neighborhood barbecues.

Dash got me up last night, but we made it outside in time. At least I thought we made it outside in time. When he finished his business and we came back inside, I discovered that Janet was changing the bed. Yep. Dash had left another present for us. People ask why I don't use diapers on Dash. They rarely work on large dogs. I don't think they work at all on dogs with mobility issues. Diapers are messy too. It's a lot easier to clean the brick floors.

There are lots of chores I've been postponing. The floors are getting dirty and the grass needs to be mowed. I haven't unclogged the large production printer in a long time. If I was really ambitious, I could try to fix the shower tiles myself. The sheetrock on the living room ceiling needs a lot of attention too. There is an endless list of things that need to be fixed. None of these things appeal to me now. I wonder if this self imposed lethargy will ever change. By the time I finish dealing with all of Dash's many issues, I rarely feel like doing anything else.

I need to do something. Maybe I should apply for that opportunity to go behind the scenes at JPL and watch the InSight Mars landing. Janet will be home with Dash and I could always cancel the trip if his condition got worse. I'm trying to talk myself into doing this, but it's not that easy. I've become very comfortable with being a recluse.

I hope Dash sleeps well tonight. We're off to a good start because he pooped out in the yard this evening. When Dash is able to sleep, I sleep. That's important if I expect to get anything done tomorrow.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Day 3169

I've stopped going to the library, but I certainly haven't stopped reading. I think one reason my head is filled with useless information is that on slow days like this, I can spend hours reading odd little articles I find on Google. When I click on the Google Discover tab, I'm always amazed that there seems to be an endless supply of things I've never heard about before. I'll read almost anything about astronomy and space. I like reading articles about how the human race is doomed and headed toward extinction. Most articles about Elon Musk catch my attention. I always read articles about the best diet to feed your dog. Sometimes I'll read articles about the pills I'm taking or the stocks my broker recommends. I like articles about exotic cars and vintage guitars. I'm not interested in politics at all, so I skip over a lot of stuff. Apparently, a lot of people are only interested in politics.

Today I read articles about what might have existed in the universe before the big bang, learned about a new mass extinction theory that says the dinosaurs all died in a single day, read about a Ferrari prototype that uses a "virtual" windshield made out of air, and did some research on several stocks my broker wants me to buy.

My broker and I don't agree on much. I like to contemplate large scale trends like young people preferring pets to children and ordering meal kits from Hello Fresh rather than going to the grocery store. I'm bored by technical analysis and usually could care less when a stock dips below its two hundred day moving average. My broker thinks Gilead Sciences is a good buy right now. What? I hate that company. They're the ones who charged me $1000 a pill for Sovaldi. OK. It is a revolutionary drug that cured my Hepatitis C, but $1000 a pill still seems a bit steep. I wish I'd just kept the first three stocks I'd ever bought: Apple, Boeing, and Southwest Airlines. If I'd kept adding to those positions over the years, I'd have done a lot better than decades of hit and miss trading.

Forget about stocks. What I should be researching is what's causing Dash's loose stools. According to everything we've read, what we're feeding Dash now should be very easy to digest and contribute to firm stools. It's just not happening. It's hard to get a definitive answer from the vets either. The older your dog gets, the more "old age" seems to be the cause of everything. I doubt that I'm going to find a cure for Dash's incontinence, but it does get tiring having a world centered around poop.

I've stopped carrying a camera on our walks because I really need to concentrate on keeping Dash upright. It's kind of a shame. This morning I missed a spectacular shot of a Great Egret. Yesterday evening the setting sun reflecting off the downtown skyscrapers was equally spectacular. I still carry my phone in my pocket, but I would have needed a telephoto lens to capture these images. It probably doesn't even matter. Everything I see in the park, I've already photographed dozens of times before. Just to prove my point, I took another picture of Jimson Weed flowers with my phone this morning.

Dash had a good day, but he still hasn't pooped yet. I'm nervous. I still can't decide whether to apply to join the Jet Propulsion Lab team for the InSight landing either. I guess I'm nervous about that too.

Mandy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, August 27, 2018

Day 3168

Things got off to a slow start today. When we woke up there was poop everywhere. Dash woke me up around 2 AM when he needed to go out and pee. Jeez. Why didn't he wake me up again when he needed to do this? This morning, Dash was sleeping beside me on the bed. Nothing seemed wrong at all. This brown trail leading to the back door was particularly hard to clean up. When the liquid mess dried it seemed to turn to concrete. To make matters worse, some of the poop had gone down one of the furnace floor vents. Yuck. We didn't notice until we cleaned up everything on the bricks and still smelled poop.

Sadly, this is just the new normal. Dash can't help himself. I can tell he tries because he is always heading toward the back door when the explosion happens. Senility and incontinence are a bad combination. By the time Dash remembers he needs to poop, it is almost always too late.

The city finally mowed the meadow behind our house today. If they'd been one day earlier, we might have avoided yesterday's unfortunate encounter with the bees. Dash and I took a different route on our morning walk, but we'll return to our regular route tomorrow. There's no point in being superstitious. The bees are everywhere. Dash has actually been stung at several other locations in the park, so it's just luck when we manage to avoid the bees. I just hope we never encounter a snake.

By the time I'd finished cleaning the house, I almost didn't feel like having breakfast. The smell of poop does that to me. I persevered though, because without a decent breakfast I knew I'd just snack on crackers all day. I wish I still got excited about food. As other activities have gradually faded, a really good meal had always been one of my few remaining pleasures.

After breakfast, I picked up some more Phenobarbital for Dash at the vet. There aren't many reasons to leave the house anymore. Even though I did nothing of consequence, the day still seemed busy. In addition to cleaning the floors and furnace vents, I also had to wash the comforter on the bed. Unfortunately, Dash doesn't do a very good job of wiping his butt.

I called the auction house this afternoon to make sure they got the information they requested this weekend. Their e-mail said "please confirm by Monday, August 27" and I didn't want to do anything wrong. The two auctions in October are starting to make me nervous. Everyone seems excited and optimistic, but what if nobody bids?

I have about a week to decide whether I want to apply for the NASA trip. I looked up airfares and hotel rates in Pasadena today. Why are flights to Burbank so much more expensive than flights to LAX? The Burbank airport is much closer to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. At first glance, it looks like a three day trip will be fairly expensive. One good thing is that unlike launches, the date for a spacecraft landing is fixed. The InSight lander will reach Mars on November 26. At least I could save some money on a plan-ahead airfare. I'm getting ahead of myself though. There's no guarantee that NASA would even accept my application and even less of a guarantee that Dash will be healthy enough for me to leave for a few days.

At least the market was good today. If I'm going to have a future as a space launch groupie, this bull run is going to have to continue for a while.

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

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Day 3167

It's always something. Dash got stung by a bee today. We were taking our morning walk when all of the sudden he yelped and immediately began limping. I suspected an insect bite, but it could have also been a sprain. When old dogs rear legs begin to go, it puts a lot of extra strain on their front legs. Either way, this was not good. Let me tell you, it was not easy getting a dog back home with only one good leg.

I was hoping that when we finally got Dash home, he would relax so I could examine him better. Unfortunately, this is not Dash's style. He tends to panic when things go wrong. He was agitated and we noticed that the leg was starting to swell so we loaded him in the car and headed for the emergency clinic. On the way, Dash finally started to calm down. By the time we arrived, he was semi-normal again.

The admittance nurse said that Dash wasn't having an allergic reaction and didn't appear to have sprained anything. He wasn't limping anymore either. Faced with a choice of waiting in the lobby for several hours until we could see a vet and then getting a $75 bill for a few Benadryl tablets, we decided to just turn around and go home. Dash has been stung by bees before. He completely freaks out for about thirty minutes and by the time a vet is able to look at him, he is all better.

I gave Dash some Benadryl when he returned home and he quickly went to sleep. By the time he woke up, he was back to his old self. Notice that I didn't say "back to normal." Dash will never be back to normal. We all ate our breakfast late enough to be called brunch and then resumed our regular Sunday routine. I kind of suspected a bee sting the moment it happened, but it's better to be safe than sorry. If Dash had seriously injured his front leg, it would all be over.

I think I'm going to have to stop using the arm bicycle at the gym. My wrist started hurting again and this appeared to be the cause. It makes sense. Twenty minutes on the arm bicycle can put a lot of strain on your wrists. Too bad. I like this machine. It's a great upper body workout and seems to be better than the treadmill for elevating your heart rate.

Elevating your heart rate during exercise can be good for cardiovascular fitness. At other times, it's not so good. I noticed on my Fitbit that my heart rate went way up right after Dash got stung by the bee. This was stress. I wasn't sure how I was going to get him home again. I wasn't sure what had happened either. Luckily, everything ended well today, but it definitely wasn't a relaxing day.

I'm sure the bees have moved by now, but I'm a superstitious person and I won't want to take the same route on our walk tomorrow. This might be problematic, because Dash is set in his ways and always wants to take the same route. I wish the city would hurry up and mow the field behind our house. The grass in the park is getting high again and it's hard to tell what Dash and I are walking through.

I guess I'll have to wear the brace on my wrist again tonight. I should have known better than to use the arm bike. It's pretty clear that Dash and I are both set in our ways. We'll try not to injure ourselves tomorrow.

Cammy s today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, August 25, 2018

Day 3166

It drives me crazy that Dash's condition varies wildly from day to day, even though everything in his life is extremely consistent. We've finally found a diet that he tolerates well. The meds he takes every day haven't changed in ages. He has some gentle walks every morning and evening and sleeps a lot in between. Earlier this week his stools had become firmer and looked almost normal. Last night everything became runny again. This is weird because through good times and bad, he is eating boiled chicken breast in the morning and a home made mix of chicken, rice, and vegetables in the evening. A few days ago he seemed sure footed and wanted to walk by the shoreline. Today he stumbled all over the place. I don't know what to do. A slow, steady decline would make sense. All these wild fluctuations just don't seem right.

Good days or bad, life goes on. I ran all my usual Saturday errands while Dash was taking his morning nap. I can never figure out pricing for the things I buy over and over again. Fresh fruit, which I love, seems very inexpensive. Blue shop towels and furnace filters, on the other hand, seem ridiculously expensive. Gasoline is a total mystery. It seems to change in price every single day.

Water has become my nemesis. The dehumidifier started leaking again this morning. Damn. I really thought I'd managed to fix this a few days ago. I had to suck water out from under the shower tiles again with the wet/dry vacuum as well. This happens about every three days now. It's irritating to do this so often, but I don't want to spend the money to rip out all the bathroom tile and start over. Been there, done that. It was quite a bit more expensive than I expected.

Dash seems depressed this evening. He's always been a mama's dog. Janet went to a friend's wedding and he feels abandoned. I wish he wasn't such a little shit about things like this, but it's hard to reason with an old dog. He wants someone to sit on the bed and watch Netflix with him. Dash wouldn't walk this evening and I've been having trouble getting him to eat his dinner and take his evening meds. So far, the only thing he's done right on schedule is poop in the house. Oh, well. The night is young. We'll get this done eventually.

Things continue to roll toward a conclusion at the auction houses. I got asked today to approve the descriptive text for some of my art in the auction catalog for the first auction. One of the pictures in the catalog hung on my bedroom wall for decades. Now, I could never afford to bid on it. Lets just hope that everything sells.

I got an invitation to apply to join the Insight scientific team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory this November for a behind the scenes look at the spacecraft's upcoming landing on Mars. I'm frozen when these opportunities come my way. I don't want to leave Dash. I remember that the last time I did this type of thing, I had a car accident in California. It's expensive to take these type of trips and I'm not even sure I'd get accepted. Hey, my blog isn't as popular as it was when I was invited to view my last space launch at Vandenberg Air Force Base. I'm just making excuses. I'd still like to do this. One of these days I'll get up my nerve to apply to become a NASA social media reporter again.

Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, August 24, 2018

Day 3165

There was something for everybody at the restaurant this morning. As I was being seated, four policemen in tactical gear were paying their bill and leaving. Shortly after that, two open carry guys with side arms strapped to their waist took a seat. There was a large extended family with everyone from the grandmother to small babies gathered around a table. There were two Hispanic guys in starched white shirts with cufflinks who looked like they had gotten halfway dressed for a wedding before deciding they were hungry. There were young couples and retirees, along with several people who were conducting a business meeting. It was a diverse group and I appeared to be the only person eating alone. If you wanted to sample the mood of America, this would have been the place. I'm not sure if this was the place to sample a really great breakfast, but everyone seemed happy.

Maybe it was just a happy day. Dash certainly woke up in a good mood. He slept all night and managed to make it outside the next morning to poop. We took a nice walk before it became too hot and although he wasn't very hungry, Dash did manage to eat his breakfast later in the day. You can't ask for more than that from a tired old dog.

My wrist didn't hurt this morning, so I decided to go up on the roof. Much to my surprise, it was dry. Although we've had quite a bit of rain recently, it has been hot and dry this week. Apparently it takes about five days for the standing water to evaporate in the Summer. I need to remember this, because I'm not going to be able to continue climbing up on this roof forever. Unfortunately, the water will never evaporate in the Winter.

Janet didn't work today, so I started thinking it was Saturday again. I'm going to be really confused when she stops working completely. Who knows when that will happen though. Although she has officially retired, her company continues to bring her in on a consulting basis when they've got a tough problem. I tell Janet that it must be nice to be wanted. Whenever I used to leave a job, they usually never wanted to see me again.

The real estate market is heating up in our neighborhood. It happens from time to time. There seems to be lots of houses on the market right now. Whenever this happens, people get real interested in what their own house is worth. I used to feel this way until our house started falling apart. Now, I think it will just get torn down if we ever leave. But will we ever leave? Somehow, I doubt it.

Hero is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Day 3164

A small stray dog ran past us while we were walking this morning. The dog looked scared but appeared healthy. I was simultaneously happy that the dog wasn't going to cause trouble for Dash and sad that I was unable to help. It wouldn't approach us and quickly disappeared down by the shoreline. Did someone dump this dog? Did it escape from someone's yard? It didn't look familiar, but that doesn't prove anything. There are a lot of new people in the neighborhood.

Finding strays in the park is all too common. It appears to be a dumping ground for people from all parts of town. Occasionally I've been able to catch these dogs and take them to a rescue organization.  Once, a long time ago, I was even able to find the dog's owner. Now, I've got my hands full with my own dog. Walking a dog like Dash is a full time job. I just wish that the owners of these strays I keep seeing would take their job as pet owners a little more seriously.

Dash seemed to rebound a bit today. He slept well last night and was eager to walk this morning. He wanted to go down to the shoreline which is always a good sign. Often he doesn't have the energy to take this more adventurous route. We stumbled slowly along the shore for over 45 minutes and even though he was tired when we returned home, he ate his breakfast.

It's weird how every day is different. Dash still seemed exhausted at times and had his forgetful moments, but I could tell that he was having a good day. I didn't even care that he pooped on the floor again. It's nice to see that there are still moments when there is a sparkle in Dash's eye and it's clear that he still enjoys being a dog.

I have good days and bad days too. Like Dash, my good days are rarely dramatic. To me, a good day is just when nothing bad happens. I guess today was a good day because very little happened at all. I paid my Mastercard bill and picked up a frozen pizza on the way home from the post office. I should never eat pizza because it always gives me heartburn. That doesn't stop me unfortunately. A frozen pizza is often the perfect solution when you've eaten all the leftovers and you don't feel like cooking. The pizza was tasty, but I'll pay for this tonight.

I haven't done a major website in so long that I think I'm starting to forget how to code. The same thing happened when I stopped playing the piano. Oh, well. I think we spend the first half of our lives learning things and the second half slowly forgetting them. I've learned a lot over the years, so I've still got a lot to forget. Something to look forward to, I guess.

Mickey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Day 3163

Some days are all about Dash. He didn't want to eat today. I had to really use my ingenuity to get him to take his morning pills. When worse came to worse, I could always put a pill directly down Dot's throat. This trick doesn't work with Dash. He'd bite me if I tried. Our walk was exceptionally slow this morning. Dash didn't appear tired. He just seemed disoriented at times. We took our time and made it home OK. By the time I finally got him interested in breakfast, it was noon.

This disinterest in food  is making it difficult to cure Dash's loose stools. The real goal is to get him to eat anything at all. Eating something that will make his poop firm again is just a bonus. Something is wrong, but I don't know what. There is no sign of blood in his stools anymore. His gums are nice and pink. His blood work looks good too. Dash is taking so many medications now, that the vets hesitate to add more. We're kind of on our own here.

When I woke up this morning I was almost certain that I was going to need to make an emergency doctor's appointment. My wrist hurt pretty bad and looked swollen. I strapped on my brace and soon became preoccupied with Dash. Several hours later when I was finishing my own breakfast, I realized that the wrist wasn't as painful anymore. I took off the brace and noticed that the swelling had subsided a bit as well. As the day progressed, the wrist continued to return to normal. It was surprising that this had happened so quickly. I was expecting to live with the sprained wrist for at least a week. To make a long story short, I'm glad I didn't call the doctor.

Truthfully, I didn't do much of anything today. I didn't order a new dehumidifier because the water leak seems to have disappeared. Maybe cleaning the unit out was all it needed. I didn't go up on the roof for obvious reasons. I didn't call anyone about my collections either. As I said before, the day was mostly about Dash.

He likes to sleep under tables and in awkward places these days. It seems like I'm always trying to extract him from these cubbyholes when he gets stuck. I've read that dogs seem to feel safer in small enclosed spaces when they feel sick. This certainly seems to be true with Dash. There are still places in the house where his lack of mobility wouldn't hinder him. Dash isn't interested in wide open space though. He seems to prefer a cave.

We'll see what happens tomorrow. I'm finally starting to get tired of my morning smoothie, but I don't know what else to eat. In five years of going out to breakfast on Friday mornings, I've tried just about everything. Nothing seems that appealing. In an odd way I can understand what Dash is going through. We both still need food to survive, but seem to have lost the joy of eating.

Lance is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Day 3162

I injured my wrist again. I have no idea what happened. Yesterday, my wrist felt stiff when I woke up. By this morning, things had gotten worse and I could barely move it at all. Did I overdo things at the gym on Sunday? Did I pull a tendon trying to get the fitted sheet on the bed? It could have even happened while I was trying to get Dash's rubber boots on for his morning walk. That's what sucks about getting old. Just about anything can lead to a major problem.

I still have the brace I wore while I was recovering from last year's dog bite and started wearing it again this morning. Somehow, immobilizing your wrist goes a long way toward alleviating the pain. Without the brace, even drinking my morning coffee was painful. With it, life proceeded more or less normally. I definitely couldn't climb up on the roof today. I'm not going to be able to do that for a while. Here's hoping that our hot August weather will help the standing water evaporate.

I guess I should make a doctor's appointment, but I'll probably wait a few days to see if things improve. I've injured my wrist at least four times before and I know exactly what the doctor is going to do. They'll take an x-ray and tell me that no bones are broken. They'll ask me to move my wrist and discover that I can't. It's inflammation, they'll say. Then they'll tell me to wear the brace for a week and give me a cortisone shot. I've already got the brace and I hate taking steroids, so I'm just going to try to take it easy for a few days and see what happens. I can always go to the doctor later.

I hope that Dash doesn't need to go to the doctor again. His stools are still loose and his appetite is decreasing again. Most of the symptoms he's experiencing now are consistent with heart disease, so I'm not sure there's much we can do. I'd hate to change his diet. The homemade meals we're fixing now are very healthy and should be good for a dog with a sensitive stomach. I'm not even sure a trip to the vet would help. We've been through this so many times before. When the dog has nausea or diarrhea they'll give you some Cerenia pills. With an upset stomach, they'll want you to feed him canned Hills ID. If all else fails and you keep coming back with the same problem, they'll recommend a MRI. We've done all this. If Dash's leaking heart valve was treatable, we probably wouldn't be having a lot of these problems. The vestibular disease doesn't help either.

I contacted another auction house today. I'm discovering that consigning the second tier art is much harder than my initial experience with the desirable stuff. If there's something the auction houses really want, they'll treat you like royalty. If you have something they know won't sell, you'll be lucky to even get a reply. Ultimately, an auction house is just a business like any other business. They want to make money.

Dash and I looked pitiful this morning. He was wearing a brace on his leg and I was wearing a brace on my arm. We're troopers though. We both walked a mile and a half. I'm going to wear the brace to bed tonight. Maybe it will help me sleep better. That's probably just wishful thinking. I'm almost certain I'll be standing outside waiting for Dash to poop at 3 AM.

Cookie is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, August 20, 2018

Day 3161

Good grief. The dehumidifier has started to leak. This trusty little machine has been running 24/7 ever since we had our big water leak several years ago. I've grown to depend on this thing. Now it has joined both toilets, the shower stall, a bathroom sink, and of course the impossible roof in a coordinated effort to drive me crazy. Why do I have all these water problems? I've come to the conclusion that there's only one thing for certain about water. Eventually it's going to wind up someplace it doesn't belong.

I guess I'll go ahead and order a new dehumidifier. I'll probably even get the same brand again. This thing has worked like a champ. Nothing lasts forever unfortunately. I'm reminded of that almost every day.

It certainly seemed like Monday today. I'm perpetually slow anyway, but on Mondays it seems like I'm moving around underwater. I guess I accomplished something, but it would certainly be hard to prove. Our morning walk took forever. There was nothing wrong. Dash just didn't feel like going very fast. Breakfast was equally slow. I don't think I made my smoothie larger than usual, but it took almost until lunch to drink the whole thing. I spent a long time trying to figure out where the leak in the dehumidifier was coming from. No luck there. Water just seems to be dripping through a screw hole on the bottom of the sealed system.

When I went to the bank this morning, I noticed that a client had failed to sign a check they sent me. The bank took the check anyway. Did they not notice or did they just not care? I didn't care that much. This client has done this before. The bank probably sees unsigned checks like this everyday. I have a feeling that the entire world is becoming sloppy and forgetful. Hey, I'm certainly doing my part.

I wrote a letter to a friend with a sick dog who thought the diagnosis they received from their vet might be wrong. I encouraged them to get a second opinion. It is not that uncommon for an initial diagnosis to be wrong. Dogs can't talk and symptoms are often confusing. It has often taken us several tries and an expensive MRI or two to figure out what was going on with Dot and Dash. The important thing is to never give up. Especially when you think there is still hope.

I got a lead this weekend about someone who might be interested in another collection I have. I tried to call the guy, but of course he wasn't in. I wrote him a letter instead. Letters still have their uses. They somehow seem more serious than a voicemail message that would probably be mistaken for spam anyway. Whether I hear back from the guy or not, it is going to take a long time to unload these collections of mine. It definitely took a long time to assemble them.

Maybe I actually accomplished more than I thought today. It just seemed like everything was moving in slow motion. I'll try to pick up the pace tomorrow. There's no point in going too fast though. I've got an entire week to fill.

Blackjack is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Day 3160 - Janet's Birthday

It's hard to believe that we're both 70 now. Where has the time gone? Birthdays are pretty subdued these days. At this point, we're just glad to be alive. Janet and I went out for dinner at Knife and had a small celebration with cupcakes when we got home. For the most part, it was just a normal Sunday. Janet cleaned the floors. I changed the sheets on the bed. And we both made sure that Dash took all his pills.

When I went to the gym this morning, the place was flooded. The scene was reminiscent of the time when a pipe burst under the slab at our house. A restoration crew was vacuuming up the water and placing large dehumidifiers everywhere. Water can sure do a lot of damage. It looked like water had gotten under the wood floor of the basketball court, because they were already starting to rip up the floor. All this water made me remember that I forgot to turn off the pump on the roof before I left for the gym. Damn. If the pump runs dry, it's real easy to burn out the motor.

By the time I returned home, I'd forgotten about the pump again. It was on for most of the day, or more likely until it burned out. Sadly, I've wrecked several pumps this way. The pump wasn't the only thing I forgot today. When I went to Sprinkles to pick up cupcakes, I forgot the gift certificate I always use. It never occurred to me to check and see if the certificate was actually in the envelope.

Dash got me up in the middle of the night again. His stools were a little firmer, but still pretty soft. A lot of people have suggested that we add pumpkin to his diet. We'll give it a try again, but the last time we fed Dash pumpkin, it actually made his poop softer. We've tried pumpkin bread too in the past, but it was so tasty that I ate most of it myself. I don't think Dash's problem is simply an upset stomach. The most obvious thing is that we have to keep changing his diet too often just to keep him eating at all. In the best of circumstances, a dog should always eat a very consistent diet. These aren't the best of circumstances unfortunately. The vets think that Dash's vestibular disease is probably contributing to his loss of appetite. We might never know for sure, but we'll do whatever it takes to keep him eating.

I seem to be losing my appetite as well. Janet thinks that I'm not eating enough, but I think I just ate too much in the past. To me, it's natural that you would eat less if you weren't getting as much activity. I walked at least six miles a day for years and years when Dot and Dash were young. Not anymore. Luckily, there were no problems with my appetite this evening. Knife has a well deserved reputation as one of the best steakhouses in Dallas and Janet and I both really enjoyed our dinner.

Now that all the birthdays are in the rear view mirror, it seems like we're racing toward Christmas. Time moves far too quickly now. Even though I don't have that much to do, I can never seem to get caught up. Maybe catching up doesn't even matter. I think the point now for Dash, Janet and I is just to keep moving.

Spot is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Day 3159

Unfortunately, I didn't get a repeat of yesterday's restful sleep. Dash got me up in the middle of the night again. The diarrhea is back. We were outside quite a while last night. At least I was able to get back to sleep. I got to sleep in too. The weekend does have its fleeting benefits.

The toilet I thought I'd fixed for good a few months ago has started running again. My goal for the day was to fix the thing, but I failed. I don't know what went wrong. I repeated the procedure I used last time to the letter, but it didn't work this time. Go figure. Sometimes old houses can be infuriating. One thing is certain. I will never buy another French toilet. Finding parts for this Rube Goldberg contraption is almost impossible.

I can't keep up with Texas weather. This morning it looked like we were going to have clear skies for the next week. Around dinnertime, I started hearing thunder. When I looked at the weather radar, I saw a severe thunderstorm headed our way. I was glad that Dash got a nice morning walk, because he certainly wasn't going to get an evening one. It's still raining now, but luckily the thunder has quit. Oh, well. I guess I really didn't need to turn the sprinklers on this morning.

While we were eating dinner this evening, Dash got one of his frequent urges to go outside. We both raced for the back door, but we didn't make it in time. Dash slipped on the bricks as he was starting to poop and ended up falling in the poop. He was a smelly mess. I took him outside and hosed him down while Janet cleaned the brick floor. After Dash was clean and dry again, we resumed our dinner. Incidences like these don't even faze us anymore. Loose stools might be an unwanted consequence of finding a diet that Dash will actually eat. I don't have a clue at this point. There are way too many moving parts to this puzzle.

I'm glad I finished my Saturday errands before the rain started. I would have felt compelled to wash the car when there were way too many other things that needed to be done. I did my best to complete my weekend to-do list, but Dash had other idea. He was being very needy today and wanted me to nap with him. After a while, I was happy to oblige.

I noticed on Facebook that one of my favorite dogs is nearing the end of her journey. It made me sad. Janet and I fostered this dog for a while a long time ago. She has had a long and happy life with a nice family, but dogs never live long enough. Enjoy your remaining days sweet friend.

I don't like to dwell on sadness, but it seems to be everywhere. It's time for something uplifting to happen. I'm a very pessimistic person, but I still believe in good things. You just have to look a little harder for them.

Lucy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, August 17, 2018

Day 3158

Buying things is easy. Selling things is much harder. This may not be true for everyone, but it certainly has been my experience. Selling almost always involves negotiation and compromise. Deals are made and broken. People change their minds. I can't say that I enjoy this process. I've never been a haggler. I pay the asking price or I walk away. Maybe this is why the storage warehouse is so full of stuff that is way past its expiration date. I buy things but I never sell.

I don't want a bunch of strangers fighting over my stuff in an episode of Storage Wars, so I guess selling is almost inevitable. Today I agreed on a lower price for some of my model trains. I reviewed a rather disappointing proposal from an auction house. What ate up most of my time was moving vintage synthesizers around. I picked up a restored synthesizer from the audio shop. I took this instrument to the vintage guitar store to consign and retrieved two more broken synthesizers and a vintage drum machine to take back to the keyboard technician. These repairs are expensive, so I'm not sure I'll make much money when the equipment finally sells. I don't have much of a choice though. I either fix the stuff or throw in in a dumpster.

This whole process of unwinding is much more difficult than I imagined. It's making me question the whole concept of ownership. I'm beginning to think that none of us really owns anything. We just rent it for a period of time. Everything passes through our hands eventually. Thirty years ago, the model train guy told me "Someday, I'll have all these trains back in my store." I didn't believe him at the time, but he was right.

While I was at the guitar store, the owner and I talked about the difficulty of calculating the future value of anything. He told me how he had spent an entire Summer's earnings while he was in college on one of the very first flat screen televisions. Then he pointed to a huge TV on the wall at the store. "I got this thing for less than $200," he told me. I could relate. I spent a small fortune once on an early model Osborne 1 computer that looked like a Singer sewing machine and had a screen smaller than my phone.

Dash let us sleep all night last night. It was wonderful. He didn't leave the bed or do anything weird at all. Around 7 AM, Dash woke up, went to the back door and peed and pooped outside, just like a normal dog. He ate well today too. When you've got a dog as old and sick as Dash, you really learn to appreciate the good days.

I wasn't very hungry this morning. A single small waffle filled me up. Janet doesn't think I'm eating enough, but I'm gaining weight. Go figure. I think I never realized how much exercise I was getting when Dot and Dash were young and healthy. Those two dogs could walk forever.

I'm hoping for another restful night. Sleeping well can make all the difference. Maybe sleep deprivation has already affected my memory. I saw something on Facebook today in memory of the lead guitar player in one of my old bands. "Did you know Woody had died," I asked Janet? "Yes", she said. "You told me two years ago."  So it begins.

Toby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

Day 3157

Today was disappointing. Yesterday I thought I'd already sold one of my guitars. Today I learned that the guy who put it on layaway changed his mind. That wasn't the only surprise. I also learned that the guitar store wants me to take care of repairing the broken synthesizers. Originally, they were going to handle this themselves, but I guess they got cold feet. I can understand. It's difficult to estimate the cost of repairing old things. It wouldn't be hard to invest more money in repairs than the synthesizers were worth. I'll go ahead and get the instruments repaired on my dime, but it sure would have made life easier to let the store handle this.

Maybe life just isn't meant to be easy. When I went up on the roof today, I discovered a small defective area that the roofers inexplicably failed to fix. The roofers may have missed this bad spot, but the rain found it easy enough. Now I've got to convince the roofers to come out again. That won't be a a pleasant task.

A client that I'd thought I'd lost about six months ago now wants me to do more work for him. Strangely, I have mixed feelings about this. I'm getting used to the idea of being fully retired. It's also good to have an income, so I'll definitely do the work. I just wasn't as happy to get this new job as I should have been. I guess I don't know what I want anymore. When I'm idle, I think that work and deadlines would add structure and a sense of purpose to my life. When I actually get a job, it just seems like a giant nuisance.

Dash has added a new wrinkle to his bag of tricks. He wakes me up at night, acting like he really needs to go outside and pee. As soon as he gets outside he just stands there looking confused. He'll wander around aimlessly for a long time and then come back inside without doing anything. We repeated this process three times last night before he actually peed. When I finally thought I might be able to get back to sleep, he got me out of bed again. This time he needed to poop. I was outside at least 45 minutes with Dash between 2 and 3 AM. Needless to say, by the time he had finally done his business I was wide awake. I don't know what makes Dash seem dazed and confused at night, but it seems to be getting worse.

This morning he was fine, even though I was exhausted. If Dash does his business quickly, I can usually get back to sleep very easily. When he keeps me up for hours at a time, it's hardly worth the trouble to go back to bed. Once I'm fully awake I might as well just stay up.

Hopefully things will be better tonight. I don't know how much more sleep deprivation I can take. I don't think Dash is really worried about losing sleep. He sleeps all day.

Pogo is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Day 3156

It was hard to get out of bed this morning. Dash got me up twice last night. After I cleaned up the inevitable poop, I was wide awake. I eventually got back to sleep, but I sure woke up tired. I'm feeling perpetually tired these days. We've been dealing with sick dogs almost continuously since 2014 when Dash was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Ever since then, it's been one crisis after another.

After our slow morning walk, I fixed my regular smoothie and made some coffee. Eventually, I woke up and began feeling normal again. This was a surprisingly busy day, considering that nothing happens anymore. I drove up to the watch repairman's office and picked up my watch. He's only got three more left to repair. Maybe I'll see these other watches again before I die. The watch repairman is a friendly and very talented guy, but he sure is slow.

On the way home, I bought another pair of Ruffwear protective boots for Dash. I've got enough of these boots in rotation now that we should be good till Christmas. OK, maybe Halloween. Dash is really hard on shoes.

I think August is the worst month of the year for bills. I took a few more to the post office today. My car insurance is due. My annual August service visit at Lander Rover is always pretty pricy. Summer electric bills are through the roof. And there's always something going on with Dash. This wasn't a big deal when I was doing a lot of website work. Now, keeping this ship afloat is beginning to seem expensive. No wonder selling things is starting to seem so attractive.

I got some more estimates from another auction house this afternoon. I wonder if these estimates mean anything at all. I'm still pretty much of a neophyte in the auction world. After the first auctions take place in October, I should have a much better idea whether this little venture was a good idea. I hope the auctions are successful. They suit my temperament. I could never sell anything on Craigslist or eBay. I just don't want to have any direct contact with the buyers.

Dash must have had an upset stomach this morning. Janet was unable to get him to take his pills this morning. I didn't have much success when we returned from our walk either. I was starting to get worried because he needs to take his Phenobarbital at very specific times. Luckily, the crisis was averted and around 9:30 AM I was able to hide each of his morning meds in a little cube of rare steak. After he took all his meds, I didn't even care about breakfast. Dash went back to sleep, but eventually returned to the kitchen around 11:30 AM and finished his boiled chicken breast. I think this dog eats better than I do these days.

It was surprising to see blue skies again this morning. I think the rain is over. I didn't check the roof today because I was busy running errands. Maybe the longer I wait, the more water will evaporate. I'll probably go up and sweep the standing water away tomorrow. I really don't want to tempt fate. I don't care what the roofers have done. If you leave water long enough, it will find a way inside.

I hope today's weather continues. It felt like Fall when I woke up this morning. Dash can be a very high maintenance dog, but life is definitely a little easier when the weather is nice.

Freckles is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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