Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Day 3316

It's going to be a long Winter. It was warmer today, but the wind picked up again and I still felt cold. I packed some cotton balls between Dash's toes in an attempt to keep his paws from bleeding this morning but his socks and boots still got wet. My jacket was kind of damp when we returned as well. There is no way around it. Walking in the Winter is just messy.

There was lots of laundry to do this morning. Dash pooped in his dog bed while he was waiting for his breakfast. The dog bed cover was washable, but I had a hard time putting the bed back together after the cover was clean. The foam structure had gotten old and mushy and it was difficult to pull the cloth cover back over it without destroying the foam. Why isn't foam rubber more durable? I've had the foam inserts inside of camera cases become soft and sticky several times. I'll have to admit that putting the dog bed back together was easier than cleaning old sticky foam off of my Nikon cameras.

It was a slow day, but at least the banks and post office were open. I took a check from one of the auction houses to the bank and paid my January gas and electric bills at the post office. Just about broke even on these transactions. Oh, well. So much for getting rich selling art.

Dash was still shaky in the house today, but at least he got a lot of rest. He does a lot better after a long nap. I try to keep Dash moving while he's awake, because he slips and falls if he stands in one place for too long. Usually he will follow me around because he always thinks I am headed towards food. Actually, I am headed towards food quite often. What else is there to do on a cold rainy day.

So far, the rain we've been having for the past several days has just been periodic light showers. I don't think we've really put the roof repairs to the test yet. There is still room for optimism though. There have been no additional leaks so far. I'm not expecting miracles anymore. I'm just hoping that we can remain free of further leaks until warmer weather returns. I'd much rather put on a new roof in the Summer than in the Winter.

Sometimes I can't tell the difference between allergies and a cold. I've had a runny nose for weeks now, but there is no fever or sore throat. Do I have a cold? Who knows. It probably doesn't even matter. It is irritating to have to blow my nose every five minutes day in and day out, but if that's as bad as it gets I can live with it. I bet if we could get a week of sunny, warm weather I'd be fine again.

I don't expect tomorrow to be very different than today. Janet has plans, so we'll need to walk Dash a little earlier than usual. I have no plans, so when we return I'll slowly drink my morning smoothie while I contemplate the day ahead. There are lots of things I need to do but it it doubtful that I will do any of them.

Raider is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Monday, January 21, 2019

Day 3315

I must have slept better last night because I didn't wake up when Dash pooped in the bed. Luckily, one of us usually wakes up when this happens. These nightly accidents aren't as much of a problem now because we always make sure there's a puppy pad under Dash's butt before we go to bed. We've almost used up the carton of training pads that were left over when Dot died. Pretty soon they're going to be back on the shopping list again.

It's still bitterly cold on our morning walk. Dash's paws have started bleeding again. The bleeding is minimal, but it shouldn't be happening at all. His rear paws are very well protected now. I wish his boots were waterproof. On damp mornings, all three layers of foot protection are wet when we return. Part of the problem is that Dash makes no effort whatsoever to avoid mud puddles. He just goes wherever the smells are the strongest.

The only thing more uneventful than a regular Monday is a holiday Monday. Part of my morning routine is waiting for the mail to arrive and listening to the market reports on the business channels. No mail today and the stock market was closed. I pretty much just drank my smoothie in silence, wondering how I could improve Dash's footwear.

With every passing day, I'm spending more time picking Dash up off the floor. He seldom falls hard. He'll just be standing somewhere with a vacant look on his face and slowly sink to the floor. I leave his harness on in the house now because the handle on the top makes it much easier to get him upright again. It still seems strange that our house has become treacherous for Dash. He still does fine when he is moving forward on our walks. I think the walks are good for him because he has less muscle atrophy than Dot did when her legs began to fail. Dash even has enough strength to walk up reasonably steep hills. It's just standing still that's becoming a problem. I kind of wish I could find a small ottoman or big pillow to place under his belly while he was drinking from his water bowl. He drinks very slowly and usually starts sinking to the floor before he has quenched his thirst. If I could just find something appropriate to place under his belly to prop him up while he drinks, I wouldn't have to spend so much time holding up his rear legs.

Everyone must have been looking at the moon last night. My Facebook timeline was filled with pictures of the eclipse. Some of these pictures were great and others were terrible.You could tell how much people knew about astronomy by what they posted. Quite a few folks took a picture of the moon before the eclipse even started. Others used their phone and the moon was only a very bright dot. A lot of pictures were excellent though. Many were better than mine. Some of the best pictures were from folks I met at Vandenburg Air Force Base when I was there for the SMAP launch. I was glad to see that these people were still interested in space and astronomy several years later.

It's supposed to start raining again tonight. Tomorrow doesn't look good either. I'm tired of looking at the damaged sheetrock in the ceiling and wondering when the roof is going to start leaking again. Sooner or later it will. I don't want to replace the roof while it is raining every few days, but I think it's going to be a long wait until it's warm and dry again.

Molly is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Day 3314

If you have trouble sleeping, it's just a matter of time before you eventually end up buying one of those My Pillows. The commercials are relentless. I can't turn on the TV anymore without seeing the My Pillow guy. Sooner or later you think "What have I got to lose," and you buy one. I wasn't looking for a pillow today, but ended up getting one when I saw it on sale. We'll see if it makes any difference. If I get even a single additional hour of sleep a night, it would be well worth the price. I'll have to say I'm a bit skeptical though. Shredded foam pillows aren't exactly rocket science. I think my parents used these type of pillows when I was a kid.

What I was really looking for today was a better way to waterproof the bed than the shower curtain we're currently using. I think I found that too. I ended up getting a tent footprint, which is a piece of waterproof fabric that campers put under their tent to protect the floor from damage. These footprints tended to be smaller than your typical tarp and fit nicely under Dash's blankets on the bed. Like my new pillow, we'll see how it works tonight.

Today was even colder than yesterday. There was no wind though, so it was reasonably pleasant to go outside. Yesterday's thirty mile per hour winds were pretty brutal. We still dressed very warmly today, but compared to yesterday, our morning walk was a piece of cake. Dash still does well on these walks, even though he's having increasing trouble walking around in the house. We keep bringing home more rugs, but I don't know if they're doing a lot of good. It's so easy for Dash to lose his balance and fall.

Sunday has turned into the busiest day of the week. Our walks tend to be longer on Sunday. I almost always go to the gym and then come home and vacuum the house. Sometimes I do other chores as well. My Fitbit loves days like these, but I find them tiring. I could clean the house or go to the gym any day, but old habits die hard. I still do things almost exactly the same as I did while I was working.

I was hoping to see the Saints and the Chiefs in the Superbowl but it wasn't meant to be. The Saints lost after officials clearly missed calling pass interference late in the game. The Chiefs basically lost when they didn't win the overtime coin toss. What does this prove? I guess it proves that life isn't fair.  These were both exciting, well played games, but I'm tired of seeing the Patriots in the Superbowl.

The lunar eclipse has started. It's a little cloudy, but the moon is clearly visible. The moon is so high in the sky that I don't see any dramatic photo opportunities. I'll take a few shots anyway. I'm sure I'll be asleep before the eclipse is over. The days when I'd sit in a lawn chair and watch things like this for hours at a time are long gone. It's way too cold outside and I've seen the moon before. It's always worth another look though. Just before I went to bed I went outside again and the sky had completely cleared. There it was in all its glory: the Super Blood Wolf Moon. Now I think I'll go try out my new pillow.

April is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Saturday, January 19, 2019

Day 3313

First it was the rain and now it is the wind. The weather is not my friend in the Winter. A cold front swept through town last night, bringing sustained thirty mile per hour winds along with it. The high winds continued for most of the night and blew the roof off the greenhouse again. The old greenhouse was built in 1955 and is pretty frail by now. It doesn't take much to bring it crashing down.

I've fixed the greenhouse roof before, but it's hardly worth the effort. When a stiff wind catches the edges of the translucent fiberglass roof panels, they just blow off again. Unfortunately, I couldn't ignore the roof panels all over the yard, so I got a hammer, some nails, and a ladder and put the dilapidated greenhouse back together again. It's anybody's guess which will last longer: my greenhouse repairs or the roofers efforts from last week.

It was so cold this morning that we all had to wear our warmest clothes. Getting Dash dressed on a cold morning is quite an effort. First we put on his sweater. Over that goes his Ruffwear harness. Then we attach the leg brace and put on a fitted bandage, a pair of socks, and the Ultra Paws boots on his rear paws. Since it was extra cold this morning, he also wore a hat to keep his ears warm.

If Dash didn't love his walks so much, we wouldn't go to this effort. I'd just as soon sleep in a little longer on cold mornings like this. Walks are still Dash's favorite part of the day. He is transformed from a dog who falls down every five minutes in the house to a dog who strides purposely through the wet grass in the park, smelling every bush and tree along the way. It's kind of amazing that he gains stability if he is moving forward. If he is standing still, his rear legs start to sink fairly quickly. I often have to hold him up now while he is eating or drinking water from his bowl. Even smelling things along the way can be hazardous. If he gets too interested in the scent of another dog who has peed on a tree, he will lose control of his rear legs and stumble.

My attempt to repair the greenhouse made me pretty late this morning, but I still had lots of errands to run. When I'm shopping on Saturday, I buy the same staples over and over again. It's amazing how much the price of things like paper towels, toilet paper, and laundry detergent have gone up over the years. How can people continue to say that inflation isn't a problem when the cost of many ordinary things has doubled?

The skies are starting to clear, so I might actually be able to see tomorrow's blood moon lunar eclipse.  I've tried to photograph these things before, but our yard doesn't provide a very scenic backdrop. A red blood moon always looks good when it is near the horizon in a national park. Not so much in my yard. I think the moon will be more or less directly overhead at totality, so a scenic backdrop probably doesn't even matter. I'm only going to be outside for a few minutes anyway. It's not worth getting cold just to see a red looking moon.

I go to the gym again tomorrow. I think putting the greenhouse back together this morning provided more of a workout than going to the gym ever does. Actually, just putting on Dash's winter clothes today was quite a workout.

Daisy is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Friday, January 18, 2019

Day 3312

I let Facebook pick the restaurant this morning. Maybe privacy is overrated. The food was delicious. I had Shrimp Grits with andouille sausage, peppers and leeks. All things considered, it was one of the best meals I've had in quite a while. I never would have known about this place if Facebook hadn't been snooping about my likes and dislikes. They've actually done a pretty decent job of helping me find a new pair of work boots and giving me a heads up about upcoming lunar eclipses and satellite launches.

I wish Facebook would fine tune their algorithm a bit more. With a bit of tweaking they may be able to find me the perfect restaurant. The only thing wrong with this morning's meal was that the place was crowded and a bit noisy. I guess that's to be expected when you're popular. I'm not used to popular. Most of the places I frequent for breakfast are half empty. I don't know how they stay in business.

I seldom see a lot of people together in the same place. Breakfast gave me an opportunity to see how society has changed. A lot more young people wear glasses now. Has staring at cell phones made people's eyes worse, or are contact lenses just out of fashion? I don't know. Apparently, nobody works on a fixed schedule anymore. I typically eat late and when I went to breakfast this morning, everybody should have been at work. The place was packed.  It was clear that most of these folks had a job. They just didn't work 9 to 5.

Some things were unexplainable. While I was waiting to be seated, I noticed that the woman ahead of me was wearing Louboutin stilettos at nine in the morning. A guy at a table next to me pulled a Ziploc bag full of credit cards out of his pocket when he was ready to pay his bill. Are plastic bag wallets a thing now? I'm clearly too old to know. Even though this new restaurant was a bit too trendy for my taste, I'm sure I'll be back. There were too many things on the menu that I'd like to try.

It was supposed to rain today but it never did. The forecast kept changing by the hour. Something is clearly happening. The wind has picked up and the temperature is supposed to be below freezing tomorrow. Hey, I'll take what I can get. I don't like the cold but if I've got to endure freezing weather I prefer that it be dry.

One of Dash's paws was bleeding a bit when we returned from our morning walk. It looked a nail was scraping against the adjacent skin. It's about time for a nail trim again. I'm trying to learn to do this myself while Dash is asleep. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but I can usually one clip a single nail before Dash wakes up. I've got a good pair of clippers, but so far I've only been trimming a tiny bit off each nail. Maybe if I get better at this, we can avoid the trauma of going to the vet for a nail trim. I'm also trying to rinse Dash's mouth with Dentahex while he's asleep. Dash hates the oral rinse but it's necessary to keep his Periodontal Disease from getting worse. Since Dash is no longer a candidate for anesthesia, it's been really hard to keep his teeth clean and his gums healthy.

All in all it's been a good day. I did something new. It didn't rain. And nothing terrible happened. I hope it stays dry this weekend. I've got a ton of errands to run tomorrow and there's a total lunar eclipse on Sunday. We'll see how it goes.

Dovey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Day 3311

Every once in a while I look at posts from previous years. Apparently not much changes on January 17. It's usually cold and rainy. I've either just gotten or am about to get a haircut. Maybe the dogs were healthy at some point, but not in recent years. It was obvious from a quick glance at my past that Dot and Dash have been sick for a very long time. I wonder how long it's been since I was genuinely excited about something. I couldn't find anything. Read in sequential order, each day just seemed like I was living in an endless boot camp.

Hey, I'm always the one who says he loves consistency. I guess I shouldn't complain. Life has been consistent. Today was certainly a typical January day. It was cold and damp, but that didn't keep us from walking. Dash was even slower than usual because Janet had an appointment this morning and he had no one to follow. When we walk alone it often feels like we just walk in circles. Eventually, we made it home. Dash is forgetful now but he still remembers the way home.

Dash wasn't on a puppy pad when he pooped in the bed last night, so there was lots of laundry this morning. I wish he'd learn to sleep in the center of the bed. It would make life so much easier if he'd just stay on his protective bedding. Whatever we do, he always ends up right on the edge of his blanket. At least I've got cleanup down to a science. Janet and I have become quite efficient when an accident happens at night. Out with the soiled stuff. In with pre-positioned replacement bedding. And back to sleep we go. Oddly, it all seems normal now.

Actually, all the chaos in the world just seems normal now. It's hard to get alarmed when the same old shit keeps happening over and over again. Maybe I'll get used to stock market volatility someday. Political volatility is here to stay as well. If Trump eventually gets his wall, the next administration will just tear it down again. I see an endless series of eight year cycles where each incoming president is determined to erase the accomplishments of the previous one. Maybe China has the answer. Their plan seems to be totalitarian rule but still let people have nice stuff.

Lately I have been seeing a lot of ads for breakfast restaurants on my Facebook feed. This is odd. I talk a lot about breakfast on my blog, but I never post anything directly on Facebook. How do they know? All there is on my timeline is a daily link to my latest blog post. Does a Facebook robot follow each link and try to figure out your personality? I wouldn't doubt it. If they do figure something out, I wish they'd let me know. I  could use the information. Actually some of the restaurants that have been turning up in my feed look interesting. Maybe I'll go try one out tomorrow.

Hard to believe it's almost Friday again. The trash has been taken out to the curb. I'm getting a grocery list together for Saturday. Dash has already taken his evening meds. I should just look at last years post to see what I need to do tomorrow.

Chief is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Day 3310

I try to leave myself plenty of time whenever I make an appointment. Let's face it, I'm slow and Dash is even slower. You'd think an appointment at noon wouldn't present a problem. Wrong. I actually got up early this morning, but by the time I'd walked Dash, made the bed, cleaned up dog poop on the living room floor, fixed breakfast, and taken a shower, I was already late.

I get my hair cut every couple of months. I've been going to the same stylist for decades and see no reason to change now. This periodic trip to the mall gives me an opportunity to see if the outside world has changed. It seldom does. There was a new Model 3 on display at the Tesla store and I noticed that a new KAWS Companion sculpture had been added to the Mall's art collection. Everything else was the same. I was surprised at how nice the low cost Tesla looked considering the bad press it has been getting. I'm always surprised at the popularity of Brian Donnelly's art. I guess I'm getting old. I don't understand the popularity of Banksy either.

I didn't linger at the Mall today. I skipped the usual window shopping at the Apple Store and watch boutiques. There is just no desire to buy stuff anymore. It was good to get a haircut though. I always feel better after a haircut. My hair is almost white now, but at least I still have hair. I'm looking more and more like my Dad every year.

I finished the day by paying a few bills and picking up a new supply of Plavix for Dash at the pharmacy on my way home from the post office. It seemed like a very busy day, but as usual I didn't get much done. Janet and I both wonder how we used to get so much done when we were younger. Now, just taking care of the bare necessities can eat up an entire day.

It was a little warmer today, but the weather is still damp and nasty. This type of weather must accentuate smells, because Dash spends even more time than usual smelling things on damp days. Smell is everything to him lately and he will frequently walk straight through muddy areas to get to a smell he likes. I've always got to have a spare set of footwear for him because his boots and socks usually need to go in the laundry after a walk. My own boots are usually muddy as well. Sometimes I feel like I spend half my day cleaning stuff. When Dash poops in the bed, I might spend the entire day.

After today's excursion, I see no need to leave the house tomorrow. The outside world just isn't that enticing. I still enjoy walking through the park, but I don't take many photos anymore. I have to concentrate on keeping Dash from falling. I didn't realize how good I had it when Dot and Dash were young and healthy. Walks were a joy back then. We walked a lot further, but it was relaxing. Relaxing isn't a word I use very often anymore.

Shelby is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Day 3309

It's come to this. Dash can't remember where to pee anymore and I can't remember what day it is. When I let Dash outside to pee while I was fixing breakfast, he wandered around for a while and then came back inside after doing nothing. This is common with Dash, so I didn't think anything of it. Almost immediately after returning to the house he peed all over the floor. He kept walking while he was peeing, so there was a long wet trail of pee all over the place. Why would he do this? He had plenty of time to do his business outside. It took quite a while to clean up the mess. Actually, cleaning up poop is a lot easier.

At times like this I'm convinced that Dash is suffering from dementia. I may not be far behind him. I was getting ready to leave for my haircut today when I looked at my phone and realized that it was Tuesday. Hmm. My appointment is actually on Wednesday. Why did I think it was Tuesday yesterday? Usually Mondays are quite distinctive, as any working person can attest. Maybe the problem is that I'm not a working person anymore. All days seem the same.

No harm done. I'll still get a haircut and I'm sure that Dash will continue peeing wherever he pleases. The accident this morning reminded me that I needed to find a quieter way to protect the bed. The loud crackling sound the plastic shower curtain I bought makes is making it even harder than usual to get to sleep. I'm not quite ready to buy an expensive high tech nylon backpacking tarp from REI, so I thought I'd try a lighter, thinner shower curtain first. I found something very light and flexible, but Dash will probably destroy it. We'll give it a try tonight.

While I was out, I got another hundred pounds of rocks for the driveway. The first pile of rocks I got were actually pretty effective, so I thought that a few more would help smooth out some remaining low spots in the driveway. The river rocks are actually very attractive. Maybe I should keep buying rocks and resurface the entire driveway. I bet it would be a lot less expensive than asphalt. There is something satisfying about fixing things with rocks. A rock is about as low tech as you can get. Filling a hole with rocks is much simpler than repairing a French toilet or figuring out why my computer is running slow.

I've really got to watch Dash carefully now. He falls so frequently that I've got to plan ahead and make sure he is secure in a safe place before I leave him unattended. Today, I had to pen him in the bedroom while I took a shower. If he wakes up and I'm not nearby, he comes looking for me. There are lots of rugs in the kitchen but the bathroom tiles are off limits now. It's too easy to fall on the slippery surface.

There are no wildflowers in the park now. Hey, it's Winter. The flowers you've been seeing lately are just part of a sad little display of bedding plants at the Home Depot where I bought my pile of rocks. I guess I could have showed you a big puddle of pee on the floor today, but I still prefer a pretty theme picture. I'll be getting a haircut tomorrow, but I guess you know that already. I told you yesterday.

Betty is today's Dalmatian of the Day
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