Friday, October 20, 2017

Day 2857

When I was at breakfast this morning, I heard people at two different tables arguing about politics. This isn't a good sign. People should be talking about Halloween costumes and home improvements at breakfast. Football and Fall weather are OK, but it's way too early to talk about politics. I guess it's a sign of the times. I didn't hear the entire conversations, but these didn't seem to be Democrat vs Republican arguments. I got the impression that everyone was disgusted with both sides and thought that the entire system was broken. Actually, most people would probably agree that the system is broken. They just can't agree on how to fix it.

I tried to order something off the menu again with very limited success. I wasn't asking for anything exotic, but my request seemed to confuse the waiter. I should have stuck to the menu. I probably should have just stayed home. I wasn't even hungry this morning.

Our plan to get Dash walking again didn't work today. We should have headed toward the park where the smells were stronger, but we headed down the street instead. Janet was able to turn around and go home, but Dash didn't walk much further after that. When I stopped to clean up his poop about halfway down the street, he used the opportunity to turn around and head for home again. I tried to get him turned around so we could continue our walk, but his will was stronger than mine.

This evening, we tried an experiment. Janet tried to walk Dash by herself to see if he just liked to walk with her better. He refused to leave the yard. I watched her try several times to get Dash moving before I joined them. As soon as Dash saw the whole family was together, he headed for the back gate and we took a very normal walk. I can't really explain this behavior, but I can't seem to change it either.

It was a very slow day. I had to go to the grocery store twice, because part of the store was closed when I went after breakfast. Come back after 10:30 AM the sign said. I had a coupon Janet wanted me to use, but I probably didn't save any money, since my car gets such poor gas mileage.

I repaired another pair of Dash's protective boots this afternoon. This has turned out to be a very messy job. The Shoe Goo I'm using to repair things seems to be fairly durable, but it's hard to apply neatly. Someone needs to invent a better way to bond rubber to rubber. Rubber cement might work if the surfaces were smooth, but they're not. I guess it doesn't really matter if my repairs aren't pretty. The boots just need to stay together.

The refrigerator isn't warming up as quickly as I thought it would. Should I take things apart and defrost the coil this weekend, or just let the food get a little warmer and wait for the repairman on Monday afternoon? Those are the kind of decisions I make these days.

Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Day 2856

We tricked Dash into walking this morning. Janet walked with us down the alley and into the park. As soon as Dash started smelling interesting things in the park, he didn't even notice that Janet had turned around and gone back to the house to get ready for work. The rest of our walk was completely normal. It still seems odd that Dash hates to leave the house, but once our yard is out of sight he seems to enjoy himself. I'm probably the same way about vacations. It's like pulling teeth to get me to go on a vacation. I'll come up with every excuse in the book to avoid leaving home. Once the plane has left the runway, I'm fine. The only way to explain this is that I probably have the attention span of a dog. As soon as I'm somewhere new, I completely forget about the old.

The refrigerator part arrived at the repair shop today, but they won't be able to come out and install it until Monday. This means that I'll probably have to take the freezer section apart again and defrost the evaporator coil one more time this weekend. This sucks, but I'm really not surprised at the delay. Now, I have to decide whether to quietly install the new parts I ordered myself before the repairmen arrive, or ask them to install them for me. One way or another, I'm determined to get this refrigerator working again.

Janet's doctor isn't taking new patients anymore, but there are other doctors at the practice. I made an appointment to meet one of them next week. They call this initial visit a "meet and greet." I've had the same primary care physician for a long time now, but it's probably time for a chance. I'm definitely not getting any younger. I was so impressed at the quality of care Janet received during her cancer treatment that it seems crazy not to have access to the same type of care myself. I always used to think that Dot and Dash had much better doctors than I did. Maybe this new concierge practice will   put me in the same league with the care that Dash is receiving at the cancer center.

I wish I'd never upgraded my computer to Sierra. All my aging software worked perfectly with Mountain Lion. Now, I run into little snags and hiccups almost every day. The most irritating problem is that Dreamweaver won't save login information for web servers anymore. I have to manually enter user ID and password information every time I upload something. There are a lot of passwords to remember and if I forget them, I can't count on the clients to remember them either. Old Quicktime movies won't play anymore either. I would be tempted to reinstall Mountain Lion, except that it's usually not a good idea to go backwards. I'm sure that since I've changed hard drives when I upgraded the system, it would be almost impossible to return things to exactly the way they were. I also need to remember why I upgraded in the first place. My accounting software wasn't going to be supported anymore. In my line of work, you need Microsoft Word, you need Photoshop, and you need accounting software.

After I took today's mail to the post office, I stopped by a little neighborhood Cuban restaurant and picked up a Cuban Sandwich to go. Everyone seems to make a Cuban Sandwich a little differently. This one was supposed to be very authentic, but how would I know? I'd been curious about this restaurant, since it gets very good reviews. I drive by this place every week and it only took me a year to stop and order something. The sandwich was pretty good.

I can't decide whether to go out for breakfast tomorrow. I guess it will all depend on how much trouble it is to get Dash to take a walk.

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

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Day 2855

I think I've messed up my day count. This is Day 2855, but according to Blogger I've actually written something for 2865 consecutive days. Where did the missing ten days go? I don't have a clue. I'm sure what happened was that one day I made a typo in the title and then the next day I just added one to that number and kept going. I really don't have the time or the inclination to search through a year's worth of blog posts to find the gap, but this odd mistake will be added to the long list of things that irritate me. I'm so meticulous and always spell check everything. How could I make a mistake like this?

Dash didn't walk at all today. He wouldn't leave the yard this morning and since Janet had to go to a funeral after work, he wouldn't take an evening walk either. I tried everything to get him to take an evening walk. At one point I left all his gear on for an hour or so, hoping that he could get used to it. The knee brace wasn't the problem. He walked around the yard with his knee brace and boots just fine, but as soon as I put a leash on him, he started heading for the house. The days are getting shorter, so this is only going to get harder in the months ahead. I don't know what this reluctance to walk is all about. The knee brace isn't bothering him and he can walk normally while wearing it. He doesn't mind the rubber boots either. He wears these around the house at times and seems to forget he has them on. For some reason that only Dash knows, he just doesn't want to leave the yard anymore.

I finished my article today, but it took longer than I expected. When Dash doesn't get enough exercise, he is constantly pestering me to let him outside. As soon as he's out, he just wanders around for a minute or two and then wants to come in again. In and out we go, all day long. I can't just leave the back door open. An open door is an invitation to all the squirrels, raccoons, and feral cats that wander through our yard. There are plenty of bugs that would fly through the open door as well.

After I shipped my article off to the client, I got caught up on my website revisions. I wish now that I'd never bothered to convert everyone's site to a mobile friendly format. None of my clients even seem to care that their site automatically resizes for tablets and phones. The mobile sites are more complex and harder to change. The worst thing is that I can't use Dreamweaver anymore and need to make my changes using a cloud based design program. Modifications that used to take a few minutes can now take up to an hour. The sad thing is that I've got plenty of time to do all this because there aren't that many clients left.

Today's picture is pretty pitiful, since Dash wouldn't walk anywhere with me. It's just a crow in the back yard. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow. I might have to take a picture of my morning smoothie. I hope I can figure out how to get Dash walking again. He used to love long walks and certainly needs the exercise. He shouldn't do anything strenuous with the blood clots in his heart, but his doctor said that slow walks would actually be good for him.

The parts I ordered for the refrigerator arrived this morning, but I've still heard nothing about the important mother board that the appliance repair folks ordered. All I ordered were some rubber gaskets and a temperature sensor that the repairman said never goes bad. I could have ordered the motherboard myself as well, but I was afraid I might have to pay for two boards if the repair shop wouldn't send theirs back. Lord knows when this thing will get fixed. I'm still convinced that I could have watched a few YouTube instructional videos and fixed the refrigerator myself weeks ago.

It looks like I might have to take some money from the retirement account to pay the Mastercard bill. That's what happens when business dries up. I guess this is what the retirement account if for, but I'd hoped to leave it untouched for a few more years. Sometimes I wonder if planning ahead even matters. You could have everything all worked out and then there's a nuclear war with North Korea or that super volcano under Yellowstone National Park explodes. Then what? I don't even think the preppers have an answer for that.

Little Petey is today's Dalmatian of the Day
Watch of the Day

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Day 2854

I am becoming increasingly disorganized. Part of my brain has already retired. Another part is still trying to keep track of deadlines and responsibilities. I kept forgetting today that I had an article to write and several websites to update. The jobs were minor and inconsequential, but they were still real jobs. Back in the day, I would have had these tasks finished before noon. They still aren't finished.

I kept forgetting I had work to do because I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to get Dash to walk. I was unsuccessful again. Our boy just doesn't want to walk in the morning anymore. Later in the week, Janet has a light day, so we are going to experiment and see if he'll take an early walk with both of us. He still walks fine in the evening, so maybe he's just being stubborn.

I woke up early this morning because I was cold and then remembered that I had wanted to see the conjunction of Mars, the Moon, and Venus. I took a pair of binoculars outside and easily spotted all three. Mars is very faint because it is on the other side of the solar system. It won't be close to Earth again until next summer. After accounting for the visible planets in the morning sky, I went back to bed. Astronomy is appealing, but not quite as appealing as sleep.

If I ever invited you to connect on Alignable, I apologize. I initially thought that this might be a cool way to network and get business, but it just seems to connect me to nail salons and real estate agents. I'm getting so much spammy mail from these folks now that I'm thinking of deactivating my account. I should have known better. I never liked LinkedIn, so it should have been a no-brainer that I wouldn't like this either.

With Dash refusing to walk, I'm not getting as many steps in during the day as I'd like. It was easy to take over 12,000 steps a day when we took two walks in the park. Now my total is much less. Without these daily walks, there aren't as many photos either. I miss these long morning walks, but strangely I don't feel like walking without a dog. I've walked with a dog companion at my side for so many years that it just doesn't seem right to walk alone.

I guess I'll finish my article tomorrow. There isn't a deadline, but writing will give me something to do during the day. I don't think there's much of a chance that the refrigerator repairman will be coming over tomorrow. Chances of the roofer coming over are even less.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. Dash is eating well now and seems to be happy enough just spending his day doing nothing. I wish I could say the same.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

Day 2853

It was a beautiful morning, but Dash refused to walk again. Does his leg hurt? Is he feeling dizzy or nauseous? Is he just being stubborn? It's hard to tell. I don't want to push him too hard, but he still needs a certain amount of activity. When he first wakes up, he does exhibit some telltale signs of vestibular disease. Maybe he doesn't feel steady on his feet. All I know is that he used to love to walk. This evening, he seemed eager to go outside when Janet returned from work, but the sun had already set. Our evening walk was very short. It's a shame that I've got all the time in the world and Dash doesn't want to do anything unless the entire family is nearby.

The refrigerator part didn't arrive today. This was the second time this part hasn't arrived on the date that was promised. I asked the company today when the part was really going to arrive, so I could plan accordingly and they just told me that they would call me when it got here. This is really frustrating, since I know how to get the part overnight. The appliance repair company refuses to work with anyone other than their own parts supplier. I suspect this is because their very slow supplier doesn't require them to pay immediately. I think I would have been happier if I'd just bought the parts myself and learned how to install them by watching readily available YouTube videos. I'm gradually learning exactly how the refrigerator works, but there is no joy in this learning process. I hate dealing with repair companies in a world where nobody keeps a parts inventory. Plumbers, HVAC repairmen, and electricians are all the same. There are no parts on the truck anymore. They diagnose your problem and then they order the parts.

I sent out my October invoices this afternoon. My monthly billing was so small that it probably wouldn't even pay the electric bill. It's hard to justify continuing the business. I did get a new writing job today and there's a potential new website job as well, but this isn't a profitable endeavor anymore. When I was eating breakfast this morning, I watched a GoDaddy commercial bragging about how anyone could build a sophisticated business website in less than an hour using one of their super cheap website builder widgets. How do you compete with that?

I had to pick up more phenobarbital for Dash today. Maybe the increased dose he is taking now is causing some of his problems. I'll never know for sure, because all the vets tell me that going without phenobarbital isn't an option for Dash. Maybe they are right. Once we took Dash off phenobarbital about five years ago when we were convinced he was cured. About a month later he had one of the most violent seizures he's ever had. There really aren't a lot of easy answers with this dog. We've got to deal with thyroid cancer, vestibular disease, epilepsy, a partial cruciate tear, and blood clots in the heart, all at the same time.

If I get up really early tomorrow morning, I should be able to see a very thin waning crescent moon centered between Mars and Venus. Is this worth setting an alarm clock for? It probably depends on how late I go to bed tonight. I still like astronomy, but like everything else, enjoying this hobby seems a bit of a hassle.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Day 2852

It was one of those 20,000 step days. My mind doesn't get a lot of activity on Sunday, but my body certainly does. After breakfast this morning, I moved the big pile of wood in the alley out to the street so the city would pick it up on Bulky Trash Day. When I was removing the Elm tree branches from the roof a few weeks ago, I scratched myself up pretty bad. This time I made sure to wear long pants, a jacket, and gloves. Wood is pretty heavy. It took me over an hour and a half to get everything moved to the curb. Hopefully, no more trees will fall on the roof for the foreseeable future.

Dash threw up again last night. He threw up a lot. This was surprising, since he had acted perfectly normal all day and didn't seem to have an upset stomach. This was the first time he's thrown up for well over a month. I was beginning to think we had gotten past this hurdle. Throwing up periodically must have something to do with Dash's vestibular disease. There is no real cure for this disease and several vets have told us to expect episodes of vertigo and nausea for the rest of his life. I'm used to solving problems and it's frustrating to have so few options with Dash. Many of the ailments he is suffering from just don't have a cure.

When Dash vomits, it is always very late at night, after he's been asleep for a while. He acts frantic and wants to go outside and eat grass. After he throws up, he goes back to sleep as if nothing had happens and is usually good the next day. We didn't give him a Cerenia pill last night. We'll see what happens tonight. With any luck, he'll be good for another month.

My beloved weather radar app quit working on my old series one iPad this morning. I tried again tonight and it still wasn't functioning. I haven't been able to update this app for over three years, so I suspect that the company finally quit supporting the older hardware. This happens a lot on my phone, tablets, and computers. You are basically forced to update hardware because the software quits working. The weather radar app still works fine on my phone, but I liked checking the weather on the iPad. Probably my phone is the next to be rendered obsolete. I just noticed that I can't update the system to IOS 11. The phone is too old.

Even though I was tired from lugging heavy logs around, I decided to go to the gym anyway. I'm much older than my phone and a trip to the gym is the closest thing I can find to a software update. I thought I had a pretty good workout, but my fitness tracker said otherwise. I did the same routines, but I didn't burn nearly as many calories as I did last week. I'm sure it was the yard work that made the difference.

I haven't turned on the large format printer in over a month. It may be impossible to unclog the thing now. I'll give it a try tomorrow and order some more ink if I succeed. I've basically grown tired of buying expensive ink for this thing just to make test prints to keep the printer from clogging. Maybe it's finally time to take the printer to the curb. This printer made beautiful very large Giclée prints in it's day, but I think that ship has sailed. If I could bring myself to part with this obsolete printer and the equally obsolete Beta-SP tape machines, I'd have a lot more space in the office.

I wonder if my refrigerator part will arrive tomorrow? Promises apparently don't mean much in the appliance repair business.

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

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Day 2851

I'm so tired of continually fixing things. Today I noticed that the refrigerator was about ten degrees warmer and I knew it was time to defrost the evaporator coil again. The refrigerator seems to cool things normally for one and a half to two weeks before the coil freezes. It's not that hard to thaw the coil with a hair dryer, but it is a nuisance. I have to take all the food out of the freezer and put it in a large ice chest before I can begin. The shelves have to be unscrewed and removed so I can access the metal back panel. When this panel has been removed, I can see the evaporator coil. It takes about twenty minutes to thaw the coil and mop up all the dripping water. Then I put everything back together and the refrigerator works fine for a while.

I'm really disappointed that the appliance repairmen weren't able to diagnose the source of this problem on their first visit. The repair strategy seems to be to replace parts one at a time until everything starts working again. To the repairman's credit, he isn't charging me for service calls anymore, but I'm convinced that there's got to be a better way to repair things. In anticipation that the logic board he ordered won't solve the problem either, I ordered a few parts myself today. Two can play this game. If his part doesn't work, I'll ask him to install one of mine.

We tried the dog booties I repaired a few days ago on Dash's evening walk and I was pleased to see that the glue and patches held together. This is good news and means that I'll be able to extend the life of these protective shoes. Now I've got to start repairing the other boots, because they're all starting to become worn. The good news is that Dash can walk normally while wearing his boots and knee brace. The bad news is that he'll only walk when Janet and I both go with him. When Daylight Savings Time returns soon, our evening walks are going to become more difficult. Janet doesn't return from work until after dark in the Winter, so Dash doesn't have much time to get used to walking alone with me.

I've noticed that the neighbors have started piling up stuff on the curb for bulky trash pickup. This means that I've only got a few days to move all the elm tree branches from the alley to the curb. I should have done this today, since it is supposed to rain tomorrow. I just didn't have the time. By the time I'd finished dealing with the refrigerator and the dog boots, my day was finished.

I picked up one of my watches this morning and the bracelet fell apart in my hands. This seemed symbolic of everything in my life. I got my watch tools out and put the bracelet back together, but I don't know why I even bothered. I never wear these watches anymore. It just seems strange that I spent so much time collecting them. You should never have a lot of old mechanical things. Old machines require constant maintenance. Vintage cars, vintage houses, vintage watches, and even vintage guitars are nothing but trouble.

I hope nothing breaks tomorrow. Like I said, I'm tired of fixing things. Even my Sunday trip to the gym is an attempt to fix something. I'm falling apart too.

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

Friday, October 13, 2017

Day 2850

It was a fairly benign Friday the 13. Nothing really bad happened. I didn't tempt fate though. I didn't climb up on the roof today or attempt to remove wasp nests. All I wanted was a quiet, peaceful day where nothing went wrong.

It's often hard to tell if something is wrong with Dash, or if he's just being stubborn. Today he refused to take a morning walk, even though the weather was nice and he ate all his breakfast. I don't try to force him to walk because so many thing are wrong with him now. Maybe he was feeling weak due to his heart condition. Maybe his leg hurt. It's hard to tell with Dash. He's often reluctant to leave the house, but once he arrives in the park, he has a great time smelling every bush along his path. I wish I knew whether he was in a mood to walk before I spend ten minutes getting him suited up in his protective gear. I initially thought he might be reluctant to walk because he didn't want to wear the knee brace. He walks just fine wearing the brace though. When he's in a good mood, he's not even aware he's wearing it.

I try to give Dash a pass for his occasional moodiness, because I can feel the same way myself. Some mornings I'm really eager to go out for breakfast on Fridays, and other mornings nothing interests me at all. Today I mostly went out because there was nothing in the refrigerator that didn't require a lot of preparation. If we still had peaches and strawberries, I probably would have just stayed home and made a smoothie.

When I returned from breakfast and grocery shopping for tonight's dinner, I got started on repairing Dash protective boots. I cut several pieces out of the rubber tire patch material and then glued them in place using the Shoe Goo that I purchased the other day. I debated whether to use rubber cement or the Shoe Goo and decided that the Shoe Goo would last longer. If this doesn't work, I'll use the rubber cement next time. The flexible cement has to cure for 24 hours, so we'll try the boots out tomorrow. If the repair seems to be holding up after a few walks, I'll repair the other boots Dash has already ruined.

I actually had a website problem to solve today. Sadly, the problem isn't actually solved yet, but at least I got the process started. I remember a time when you could call technical support and resolve fairly complex problems on the spot. Most of those knowledgable people have disappeared. Now, it's rare to talk with anyone who can actually code or solve IT problems. The friendly guy I talked with today just took down my information and said he'd pass it on to his supervisor. He didn't have a clue how to fix problems with forms and databases.

Dash walked just fine this evening. I think he just wants the whole family to walk with him. I don't know what we're going to do when Daylight Savings Time begins and it gets dark an hour earlier. It's already sunset when Janet returns from work. Life was so much easier for Dash when Dot was alive. She was always the alpha dog who showed Dash how to behave. Now, he just seems lost.

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