Dental Drama

It seems the older I get, the more I end up going to a doctor of some sort. My latest visit was to see the dentist. Just so you know, the dentist ranks right up there with my desire to go to the gynecologist. It’s never on the high priority list.

A few years ago, my dentist retired. He was the one I had gone to since I first grew in my teeth over 40 years ago. His office was over an hour away so I had only attempted to try out another dentist that was a little closer once before. (I had been to see him once and one night when I was watching the news, his face popped up on my TV screen. He had been arrested for murdering his girlfriend AND his wife.)

I immediately decided that the hour drive to see my old dentist was worth it.

After Dale and I got married he suggested that I go to his dentist that he has been to for HIS entire life.

I made my appointment and they advised me that since I was a new patient, they would need to run the full gamut of x-rays and tests on me…so I should be prepared to be at there for a couple of hours.

Oh yay. Something to look forward to.

I arrived for my appointment and they took me into one of the rooms. It didn’t have a door. Okay. So what if I’m screaming in pain or crying out of fear? The whole office is going to hear me slobbering like a baby. This isn’t starting out well.

The first technician comes in and says that she needs to take photos of my mouth. Ok. That’s good. I can handle photos.

Then she proceeds to shove these plastic mouth expanders in so that my lips are held wide open so you can see all of my teeth…as well as my stomach and kidneys. My lips felt like they were going to end up looking like the elastic on some old lady’s underwear – stretched way beyond their limitations.

I felt like a dog hanging out of a car window going 120 MPH down the highway. Definitely the same idea. Definitely not as much fun.

She took several photos and then said “Okay, now we are going to get some x-rays!”

She was so cheerful it sounded like we were about to go to a party!

She began to put together some plastic pieces that looked like a puzzle and I jokingly asked where those were going to fit.

“Oh, we use these now instead of those horrible little cardboard x-rays. They were so bad for you! Don’t worry. They’ll fit in your mouth. But it might be uncomfortable – for a minute.”

I opened my mouth and she somehow crammed these huge plastic pieces in place. “Now bite down.”

Uhh, what?

I can’t move my tongue. I’m having a hard time breathing. I think I’m already bleeding and you want me to bite down? I felt like I was ready to be hitched to a plow so I could go clear a field. This was not good.

Finally she was done. If I could have shot x-rays out of my eyeballs she would have been toast.

I could breathe a sigh of relief.

That was until the next technician came in.

“So, it says you have not been to the dentist in three years…” she said with a slightly disapproving tone.

“Uh, yes. I really don’t like going to the dentist,” I said.

“Well, I’ll make sure this doesn’t hurt much.”

Here we go again.

She took out a sandblaster that I’m pretty sure could remove graffiti off a concrete wall and pointed it towards my mouth. Of course, this was right after she used a meat hook to scrape any plaque off my teeth. I’m confident that with all of the scraping she did up under my gums, she got some plaque that had been there since I was in the sixth grade.

Then onto the dental floss. (I’m a religious flosser so this should have been easy-peasy.) But apparently, when you’re at the dentist, you’re supposed to push dental floss with excessive force in between your teeth just to be sure you make your gums bleed.

My gums are so swollen it looks like I’ve eaten a can of yellow jackets.

Then she sprays water into my mouth and then uses this suction thing to suck it all back up. I feel like I’m being waterboarded. Where in the heck is a sink? Can’t I just spit? The suction thing keeps getting stuck on my tongue and then my tonsils. I’m gagging.

I hate this.

Then she starts asking me questions. Now I have never understood this: Why would anyone ask you questions when they know you can’t answer without sounding like you’ve swallowed a pillow?

“I pruyus qwuiuhg wghhhek Akohuih Ilwlla suhur shia” I said. That meant “Yes, I’ve been watching American Idol too. Who do you think will win?”

My former dentist used to just hum Broadway show tunes while he was cleaning my teeth. Some “Phantom of the Opera” might really calm me down right now. She might want to try it.

The dentist comes in and looks at my chompers. He is very nice and has a really nice smile. He’s a walking billboard for going to the dentist.

He inspects all of my teeth, individually. During this time he is asking me questions. I’m sorry. I can’t answer you right now because that camera you have shoved in my mouth is dangerously close to my voice box.

“Do you drink sodas?”

My love for soda started at an early age...

My love for soda started at an early age…

“Yes but only one a day”, I said.

Tisk, tisk.

“Trust me”, I said. “You didn’t want me coming to this appointment without having caffeine first. I might have bitten you.”

He laughed but I’m pretty sure he understood that I wasn’t joking.

Overall, he said that everything looks good. I have the beginnings of cavities in my upper molars but that’s probably due just to age.

Seriously? He’s going to get on the gynecologist bandwagon and start telling me that things are falling apart because of my AGE?

That’s it. I’m not going to any more doctors until I’m eligible for a senior citizens discount.

But according to all of my doctors, that might be sooner than I think.

(Now I know that the ladies in my dentist office are probably going to read this, so please let me add the following disclaimer…I had not been to the dentist in three years so I’m sure you had your work cut out for you. After reading this, please remember that MOST of this was in jest, so please do not take it out on me at my next visit. haha)

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Time Marches On

My husband gets so tired of me correcting him when he says how old I am. Yes, I will be 45 years old this year…but I’m not there yet. I’m 44! So don’t say that I’m 45!!

I always joke with him because HE IS 45. I think he just wants to not feel older than I am especially since he is already getting AARP literature in the mail or it could be that when he doesn’t shave his beard he starts to look like Wolverine from x-Men because it’s turning gray.

It’s never seemed to bother him much, however, yesterday afternoon I think he finally understood my frustration with getting older.

Old Man Winter

Old Man Winter

We were in the car heading down to see my parents for the afternoon. I was driving, and Dale was in the passenger seat working on his laptop. Since my dad has been going through chemotherapy, his taste buds have become a little skewed and so we decided to stop at the Varsity and pick up some of their famous “Frosted Orange” drinks. He loves them and they are strong enough for him to taste so I love surprising him with them.

We pulled up to the Varsity and waited in line. When I ordered the drinks through the intercom, I asked the lady taking my order not to fill up the cups to the top. I just wanted them filled up enough so when she put the lid on them, it didn’t squirt out the top of the cup.

Dale just looked at me and said “You sound like Meg Ryan in ‘When Harry Met Sally’. You know how she ordered her food and had a zillion conditions to go with it – “I’ll have the Caesar salad but I don’t want croutons, and I want the dressing on the side”. The lady taking your order is going to think you are a nut.”

So I decided to explain myself to her when we drove up to the window.

“I’m so sorry for being so picky. My dad loves these, and since he is going through chemotherapy, we have to be really careful about not letting anything touch his food, so I didn’t want the cup filled up because I didn’t want it to squish out on your hand when you put on the top.”

She did look at me like I was a nut.

But then she smiled, leaned out the window, looked at Dale and said “Is that your father?”
I choked on my diet coke and some of it ran out of my nose.

Dale leaned over and looked at her, smiled and said, “Uhhhh no. I’m her HUSBAND.”

I couldn’t stop giggling.

She never missed a beat. “What kind of cancer does your dad have? Is he being treated here? I had breast cancer and beat it. I hated chemotherapy. I lost my sense of taste too. And I lost my hair. I’ll say a prayer for him”, she said.

I then thanked her and we drove off.

I giggled some more.

“Doesn’t it stink for someone to think you’re older than you really are?” I asked. I think at that point he understood why I never want to be labeled older than I actually am.

Dale just growled at me.

I remember a quote from “Steel Magnolias” where Dolly Parton said “Time marches on, and sooner or later you realize it’s marching right across your face.”

Yep. Getting older really stinks.

Especially when someone thinks you are your wife’s dad.

Prom Night-Mares

It’s Springtime and you know what that means…it’s prom season. (Cringe!!!)

Dale and I went out to dinner recently and we noticed several couples who were dressed up and heading out to the prom.

I couldn’t help staring at some of the girls, wondering to myself, “Where did these girls get these dresses? Ho’s R Us??” Where were the parents when these dresses were being picked out? Are they really okay with this?

“Oh, honey, you look so beautiful! Now just be sure not to bend over or else your boobs and your butt are going to pop out at the same time. And just remember, you’re Mama’s sweet baby girl!”

I felt like we were in the middle of a underage porn convention.

My dad would have: 1) never bought me such a dress, 2) never allowed me out of the house had I actually somehow purchased such a dress, and 3) probably have sent me to a strict Catholic boarding school (even though we are Baptist) just for even thinking of wearing something like that.

Okay. So maybe I grew up in the 80’s where your entire body was covered in either lace or bows or satin, sometimes all three at the same time. Some dresses even were “Victorian” style, with lace all the way up to the chin. (My dad loved those). It was “totally” in style and I can assure you, no one was offended at our dresses!

Compared to what many girls are wearing now days, I looked like I was going to an Amish Barn Dance instead of the prom.

HHS Prom,  May 1986.  (I have to hide my friends faces or they will probably never speak to me again.)

HHS Prom, May 1986. (I have to hide my friends faces or they will probably never speak to me again.)

What’s with these new dresses?

What’s with the weird cut outs around the stomach?

Or the dresses that are open in the back all the way down to their butt cracks?

Or the hemlines that are so short they look ready for a gynecologist visit? I mean, seriously, girls! We don’t want to see your no-no parts.

I’ve come to the realization that some of these dress choices are the gateway for someone who will one day be trying out for the TV reality show, “Teen Moms” or worse, anything with the Kardashians in it.

And the shoes…oh dear, the shoes. If you are going to buy and attempt to wear shoes that are 6” high, please practice walking in them a few times so that you don’t look like you have unbendable plastic Barbie legs when you’re walking. It’s not attractive.

So now let’s talk about the makeup. I know the makeup in the 80’s was bad so I probably shouldn’t criticize the current generation’s makeup. They too will probably have to remove their makeup with the help of a chisel and a blow torch. I’ll admit it, but that is the ONLY similarity.

Why are they trying so hard to look like adults? I can assure you that I don’t actually KNOW any adults
who dress this way, but then again, I don’t hang out at strip clubs.

I’ve got to tell you…I sometimes really miss the fashion of years gone by. They left PLENTY to the imagination and most guys weren’t going to try to navigate through the layers and layers of stiff crinoline skirts and taffeta, so it was sort of like a fabric chastity belt.

Now I know that just because a girl dresses in a way that us 80’s kids used to call “easy”, doesn’t necessarily mean they ARE “easy.” But if a girl isn’t “easy” then why in the world would she (or her parents) want everyone to THINK she’s “easy” by the way she’s dressed? Make sense?

Maybe I’m just getting old. Maybe I’m just like my Dad, which I’m perfectly okay with. But I am quite confident that my step-daughter will not be looking like a hoochie mama when she goes to her first dance.

Not only because her dad won’t let her dress like one, but because her dad isn’t going to let her date until she’s 35.

Living In Sibling Harmony

My stepson, Austin, and stepdaughter, Bailey, are spending spring break at our house this year. We had hoped to be able to go to the coast for a few days, but work and weather have a way of taking priority over vacation time, so we are spending spring break at home this week.

No worries. Austin and Bailey have absolutely no problem with staying at home and playing on their computers. Both are whiz-kids when it comes to computers and when they start saying stuff like “servers”, “mods”, “jar files”, etc. , to me, it sounds like they are from another planet.

What has really impressed me this week, however, is how well they have gotten along. Austin lives with us full time, and Bailey lives with her mom. The way we have worked out visitation, the kids get to see each other every weekend and every day during the summer.

And they actually like each other.photo(74)

Without us having to ask him, Austin has been helping Bailey get her “Minecraft servers” set up…whatever the heck that means.

Bailey will walk upstairs, ask for his help and 10 minutes later, he arrives at her door, ready to help.

When I was a little girl, my older sister, Cathy and I did not have this same type of relationship.
I was the pesky little sister who always wanted to do whatever my older sister and her friends were doing. If they wouldn’t let me play with them, I would instigate situations that would get them in trouble with my mom.4887_94838426098_894094_n

Yes. I was a pain in the butt.

And they would get me back.

“Hey Dana! There’s a SURPRISE for you in the water hose!!!”

As I would pick up the water hose, I would put it up to my eye to look inside…and they would turn on the water. It’s a wonder I didn’t lose my eyesight.

Or, they would act like they were eating persimmons from the tree in our yard and they would say how yummy they were, so I’d pick one up and bite into it.

But it wasn’t yummy.

It was bitter and sour and made my tongue turn black and it felt like my mouth was turning inside out.

But I know my sister loves me and was only doing what older sisters do to their younger sisters. She is the person I call when I’m happy or sad, if I need to vent, or just need a sympathetic ear…and I love her.

So as I watch Austin and Bailey laugh and chase each other while we are running at the park I realize that they have a blessed relationship that hopefully will stand the test of teenager-hood, of which Austin has recently entered.

I know there will be times when they won’t always get along, but if they end up with the same kind of relationship that I have with my sister, they will be very fortunate kids indeed.

Even if they didn’t make each other eat persimmons.

Crying On The Shoulder Of The Road

Last month, we decided to take the kids up to Gatlinburg, TN for a weekend mini-vacation. Hopefully we would see some snow like we did three years ago. We had woken up the morning after we arrived to find everything covered in snow. It certainly would be fun if it snowed, but we knew we would still have fun even if it didn’t. (Hey – we live in the South and didn’t even get a dusting here this year. We get excited about seeing snow!)

We got up early, loaded up our SUV with kids, pillows, blankets, suitcases, phone chargers and iPads.
We were ready to go. I like driving, so I hopped in the drivers seat and we took off.

We had been on the road for about an hour when the “Check Engine” light came on.

I mentioned it to Dale but he didn’t seem too nervous about it. Our SUV is 11 years old, so lights come on and off all of the time. The “Check Engine” light being one of them. But this time it stayed on.

We had just crossed into North Carolina when I asked Dale if he could drive for a while so I could shut my eyes. Since I was up packing into the wee hours of the morning the night before, I was a little groggy and needed a quick power nap.

Less than five minutes after we switched drivers and just as I was starting to doze off, it felt like Dale was tapping the brakes – while going up a hill.

“WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING????” I hissed. I was tired, and when I’m tired, it’s no time for jokes.

“I’m not doing anything!” Dale said. “Something is wrong with the car.”

Now since he is always playing jokes on me – making it seem like we have a flat tire, or we are out of gas, etc., I usually don’t worry too much. But this time he was serious.

We pulled over on the side of the road. In the middle of NOWHERE.

I wanted to cry. It was cold outside. I was exhausted. I REALLY needed a nap. Except now we were stuck. I knew that the hill we were heading up lead into more of nowhere. If we could turn around and coast back down the hill, I remembered seeing a mechanic shop somewhere before we switched drivers.

Dale turned the car around and we rolled down the hill.

As if Heaven opened up and a stream of light shone down with Angels singing, suddenly, right in front of us, was a mechanic shop. And it was open on a Saturday. Hallelujah!

We rolled in the lot and a guy who looked eerily familiar like someone from the movie “Deliverance” came over to check on us. My first instinct was to lock the doors but it turned out, the look was the only similarity. This gentleman was genuinely kind and concerned that we were headed out of town and were now stuck at a garage.

He put his other works in progress on hold and helped us out.

Unfortunately, he finally realized that the truck was going to need a part – a part that they didn’t keep in stock, and wouldn’t be available until Tuesday. The mechanic called the local rent-a-car company so that we could get back on the road.

One of the interesting things about breaking down in nowhere was that the only rent-a-car company was called “Rent-a-Wreck…and it was, in fact…a wreck.

We headed out in a 2003 (yes, it was 10 years old) Chevrolet Cavalier (no, they don’t even make those cars anymore) with 140,000 miles on it. It shook if it got over 60 MPH and it smelled like dirty feet. I would not be surprised if a body had been transported in the trunk at some point.

But it was a car that worked when ours didn’t.

A week later, our SUV was repaired and we were told we could come pick up it up.

So, our “inexpensive” weekend getaway with the kids ended up costing about $1,300 more than originally planned. But we all had a blast, even if it didn’t snow. The kids (and Dale!) played Magi-Quest; we rode go-carts in the freezing cold; and we watched not-yet-released movies while snuggled up in our hotel beds.photo(73)

It was then that I suddenly realized that no matter what the final cost of the trip was, these memories actually were….

Priceless.