Four Molars Up!

The other day I tried Googling the endodontist I saw this afternoon and found him on a dentists’ rating Web site. You have to pay to read the reviews so I was a bit disappointed. In that case, if LiveJournal text shows up in Google searches, I want to put the word out there about Dr. Thomas Nasser, DDS, Endodontist, at 8802 North Meridian Street Suite 205 in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was sharp, clever, incredibly fast, easy-going, and funny. I swear I would not lie to you about this — when I got the first set of shots I did not feel a thing.
One other time in my entire life have I been pricked with a needle and not felt it. It was a Navy doctor giving me a physical, who said he’d count back from three and I could brace for it. When he got to two, he said “Okay, it’s done.” I looked down, and there it was. Ta da!

Dr. Nasser gave me a hard time about being so nervous and joked that I was going to freak him out if I kept tensing up. Then he made fun of me for curling my toes. I have a habit of clenching every muscle in my body so that I don’t move and allow myself to move only my feet. He saw it and I was embarrassed.
He also asked me to please continue seeing my current dentist and, under no circumstances, should I return to the person who gave me my first root canal.
The procedure (and it was a whopper!) took all of 35 minutes from start to finish and was nowhere near as nerve-wracking as the first. I hope someone out there in Indy is looking for a good root canal-er and goes to see him.

I’ve got some throbbing and a bit of a headache now. It’s been three hours since I got home and I would like to eat something but I’m a little numb. I’ve been nursing a Naked Juice and tried a piece of cantaloupe, but my jaw is so sore from being cranked open that it hurts to chew.

I have an appointment to see the dentist a week from today to get fitted for my crown. My only hope is that I don’t max out this dental insurance. If nothing else, I’m just going to have to ask for every last cent of possible student loans and apply for every grant and scholarship I can.

Speaking of which, I also have an appointment to see my advisor on Wednesay. Luckily Cavan doesn’t have to be on campus until much later in the day so he’ll ride with me and I can use his parking pass. Woot.

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We're All Vile Little Pigs

I go back and forth as to whether or not I want to write in here about stuff that’s going on in the world today. I don’t think any of you who read this and know me, even in passing, have any doubt as to my political, religious, or social beliefs (or, sometimes, lackthereof). There are things in the world that bother me on a daily basis and I admit that I am often guilty of choosing to look the other way because I have an innate ability to absorb the unpleasantness of certain situations and have them consume me. I’ve said often that there is a fine line with me between being informed and blissfully ignorant. For a long time it was my personal mission to be as informed as I could about the things that bothered me and I tried – often in vain – to make whatever difference I could. Most of the time I ended up feeling depressed and disappointed about the world around me because it seemed like I couldn’t get other people to feel passionately about anything enough to say or do anything about it.

I’m not saying that I’ve stopped completely caring about the world and the people around me. What I mean is that if I don’t write about the tragedies of the world every day or the state of the country and city we live in, it’s because I choose instead to focus on trivial things for the moment that I’m writing and stop trying to think about the negatives.

Charlie said a few weeks ago that he’s noticed a change in my attitude. That I don’t always live so much in every moment and I tend to obsess less than I used to about bothersome things. And yet, for whatever reason, I am deeply troubled by the attitude – of all things – surrounding Alec Baldwin’s angry voicemail message to his daughter. I refuse to give any link to a copy of the message because I’m so tired of hearing about it.

I’ve been called much worse than a “vile pig” by my own father. My dad has called me a bitch, among other things, which I think is about the worst name you could call your eleven year-old. And yet he did, and I still love him. It hurt my feelings at the time, and clearly I didn’t forget about it. I won’t go into all the details of my childhood at this point because I don’t want to sound as if I’m giving you the impression I was abused. But I guaran-fucking-tee you that Ireland Basinger-Baldwin is treated a helluva lot better than I was.
I don’t expect Baldwin’s daughter to forgive him any time soon, nor do I expect them ever to have any kind of normal relationship until she’s an adult and completely separated from her mother.

There’s some stuff somewhere about people living in glass houses . . . Occasionally I’ve heard a sympathetic comment on Alec’s side. Then I hear people saying “Oh! I would never, ever, ever say such a horrible thing to any of my children!” Bullshit. As far as I’m concerned, we’ve all done and said nasty, terrible things to the people we care about who have been hurt. I try not to have regrets, but there are some things I’ve said to Charlie, my dad, my mom, my sister, former boyfriends and girlfriends that I wish I could take back. At least the entire United States didn’t hear those things and judge me on just that one instant when I was pissed off.

I’m not a part of that family, but I think it’s pretty clear who’s being alienated and who’s doing the alienating. Regardless of what words Baldwin used or whether I like watching “Beetlejuice” or “30 Rock,” I feel terribly, terribly sorry for Alec. I wish people would leave him alone. I wish Kim Basinger would stop being such a psychotic bitch and let the man just see his daughter. I wish she would not have released that tape for the entire world to stop talking about Virginia Tech. When we focus on who said what and how they said it, we forget about the things we really need to pay attention to. Does CNN not recall that we’re in the middle of a war?

It’s not a matter of putting the horrible aside for a moment so that we can think about something else. It’s always something else with this country. The minute one thing happens, whether it’s Imus or Bush or Pelosi or Baldwin or some rich little white girl who goes missing, we’re all over it, all the time, every day, until the next thing happens to catch our attention.

I don’t give a shit what anyone says. When I heard Alec Baldwin say “You wouldn’t dream of doing something like this to your mother,” any sympathy I could have had for their daughter or his ex-wife went out the window. She’s eleven. She knows exactly what’s going on and I don’t doubt at all that she just loves playing her parents off one another. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I learned her mother rewards her when she alienates her father. It sounds to me like Kim and their daughter, both, need a severe spanking.

You Flyboys Are All Alike

The subject of this post happens to be the subject of a junk email I received earlier today about some sort of male enhancement pill. Usually I just automatically delete everything in there any pay no attention, but this one caught my eye and made me laugh.

I was also on the verge of laughing really hard and/or crying really hard this morning at work. It was crazy-busy, what with the weather being nice and everyone heading out to walk their kids/dogs/selves early. It was light out as I walked the dogs this morning before 6:30 so I knew we were in for a busy Saturday. The crying part came in after the owner arrived in the middle of a rush to ask that we make pan after pan of muffins, cookies, and other pastries for the Stutz opening this weekend. We also needed to brew a handful of large pots of coffee, get them a bunch of brownies, tea, mix for blended drinks, and I-can’t-remember-what-else. Luckily, our closer showed up on time and jumped in, as well as another employee helping out when she was just there for a drink. In other words, it took five of us to handle the order, on top of our regular customer rush, which would have normally just been three of us.

After trying to help the World’s Most High-Maintenance Woman Ever (and her eleven year-old daughter), I had to go stand in the back room for a minute and take a few breaths. I couldn’t even begin to explain her “very special request” for her daughter and herself without making you angry for wasting so much of your time today. For a moment I felt tears welling up and thought I might start pounding on something to feel better. Then I just started laughing because I imagined the woman’s poor, pathetic husband and how it must be for him to deal with these two people on a daily basis. I bet he works a lot.

Charlie and I planted some more flowers and plants on the ledge, plus we put up the art we bought at the Herron print and ceramics sale yesterday. I really liked a lot of the ceramic work, but the things I liked most were out of my budget. Instead we bought one of Sarah’s prints, a girl playing with her cat (which sounds weird, but it’s cute in my office), a huge, long, dark, kind of sad Holocaust-themed print for the hallway upstairs, and one other really detailed piece for the living room. It’s a wooden man standing on someone’s hand and is slightly creepy, but every time I look at it I notice something different. Charlie picked that one out, so I was happy he found something.

Cavan bought a print of a skull that we all kept referring to as “that guy’s skull print” until I looked at the signature and realized it was a young woman’s work. We all felt very sexist afterwards and kept over-compensating for the assumption by saying “But her work seems very masculine!” She had some amazing things for sale, but most of it was upwards of $100.

We also have a yard sale planned for next Saturday and every time I think about it I have to talk myself back into having it. I’m really not thrilled about spending my first Saturday off in about three months getting up at 6:30 to have people paw through and haggle over my crap. But we really do have a lot to get rid of; end tables, a coffee table, the entertainment center, shoes, clothes, knick-knacks, a bike . . . I can’t remember what else. Putting all that up on CraigsList just does not appeal to me.

More Odds and Ends

If I’m a dutiful student, I could be done with all my classes by Monday. I took my English final yesterday, finished all my Biology homework, and all I have to do now is take the Biology exam when it’s posted this Monday and finish my paper on feminism. I don’t know which will be more difficult. I tend to write and re-write stuff until I get so lost in it I can’t step away and see how it looks objectively. Charlie said I could read it to him later, which would help just to hear it aloud. Then I can go “Oh. That sounds like shit.”

My fingers are beginning to split open at the top from being on the bar most mornings. I don’t know what it is about espresso machines, but I cannot get my hands clean. There are tiny cuts all over the thumb and forefinger of my right hand and I’m currently sporting some antibacterial gel and medical tape. Hot.

I’ve come to terms with my upcoming dental work. In fact, I’m actually secretly relieved I have to have my crown replaced (the outcome, not the process, itself). It doesn’t fit and it cracked because of that. On the flip side, I’m not getting any new tattoos in a good, long while, and I am dirt poor.

My oldest pet, Andouille the cat, is thriving. Back in November the vet was telling us to say our goodbyes and wait for him to just expire. But after some antibiotics, a special new food for urinary tract health, and steroids, he’s put on weight and tearing around the house. I can’t believe he almost got put to sleep.

After reading Cesar Millan’s book and the pet food recalls, I’ve heard a lot about how important it is to keep your dogs on a natural diet. Short of physically cooking lamb and chicken every day, we’re committed to the dogs eating healthier, more normal-for-a-dog. Per Katie’s advice, we’re going with Eagle Pack. We mixed a big bag in with their current food to acclimate them to the new stuff and they scarfed it down. Without any wet food. Normally I can’t get Alvy to eat if he doesn’t have egg or rice or canned food on top. They both seemed to really enjoy it. I was more than sold by what Katie had to say about the brand, but when a guy at the pet food store said “You should get that. Your dogs will love you for it,” we were happy.

Final reminder: tomorrow is the Herron print and ceramics sale from 9am to 6pm. It’s free to wander and the artwork is really reasonable. Last year I got two good prints for $25.

I'm a Big Girl!

I did such a good job at the dentist this morning. It all went very well. The cleaning, anyway, not the news. I was embarrassed, but they were clear that I was not alone in my fears or my lack of commitment to six-month cleanings since high school.
The hygienist was super-gentle (I actually got the one Scott recommended), the dentist was incredibly informative and, as promised by , had very small hands.

I have a root canal scheduled on Monday afternoon to take care of the one that the Butcher broke. Of course, it wasn’t completely her fault; I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine for well over ten years now. Come to find out, not all their toothpaste has flouride in it. In my defense, I have been careful to get only flouridated (is that a word?) pastes since I first began this crazy dental trip over a year ago. I checked the package and, sure enough, Tom’s does have flouride. I guess that’s either only a recent thing or I just never got the right ones.

So I have a lot decalicification of my teeth by the gums. I have several small cavities, two large ones, and at least one more root canal in my future. Some of the pain I’ve been experiencing is from grinding my teeth, which I do often. At night, during the day, while I’m in the car, when I’m bored, when I’m angry. We might have to talk with Katie about her dental appliance as I might be getting one, as well. Finally, the crown is cracked and needs to be replaced. When the dentist told me this, I thought “Oh, shit.” Among other things. I don’t know what the ultimate cost will be, but they’re preparing a schedule for me to show how frequently I need to go, and how quickly I can get it all taken care of.

I’ll probably have to borrow money from Charlie, but he knows I’m good for it. I’ll pay him back as soon as my student loans roll in. But I’ll also have to ask for a bit more than I’d like since I’m going to be back at IUPUI and my cost for tuition will be more than double what I’ve been paying the past two years.

The dentist also prescribed antibiotics but said to take them only if my symptoms don’t improve. I also got a script for a super-duper-flouride toothpaste that I have to use every night in conjunction with “normal” toothpaste. I tried some of the Crest stuff I bought when I got home, and it was like there was a hot mint explosion in my mouth. I don’t think I’ve used regular stuff in at least five years, and that was only because I was on vacation and had forgotten to pack mine. I used the stuff the hotel provided and immediately found the nearest pharmacy to get my Tom’s.

I know I’ve said this before, but, kids – go to the dentist. Seriously. You don’t want to be in my situation. And the ironic part is, my teeth are in “surprisingly good shape, considering.”

WebMD Doesn't Know How to Tell You This . . .

I’m trying not to get too freaked out about the recent development in dental pain. It’s gotten significantly worse although I don’t know if I’m in the “true dental emergency” realm. What does that, entail, exactly? Blood? Vomit? Pus? I got the number from my dentist’s office voice mail. I then spent most of the day trying to determine at what point something becomes sufficient to call your new dentist, whom you have yet to meet, at home on the weekend only to have them sigh and recommend you take 800mg of Ibuprofen.

I have a bad habit of searching around the Internet for an explanation and finding the worst possible scenarios. Most likely, I do have an infection, although I’m trying to convince myself that it’s not an abscess that has to be lanced under anesthesia. It’s possible to have unsuccessful root canals and I wouldn’t be shocked to discover mine was a crappy one. If things get bad before Tuesday I guess I’ll just have to haul myself into the local immediate care center for some antibiotics. There isn’t much else that can be done.

I hate my teeth.

Flip-Flopping

I have my first dental appointment on Tuesday, marking the beginning of yet another series of intense digging, drilling, and rooting around in my poor, delicate little mouth. I really do have a small mouth and it’s not easy to keep cranked open for hours at a time. My hope is that the new dentist has incredibly small hands.
It’s just in time, too, as the past three or four days my permanent crown has begun to ache and feel tender. I have a little bit of swelling and, last night, when we went to dinner with Jay & Scott as a last-dinner-in-several-weeks pre-surgery celebration (Jay’s having his tonsils taken out at this moment), I thought I might pass out. I got really dizzy when we got home, felt hot and nauseated, and some other things I won’t mention for those of you with weak constitutions.

At this point I’m going to estimate that I have another few thousand dollars’ worth of dental work to be done, at least two more root canals, and several cavities in need of filling. I don’t know what the new gal is going to do with this crown. I think the “Butcher of Broad Ripple” as Jay eloquently called her last night, did a hack job on my teeth. I spent hundreds of dollars and dozens of hours last summer getting a lot cleaned. She split up my appointments so frequently that I didn’t think I’d ever get the work done. And I didn’t. Before I knew it, the insurance was maxed out, MetLife dropped her, my savings were dried up, and I wasn’t even a third of the way done.

It’s really frustrating because both Charlie and I have been saving a lot since that time and I don’t want either of us spending money on something like this. I guess that’s what you have savings for, but I’d really rather start investing, or putting it away to buy a house and/or move in the next few years. It’s taken us a while to really get into a financial groove, and I’m super-proud of him for working so hard.

We’ve discussed the idea of buying here because, after all, all our friends and family live in Indiana. Plus, our bank has pre-qualified both of us for a generous amount of house. We’ve discussed the idea of moving out of state because, after all, if I’m going to grad school I might as well apply to a few exotic places just to do something else for a few years. But there is something to be said for the comfort and convenience that come with job security, health insurance, steady paychecks, and a safe neighborhood.

But every few years, I’ve noticed that Charlie gets stuck in a major rut and seems really unhappy until he makes Big Changes. Now that we’ve traded in both the Santa Fe and the Corolla for a Matrix and a Tacoma, he seems pleased. Now that he’s finally leaving the office gig to go back to carpentry, he seems happier. But what happens in another couple of years if I apply and am accepted to the pedagogy program at IU? It won’t be much of a move, but it’ll be a move nonetheless. Or what if I’m accepted to a program in Utah that offers to pay tuition and some housing, plus a living stipend? I don’t really want to go to Utah, so I suppose to best thing is to not apply to any schools there, but I also don’t know what will happen if I’m not accepted anywhere. I don’t want to be yet another English major working in a bookstore.

I know now isn’t the time to make any big decisions. I’ve gone back and forth between uprooting myself and settling down and I just cannot decide. So I allow myself to entertain lots of ideas and see how I feel about them. I want to take the summer off and do a whole lot of nothing, but I was thinking about taking a class at the Indianapolis Art Center. It would have nothing to do with college, just give me something to do and work on. I’ve always liked the idea of working with metal or glass. I know I can’t draw for shit, I can’t really paint, and my sewing skills aren’t quite up to par yet.

Speaking of art, the Herron print and ceramics sale is next Friday, April 27th. You should stop by. I talked Charlie into taking the day off. I think he, Cavan, and I are going to get breakfast and head down. If they can occupy themselves for a bit, I’d like to meet with an adviser at IUPUI.And speaking of Cavan, he’s applying to an English-as-a-second language program for the school year in Spain. I’m a little concerned that he might not have enough time to get all his paperwork in, and, of course, that he’d be leaving in September after having signed another year lease (we weren’t quite ready to take on all the bills just yet), but I think it would be good for him.

Movie Previews

When was the last movie trailer you saw that wasn’t seven minutes long? That didn’t start out with a less-than-brief synopsis of the beginning of the film, building up in tempo with music and intensity of the scenes? That didn’t have a strong and deep man’s narration? That didn’t climax with a crescendo of clips less than a second long showing fire, crashing cars, dragons, or people kissing? And in some cases, all of the above?
As a joke, The Simpsons movie has a preview like this, as does Aqua Teen. But it’s getting ridiculous.

Scatterbrained

There are so many things going on right now that I don’t even know what to comment on. Paul Wolfowitz giving his girlfriend a $200k a year tax-free job? Yawn. Don Imus? Old and tired. Work, school, my dental appointment next week, celebrity gossip? All of it seems really trivial in light of the shootings in Virginia on Monday. But I really don’t want to be the eleven millionth online journal talking about that tragedy or politics.

Instead I want to point out one thing I noticed today. It’s another kind of tragedy that you’ll either find humorous or horrifying if you didn’t already know. While flipping stations in a pathetic attempt to avoid doing homework, I saw a scene on Jerry Springer with two women in wedding dresses yelling at one another. My phone rang so I put the TV on mute and answered my cell. When I turned the volume back on, the women were still screaming, but a boxing ring bell went off and both women went after each other. I kept watching in fascination as they were pried apart. A few seconds later, the bell rang again and the women, again, attacked the other.
I could comment on the state of the world when something like this is considered entertainment. Or how two grown women could be conditioned to fight each other on national television like Pavlovian dogs. But I’ve spent so much time poring over shitty programs and psychology articles for this research paper I’ve been writing on anti-feminism in reality TV that I’m just sick of thinking about it all.

Pondering the Past

There are a few things that have been on my mind lately. For one, I occasionally think how grateful I am to have two particularly toxic people out of my life. When I’m starting to feel down because school is pissing me off or I’m frustrated with customers who’ve treated me like a complete idiot, not only do I then think about how lucky I am to be in school and have this job, I remember what life was like just a couple of years ago. How frustrating it was to constantly walk on eggshells around the house. I don’t know if I ever relaxed the last year you-know-who lived with us.
Now, it’s my house. Period. I do what I want, when I want, and both Cavan and Charlie are respectful of me and my space. No one’s screaming or crying or throwing tantrums around here. And if they are, it’ll be me doing it, thank you very much.

Second, my former housemate Jennifer has moved back to Indiana after almost nine years living in Florida. Not only that, but she’s going to start working with Julie again. For those of you not familiar, Julie was my housemate/job for the first eight or so years of my young adult life. She’s moderately to severely mentally retarded, suffers from epilepsy and autism, and I believe she was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

Without going in to a novel of a post about all of those eight years (we’ll save that for later when the everything really starts to bubble up), suffice it to say that my emotions were all over the place when I found out Jennifer would return to work with her. I was happy to know that someone I trusted would be in her life again, but I was frustrated to learn that Julie’s guardian/mom constantly asks about me and why I don’t like her.

We had an argument in 2001 that was a culmination of all those years being treated with zero respect and, not like her daughter’s friend and roommate, but like I was her family’s personal gopher. Not only did she expect Julie’s staff members to cart her biological children to doctors’ appointments and soccer games, but we also painted her house, did her grocery shopping, and had to deal with the consequences when she didn’t feel like seeing Julie for whatever reason. By the way, one common aspect of autism is obsessive-compulsive behaviors. When you tell Julie something is going to happen (like visiting “mom”), and then tell her she’s not going, there is hell to pay.

Her reasoning for treating us like slaves was always “If Julie were able, she would do [this ridiculous thing you’re being asked to do].” There were massive amounts of guilt from her and a number of other difficulties that just came out of me all at once one night on the phone with her. I’m not proud of what I said or how I said it, but at least I was honest and I told the woman off.

My main frustration with Julie’s mom was that, coincidentally, when I was in high school my folks lived right down the street from her. Though I knew neither her nor Julie at that time, she saw me walking to school all the time. If you didn’t know, I was a major goth/punk in high school. White face, jet black hair, black lipstick and clothes. I had my nose pierced, too. Although I was definitely not alone in the United States in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I was especially alone at my high school. My personal sense of style seemed to unsettle a lot of people. I don’t care to recount all the things people assumed about me since they’re all stupid.
So, from day one, Julie’s mom remembered me as “that little girl from ‘Beetlejuice’,” and never let me forget what a freak she thought I was. During that phone call in ’01 when I screamed at her, I brought that up and asked why, if she thought I was such a psycho, did she allow me to live with her daughter for FIVE YEARS.

It’s been fourteen years since I graduated from high school, but I would bet you any amount of money that she would hassle me about my clothes in 1990 today.

That’s just one example of her annoying the shit out of me. I once got frustrated enough with her going on about something to say “Please, just let it go.” Ironically, she kept saying that to me for years and years afterwards. “Oh, I’m sorry! I should let it go, shouldn’t I?” Hi-larious.

I have also experienced a certain amount of guilt and regret when I think about “what I did wrong” when I worked with Julie all those years ago. But then I remember I was barely 18 years old when we met and things were a lot different for both of us back then. We grew and learned together and she had an amazing impact on my life. Through all the ups and downs, the weird moments, the scary moments, I know that if I had not met, worked, and lived with Julie, I would not be the person I am today. And I think that’s good. I like to think I made a big difference in her life, as well. The idea of having a relationship with her again makes me both nervous and happy. I’ll probably start crying if I keep thinking about it.