Thursday, March 3 2022

the dentist, mad max quotes, and pet-tulas

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. How are you feeling today? How is the week going?

As I settle in to do some writing, something outside stirred the dogs into a frenzy. Was it somebody walking by? Was it a leaf blowing across my driveway? With these corgis, even the most insignificant disturbance in the environment is bark-worthy.

Do you think dogs like to bark? More precisely, do they enjoy the act of producing that sound with their throat? I think if my throat was designed to bark, I might too find any excuse to share that gift with the world, and given how often I try to hush my dogs, that makes me a hypocrite.

Sip. It's good to be here today. I'm drinking the same old coffee blend, but this morning it tastes completely new, like some exotic indulgence brought back from a foreign land. My coffee machine has seemed a little stressed out lately, so last night I surprised it with a full service spa treatment. Full cycle with urnex solution, descaler, and a deep pitcher scrub with warm, soapy water. The caraffe got in on the action too. I left a second packet of sanitizing solution to soak overnight. The proof is in the taste, but also in the color. I know it worked because when I dumped the solution out of the caraffe this morning, it looked like a pot of coffee. Yuck!

So there's a bright spot in the morning, and just to keep things balanced, I'm going to pivot and do some complaining. Yesterday morning, I took a break downstairs in the kitchen to eat a piece of bread. Biting down on the crust, I felt a sharp poke on my lip. The metal bar glued behind the bottom rows of my teeth had sprung free. Luckily Marissa's wire cutters were nearby, and she carefully snipped some of the wire. I planned on just being a tough guy. But the little pokey piece of metal stabbed and prodded my tongue, wearing me down to finally agreeing to go to the dentist.

"They're... not going to put a new one in, right?" I asked. "I'm just worried they're going to try to replace it instead of taking it out." I had to say it aloud to hear how silly the question was, and I realized I was holding onto some fear and resentment about everything my mouth had been through. "You can just say no," said Marissa. Sometimes you need a simple reminder that you're an adult and you can make your own decisions.

I have a wire behind the top set of teeth too. In the midst of two phases of braces, a roof expander, rubber bands, and a retainer, I barely noticed the thin wires glued to the back of my teeth. But in my junior year of high school during my final orthodontist appointment, the doctor left both of them in. "You'll have those forever," he said, and that stuck with me because it felt weirdly casual for a medical professional to use the word forever. Sure, they're not nearly as bad as braces, but I have to use a special threader to floss under the bar, and every now and then the metal edge will catch my tongue, like an occasional reminder of my life sentence.

I'm not afraid of the dentist, but playing out the worst case scenario for today's appointment, it's clear that I hold onto some resentment for how I was fast-talked into wearing metal in my mouth for the rest of my life. It's not supposed to happen that way, is it? Surely, a full decade later, these silly metal wires serve no purpose in my teeth.

OK, just one more thing to complain about. In the last leg of Trainer Greg's exercise program, things have ramped up to new levels. Yesterday we performed a flurry of exercises in a brief eighteen minute window. We jumped with a barbell on our shoulders, did planks on the floor, and a new type of movement called a "v-up". It was the first workout that made us delirious. We got through the final minutes of the interval by shouting lines from Mad Max: Fury Road. If Rodney was still awake, he heard things like DO NOT GET ADDICTED TO WATER and I AM AWAITED IN VALHALLA, and he had to form his own conclusions as to what was happening downstairs in the living room.

We'll round things off with some positivity. How about a painting?


Remember Marissa was practicing faces? It was all to the end of working them into some of her paintings, and she's incorporating some of that three dimensional stuff. She applies the thick goopy paste on another sheet of paper, then peels it off when it's half dry so she can reapply it to a painting. Faces and three dimensions of space to work with - it's an exciting new development in her work, isn't it?

In other news, I'm on high alert for pet-tulas. That's what Ben's daughter calls tarantulas, and I've received special instructions from her to send pictures. As it happens, most of my spiders have been in hiding lately, but thankfully good old Spidey is always willing to wiggle out of his burrow for a photo.


"It's for the kids."

That's what I got today. I'm going to head upstairs and try to figure out how to get through the work day without moving my tongue or any of the sore muscles in my upper body.

Thanks for stopping by, and go have a Thursday.