Friday, March 4 2022

a new computer, the dentist, and eating donuts with Miles

page banner

Dear Journal,

Good morning, everybody. Isn't it so much easier to wake up in the morning knowing it's Friday? I have some work to catch up on today, but it's not so bad knowing the weekend is nigh.

Big plans for the weekend? I'm working on a new toy that just arrived in the mail yesterday. It's an all-in-one View Sonic computer. This thin client is well past it's prime - the ten year old model is barely powerful enough to run a web browser - but it appealed to me because it was available for a cool $50 and free shipping. With my big server rack still out of commission until I figure out which new parts I need, I picked up the temporary machine to pick up the slack on the small pieces of home automation we've been missing out on. I miss the jenkins job that publishes my blog in the morning, and the slack bot reminders of when to give the dogs medicine. It doesn't have to be big or powerful - it just needs to fit under my TV and run some python scripts every few hours.

My phone buzzed, but there was no box on the porch. At first I wondered if it had been delivered to the wrong house. But the new-old computer was small enough for the postal worker to slip inside our mailbox - adorable. Eager to take it for a test drive, I hooked the new machine up to my upstairs monitor.

Rodney, relegated to his room for mandatory quiet time, leaned casually against his door hoping to get in on the action. If watching me find dead USB ports on a $50 computer seemed exciting to him, then I can appreciate how bored he must have been in his bedroom alone.

Sip. It's good to be here. It's been a tiring week, and you can tell because most of the photos in our feed feature close-ups of our dogs sleeping on the couch. I guess we needed the steady reminder that the weekend was coming.

We continue to slog through the gregxercises. Yesterday we had to perform bench dips "to fail". There was no time limit or rep count to guide us. We literally had to do them until our arms gave up, and that made it psychologically challenging. I expected the count to start high on the first set and slowly decay each time we repeated it, but the opposite happened. Marissa and I got competitive, and both of us wanted to finish out the session with top marks. For the record, she beat me by a measly four extra dips.

Yesterday morning was derailed by my dental emergency. Marissa wisely booked the appointment within walking distance of her puppy class, but Miles would have to tag along (to the puppy class, not to the dentist).

I hadn't been to the dentist in years, and then COVID happened. I did my best to act like this was a regular thing for me. The assistant led me over to the reclining chair in front of a bright plasma TV that was tilted down at the floor. The screen, playing silent drone shots of beaches and Mediterranean cities, instantly captured my attention. I like the new soothing TV screens at the dentist, it's certainly a lot more effective than an old wrinkly poster taped to the ceiling.

The dentist explained that the wires on my teeth are commonly left in as a permanent measure, but most people use clear nighttime retainers. She offered to cut both wires and schedule a fitting for one of these. My teeth would be completely unencumbered, except for during the night.

Then I saw the bill. Removing a single wire would be $300, and I had two. None of it was covered by insurance.

"You're kidding me. Not even the broken one?" I protested.

"That's insurance," said the dentist callously. "They make the rules."

"I guess I'll go cheap then. Let's just remove the broken one," I sighed. "Maybe I'll save the other wire for my next birthday and treat myself to some dental work."

Twenty minutes later, the dentist filed away the glue and plucked the scraggly metal wire from my mouth. "It tastes like everything I've eaten in the last decade," I laughed. I used my tongue to scan the back of my bottom teeth. No poking or sharp edges - maybe not worth three hundred dollars, but it still felt amazing.

"Can I have a free toothbrush?" I asked. She must have been put off by my bluntess. The dental assistant glared at me, then left the room without saying anything. She returned a few minutes later while I was checking out. "And here's your free toothbrush," she said, dropping it in front of me.

"More like a three hundred dollar toothbrush," I muttered. The receptionist stared straight ahead at her computer, so reading the room I just showed myself out.

After a long, relaxing walk outside, I found Marissa at the agility ring with Minnie. Miles sat squealing in his car seat. "Can I take that kid off your hands?" I asked, pretending to be a stranger.

Miles and I made the short drive across the street and picked up a dozen donut holes. We'd spend the rest of Marissa's agility class eating donut holes and listening to Frank Ocean. Out of the twelve, Miles ate seven. Between each donut, he held out his greasy hand from the back seat and screeched PIZZZZ.

That's what I got today. How about as a parting gift for the weekend, here's a new "pet-tula" picture. Still getting used to his new neighborhood, I found Glassy stretching his legs in the front yard of his coconut home.


That's what I got today. Have a great weekend everyone.