23 August, 2011


I killed a bird this morning on my way to work.  Scott and I talked about filming a dramatization, but we're probably going to be too busy for the next few days so you'll just have to rely on your imagination.

There I am driving down the road when a little bird swoops down from the other side of the road and hits the front of my car with an echoing thud that actually resonated a bit like a gong.  I did what I always do in this situation (this is the 3rd bird, and 4th animal, I've hit in my driving career): I immediately craned my neck to get a good look in my rearview mirror to see the damage.

No bird behind me.  Did it bounce off onto the shoulder?  But before I even had a chance to consider that perhaps I had a new hood ornament, the bird must have dislodged from my bumper.  While I was still focused on the view behind the car, the bird rolled up the hood and thud thud thud up and over my windshield.

I actually yelled "oh my GOD!" and in retrospect am shocked I didn't crash the car.  I was stunned and freaked the heck out. The resulting adrenaline dump got me to work, but the mental crash was awful.  I hope that never happens to me (or another bird) again... but if they don't stop swooping in front of me I guess we don't have much of a choice! 

12 August, 2011

The Never-Ending Tooth Problem

I've got what can best be described as a "problem tooth."  The first problem with this tooth was back in January 2007.  That's when my dentist saw a small cavity.  According to this blog post from March of that year, the small cavity wasn't filled in time (through no fault of my own) and needed a root canal, which took 2 appointments to complete and then got infected.  Ironically, at that time I was referring to this as the never ending cavity.  If only I had known...

Right after the crown was put on, I was convinced there was a problem. I kept cutting my tongue on a sharp spot on the inside, but the dentist poked, x-rayed, and otherwise inspected and said there was no problem with the crown.

Fast-forward to August of 2010.  The crown on the problem tooth had cracked and was starting to crumble away. I returned to the dentist, and he decided to have a new lab-made crown made.  He put a temporary seal on top of the tooth, and sent me on my way.  I was supposed to return the following Monday to have the new crown put on, and took the day off to accomplish this.  They called me Monday morning to cancel because the lab hadn't returned the new crown.  The woman who called me was rude, didn't apologize, and didn't call back to reschedule once the crown came in.  When I e-mailed and brought the terrible customer service to the attention of the dentist, he e-mailed me back and basically said "don't come back."

So I didn't.

And unfortunately I waited until early this year to finally make an appointment with another dentist.  And then it took until April for the new crown to be made and cemented into place.  It hurt the day he put it in.  When the assistant dry-fitted the crown, it felt like it was too big.  The dentist just jammed it in and said it was fine.  It felt like the crown had little barbs on the bottom that were digging into my gums.

It was sensitive, but I sort of shrugged and figured it was all part of the healing process.  Then I started to notice that occasionally when I bit down on that side that there was some sort of "old man denture breath" liquid squeezing out.  After the first two wisdom teeth were removed (on the opposite side of my mouth), that tooth got super sensitive.  My dentist took a look and said "crown looks good," but perhaps there was a secondary infection under the tooth that would require an endodontist to re-drill the tooth.  When he suggested we wait a few weeks, I was happy to oblige.

When I had the other two wisdom teeth removed, I mentioned that the tooth was no better.  He said maybe it's just crowded in my (small) mouth and that removing the wisdom teeth would help.  It didn't.  So finally I got a referral to an endodontist.

Two weeks ago I went to the endo, who took a look at the x-ray and said the root canal was beautiful and that the problem was with the crown.  After talking to me, and sensing my displeasure at the idea of being sent back to my dentist, he recommended a course of treatment that would rely solely on a periodontist.  (at this point I encourage you to look into the term "tooth lengthening" or "crown lengthening," but not to click on wikipedia)  I got a call from the endo's office on my way home, and she said that my regular dentist said he could do that procedure in office.  Yeah.  Right.

I got a referral to the periodontist for this morning, and went for a combo consultation & treatment appointment.  Imagine my lack of surprise when he removed my crown and asked, "was that temporarily cemented, or was it supposed to be permanent?" I laughed out loud.  Well, I guess that explains the smell!

So after today's procedure (which really wasn't bad at all), my crown was temporarily cemented back into place.  I go back in 10 days for a post-op appointment (oh - haha - I'm not allowed to brush or floss that tooth until then. thanks for the special mouthwash, doc!), and the crown isn't going to be permanently cemented back into place for "a few months."

Four years, four dentists, and well over $1,000 out-of-pocket later, I am ready to be done with this process.  My jaw is still numb, but I have a good feeling that perhaps this time will be the beginning of the end of this saga.  (and yes, Scott just brought me a chair to knock on)  I'm hoping to be able to chew on both sides of my mouth again in a few weeks.  For now, nothing sharp like chips or popcorn (or cereal, I guess), and a few days without a straw or hot drinks or spicy food.'s like having another wisdom tooth removed!

01 August, 2011

Putting the "Trip" in Road Trip

Scott and I have an event to attend in New Jersey this fall.  No matter how we sliced it, plane tickets were going to end up costing us more that I felt we could spend (and that was before I got my transcript out of hock). So we decided to take a little more time off from work and make the drive.  Even if gas was $4/gallon by then, we'd still be spending less than the airfare and rental car would cost.  But really, anyone who has ever driven up I-95 knows how miserable the DC to Philly leg is.  No matter what, the traffic is terrible and the drivers are hostile.  So today I had a crazy idea that might not be so crazy after all. Working with the following parameters: Work on Monday, event on Saturday morning, home on Tuesday here's what I'm thinking:

Monday afternoon: leave immediately after work and get at least an hour into Georgia before finding a place to spend the night

Tuesday: arrive in Atlanta by noon at the latest, spend 4-5 hours at Scott's Happy Place (the Georgia Aquarium), and then spend 3-4 hours headed North before finding a bed.

Wednesday: driving day! 9-10 hours to reach State College and spend the night some place walking distance from the PSU campus

Thursday: spend a couple of hours exploring Penn State and showing Scott the interesting touristy places and things.  And getting ice cream.  Leave State College and drive 4 hours to Philly, hopefully early enough to see my Grandpop.

Friday: something touristy in Philly before heading to the Jersey Shore.

Saturday morning: The Event. We'll be on the road southbound by 4 pm, and hope to make it south of DC before crashing for the night.

Sunday: drive straight down I-95 to Hilton Head, SC in time to go to dinner at Red Fish (no lie, we went there in 2008 and Scott is still talking about this place!) and crash at the Disney resort there.

Monday: drive home and get ready to go back to work on Tuesday.

I'm not deluding myself - it's A LOT of driving. Google tells me the route above is just over 2,500 miles, but the Orlando-Philly trip would be 2,000 miles round-trip. And this way the whole trip feels like a vacation instead of 2 long days in the car on I-95 with a few relaxing days in between.  It also gives us the chance to revisit the "best of"our other out-of-state trips and hit some places Scott has never been.

Of course, we still have a fair amount of time between now and then.  Lots could change. Heck, this vacation is on version 4.2 already!  Still, these plans are really exciting to both of us start to finish, which definitely makes the extra miles worth it.

Anyone want to play devil's advocate?