S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!

It’s a blustery day here in South Texas. The wind is whipping down my fire place and tree branches are flying across my roof, scraping as they go. The dogs are freaking out and the cat refuses to go outside. I don’t blame them.

Tonight was supposed to be our anniversary dinner, but once again, we’ve had to reschedule. Ron forgot we were going tonight and ate lunch. This is a huge no-no when going to a churrascaria for dinner. As in Rome, one must assure that one’s stomach is completely empty before entering the establishment.

I was greatly looking forward to recording Aubrey flying, as she bought a new (used) Samsung HMX-E10 camcorder. She tried it out a few days ago and the quality is definitely better than our old Flip. She didn’t want to take my tripod, but with the way this thing is shaped, you can’t just set it down like you can with a Flip (so sad that Flip is gone ūüė¶ ). Ever the MacGuyverette, she grabbed her table top mic stand and some rubber bands, and came up with this:


Unfortunately, since she didn’t have someone to angle the camera for her, it is a whole lot of very little. Besides, having the camera inside the wine wall means that the view is of her front, not her side. It’s still pretty cool to watch her flip around (especially now that she does this crazy thing where she grabs her feet behind her back and does a vertical spin), but it’s not the best angle. We keep meaning to go in before work one day so we can have the tripod set up and there won’t be any customers or Gauchos walking around. Maybe now that we have a decent HD camera, we’ll get around to it.

All of that gossipy bit aside, this is actually a serious post. Now that my kids are grown and I am only here for advice, not for orders, I am ever more impressed with how well they have turned out. While Matt still asks for my advice on stuff, Aubrey tends to make her own decisions (for good or bad); although she does listen, she doesn’t always follow. Apparently she listens more closely than I give her credit for…

Many years ago when I was taking classes towards becoming a licensed chemical dependency counselor, I started hammering the idea of responsible drinking into both my kids. They both are well aware of how long it takes to metabolize alcohol (approximately one hour per one ounce of alcohol), that doing shots means you will become more intoxicated as time passes, and that no matter where or when or what they’ve been doing, I will ALWAYS come get them, whether it is because the person they went with is drunk, or because they are too intoxicated to drive. Matt’s called that one in a couple of times, but since Aubrey’s not currently hanging out with boozy teenage college students, and because she doesn’t really like the taste of alcohol, the only time she ever had anything to drink was with me. They both had to wait until they were 18 before I would buy them any alcoholic beverages, but I strongly believe that if an 18 year old is old enough to die for their country, they are old enough to have a beer (or in Aub’s case, a margarita).

Saturday night, she went to a co-worker’s birthday party that was held at the co-worker’s friend’s house. Aubrey didn’t know the friend, but she likes her co-worker and a bunch of other people from work were going to be there. Since she was off on Sunday, she figured she could stay out later than usual. After work, she came home, changed clothes into one of her Goth-like outfits, snuggled Amy for a minute, then left for the party around 11pm. She was meeting her friend L. there, so they were in two separate cars.

Around 1 am or so, I texted her to see what time she was coming home, and if she thought she’d need a ride. I didn’t want to take my sleep meds if I would have to drive. She said she was fine, but she was waiting for L. It got to be 2am, and I hadn’t heard from her. I texted her again and she said she had taken away L.’s keys and was going to give her a ride home. At 3am, I texted her again, and she said L. wouldn’t get in the car and was insisting that she was fine to drive. Aubrey still didn’t give her the keys. Instead of texting me back, she called to ask if it was okay for L. to spend the night at our house, which I was perfectly fine with. By 4am, I was starting to get irritated because I didn’t want to go to bed until I knew she was home safely. I wasn’t 100% sure that she was being honest about being sober, so I stayed up. I texted her again and she said other people were trying to help her get L. in the car. Finally at 5am, right as I was texting her again, they walked in the door.

Aubrey was absolutely right. She was sober, but her friend was waaaay past being able to drive. I didn’t know that the party was at a stranger’s house, so I asked Aub why she didn’t just let her sleep it off there. She said she didn’t trust L. not to try to drive home. She was also concerned about leaving her attractive and very drunk friend alone in a house with a bunch of drunk guys that neither of them knew, especially since most everyone they knew from work had already gone home.

I was really proud of her. First of all, she drank very little, and she stopped drinking two hours before she planned to leave. She stood up to her friend (who is much larger than Aubrey is) without concern for pissing L. off, because she saw that L. was still drinking right up until she was about to leave. She protected L. from who knows what by not leaving her in the care of strangers, particularly male strangers. While she might have been perfectly safe, Aub wasn’t about to take that chance.

Aubrey did everything that I would want her to do in that situation. As I often tell my kids, I’m not worried about my being injured in an accident, I’m worried about injuring someone else. Aubrey wasn’t going to risk having L. get in an accident, or worse, causing an accident and killing someone just because no one else cared enough to say, “Hey, you’re drunk, give me your keys and I’ll drive you home.”

While we’ll never know if L. would have made it home just fine, or would have died or killed others in a fiery car crash, the point is that we’ll never know because not only was Aubrey there, she was strong willed enough to be the bitch who took away the keys.

Remember that drunk driving isn’t something that only happens on holidays. It occurs every night of the week. If you find yourself in the situation to save someone from doing something really stupid, do it. You will never have to regret knowing you could have done something but didn’t.


The Time Of My Life

Last night was incredible. I haven’t had that much fun since…well, probably since my 32nd birthday. An eleven year spread is an awfully long time.

Remember in my last post, I wrote about having friends with old money? My friend Will (whom I’ve known since kindergarten) comes from money covered in cobwebs. Last night, he was only slightly joking when he said his family started this town. They really kinda did. In spite of that, Will is an amazing carpenter/contractor (not a trust fund baby) who lives in a tiny garage apartment downtown.

Although our friendship is pretty shocking to all the other people we grew up with, Will is one of my dearest friends. We spent almost an entire year not speaking to each other, and I really missed him. He’s my dancing/karaoke/hanging out/help me paint buddy. When we recently started talking again, I told him that he owed me some serious dancing.

Because he’d had an ass-kicking week, he called me up last night and said he needed a beer and to get my ass downtown. I had the beginnings of a migraine and really wanted to beg off, but he said we would go some place quiet because he really needed to vent. I managed to rally, take a shower, throw on some jeans and a sweater, then picked him up. I always ask Ron if he wants to join us, and Ron always says no. While Ron is generally up for a beer, he’s not much into bar hopping. Okay, he’s not at all into bar hopping. Neither am I, really, because it means I have to get out of my pajamas and put on real clothes.

Will wanted to go to a place down the street from his house to get a martini. He described it as, “not a total dive bar, but it’s a bar that’s diving.” He was not lying when he said it would be mostly empty, especially for a Friday night. Considering that the plan was for Aubrey and her friend Laurel (both are 19) to join us when they got off work, we needed a place that would allow minors. After Will finished off his martini (I had wine), we headed over to his regular hangout which is essentially an open hut with a bunch of tables outside. It was a little chilly, so they had a roaring fire in a large fire pit, and everyone was gathered around like we were out camping.


Since I’m gluten free, I can’t drink beer, but I can have cider. Last time we went out, I had Woodchuck pear cider, and it made me heave. I had bought some to have at home, and every time I drank one, I would get nauseous. When Will asked if I wanted a cider, I said no, but after I explained my odd Woodchuck reaction to the bartender, he suggested Fox Barrel pear cider. Not only is that stuff addictingly delicious, it doesn’t bother my stomach.

Aubrey eventually showed up, but without Laurel, who had smacked her head into the wine wall at work and just wanted to go home. Because the open hut bar knows Will and because it’s part of a restaurant, Aubrey had no problems getting in. She got there pretty late, and the place was already starting to close down. We decided we were hungry, and Will suggested a hole in the wall Mexican food place nearby that serves great burritos. We headed down there only to find they were closed.

Our second choice was a place that is famous for their tacos, and again, since it is a restaurant, Aubrey could get in. We didn’t know they had live music until we got there. The band was freakin’ awesome, and the guitarist was Mark Knopfler quality. Even better, they actually had pulled some tables back to make a dance floor. Woot!

I ordered a margarita for Aubrey (legal in Texas as long as she is within ten feet of me while drinking it), chips and queso, and Aubrey got a plate of enchiladas. I knew she wouldn’t eat her rice and beans, so I just scavenged off of her plate.

While we waited for our order, the band started playing “Fulsom Prison Blues”; Will cannot resist a Johnny Cash song. We were up and on the dance floor in seconds. Even though we hadn’t danced for a year, we were still pretty much in sync. Will is a fantastic dancer, and knows how to lead, so even though I suck at it, he still manages to make me look graceful and like I know what I’m doing.

After the one song, I was gasping for air. I am seriously out of shape! However, that didn’t stop me from getting back on the floor when they started playing, “Just What I Needed.” Will refused to dance again, so I danced by myself. I remember dancing to this song when we were in high school.

At our school, prom was nothing, mainly because it was a school sanctioned event. It was semi-formal and hardly anyone went. For us, the big deal parties were Senior Party. Back then there were two parties hosted by boys’ committees and two parties hosted by girls each year (now it’s only one each). Each committee was about 15 to 20 people who all paid a freakin’ fortune (whose parents paid a freakin’ fortune, I should say) to be on it. It was a HUGE deal to be invited if you weren’t a senior, and I somehow managed to either get an invitation or be someone’s date to all 16 Senior Parties in my four years of high school. They were all black tie events, and my mom made me a different dress for every single one. Unlike prom, there were no chaperones so these were seriously wild. Whether I went with friends or with a date, I always had a blast, even though the wildest thing I did was have rum and coke and make out with inappropriate guys. Mainly, it was all about the dancing.

After I sat back down from “Just What I Needed, ” the band started playing the opening riff to “Move It On Over.” Aubrey and I both jumped up from the table and started dancing, and somehow ended up with this on-the-fly dance routine that was vaguely reminiscent of dances from her Irish dancing days. We were criss-crossing in front of each other, then we’d spin and criss-cross again, and a bunch of people started clapping with us. Then Aubrey went on tip-toe and her feet were FLYING in an Irish jig. She could never move them that fast when she was in class, but she has more muscle than she did then, as well as more muscle control.

We ended up dancing to a few more songs before the band shut down, and made plans to go again next weekend. By the time we dropped Will off at home and then came home ourselves, I was exhausted, my head was starting to hurt, I had lost my voice from singing at the top of my lungs for over an hour, and we both smelled like the fire pit from the hut bar. It was all totally worth it, and I cannot WAIT until next time we go!


They Talk About Us

images (2) For those of you just joining us, a little background information is necessary:

When I was a kid, my parents did something a little unusual for the time (not so unusual now), and moved into a specific area just for the public school district. They couldn’t afford private school, and my dad had graduated from this high school, and they wanted me to have a good education.

While I did indeed get the best public school education that our city offered, it came at quite the cost. No, not a financial cost, obviously, but a social one. Although my mom is now Republican, when I was a kid, she was extremely liberal. For years, my parents were the managers of an eight apartment building, where half the apartments were occupied by gay and lesbian couples. I would often go with the guys from upstairs to the tennis courts and play with their golden retriever while they played tennis, or I would go down to “CarmenAndYolanda’s” apartment to play with their little girl, with whom I shared a great love of all things Barbie. I’ve spent almost my entire life as a liberal in an area populated with stereotypical Texas Republicans.

In kindergarten, things were still somewhat socially equal, as five year olds in the 70’s weren’t so label conscious as today’s five year olds, and only judged people based on who was interesting or funny. I was interesting, and funny, so I was friends with pretty much everyone in my class (minus a few of the boys). I spent weekday afternoons and weekends at my friends’ mansions (that is NOT hyperbole), where old money seeped from the pores of the houses themselves.

However, the older we became, the more my friends were influenced by their families, and the fewer friends I had. By the time I graduated, I had a core group of about seven people, and another handful or so of close friends who belonged to other groups but weren’t snobs. It was both a blessing and a curse that my parents moved twice, but within the school district, and also that the district was rezoned once. That meant I attended three of the four elementary schools; I was also in the Gifted and Talented program, so for two years, I spent one day a week at the high school with all the GT kids from the other schools. I knew most of them (because geeks can sniff each other out, even at the youngest of ages), and this also allowed me to get to know people from the one school that I hadn’t attended.

One of the GT kids, whom I shall refer to as LL, was one of the two-faced ones who would be nice to me as long as no one saw her doing so. We were decent enough friends in third grade, and then again during 5th and 6th, but by the time we hit 7th grade and everyone was wearing Pat Magee t-shirts, Izods, Laura Ashley, and embroidered dresses from¬†Oaxaca¬†(pronounced Wha-ha-ka), I was no longer acceptable to her. I had one Pat Magee shirt (a birthday gift from a friend), dresses made from Laura Ashley patterns, and a dress that my mom machine embroidered for me that was gorgeous. However, that was not enough to allow me into the seventh circle of hell that was the second highest social group, nor did I ever desire admission. LL was Latina, and while it was fine for the clones to say they were diverse and allow her to be their friend, there was no way she would ever be allowed into the 9th circle of hell, where blonde hair was (and still is) a requirement. Perhaps that’s what made her meaner?

Zoom a billion years forward, and enter the era of facebook. I found myself becoming friends (real friends) with people I never bothered with in high school (and who never bothered with me). Oddly enough, I’ve also found myself NOT friends with people that I used to be friends with, because they kinda grew up to be assholes, although I’m sure I fall into that category for plenty of other people. My best friend and I have a three day rule; no matter who you are, we will accept your friend request and give you three days. If you’re still who we think you are, then you are quietly deleted on the fourth day.

This is how I came to be fb friends with LL’s older sister, whom I shall refer to as BSC, because I’m too lazy to continually type out “bat shit crazy.” She is one of those people who friends every single person who ever attended our high school. However, after a day and a half of her irritating self-aggrandizing posts, I deleted her, never realizing that I had just released a Pandora’s box full of crazy.

One afternoon shortly after having deleted BSC, I made a comment on a post by a mutual friend. BSC took the opportunity to hijack the post. She called me “dear” and “sweet’ and said she remembered my always being at their house because I was such good friends with her sister. It was the phoniest, smarmy piece of bullshit that has ever been directed at me…on facebook at least. I commented back that I was not friends with her sister, that she and I had never met, and that she had me confused with someone else. I stopped following the post after that.

FOUR YEARS LATER, about five days ago, I find a message in my fb inbox from BSC. Other than removing the names to keep from granting her the attention she so desperately seeks, this is what I read:

February 15, 2013 New York, NY USA

Dear Carolyn-

My apologies…

I had once mentioned on FB that you and my sister LL were good friends in Texas. You were taken aback by the suggestion. It was your classmate (perhaps relative) CB I was referring to in confusion. (Adorable girl and yes, my sister’s friend)

Again, sorry for the confusion. We laughed about it. Since I didn’t know of you and your names are similar, it was a simple mistake. Best. -Marisol

This brought to mind several points:

1. Who the fuck puts the date on a facebook message? FB oh so graciously already does it for you.

2. Typing out the city, state, and country in a facebook message? Really?

3. The not so thinly veiled suggestion that I am neither adorable, nor worthy of being her sister’s friend.

4. The idea of my being her sister’s friend was SO ABSURD, they laughed at the impossibility of it.

5. I was too insignificant for her to know who I was/am.

While I would never, ever respond to her message, I did find myself writing a response in my head:

Dear (BSC),

Thank you so much for writing to tell me about the confusion of names from four years ago. I am relieved to have the entire thing straightened out! I’ve often woken up in the middle of the night with a strange niggling fear, only to realize that it must be because BSC has me confused with someone else, therefore all is not right with the world. Now I can finally rest easy after reading your thoughtful explanation.

I appreciate you taking the time to not only apologize for such a horrifying transgression, but for also being so kind as to remind me what day it is, what city you live in, and what country that state is in. I often lose track of the days and what states are part of the continental US. Since I’ve only been to New York City five times, I can see how you might worry that I’ve forgotten where it is.

By the way, I was sorry to hear about wikipedia deleting the entry about you and your chosen career path. It was just cruel for the editors to say that you have no demonstrable cultural significance, with no discernible importance or visibility in the industry or culture as a whole . Ouch!

I do hope that the acyclovir is working for you. Your ex-boyfriend is one of my best friends, and although he shouldn’t have been telling tales out of school, he let it slip that you were having a few issues with your medication.

I wish you all the best! -Carolyn

“Can you hear them? They talk about us, telling lies, well that’s no surprise.¬†Can you see them?¬†See right through them.¬†They have no shield, no secrets to reveal.¬†It doesn’t matter what they say in the jealous games people play.¬†Our lips are sealed. Careless talk through paper walls, we can’t stop them, only laugh at them Spreading rumors, so far from true, dragged up from the underworld, just like some precious pearl.¬†Pay no mind to what they say. It doesn’t matter anyway.¬†Our lips are sealed. There’s a weapon, we must use in our defense: silence. When you look at them, look right through them. That’s when they’ll disappear.¬†That’s when you’ll be feared.” ¬†

When I Said I Do

Whoo, today was a crazy busy day. It’s been ages since I’ve done any photography work because I was in so much pain, and REAL photography is seriously physical. Since my spinal injections a week ago, my pain level is hovering around a 4, instead of a 15 (on a scale of 1 to 10). When a friend mentioned that her daughter was getting married, I asked if they had a photographer and she said no, they had run out of money. I jumped at the chance to offer up my services just to get something new and fresh into my portfolio, and my camera into my hands!


Of course, as my husband so often has to remind me, pain is only a fraction of my constant battle…fatigue is more often the enemy. It KILLS me to have to sit still or lie around. I hate it. I was an extremely active person…until I wasn’t. Even now, when I know that it’s smarter to manage my energy levels rather than doing too much because I happen to feel good that day, only to exhaust myself, I still have problems with taking it easy.

Ron finally got a taste of what my life is like…he’s got the flu. His boss sent him home on Thursday afternoon, and Ron was even worse on Friday morning. Even though he felt like crap, he wasn’t sleepy; he ended up surfing the web and playing his latest game. After what seemed like every few hours or so, he’d look at the clock and be shocked at how little time had actually passed. When it was finally 7pm, he whined, “Isn’t this day ever going to end?” I laughed! Yup, welcome to my world.

We had absolutely beautiful, gorgeous, amazing weather; the bride was so happy, and said she’d been worrying for six weeks about whether or not it would rain. The wedding was in a large hall in the middle of nowhere, without a paved parking lot, and she was concerned she’d be stuck walking through mud in her dress. Instead, all of the wedding party photos were taken in the field behind the hall, with all of the girls’ stiletto heeled shoes sinking into the soft ground, of course.

She had a friend who is a photography student already committed to taking pictures of the reception; I covered the three hours before the wedding and then we both took pics of the wedding party, the bride and her parents, the groom and his mom, etc. When someone found a ladder leaning against the back of the building, I grabbed it (quite hilarious to watch me wrestling an 8 ft ladder while holding my camera and trying to ignore my car keys stabbing me in the chest because I’d had to stick them in my bra) and climbed up.

I was so paranoid about my rusty skillz, I took my laptop with me so I could look at all the photos before I left, in case I needed to re-shoot something. I was happily surprised that they turned out well, in spite of my external flash not working, and my having to rely on the on-board flash. I was changing shutter speeds and ISO settings every couple of seconds to compensate, but experience often makes up for equipment failure. I’m sure the photog student wondered what the hell I was doing…I highly suspect she had her camera set to auto, because I never saw her change any of her settings. In spite of having a smart camera that is perfectly capable of turning out great pictures in auto, I always do everything manually. I like the creative control, even though that means I’m frantically loading up pictures in my car, checking to see that I’ve got what I want and allowing me to start breathing again.

I did have a bit of fun with the bridesmaids while we waited for the bride’s makeup to be done. I took portrait shots of everyone, and one girl had this quite beautiful tattoo of two roses on her shoulder. She was really shy about my taking her picture, because she believed she’s not photogenic. Any decent photographer can make anyone look good, and I’m better than decent. I told her about how one of my friends claims I have a magic camera that takes pounds and years off her every time I take her photo. Then I showed the bridesmaid the ones I had just snapped of her, and she was so excited, she asked if I would take more. She had a gorgeous tattoo of a dream catcher on the side of her thigh, so I did a little boudoir magic and then ALL of the bridesmaids were lying across the bed, glamming it up for the camera.

By the time all the photos were done and the reception was getting started, I felt like I had run a five hour long marathon. My body hurt, especially my shoulder, and I know I’m going to be paying for this tomorrow. It was totally worth it, though. I got to make a few people happy with my photography, and I got to spend a perfect spring afternoon outside with my camera.

I’m still holding out hope that although I’ll be suffering in the morning, I will be able to rally by the early afternoon and head up to Austin to IKEA for their GORM sale. After seeing an awesome sewing desk on IKEAhackers.net made from pieces of the GORM, I have got to have one. It’s exactly what I’ve been trying to figure out how to build, and to be able to make it for about $20 is unreal.

“I meant that I will, till the end of all time, be faithful and true, devoted to you, that’s what I had in mind, when I said I do.


Love Is In The Air

My husband managed to surprise the hell out of me yesterday. For our tenth anniversary, he gave me a James Avery butterfly pendant that is two hearts entwined at the points so that the arches make the wings. Unlike my other James Avery pieces that are bold and thick, this is sweet and delicate, and I can’t wait to wear it when we go to dinner on Monday night. I expected the requisite chocolates (and yes, I DID brush my teeth immediately after eating a couple of pieces!), but I did not expect an actual present. It definitely made the day special in spite of our not going out.


Aubrey has a looooong day ahead of her, as she has to work a double. They are going to be open for lunch, which may be a lifesaver for the people who didn’t think about making reservations before the 12th. Dinner is beyond booked, so she has a ton of reminder phone calls to make in the morning. She was supposed to have the evening off, but because she is insisting on helping to pay for her thousands of dollars in upcoming dental bills, she’s trying to pick up every extra shift she can. Few teenagers would consider it as even remotely their responsibility, and I’m really proud of her.

I’m also really proud of how she is better managing her health. When she noticed that she was having problems with irritability and feeling stressed, she decided to go back up to her regular dose of Savella. She has been at a half dose for over a year now, but with the month she’s been having, she felt like she needed the extra pharmacological help. Anxiety and irritability are pretty standard fibromyalgia symptoms, but I always had to keep an eye on her mood. Now she’s able to do it for herself, which is HUGE!!!!

Matt’s semester is starting to ramp up, with the final project being a music festival. For his talent management class, he has to book the bands. For his multi-track class, he has to help set up the stage where the bands will play, so he’ll be running cables and extension cords on the day of the festival. On top of all that, he still has his regular schoolwork to do as well as his two jobs. Whereas Ron and I usually expect him to pretty much take care of himself financially, we know that he’s not slacking so we don’t mind too much about helping with his dental bills. It’s his last freebie, though. Now that he knows what happens when he doesn’t brush his teeth and drinks tea sweetened with honey all day long, once this overwhelming dental disaster is handled he’ll be responsible for any new cavities.

I am enjoying my new-found zeal for constant minty freshness. My mouth feels like an Orbit commercial (as well it should, what with the ridiculous amount that we’re chewing around here), and I keep expecting to see a little “plink” of bright light when I smile. I’ve been keeping up with my water intake too, especially yesterday when Aub and I were working in the back yard and singing along with our playlist.

It felt so good to be out in the fresh air and sunshine! While the rest of the country has been snowed in, we’ve been having record highs. Right now we’ve had the perfect temperature to get all the outside stuff done. In another six weeks, it will start to get humid and miserable. Our winter is comparable to a New England autumn…crisp blue skies and mid-70’s temperatures. It’s my second favorite time of the year. I can actually keep Gerbera Daisies alive for more than a few days since they prefer cooler weather, and we can work on projects without being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

I’m hoping that the weather holds through Saturday. I’m shooting a friend’s daughter’s wedding, and if the weather starts to change, it could seriously affect my pain and energy levels. I’m fresh from a round of radio frequency ablation, so my back is feeling good. I love being able to literally sit, as opposed to having to lie down.

I’m also hoping the weather will hold so that I can finish my anniversary gift to Ron by Monday. I’ve had a lot of help from a few elves, but there’s still plenty of work to be done. I’m going to have to accept that it will not be perfect by then, but it will be done enough. That’s a hard thing for a perfectionist to cope with. I wish I could tell you all about what I’m doing, but you’ll just have to wait until Monday to find out. I do promise that there will be pictures!

Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone! Don’t forget to practice random acts of kindness today; you never know who might be feeling a little bummed about being alone or forgotten. You might just make their entire week.

Brusha, Brusha, Brusha

I admit I fall into the camp of not so religious people who still believe that things happen for a reason. I have to, because it’s either that or cry about how much life sucks.

It all started back around Halloween when Matt developed an abscessed tooth. He went to our regular dentist of almost 20 years, and she started a root canal. He couldn’t make it back in right away, and it wasn’t until December when he had the time and money to finish it. When he called to make the appointment, our dentist “wasn’t available” and he was told he’d have to see her associate, some new guy we’d never even met before. Matt went in and the associate dentist looked at his tooth, and in a rather dodgy way said he was referring Matt to an endodontist; he said he couldn’t finish the root canal because he was “unfamiliar with the equipment.” Isn’t all dental equipment for a root canal basically the same? And if he couldn’t do it, why couldn’t Matt just get an appointment with our dentist?

Then Christmas came and went, and we had to wait to see what Matt’s schedule was going to be for school and work before we could make an appointment with our dentist. I had planned to call and say that if we couldn’t see her, we would just look for a different dentist. I never got the chance to make that call, and I’m eternally grateful. A couple of weeks ago, I messaged my friend who used to be our dentist’s receptionist to ask about one of the associate dentists that had worked there a while back, because I couldn’t find an office number for her. My friend said that the associate had pretty much retired, but that the dentist she worked for now was really nice. This dentist had also been an associate of our regular dentist, and I remembered that we all liked her, so I told my friend I’d call on Monday to make an appointment. Of course, I forgot all about it until I had a crown come loose on Wednesday night. In one of those cosmic moments, just an hour or so later, my friend messaged me to ask if I still wanted to come in, and I said that I had to now, since my crown had come off. She gave me the number, and I called first thing on Thursday morning.

Dr. S. was able to squeeze me in right before lunch, so expecting that I might require drilling (and numbing), I took two Klonopin and Aubrey drove me over. After the assistant took an x-ray of my tiny bit of remaining tooth, Dr. S. came in and explained that she recommended an extraction and implant, because there wasn’t enough tooth left to really hold a crown. She gave me an injection in my gum and in the roof of my mouth, and as she tried to work the tooth loose, it just kept shattering, so she had to dig it out in little pieces. When she finally got the last bit out, she said that she couldn’t do an implant for a while because I needed a bone graft; the buccal plate (the bit of bone that holds the tooth) was completely gone. I agreed, so she did the graft, sewed me up, gave me various prescriptions for meds, and told me to come back in about a week so she could check on it.

I was really happy with her office, her staff, and her, so I went ahead and made appointments for Aubrey and Matt to have their cleanings done, and hoped she would be able to finish Matt’s root canal. The kids love my friend, so they both felt really comfortable about going. They were about six months overdue for a cleaning, but we are very good about brushing (if not so much about flossing), and our old dentist kept giving us all clean bills of oral health, saying we didn’t have any cavities, so we weren’t too worried. I figured they didn’t need me there, since they are old enough to handle going on their own.

At around 11 am, two hours after Aubrey’s appointment started, I started to wonder what was up, so I called her. She was still in the chair, and was just about in tears. She said she had several cavities…I asked how many, and in the background, I heard the hygienist counting, “28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.” Aubrey said, “34.” I asked, “34 what?” and she whined, “CAVITIES!”

Her mouth was so bad, Dr. S. thought she hadn’t been to the dentist for at least five or six years. We went TWICE A YEAR! Matt’s mouth was just as bad. He has 18 cavities, and will need root canals, implants, crowns, and fillings. Aubrey needs everything except for an implant, and Dr. S. isn’t 100% sure that Aubrey won’t need a root canal, too.

Ron’s secret career fantasy was to be a dentist, so dental care is a constant source of nagging around here. Thank goodness, because there’s no telling how bad it would have been if he didn’t make her brush her teeth all the time! On the upside, he will never have to remind her again. She and I both gave up soda for plain water, and are staying away from HFCS until her cavities are all under control.

Poor Aub is livid about what awful condition her mouth is in…and because several fb friends have already asked the question of are we sure we can trust this dentist, I will answer by saying that she showed Aubrey her teeth on the monitor (Aub took shots of the monitor with her phone), and one does not need to be a specialist to know what the big black spots are. ¬† These are not small, hidden soft spots of cavities waiting to happen…these are holes in her teeth from years of neglect.



Because Matt just had a new patient exam and not a cleaning, we won’t have a treatment plan for him until his next appointment which is in ten days. Even Ron agrees that as much as he thinks that the kids need to be mostly financially independent at this point in their lives, we can’t let them “suffer and build character” when it comes to dental emergencies, and these are definitely emergencies. As it is, Matt’s already losing at least one tooth. This is a huge deal because his teeth are perfectly straight, as are Aubrey’s. Losing a tooth and not putting something there to take its place could cause his teeth to shift around, and we know he’ll never keep up with a bridge, so an implant is the best way to deal with it.

What this all boils down to is being trapped in South Texas for at least TWO more years, not ONE. Just Aubrey’s mouth alone is going to be over $6000. Matt’s will be well over that, as will mine, I’m sure. Depending on how bad Ron’s is, we may have just doubled our debt, right when I was finally making progress and had whittled down over $12,000 in 9 months. I can deal with dental disaster. I can deal with our finances being fucked over. I can even deal with the betrayal of trusting someone with my children’s care and having them not give a crap. But forcing me to live in Texas for TWO more summers? Now THAT pisses me off!

Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of introspection, mainly brought on by my recent marital struggles. I am not the easiest person to get along with, because I do not play well with others. I also run with scissors, but hey, if there’s a yarn emergency, I’m your gal.

Last year saw the loss of two friends. One was my best friend of 25 some odd years, and the other was my crazy friend Will. My best friend and I had a falling out over a misunderstanding regarding my parenting of my daughter, while Will was lost due to the typical jealous girl friend who is insecure about the female best friend.

Four days ago, a facebook friend posted a meme that said, “Apologizing doesn’t mean you’re wrong or the other person is right. It means you value the relationship more than your own ego.” After nearly a year of nursing a ridiculous grudge, I messaged my best friend and apologized, and told her I missed her. We’ve been messaging back and forth, and while things are very tenuous and fragile at the moment, I hold out hope that our more than half our lives as friends will win in the end.

Yesterday, I woke up to see that Will had called me. I haven’t spoken to him in almost exactly a year, so I was more than a little surprised. I had no intention of returning his call, but then he called again a few hours later. It was just as I was headed in to a therapy appointment, so it was a perfect chance to talk to my therapist about what I should do. As much as I love hanging out with Will, he brings along a shitload of drama, and I wasn’t so sure about bringing that back into my life. My therapist and I talked about it and I decided that I would listen to his voice message, and at least see what he wanted.

The voice message was a long, rambling apology that said since it has been almost a year, could I possibly move on and be friends again. I thought about the cosmic irony of Will calling so quickly on the heels of my reaching out to my best friend. I realized that sometimes, being the bigger person means apologizing first, and other times, it means accepting someone’s apology.

I know exactly how it feels to lose someone so important over something so trivial. I mean really, in the grand scheme of things, short of murder or abuse, most things are trivial. No one is perfect, least of all me; if I could ask for forgiveness, surely I could grant it, too.

I texted Will to say I accepted his apology and that I missed our friendship, too. He asked me to call, so I did, and we talked for about half an hour. He said he felt really stupid for putting a girlfriend (that lasted two weeks after we stopped talking before it imploded) over a friend.

Later, I messaged my best friend to tell her about hearing from Will, and said that if Isaac started to talk to me, I’m pretty sure it would mean the world was ending and the Mayans were just off by a couple of months. Unfortunately, Isaac is only 20 and doesn’t have the life experience that my best friend, Will, and I all have, thanks to our being in our early 40s. God only knows how much of an absolute idiot I was in my 20s.

I’ve spent the last year thinking that I didn’t need my best friend, nor did I need Will. I thought I didn’t mind being an island…but now that we’re talking again, I can honestly say that being an island kinda sucks. Sure, it means ¬†that you don’t get hurt, but it also means that you don’t get to experience the joys of a good friendship, either.

My best friend and I talked almost every single day for about 20 years straight. Our daughters are three days apart. I’ve had her as my friend longer than all of my marriages combined. Throwing all of that away just because I was offended by one conversation is just plain ridiculous.

As I’ve told Isaac before, having people who love you unconditionally is rare, and truly something to be treasured. It’s hard enough for me to find people that I even like, let alone people that I love (besides my family, of course). When you find those people that you can love and who love you, those are the people that you latch onto with everything you have, and don’t let them go.

I can say that the last year has made me a better person in a lot of ways. I try to be less judgmental, particularly with other people’s flaws. Like I said, I’m far from perfect and I have plenty of my own flaws. I have also come to treasure other friends, particularly my friend Leigh. Although Leigh and I are on opposite sides of the political and religious spectra, we respect each other. I think that’s something that’s missing for our culture…the idea that two people are not required to have the exact same views in order to be friends.

It seems that I was correct in thinking that things are looking up!

“It’s sad, so sad
It’s a sad, sad situation
And it’s getting more and more absurd
It’s sad, so sad
Why can’t we talk it over
Always seems to me
That sorry seems to be the hardest word”