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October 14, 1998
a year ago

Socks on a Rooster

When I went into Dr. Synder's I was a bit early again, but the receptionist thanked me for being early this time. Which was very nice. I don't wanna waste anyone's time. So it was nice to get in early and read a bit.

There was one of those Women's magazines in the waiting room, which had stuff about how a woman can stay in shape, build up arm muscles, stretch the lower back, learn how to surf with the 'Surf Divas' in La Jolla, and there was an entire article on how women sometimes use eating in place of unlearned emotional coping mechanisms. That they weren't taught useful coping mechanism when they were kids, so use food as 'filler' for things that are missing, but they aren't conscious of what. That any diet had no chance of succeeding with this old emotional breakage, and that with the coping mechanisms in place more things than just overeating might get fixed.

That made a lot of sense to me, and the list of questions and things to ask oneself seemed pretty standard for self-help and self-evaluation as well as some cool questions on whether or not support was what was really needed.

There was one thing that really struck me, though. And that was the question, "How much pain are you willing to go through for your expected reward?" Most self-help things seem to shy away from or avoid pain topics, but this was pretty straightforward about pain, emotional, physical, mental, financial, whatever, being the price for what one really wants. That sometimes a girl has to put herself through boredom, self-denial, or nastiness to get what she really wants. That was really affirming in a lot of ways, as that seems to really match reality.

I've always said that while the world isn't fair, that one can always choose to make it fairer, often at a price, but it's a matter of choice.

And it seems to work for everything from blue hair to working teeth, from a knee that can run around on a soccer field to ice cream after dinner, and from retiring early to working late. All a matter of balancing the pain for the coolness.

It was really funny. When Dr. Synder talked over the procedure with me he added, "Honestly, I have to tell you, this bridge fits your mouth like socks on a rooster..." I died laughing at about that instant. "... which is to say not at all, so we're going to have to do some extensive plastic layering to get it to fit at all." But I had to remember that phrase, socks on a rooster.

Getting the tooth back in was something of a pain, but not bad. Dr. Vickers, my dentist of nearly six years ago, and Dr. Snyder had one thing in common, the ability to do the work and do it well and if they caused pain, they did it quickly, thoroughly and got the job completely done while they were at it and let the patient deal with the pain. They didn't hem and haw and wibble around about it. It was something I first got a concept of in, of all things, a Mrs. Pollifax book, where she's cutting this bullet out of Farrell's arm, and she remembers a doctor telling her that if she ever had to do something like this that it was imperative that she not hurt for the patient while doing it as it would get in the way of doing it efficiently and well. Let them take care of the pain, you take care of the job.

So with one thorough, solid, and hard shove, Dr. Synder got the thing well seated, and then attached it. Then, without doing too much asking about how it felt, he did the physical tests to make sure that things were working and where they weren't, where the physical evidence was that my lower teeth were meeting too soon in the new composite, he just methodically took the material away so long as anything was meeting and marking the area as first hit. Nothing wishywashy, simply going with the physical evidence. He did the same with my toothguard. The dentist that took over Dr. Vicker's practice was never that efficient and was much more tentative and more into asking how I felt, and when I couldn't quantify it, would just leave it alone, to cause problems later.

So, it got back in, seemed pretty firm, though my mouth was a bit sore with all the shoving around, the light sand blasting he had to do to the backs of the anchoring teeth to get all the old plastic off, and having three hands in ones mouth usually stretches it a bit. Yet the work felt really solid, and the toothguard fit just fine after his tests, and all in all I felt a lot better about my mouth and my tooth and how it was all going to work.

After getting it in, he said that he wanted to schedule another half hour appointment to fill the gaps in around the tooth with some plastic and I asked, "Why?"

He laughed but answered honestly, "To make it look better, rather than having those big black gaps there, it'll at least fill in some."

I shrugged, "It looks fine to me."

And to his credit, he just nodded then, "Okay. Tell me if you ever want those holes filled in and I'll do it for you, but if you want to just leave it this way, fine."

So, he'll let me make my own decisions and to choose functionality over cosmetic appeal. So that's good. So I'm going to probably switch over, and he half forced the issue saying he wanted a full examination before having to do the full, new bridge, and that I might as well switch.

The receptionist was cool and said that she didn't think they had to force the issue and would be willing to let me think it over and decide later and call them. She picked up on nearly all my emotional vibes, and that helped me a lot in deciding. She also helped the doctor out as an assistant because the doc's regular assistant had her hands full with an emergency patient that was being squeezed in between other appointments. I was impressed with the staff flexibility and the fact that she was willing to do it and get her hands dirty with the work.

So, I made the appointment for the checkup. I still have to cancel on the other one, then went back to work to pick up John, and the two of us went to QFC for a few more groceries.

I had a recipe from Epicurious for apple tarts that looked really good, so we got the stuff for that, we were thinking about doing teriyaki chicken on the outside grill, but it was pouring down rain as we shopped, so decided that was kinda silly.

Instead, I went with the original plan we'd had, which was stovies. It's my twist on a Scottish dish that, originally, is just onions and potatos cooked on the stove until the potatos start to fall apart, then topped with cheese, broiled til the cheese is melted and served with good, old British brown sauce. I added some browned ground beef halfway into the cooking cycle, and half a bag of frozen peas for just the last five minutes. It turned out thick and hot, savory with brown sauce and meat and cheese and sweet with the pop of the peas, and it was perfect for the cold, wet day.

Yum.

Afterwards we sat and watched hockey while apple tarts baked in the oven. It's pretty simple, just puff pastry with apples with a touch of sugar, cinnamon and butter on top cooked at 425 for 20 minutes. Then brush on a bit of apricot jam that's been forced through a sieve and bake just a bit more until the jam makes a glaze on the tart. Then pull out and serve.

I might just bake the tart shell separately next time and nuke the apples with a lighter tossing of sugar and cinnamon without the butter the next time, but still cover it all with the glaze of apricot jam. The shell turned a bit gooey under the apples, the way the recipe called for it, and while it was good, it wasn't great. There's always next time.

The evening walk was fun. Fezzik was all bouncy and happy to be with us and get to wander about. The sky cleared for a bit, though small scattering of droplets blew onto us as we walked. The air was cool and clean and clear, though and really felt good. I wore my Doc Martins so I could go puddle stomping and John did a good job of staying clear while I splooshed and splashed about.

When we got home, we got ready for bed and then hopped into the hot tub. John had tested the temperature earlier in the evening and it was perfect. Hot enough to make everything just unkink at the shock, not so hot I felt like I was cooking. Gradually, my shoulders and back undid themselves from the knots I put 'em in while in the dentist's chair, and then we went to sleep.

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