Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tooth Be Told

I had my temporary veneers done yesterday (eight of them), and I am sort of feeling like this dog at this point. The new teeth feel like someone has attached a 20 pound brick to the front of my face, and thank God they are, by definition, temporary because I am not exactly loving them.

I had feared they would resemble George Washington's wooden false teeth, but no such luck. For some strange reason, they are stair stepped. They are xylophone teeth--the one on the far left is the smallest and they gradually get bigger as they work their way across the front of my mouth. Is this some new trend in dentistry? While I always aspire to be a trend setter, I am going back Monday to discuss some changes. Namely, I don't want to have to tip my head to the side like a cocker spaniel in order for my smile to be straight.

Tuesday night before the procedure, I was given a Valium to take at bedtime. Hallelujah! I prepared myself for the first good night's sleep in years. Surely a Valium could drown out Clint's snoring, yes? Nope. The stuff had no effect whatsoever, except to make me really annoyed that everyone else in my house was getting an amazing night's sleep while I was being kicked out of bed by the dog and having my hair blow black away out of my face by the snoring happening on Clint's side.

Getting dressed Wednesday morning was a bit of an ordeal: what does one wear to these things? My instructions said no nail polish, no jewelry and something comfortable such as sweats. I realized the appointment was not going to be fun, but surely it didn't have to be homely, too. After three wardrobe changes, I emerged in a long sleeved, tie-dye Salty Dog Cafe t-shirt, yoga pants (naturally) and my workout shoes with "Buh-Bye" stitched on the heels. This was my extra comfy TCB outfit. I thought it conveyed easy breezy on top, don't mess with me down below. Yeah, that came out wrong but I'm still coming down from the meds so you know what I mean.

I opted for sedation. No surprise there, right? What did surprise almost everyone at the office was that the sedation did not take effect. The assistant said perhaps they would go ahead and get started and she was confident that it would take hold in the next few minutes. An hour or so in, I believe the dentist must have noticed the vice grip I had on the dental chair and probably the fact that my eyes were big and bulging like ping pong balls. Are you relaxed, he asked? NO! Would you like an additional pill to try and help with that? YESSSSS! And so, another happy pill finally came along. Thankfully, after that little helper, the last hour or two was not too shabby. I never felt totally out of it and sure as sugar couldn't "just let yourself doze off" like they suggested, but there times when I kind of daydreamed a bit and forgot that there was major construction being done in my mouth.

Four and a half hours after we began, the new staircase temporary veneers were in and I was ready to go. Miraculously, Clint appeared on time to drive me home and I sort of swayed my woozy self out to the waiting room. Dr. Broome then happened to comment that sipping something cool with caffeine would help any swelling go down. "You mean I can have a Diet Coke?!" What a dazzling ray of sunshine in a very dreary, dental filled day! One of the dental assistants even went to the waiting room and brought me back my beverage of choice, slightly chilled with a straw. As my reward for good behavior, I'm sure. I caught Clint looking at my Coke can like it might be a no-no and promptly stated, "They said I can have this. It. Is. MINE." You know, just to remove any doubt.

I came home and watched a very hazy half of Days of Our Lives from the TiVo and then finally caught some very high quality zzzs. Later that night, Clint woke me up for dinner. He left me propped on the couch with the remote dangling from my hand while he ran to Panera for some soup and came back to find me staring inquisitively at the television. "Duck Dynasty," I loopily explained. "Everyone loves it and maybe it's because I'm not exactly lucid, but I don't see why. Oh, hey, and why do they call it that?" He put down the soup and took the remote from me, then explained that the family on the show makes duck calls and hunting equipment. Ohhhh. That skated right over my medicated little head. I turned my concentration to eating mushy food and staying in an upright position while doing so.

Today has been a cycle of Ibuprofen, medicated mouthwash and mushy food (in further news of I can't catch a break, the dog ate my oatmeal this morning when I wasn't paying attention--really?). I know what you're thinking: yes, it is a glamorous life, but someone has to do it. And I truly believe the marathon of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team that is running right now is a gift from above. Although my teeth are not exactly DCC material.

I'm going back Monday to talk about the changes I'd like to see in the shape and length of the veneers. Specifically, I'd like them to look less like a set of Russian stacking dolls and more like a regular set of chompers. That and another complimentary Diet Coke should have me happily on my way. Until then, sending crooked smiles your way!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Frankly, My Dear

We seem to be living in the land of too much information lately. Asking someone how they are doing has gone from a polite bit of conversation to a total personal life minefield. And while we all appreciate your *over*sharing, some things are better left unsaid. Both in social media and in person, there are frankly some things that no one, my dear, gives a damn about. It's about time you knew.

Happy Monday! Happy Thursday! Happy everything! I'm glad you're so, well, happy and all, but we don't necessarily have to celebrate each day of the week with a public outcry. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Elaine's office has some sort of sheet cake every day for every imaginable reason. Get happy with your bad self. And keep it to your bad self while you're at it. Incidentally, these are also the exact same people who missed their calling as meteorologists and love to let you know that it is freezing/windy/warm/sunny today, in case you don't have access to the outside world. These annoyances are often combined into a double whammy, such as Happy rainy Friday! Sorry to tell you, I don't celebrate that one.

You know all those adorable moments (Andrew went pee pee in the potty and it was so cute) and the really funny things your incorrigible kid says? Yeah, no one cares except you and Grandma.Your friends wanted to tell you, but couldn't work up the nerve. Seriously, unless you want to swap stories and hear about all the cute and funny things my dog does, keep it to yourself. Or give Nana a call and revel in every little precious detail. Here's a quarter iPhone, call someone who cares.

While I appreciate that you have a cause near and dear to your heart, I know several people who are head over heels for animal rescue. One acquaintance posted a picture on Facebook last week of her six (that's right, an even half dozen) cats sleeping by the front door. She was proud. I was disturbed. The cats are outnumbering the humans 3:1 in this household, and that number is still climbing. Fine by me if you want to be the mayor of Kitty City, but don't give me all the details...or any of the details, come to think of it.

Beyond this, every other story these folks post online is about some horrific something that will hurt your pet (ban twist ties! This poor kitten's paw will never be the same after his tragic twist tie incident!). Or worse, these are the ones who also post those terribly sad, way too graphic pictures of abused animals. To clarify: if we are close enough to be "friends" on social media, you can rest assure that I am not a puppy puncher. You are preaching to the choir.

Lately, I have noticed an explosion of "actors" in the circle of people I know (some of them are so pretentious I cannot bear to label them friends). Charlotte is, after all, now being called the Little Hollywood of the South. Because of tax incentives, it's cheap to film here and there are always casting calls for extras. I am just going to come out and burst your little bubble when I tell you that being an extra does not an actor make. You were chosen for your generic ability to blend into the background and not steal the scene from the real talent. You can stop bragging any time now, and the fact that you take pride when the TV show or movie you were in wins an award is laughable. I doubt that "man with cigar" or "woman #4" are the reasons for the accolades. Being an extra is fun and I'm sure exciting, but it doesn't make you an actor any more than hanging around in the waiting room of my doctor's office makes me a nurse.

Which leads me to the excessive picture takers. It alarms me when I see that Jane Doe added 147 new pictures. Every Monday of her online life. Why are you taking all these photos? What, besides changing your Facebook profile picture every two hours, are you doing with all of them? (First person to say they are acting headshots gets slapped) Sure, that one of you in the ballgown standing by the railroad track in cowboy boots is very practical and everyone needs a shot of themselves gazing pensively out a window, but what about all the others?

I'm not even going to try to break this one gently: your husband is not as great as you say and we all know it. When I hear you say that he came home with a bottle of wine and flowers and cooked you dinner, what I really want to know is what he did wrong. That level of overcompensating should leave you with at least one raised eyebrow. The universal law of nature plainly tells us that the only men who are truly sensitive and considerate are gay men. It's a cruel irony, but it's true and it's also the reason every woman should have a gay man in her circle of friends. Not only will he bring you flowers, he will also stop you from sharing information about yourself that no one cares about. Now that's a good friend.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go. It's chilly out there this morning, and I have to get to my photo shoot before my afternoon acting gig. My husband is waiting at home with flowers, champagne and a new piece of jewelry for me, so Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dumbing Down the Dentist

First, my confession: I have been going to a swanky, ultra-posh dentist lately. It's one of those day spa atmosphere dental offices with the zen music, paraffin wax hand treatments, flat screen televisions in all the rooms, complimentary smoothies. I normally do not condone these crazy indulgences, however, I am having my 19 year old veneers replaced and my regular dentist is no frills old school. Read: his office looks a lot like Mary Tyler Moore's apartment from the 1970s. Instead of opting for the Sony Walkman and stress ball he provides, I went for greener pastures. And by greener, I mean pastures which offer Valium.

While having my teeth Zoom whitened (one of many steps on the road to veneer-dom), the hygienist covered me in the ultra plush blanket they provide, adjusted my neck pillow and gave me the remote control for the television. Everyone at the practice speaks in a soothing voice, so that "this may be painful" sounds like some sort of affirmation. Om.

Since it was time for my daily soap opera, I immediately flipped to Days of Our Lives. I caught Ewa (pronounced Ava which threw me for a loop), my hygienist, glancing up with rather wide eyes several times as that particular episode contained not only a snarky cat fight which may or may not have included a slap and the 'b' word, but also two lusty love scenes. Quality, family friendly entertainment, right?

Like sands through the hourglass, Days concluded its episode, so it was time to tune in to something else to keep my mind off the fact that my teeth felt like they were being zapped by miniature lightening bolts. My selection was not exactly great considering the time of day, and I finally chose Family Feud as my mindless matter. This was the version hosted by Steve Harvey, although I will state for matter of public record that Richard Dawson's Feud was the finest of all time.

As luck would have it, the episode I wound up watching in that suburban dentist's office that day contained the raciest questions I think I have ever heard on the show--we're talking TVMA (mature audiences). I kid you not, Steve was asking these thought provoking questions:

If a friend was bitten by a snake, what part of his body would be worst to suck venom from?

Something grandpa would say is still sexy about grandma?

Name a reason someone would decide not to wear underwear?

Naturally, these required answers like "his wee wee" or "making love" and other blush worthy blurt outs about rear ends and under garments that caused Steve and the audience to howl with laughter. At one point, I do believe the phrase "no underwear means easy access" was tossed about. As you can imagine, not exactly the most cerebral content.

I tried not to be embarrassed while all this hooting, hollering and hubba hubba was ringing and dinging throughout the room, but it did cause me to wonder if my choice of fine programming might be drowning out the soothing music and otherwise zen-like spa experience they were trying to create in the other rooms. Was someone having their paraffin treatment interrupted by talk of grandma's sexiness? Probably.

Finally, Ewa stopped what she was doing and just stared at the screen for some time. She finally turned to me and said in a bewildered tone, "I must admit, I have never seen this program before. It is quite interesting, to say the least."

Yes, Ewa, to say the least. I'm sure it made her reconsider her decision of not having a television, now that she saw what she had been missing. There really is nothing quite like going into a trendy, buttoned-up establishment and totally dumbing it down.

I'm going back next week to have my veneers done. You bet your boots I will be sedated, but maybe I'll ask them to tune in to Maury or Jerry Springer, just for some ambiance.

Survey says: classy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Welcome to the Walmess

Some stores bring more to the table than just the inventory they sell. Practically every woman I know loves getting a latte at the Starbucks inside Target and then blissfully browsing the store, while almost every man alive loves a good trip to the Home Depot, whether he needs that caulk and those light bulbs or not. But Walmart brings an entirely different atmosphere to the table; in fact it seems to bring out the worst, most stupid, annoying behaviors in the people who shop there. It's like we check our good manners at the door with the greeter (he has to be there for something, right?) and put on our Wal-manners instead.

Now, I'm not even going to delve into the clothing thing; there are whole websites devoted to people of Walmart and their fashion choices. I have seen various degrees of undress as well as grown adults looking like they just left a slumber party. What amazes me even more than the fact that someone considers fleece SpongeBob pajama pants suitable attire for shopping are the personality types I seem to always encounter.

I have observed a little bit of everything on these weekly trips adventures to Walmart for my groceries. The lovers, the fighters, the UK shoppers, the Mama Mias, the Slowly McFartsalongs...I will explain them all, because I know that your Walmart keeps a steady stock of them, too.

What is it about Walmart that seems to make people amorous? You know the ones, the lovers standing in the middle of the aisle, leaning into each other in some sort of sheer, white trash bliss--the vertical version of spooning, if you will. I had to break up a magical canoodling moment on the deodorant aisle last week between a young couple who seemed on the verge of a full-on make out. I have no idea what it was about the Speedstick that had them so titillated. It did not have the same effect on me.

Then there are the fighters. I can certainly understand where this one comes from; navigating a big box mega store with your significant other in tow is a harrowing experience. I do, however, try to limit mine and Clint's spats to looks that will kill or deep sighs and eye rolls. This week I overheard (they were almost yelling, so it was hard to avoid) a couple venting some agitation. And I quote, "What are you gonna do, just beat her ass?" to which the lady--and I use that term loosely--hotly replied, "That's exactly what I'm gonna do. I hate it when you talk sh*t like this." People, the jolly Green Giant is not Judge Judy. He is interested in broccoli florets, not mediating domestic disputes. Grab that bag of frozen tater tots you came for and keep moving.

The UK shoppers are those folks who are apparently not from around here and are unaware that the norm in this country is to stay on the right side when walking/driving/shopping. Instead, the UKs shun conventional cart etiquette and drive their carts on the wrong side of the aisle, fish-up-stream style. Maybe they are looking to buggy chicken fight--either way, all I want to do is get in, get out and get this over with. I like to greet the UK shoppers with a "Cheerio!" as I pass. They have no idea what it means and it's good stress relief, since calling out moron or a-hole might incite violence.

Mama mia! Here we go again! My, my, how can I avoid you? The Mama Mias are those moms who, either from exhaustion or ambivalence have given up and are letting their kids wreak pure child havoc through the store. The little darlings are screaming, throwing cereal boxes galore into the cart, running in front of other general, just creating joy wherever they go. Especially if they will go away from me. Is hit and run with a shopping cart a prosecutable crime?

And of course, dragging along smack in the middle of the aisle, always in front of me, is Slowly McFartsalong. This poor soul appears to be in some sort of haze/daze/comatose state and is moving with all the intensity of a snail crawling through quicksand. I assume it is to savor every glorious moment of the Walmart experience, or to give me chest pains from the torture of it all. The Slowlys are oblivious to their surroundings, so no amount of huffing or puffing or sighing or praying the ceiling will fall in on them and remove them from your path will make a difference. You will have to wait until you can see a cart-sized piece of daylight and shoot past them. Or you can stay behind them and take full advantage of Walmart's 24 hours of operation. I personally have never had the burning desire to die of old age inside a Walmart, so the Slowly McFartsalongs are a particular thorn in my low price loving side.

So take a deep breath, pack your patience, and grab a cart with one broken wheel that squeaks incessantly. We're about to roll up our sleeves and brave the Walmess. They say it takes all kinds: I say I know exactly where to find them.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Dread Zone

Dum-da-dum-dum. I can feel it creeping up. It's coming for me, the way it does every year. We are now entering a treacherous, dreadful, depressing stretch of year in the life of yours truly. We are entering the horrible, terrible, no-good-very-bad gift zone, which runs from Valentine's Day through my April birthday.

Caveat: the last time I wrote about some of my not-most-favorite gifts, some of you were not amused and felt that I was ungrateful. If you have never gotten a gift that you didn't really like, then how awesome for you. On the next gift-giving occasion, you might want to add "sense of humor" to your wish list. Not only does my husband know that this post was coming, he has readily admitted it is warranted. And now we continue with our regularly scheduled programming.

When we were dating, Clint gave the most thoughtful gifts. Things you saw, forgot that you wanted, and then made your little heart pitter patter with delight to open on those wondrous special occasions. Then we got married and yeah...not so much.

It started as a kind of downhill slide. The first Valentine's Day after we got married, Clint gave me card with a fart joke. Our first romantic holiday as a married couple, and my husband decided flatulence was the perfect theme to match the occasion. Next came some rather lackluster gifts, mad dash gifts bought at the last minute, and finally we arrived at where we are now: embarrassingly terrible gifts. I have thwarted much of this painfulness by reducing our anniversary to a cards-only event, and we are getting perilously close to doing the same with Valentine's Day. And birthdays.

Last year, I got this on the day we celebrate all things romantic and love-related:

The aforementioned Myers Park Mustangs are a high school team in our neighborhood. Not my alma mater, and I am not particularly enamored with the school. Or mustangs. The shirt came from the Walgreens on the corner, about 60 seconds from my house. I know because we saw it there the week before Valentine's Day, on sale for $7.99. Clint asked if I wanted it, and I believe my exact words were, "I would not even pay eight dollars for that." No problem, because my precious Valentine pulled right in on his way home from work on February 14 and got it for me. (Did I mention that it was a size LARGE and would have comfortably housed a lumberjack? Let's just say that didn't exactly add to its appeal).
I called one of my closest girlfriends the next morning to tell her about the gift. She consoled me by sharing that her dad once gave her mother a back brace for her birthday. He thought that since her back had been giving her trouble, she would adore her very own brace. She did not find the gesture any more romantic than I found my long sleeved t-shirt.
Once I recover from the Valentine's shenanigans, April is here before you know it and it's birthday time. I am a girl who believes in doing it up right for birthdays, after all, it is your own personal holiday--the one day a year that really is all about you. I go all out in September for Clint's birthday--because I love doing it. And while I don't expect the same amount of fanfare, it is distressing to know that I am highly likely to get a bran muffin with a lit match stuck on top in lieu of a cake.
I was a bit disappointed four years ago when I got a new A/C unit for my birthday. I mean, it is the gift that keeps on giving, but not really what I had my heart set on (I tried to console myself with the thought that it was because I'm so dang hot, but there's only so much you can do with that). Then there was the year I got a sports bra and some bedroom shoes. Again, very practical. But I am one of the most impractical people on the planet, so this did not especially suit.
My friend Kim said her husband gave her a gift certificate last year for Rack Room Shoes. It's on his way home, so she knew it was a gift of pure convenience, purchased the day of the gift swap. It was especially remarkable because Kim hasn't shopped at Rack Room in about five years. Bless their little gift-giving souls.
It is the thought that counts; the problem here is that there isn't much thought being batted around. Worse than the gifts are the looks I get when people ask what I got--it's a mixture of pity, disbelief, astonishment, and amusement. Add horror and those are the exact emotions I go through when opening these ditties. It is slightly better than regifting something we already own that was just lying around the house, but only marginally.
And so, with the 14th of February rapidly approaching, I am determined to keep calm, hope for the best and expect the worst. And I'm also left to wonder about the St. Valentine's Day massacre in 1929--do you think there could have been a long sleeved t-shirt involved?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Not So Fast

In an effort to detox a little and get back on track before we spend Super Bowl Sunday eating the tater tot dip I'm planning to make, the hubs and I decided to do a week long protein drink fast. Nothing but these soy protein shakes and all the low sodium vegetable or chicken broth you desire. Is your mouth watering yet? Yum.

The canister for the drinks insists that you will feel energized and full. I appreciate that optimism, but I am ravenous and have a pounding headache. Last night my brain was so hungry, I literally couldn't think straight. Couldn't think of words, wandering around the house in a fog. The directions also say you can do the fast--no food other than broth--for up to 14 days. That has to be a typo, because anything over five or six days clearly violates terms of the Geneva Convention.

The thought that keeps bouncing around in my hungry little head is this: I am wondering why it is called a fast? Either it was not named by someone who has actually fasted, or the namer was in a state of starvation and not able to think clearly. I would suggest calling it a "slow," as that is how the time passes when you are not eating. Slow-ly.

I don't want to do anything because it all reminds me of how hungry I am--getting up early is just extra hours without chewing. Watching TV is no fun because it is within sight of the kitchen. In fact, my whole house is near the kitchen and it is driving me bananas. Ah, bananas, how lovely that would be. I miss chewing. And when I start missing fruit, of which I have never been a fan, things are dire indeed.

In an effort to get my mind off the fact that my stomach is eating itself and beginning to chew painfully on my backbone, I attempt leaving the house. But everywhere I go, food is there. A pizza delivery car drove by me on the street and I swear to you, I could smell the pizza. I almost ran into a ditch. I pass people in stores and instead of their smiling people faces, here is what I see:

I can't go anywhere near Pinterest, what with all the caramel-peanut butter-chocolate-s'mores explosion recipes y'all are all pinning, and channel surfing past the Food Network is enough to bring me to tears. No, Giada, I am not interested in that manicotti you're making and apparently losing weight while eating (seriously, why is that girl an Italian chef and she weighs 98 pounds? I have a "weighty" problem with that).
Even the dog's food is starting to look tempting, and when you start begrudging your pet his venison and potato kibble (special prescription formula for skin and coat to help with allergies mind you), you are really reaching the point of desperation. One more day to go, one more day to go....
The last time we did one of these fasts, my mailman told me he would keep an eye out for me, and if he found me lying in a ditch, collapsed from exhaustion while out walking the dog, he would throw me some of the dog biscuits he keeps in his mail truck for sustenance. But Terry the mailman has a new route and I do not get the feeling that the new mail carrier is quite as sympathetic. That being said, if you are in south Charlotte and see a brunette lying on the side of the road and a little white dog sitting beside her, double check would you? Maybe throw me a Tic Tac or something to get me going again.
I have one more shake today for lunch and then we are calling it quits and going to get a salad or some other rabbit food for dinner. Fasts on Friday nights are illegal. At least they are in my handbook--you know, the one with the tater tot dip recipe.