New site design. Take it or leave it. Not as cheerful, bright, or fanciful as the last. Not what I had planned for a future design, either. Sometimes, I just shouldn’t listen to people on IRC.

Enjoy the site. Remind me why I keep on with it.

Tylenol Kisses

My period of good fortune came to an abrupt end on Tuesday of last week. There I was at dinner, high on a good mood, a decent day, and a good meal when the corner of one of my nachos went sideways and buried itself between the gum and the space between two of my molars during a joyful bite (those things find the darnedest of places). So, in pain I finished my meal and went home to attend to my wound and fish out the nacho with toothbrush and floss. What came out was significantly more than just the nacho corner. In doing so, I removed the last of what was protecting the nerve of my tooth from the rest of the world. Pain shot like wildfire from there to engulf the entire right side of my mouth.

I slept that night only by the help of Tylenol, Orajel, and Xanax.

Wednesday morning I woke up early (through no choice of mine) and dug around for a dentist who was on my insurance plan; found one nearby and set up an appointment for that morning. Called the boss to warn him of my tardiness; he was understanding. I get to the dentist, fill out the paperwork, and am shuffled in to get an Xray and wait for my consultation with the dentist to examine the situation. Looking at the Xray of the four teeth on that side, from front to back, the shapes were: square, square, the letter C, square. I had a major cavity.

The dentist indicated two possible solutions: extraction or root canal. At 32, I’m too young to walk around with more holes in my mouth than necessary, plus I don’t want to go around dealing with the pain of shifting, migrating teeth. So my best option is root canal. Painful for a short while, expensive to perform (even with my insurance), but I’ll keep my tooth. I called my mother to inform her that the Family Curse, that of weak tooth enamel, has landed on me, and she agreed that my best option is root canal.

So, until I can find a dentist/endodontist to do the surgery, I’m living on Tylenol and amoxicillin. My liver is hating me. My best option, so far, is to set up an appointment with the UT dental school in San Antonio; for a low cost (due to me being a guinea pig), I can have good dental work done — that is if I can get on the roster and get in soon. I called this morning at 8am sharp for the better part of an hour to get through. Got nothing but voicemail announcements and hold music, which I kind of expected, but not this bad. Didn’t talk to a real person all that time.

Then it occurred to me that today is a damned federal holiday. So I’m kinda banking on that maybe they took the day off. I will try again tomorrow morning, 8am sharp, to get in for either an emergency appointment or some appointment this week. If that fails, then it’s Plan B (my original plan): Castle Dental (yes, I’ve heard the stories of that place — and I’ve heard good reports. It’s 50/50, just like any other random dentist). There, I can get everything done in one place without having to set up appointments everywhere just to get this done.

This pain is killing me. Of all the pains I’ve experienced in my life, dental pain is the absolute worst. When your teeth hurt, you’re just useless, in a darkened room, rolling and kicking on the bed, clutching yourself praying for relief that never comes. Nothing makes it better but more drugs, and that’s just temporary relief. I had some Tylenol just 4 hours ago, and the pain’s almost back in full force. No way to live. So I’ve got to get this root canal done this week or I’m pulling the fucker myself.

Wish me luck on a speedy resolution and recovery.

You’ve Made It To the Bonus Round

Today has been a Dine-In Bonus Day for Shawn here.

This afternoon I followed my gut instinct (read: hunger) all the way to the nearby IHOP which offered the kind of hot, toasted club sandwich I was craving. Going to IHOP on saturday has become a habit of mine as of late, a way to reward myself, in a sense, for finishing a week, or as just one of those weekly things I do. Anyway, I got there, grabbed my journal (the real one), walked inside and was seated right away to await my waitress.

“We should be friends!” she said as she approached my table.
I looked up at her and replied, “Yeah? Why?”
“I’m always your waitress.”
“Heh, Ok…I’m Shawn.”
Pointing to her name tag, “Um, you know my name. I’m Vanessa. Hello!”
I shook hands with an IHOP waitress.

The meal was good, I had some good journal-writing time to think about Things, and occasionally Vanessa would stop by to chat or see how I was doing or ask something about me, y’know, stuff that resembles flirting. I saw something that resembled a men’s class ring on her left ring finger, so I played it down, chatted back, and gave her a good tip. Whether it was flirting, cordial chatting, doing her job, or that she remembers my face, it was pleasant to have someone outside my sphere knock on my door to say hello. A bonus.

Some hours later, I went to my recent haunt Austin Java Company to have a caffeinated beverage, possibly something to eat, and to get into some quality laptop time. The crowd there was typical for a saturday afternoon: heavy. I was hungry for something light, so I ordered a cup of their roasted chicken soup (it’s incredible), got a soda, took my table number sign and found a nice seat in the corner. Twenty distracted minutes later (thanks to laptop crashes, etcetera), I realize that it’d been 20 minutes since I placed my order for the soup and that they hadn’t brought it to me. I did the standard glaring-at-the-counter gag, but that didn’t work. Finally, with full realization that they had forgotten about me, I took my receipt and flag up to the counter to prod them again.

“Um, excuse me, but I ordered a cup of soup 30 minutes ago, and I haven’t gotten it yet.”
“What? Oh, I’m so sorry, sir. I apologize. We probably forgot about you. I’ll bring that soup right out, sir, and refund your money.”
“Please do.”

The barrista I talked to wasn’t the one who took my order, but he was crawling over himself all the same to rectify the situation. So, instead of getting a cup of soup, I got the bowl (bigger) and a chunk of focaccia bread, my entire receipt refunded ($5.32), my soda for free, and the manager’s business card with a stamp on the back good for 50% off my next entrée purchase. Talk about bonus.

Snoozy from the soup, the weather, and the caffeine wearing off, I went home to nap for a few hours. Woke up tonight around 11 and lazed around, did stuff online. Then I put on my shoes. Had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I put them on because my gut instincts told me I was going out at 2:30am. Then it hit me: I want to walk — because I’ve been itching to do so; the breezy, humid, cool weather tonight is most excellent for walking; and there’s nothing better to do this late at night than walk under cover of dark. But where to walk?

Ah, yes. Whataburger. Can grab a light snack and have a walkabout endpoint at the same time. So I walk. I walk across, along, and through the construction work on Koenig Lane where it’s being widened and improved, checking out the subroad, the equipment, standing on the bridge over Waller Creek to look over just in time to see a raccoon crossing a waterfall to check out the hole in the end of a pipe. I walk along the Texas DPS wrecker yard where they’ve conveniently placed plastic strips in the chain link fence around the perimeter to hide the hulking, twisted, wrecked DPS patrol cars and their workshops. I felt the breeze and smelled the earth, the trees, the creek, and that odd feeling of connection with my immediate environment, that feeling I felt in college as I had my walkabouts, came back for a while. It was nice. I round the corner and make my way up the hill to Whataburger where a long drive-thru line testified to the glacial pace inside the kitchen.

I went in anyway. Ordered a breakfast burger combo. Took my orange juice and order number to my table to await my order. It took them over 10 minutes before they realised they skipped me. So the cashier quickly pulled a bag together and threw in a free apple pie as an apology. And what are we calling that? That’s right: BONUS.

It’s just refreshing to me that by following my gut feelings as I have today I’ve met with Serendipity several times, just like that [snaps fingers]. There’s a school of thought that believes that life should always be lived like that: go where it appears brightest, follow your instincts, listen to intuition, etcetera. It’s not the best way to live life, but it’s good for brief bits of randomness among the drudgery of responsibilities. It’s those tangents that give one dimensional life some depth. A definite bonus.