Catching Up

So, it’s been 3 weeks or so since last entry. All’s been quiet on the web front, but stormy and busy in the real life. So, in lieu of going into details and flooding you fine folks with the useless minutia of my daily ongoings, I’ll sprinkle you with a general survey of this time period.

Tooth thing, done:

Ok. On the, um, 15th of the month, I got my root canal finished. They filled the roots, mounted the new permanent ceramic cap, and made sure everything fit perfectly. After the swelling and tenderness died down two days later, I was revelling in the ability to eat with both sides of my mouth. Things were back to normal.

Now, a SXSW Diversion:

Some time ago, my friend Sean messaged me to advise me about a band who was coming to this year’s South By SouthWest music festival. The band is Pilotdrift. He said what’s unique about them is that they are from, of all places, Texarkana. Yeah, that’s correct. I checked out their sample song on the SXSW site and was thoroughly intrigued. So Thursday, the 17th, I made the drive downtown to see them play. I was impressed that 6 guys from T-town can create, and get exposure, with a sound that’s reminiscent of Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” So incredibly bizarre. They handed out free CDs after the show and I had a quick chat with some of the members, all from my home town. Kinda cool.

Before Pilotdrift’s set, I had the pleasure of listening to a band from Albuquerque, NM called The Oktober People. Wow, these guys are good. Melodic rock, like Godspeed You Black Emperor meets Catherine Wheel. Solid, dreamy landscape of well-effected guitars; lyrics that sway between dreams, dark interpersonal rifts, regrets for dead loved ones, and anger with current politics. They gave away a boxfull of CDs as well.

The next night I took the opportunity to go see local underground favorites Zykos play at the old Ritz theater on 6th Street. I got in after a song or two, but watched the rest of the set. Managed to end up standing right at the edge of the stage before show’s end. They put on powerful, energetic set. Their sound is pure indie rock; as emo as I’ll allow myself. It’s Emo for those who hate Emo. I just love their sound and their vibe.

I managed to take my camera in to all these shows. I have the pictures processed, I just have to post them some time. But, overall, I think my first foray into doing anything related to SXSW went rather well. And no wristband was needed. Heh.

Wait, more dental drama:

The next tuesday, a week later, I was due for a general dental checkup. Well, the dentist was sick, so it was postponed a week later, the 29th. That would soon change on Wednesday the 23rd during breakfast when the bottom right wisdom tooth, the one immediately underneath my new ceramic cap decided to fracture and split into little chunks. My appetite disappeared quickly.

I called the dentist to see if I could have the appointment moved up; they agreed and found a time for me on the following day, Thursday. Given that I was leaving town for Texarkana that night, I had no other choice; things had to get done. They took X-rays, probed around, stuck my gums and got a general plan of action regarding my teeth: a cleaning, 7 cavities filled, and removal of all four wisdom teeth. Yikes. And still no immediate help or advice on my broken and still fragmenting tooth.

The Easter diversion:

That night I drove to Texarkana to visit family and friends for the easter weekend. Now that I’m a (mostly) law-abiding citizen and I drive (just over) the speed limit, it takes me 6 1/2 hours to get home by the back highways. Sucks, but ah well. Didn’t make the drowsiness any easier. I swear, all day I was hyper, up, I had things clicking left and right, stuff got done, and I was totally with it. Yet, some time before I hit the road, the vigor just left. Just vanished. :sighs:

The weekend was pleasant for the most part. It was good to see everyone again. The allergy season is on in full effect there, and I tried my best to be prepared. But there’s little to prepare me for the fact that everyone has pets and almost everyone smokes. For the sake of breathing, I took every opportunity to step outside for some fresh air. I can take the pollen, but not the pet dander.

Friday, completely zonked from the energy expenditure and from the driving, I celebrated my 33rd29th birthday by sleeping-in on the mildly uncomfortable bed my neices let me use, then by treating myself to a solitary breakfast at IHOP and some journal time before I had to meet my family somewhere or something. It was the last mostly-sunny day all weekend. Meh.

Now that my brother-in-law is saved and is heavy into church, his and my sister’s family are also heavy into church. Even my mother is doing church things; she hasn’t done that, really, since a few years before I stopped going to Beech Street FBC. It’s just weird. The tables are completely reversed; now I am the atheist, now they are the christians. Most of the steps and behaviors and beliefs I see them doing I once did myself, and as a recovering christian I just want to wake them up to see things my way, do expose what it is I’m seeing in the mixture of politics, society, and behavior management that is Religion. But it’s wrong of me to do so; it’s wrong of me to break their worldview. Any attempt would destroy my relationship with them.

As it goes: “Whatever keeps them in the straight and narrow is good for the family.”

So most of the weekend I bit my tongue. Didn’t really communicate with the family as freely as I’d liked simply because they’re trying to raise a godly household. I love ’em a lot, but the whole thing’s just weird. They tried to get me to go to church on easter sunday morning. I mutedly refused and slept in. The idea was to get pictures of the whole family at the altar or something. I was hoping they’d take them after service, so that’s when I went; stood outside until service was over, then went to find them. I wasted a trip.

The big family get-together at my uncle Ronnie’s and aunt Francis’ house was really nice. 3/4″ T-bone steaks for all. Still the cold and windy weather, so it could’ve been better. I was already packed up and ready to hit the road, so I left from there after hugging everyone g’bye.

Tooth, always with the teeth:

Now back to the broken tooth. Luckily there was no pain, but during the easter weekend, I was still spitting out a piece of tooth at least once a day. The last piece to come out came out sunday, so it appears that’s all for now. Thankfully. And still no pain. So I’m just biding time until the extractions.

So, monday, I get the cleaning done. The hygenist offers no advice either, and recommends I set an appointment to see the oral surgeon when he comes in on Wednesday (today). So I do, and I did.

Went in, discussed with the surgeon. He looked at my x-rays and agreed that all four wisdoms should come out. He sent the chart to the front for the clerks to calculate the price. $1180-ish. Fucking christ. After my insurance’s paltry $116 contribution, my bill comes to $1075 or so, and even though I’m on an ongoing payment plan, they’ll expect half of that amount as a down payment on the day of the procedure. What…the…hell? It appears that my extractions will have to wait.

My decision, in the meanwhile, is to probe elsewhere for alternatives. Tomorrow morning, I’ll attempt to call the UT Dental School in San Antonio (remember them?) to see about the price, the terms, and to set an appointment. My friend Sarah had two of her wisdoms pulled there for cheap, and they were so gentle she didn’t need the pain meds they gave her. She offered to drive for me should I need it and should she have that day off. So I’ll check that route. If it pans out, I’ll cancel my extraction appointment for next Wednesday with Castle Dental with a “thank you” and go back to them on the 10th for 4 fillings, then some time later for the other 3 fillings.

If things fall into place, I’ll be a new man with good (or well-repaired) teeth.

With Teeth:

Y’know, it all seems incredibly appropriate. Next month, April, will mark the release of the brand new Nine Inch Nails album “With Teeth”. How so very weird. And, wait — what’s that? It appears I have tickets to see NIN on May the 25th right here in Austin. God, it feels so nice. (No, they’re not for sale.)

So, I lied:

Ok, so I lied. I said I’d give a brief sprinkling, drizzling overview of what all has been happening in my web silence. I lied. Hope I didn’t lose anyone. So what do you folks make of all this? Any advice on my teeth situation? It just sucks that it all waited until now *boom* to demand attention. I’m just kinda drained mentally, physically, and financially, trying to be well. And it all sucks. Let me know by saying something. I’d like your feedback. Thanks!

Oh, speaking of emails, who are you, BarbaraJoeThomas? Why would I know you? How would you know me? Are you confusing me for someone in your family who is having interpersonal problems with you? Please give me more info before I decide to write back to you. Thanks.


Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?