Okay, boys and girls, its time for another grown up lesson. How many of you like to go to the dentist? Come on now, don’t all shout at once. Actually, when I was a kid, before I started down my long, rocky road of orthodontia, visiting the dentist wasn’t all that bad. All 5 of us kids had pretty good teeth, and I was in my 20’s before I had my first cavity.
“Look, Ma, no cavities,” as the old ad goes, but there was still plenty going on in this mouth of mine. I think my first visit to the ortho was about age 7. I had too many crookedly growing teeth for too small a mouth. I remember hearing “crossbite” and I remember wearing: headgear; braces with crisscrossing small rubber bands looped over small hooks, which would sometimes pop in my mouth; big black positioner, and finally retainers. Its the age old story of the orthodontia patient on maintenance who doesn’t wear their retainer at night, as instructed, and whose bite, therefore, goes bad. It’s also my story.
Lately dental visits have become more stressful for me. A couple of times, the dentist tried to drill before my mouth was altogether numb. More anesthesia was administered, and my tongue stayed numb for almost a month. My eyeball only stayed numb for several hours, but during that time, I had to manually (with my hand) close my eyelid if I wished to blink. You want to hear more? Okay, I have trouble breathing through my nose, so feel slightly panicked when my breathing organ of choice (mouth) is filled up with dental tools and dentist hands. The laughing gas makes me feel weird and jumpy, not relaxed and calm. I have TMJ (popping jaw) and if my mouth is forced to stay open wide for any length of time, my jaw aches for weeks.
About a month ago, I visited the dentist because I had a bad toothache. My old, large filling had gone bad. I needed a crown, and if the pain persisted, a root canal. A temporary crown was placed on this top front molar. I was told I should be able to chew on it; I couldn’t. I was told I should be able to floss around it; I flossed and it came out. The pain persisted, and the dentist, tired I think of my whining and persistence in not ‘opening wide’, referred me to a specialist in Twin Falls.
My friend, Debbie A. went to Twin Falls with me. It’s a 3 hour drive, and she was concerned I wouldn’t feel like driving home after my root canal. UltraDad had planned to take me, but he was still in Idaho having some good bonding time with his youngest sons. The endodontist was great. I had very little pain, and easily managed it with a couple of ibuprofen. In fact, we were able to shop at the mall for several hours, which made me feel even better.
Now I just had to wear this darn temporary crown for another week or two, and I could then schedule with my regular dentist to get the permanent one and this whole shebang would be over.
Today was the day. But as the dentist fitted, probed and scraped, he decided this new crown was not fitting properly. He needed to send it back to the lab for a little work. Darn it. But it would be ready by tomorrow, so I scheduled another appointment. The temporary crown went back on, but a funny thing happened tonight as I ate dinner. Suddenly my tongue felt a gap in my teeth, and I realized the temporary crown was gone. Really gone. I think I must have swallowed it.
So, learn this lesson, kids and learn it well. Take care of your teeth; always brush, floss and wear your retainer. Believe me, you don’t want to end up as a whiny, dentaphobic like UltraMom.
Not much going on around here, but I’ve found it’s usually the little things that keep life interesting. I’ve had a few of those, some more fun than others. An interesting thing happened on our bike ride the other day. I have a basket on my bike especially made for a small dog to ride along. It is actually big enough for two small dogs to ride along, though sometimes Murphy tries to convince me otherwise. There are days when he is good as gold, staying put on his own side of the basket, calm and interested in all the sights and smells around him. Other times he whines, wriggles and squirms, until poor Rowdy is squished into the smallest corner.
This particular day had been one of those, but we had made a stop at Grandma Pat’s house and he was much calmer on the ride home. In fact they were both being pretty darn good when I saw a young couple walking towards us walking their medium sized dog. They pointed and smiled at the spectacle we made, and I smiled back, preparing to exchange a pleasantry or two as I rode past. At that moment, to my deep chagrin, Rowdy, (yes, I said Rowdy) leaped out of the bike basket. He was tied in by a short leash attached to his collar. The end result was that he dangled, by his neck, over the side of the basket. The young couple was horrified, and kept apologizing as I finally came to a stop and firmly replaced my errant canine in the basket. I assured them they were not at fault, and hopefully both Murphy and I learned something.
I have long been telling my inmate workers, Randy and Brain about my wonderful dogs, and yesterday, when two friendly officers were on duty, I took the “boys” by the prison to say hello. Officer Gray has poodles of his own, most notably, ‘Buster.’ Most poodles are friendly and sociable. Buster is a one-man poodle. Murphy and Rowdy were a little nervous at first; the surroundings were unfamiliar, as were all of these tattooed men. We finally made it to the store, and I got Randy and Brain to come in. They were enchanted with my little guys. I had brought their jerky treats, and Murphy went through his trick repertoire while Rowdy stared, lunged at the treats and pretended he had never heard the words ‘sit’, ‘shake’ and ‘down’ before in his life. By the time Brain was finished trying to bribe them, half the treat bag was empty. The men really seemed to enjoy holding and interacting with the dogs, and on the whole I think the excursion was a success. Though there was the small matter or Rowdy peeing on the floor of ‘C’ Wing as we were on our way out the back door
But I’m sure the guys didn’t mind cleaning it up; after all, if you’re going to have dogs around, just as well go for the whole experience, right?
Dog Owner Extraordinaire,
Long story short, curiosity killed a cat…
Okay Ultrafans and family. Here is my second post which was supposed to be another short summary of our trip to share with you, but unexpectedly became something more than that.
UltraBob, UltraGirl’s Family (J-Dad, J-Mom, and J-Bro), and I went on for a three day trip to Chiba. The first day, we checked out one of Chiba’s tourist spots, a huge ranch called Mother Bokujo, where you can meet a bunch of farm animals, play little outdoor games, and such. It was a very very hot day, and the ice-cream made with milk from the cows at the ranch tasted good. Chiba is a fairly big place with lots of nature and surrounded by ocean. We were planning to just enjoy those specialties of Chiba.
The second day, we stopped at a beach and had a nice swim in the ocean. The water was so clean that you could still see your feet in the water 30m away from the shore. Kakigoori and Tomorokoshi made UltraBob’s day.
As soon as we got to the hotel room, we felt several big earthquakes. I’m used to earthquakes so it usually doesn’t scare me, but this time somehow I was frightened, and I think it was what you’d call a ‘hunch’.
We enjoyed our dinner and Onsen bath, and decided to do Karaoke in the hotel. UltraBob sang three songs and told us he was tired and was going to go to sleep, and left the Karaoke room. About 30 minutes later, I saw the door of Karaoke room open and heard my mom shout ‘Oh Noooo!’ There was UltraBob standing at the door again, bleeding all over from his arms and legs, and asking me to come out for a minute. For a second, I thought maybe he had a fight or fell down the stairs or something. But the next moment, I saw a deep hole which looked like an bleeding human eye on his ankle, my mind went ?!?!?!? Without telling my family what happened and how bad the wounds were, I left the room with him, ran to the front desk, got a first-aid kit, and gave him disinfectant. After treating the wounds, UltraBob had to throw up really bad, and right then I decided to tell my family and see if we should call the ambulance in-spite of his original protests that his injuries were nothing urgent.
In the end it gave me and UltraBob our very first experience riding in a Japanese ambulance (my first amulance experience anywhere actually). The nurses at the hospital were very nice, and when UB joked with them that he needed to think of a cooler sounding story to tell his friends and coworkers about how he sustained his injuries they requested that he make the nurses extremely beautiful. He had six stitches on the ankle, and a few abrasions on his arm and knees. Oh, I haven’t told you what exactly causes those injuries? UltraBob says he ran into an Ultimate K1 fighting match and a guy’s tooth happened to get stuck in his ankle as he gave a kick into the guy’s head. After an inspection of the scene of the event, it was not a tooth but a rusty metal panel covering a huge drainage trench out side of the hotel. UltraBob left the Karaoke and walked into backyard of the hotel, got curious about what kind of air conditioning units were running, didn’t see the metal panel in the dark, stepped through it, and caught himself with his left hand and right arm on the way into the hole.
He missed golfing and most of the stuff we did the next day though he insisted he was fine to go. The good news to me is that the cat seems to have some of his nine lives left.
I just wanted to leave a note on the Internet here stating that I received some very good news yesterday, and to let you viewers know that UltraGirl will be providing you another in the popular “Embarrassing stories about UltraBob” series that UltraMom made famous. The twist is that UltraGirl’s story involves an adult UltraBob and his first ever ride in a Japanese ambulance. Not to be missed, stay tuned!
Think now, what is the most pleasant, most relaxing sound in the world? It is, of course, the sound of gently gurgling water, as in a bubbling brook, stream or creek. It is one of my most favorite sounds, and one that always makes me feel more at peace and connected to nature. I now have that sound (and sight) whenever I wish, just by stepping out into my own backyard.
As you may remember from a previous post “A Pond? In My Own Backyard?” our hero pondbuilders, Jimbo and Johnny, had to leave before they finished the job. The UltraParents made a little more progress, but only a little. If the job was going to be completed the duo would have to return, which they did just last weekend. This would be Johnny’s last weekend in the area before returning to Vanderbilt in Tennessee for Law School, Round 2 out of 3. The kid spent the summer working for an Idaho Supreme Court justice, and I was pleased and proud to hear said judge has already offered Johnny a clerkship upon graduation if he should so desire. Way to go!
The boys arrived late Thursday night, having driven 5-6 hours after Jim had worked all day. They stumbled into the house and had just enough energy to inquire as to the location of their beds. Friday morning found UltraMom taking a day off work, and found Johnny and Jim up bright and early, and eager to get to work on my waterfall. “Mom,’ Jim lectured me, “I told you that you would need to move those plants. They are right in the way of the waterfall.” Well, yeah, I knew that, but somehow had never quite gotten around to it. Facing certain destruction of the wooly, elfin and mother of thyme plants I had nurtured along, I got around to it then.
Meanwhile the boys planned and cut to shape the black pond liner that would form the foundation of the waterfall, directing it down the hillside and into the pond. On top of this black, heavy-duty tarp, Jim would layer the large, flat pieces of slate we had earlier excavated from our lawn. It was soon apparent that a trip to town would be required before we got too far into the project, so we headed into Elko a little after 1:00 P.M. If we went any later, we would miss the 2:00 lunch deadline for dining at The Star, which you may remember serves the best steak sandwiches on the planet. Before long, we were seated at one end of a long table at The Star, munching on salad, wonderful French fries and steak sandwiches. Jimbo, I noticed was eating his with a knife and fork. “Jim,” I asked curiously, “Why are you eating your sandwich with a knife and fork?”
“It’s a little thing called manners,” he informed me. “Perhaps you’ve heard of them?” The trio seated at the other end of our banquette overheard this and thought it quite funny. Now that I think of it, it was pretty funny: the thought of Jim giving ANYONE etiquette lessons sort of boggles the mind.
After running a few more errands, we picked up the pond filter and misc fittings we needed and arrived home in time to feed and greet UltraDad before he headed off to a night shift at work.
Saturday was almost entirely devoted to the pond/waterfall. UltraMom also, of course, did all the laundry and cooked homemade pizza, but as we know, she is a wonder and never complains. We hooked up the pump and filter and both seemed to work fine, except that the garden hose made a much more reliable conduit from the pond to the top of the waterfall than the corrugated black hose purchased specifically for that purpose. The problem? The hose was rather a bright green in color and was a jarring note in the otherwise harmonic predominantly black and brown color scheme of this water feature. The guys brainstormed: cover the hose in black electrical tape? Nah, it would come off in the water. Spray paint the hose black? The Carlin hardware store couldn’t guarantee the water-proofness of their paints.
Jimbo placed a phone call to Pat, who was in Elko picking up teaching supplies for the soon-to-begin first day of school. She came home with a long, black garden hose, which the boys were able to cut to length, routing it up the hillside to carry water to the top of the waterfall. Thanks, Pat. Remind me to pay you back some time. At one point in the proceedings, remembering the boys’ last visit, I asked Jim if he was feeling sick this time. “Sick of your pond,” he replied rather ungraciously, but I could see his point.
The trip to the hardware store was not unproductive; there we got directions to some nearby gravel pits, to procure the small rocks we needed to fill in-between all the slate. Johnny and mostly Jim worked all day on the project, placing rocks, installing the pond filter and pump. The filter had a small pump that could power a fountain, and this we used to direct water through the turtle. I was relieved to see, in spite of what Johnny had been telling me, the water came out of the turtle’s MOUTH. At last it was time to try the waterfall out and Jimbo expectantly aimed the hose at the top rock. The water disappeared into the gravel, reappearing a few moments later at a point under the bottom rock, where it proceeded to splash into the pond. This was not good. The rocks weren’t even getting wet. It finally appeared the only solution was going to involve cementing in-between the rock and force that water to go where we wanted it to go. Johnny, Pat and I went to the hardware store to purchase concrete, and arrived back home to find newly awakened UltraDad along with worn-out Jim in the middle of some rather serious looking rock rearranging. In the new arrangement, each rock overlapped the one below it. The end result was much more satisfying than our trail run. Some of the water still went down in the gravel and came out under the final rock, but a lot of it was also running just where we wanted it, over the rocks. Thankfully, we didn’t need the concrete after all.
At the top of the waterfall, Johnny wired a Grecian urn pot through which the hose had been inserted. The water would flow out of the vase and form the start of the waterfall. Halfway down on the rocks, the turtle stands, spitting more water down the falls. In the pond itself, floats a solar-powered, glow in the dark water lily (no, its not a real water lily). The pond is not very level, but as we can do nothing about that now, we have decided not to worry about it.
So, UltraMom has the pond/waterfall of her dreams. We spent a good part of today standing around watching and listening to this natural looking wonder and discussing further possibilities. Would I put plants in the pond? How about around it? Would all the water splashing onto the nearby rocks cause a problem with the pond’s water level?
We were able to get a couple of games of pinochle in, and true to form, whoever was on UltraMom’s team caused her to lose time and time again. We switched partners once in a while, but UltraMom and partner’s losing streak continued until the very last hand. Here UltraMom redeemed herself and saved the day by ‘Shooting the Moon.’
The boys had to drive back to Idaho today, and left quite a bit later than they had intended. Getting up for work at 5:00 AM tomorrow morning will not be pleasant for Jim; Johnny will begin his long drive back to Tennessee. But while they were here, they performed a miracle. They turned my barren boring hillside into a living, splashing waterfall.
I can’t wait to see how they’re going to top this for my next birthday.
Spoiled and loving it,
Prison is such an uncertain place to be. The most seemingly harmless action can have far reaching consequences. I arrived at work today and walked inside to find Randy, one of my store dudes, and the nicest guy you’d ever want to meet, sitting in the rotunda next to his bunkie, a young white kid. Seems they were in trouble for horseplay; strictly forbidden. Furthermore, said horseplay was engaged in at ‘count time’ and witnessed by the camp LT. “I’m so sorry, Miss Kathy,” Randy greeted me. “I should have known better.”
“They could be sent to Cedar Prison,” Officer Barr told me. “This is a serious thing.” I put in what good words I could for Randy, and did the same thing with the LT, the man in charge who would ultimately decide the fate of these serious offenders.
The story, as I heard it later went down like this: The kid thought count was clear, so he jumped down off his bunk, and gave Randy a good-natured little shove. Randy gave him one back. I think the kid was getting ready to reciprocate with another push when the LT walked by.
“This kind of thing leads to fighting,” I was told. “That’s why its strictly forbidden.”
One thing you need to understand is that Randy NEVER gets in trouble. He hates even the thought of it.
Randy showed up to work about a half hour later. He and the kid had received a stern lecture and were told their Notice of Charges were pending. I think its going to be all right. But for those of you who may end up in prison someday, let this be a lesson to you: no horseplay. We mean it.
You know, UltraDad and I have been talking, and we decided that its only fair, since he has a ‘new’ pickup, that I get a ‘new’ car. The theory is that, then, we will get rid of all our junkers and each have a reliable vehicle to drive. My dream car is a not-too-old Toyota Camry.
UltraDad is on a trip to Idaho on his seven days off, mostly to see Johnny before he heads back to Tennessee and another year of law school. Yesterday I talked to the crew, and they were all (UltraDad, Johnny, Jimbo, Heather and Heath) dining out at the Texas Roadhouse in Idaho Falls, my very favorite restaurant. But they hadn’t forgotten about me, Johnny assured me. In fact, they had located a car for me and had already made the deal. They were sure I would love it. Now, I’m not sure what kind of car this is, but I think you will agree you have never seen anything quite like it.