Sunday, July 15, 2012

Why I'm blogging elsewhere....

I'm blogging twice a week at -- the "life with a smile" website -- because it's fun and even a bit profitable. I'm posting the same "wise-ass" eclectic entries that I used to put here, but you have to go there to see them OR sign up for the daily alert issued on weekdays. The videos are short and interesting, too. So please come find me on

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"The Diagonal Part"

Check out my tale of "The Diagonal Part" over at the new HooplaHA (Live with a Smile) web site --

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Did you know....

Doors have a sweet spot?

That would be the general area where you hit a locked door with a battering ram to open it. The "sweet spot" is located roughly adjacent to the space between the deadbolt and the doorknob and where No. 1 son aims that battering ram tool before he and his co-workers rush inside a building in pursuit of the bad guys.

The goal is to push in the door enough to free the locks. But if he misses the sweet spot on the first hit, there's always the possibility it also could weaken the door frame and the second slam might force the door and the frame to go exploding into the room -- kaboom!

Maybe you really didn't want to know that. Me, either. I also didn't want to know that on occasion No. 1 son is called upon to carry the bulletproof shield to protect his team as they pour through the door behind him.

This never would have happened if he's done what he was supposed to do -- get that engineering degree from UNH.

I try not to think about that too much but sometimes it's difficult to avoid  reality after another interesting but terrifying conversation with him.
I think I'd much rather be discussing slide rules and tensile strength.

Although come to think of it, tensile strength knowledge might come in handy when it comes to the science of dismantling barriers like locked doors. Do you suppose if I tell him that he might go back to engineering so his mother can sleep better at night?  

No, I don't think so either.
And Did You Know.....

A retainer could be a diet aid?
I'm still testing this theory, but after Week 1 of wearing clear plastic retainers nearly round-the-clock (it can be removed ONLY for eating and drinking), I'm thinking this may be the best diet aid ever.

After enduring 11 months of braces at a not-so-minimal-cost, I am trying to be compliant in regard to my First Month orders amid warnings from my orthodontist's office that failure to wear this apparatus could result in a reversal of all progress and I better not consume anything but clear liquid while my teeth are encased.

So on Day 1, I diligently removed the upper and lower plastic pieces every time I wanted to eat or drink. I am embarrassed to admit that I was astonished to discover how often I engage in those activities, and that doesn't even include my habit of sipping coffee throughout much of the morning. But I respect authority (for the most part) so I diligently removed the retainers, consumed the food or liquid, marched to the restroom to brush my teeth AGAIN, and then reinserted the devices.

By Day 3, I was thinking that this was far too much trouble and maybe I'd just skip my midmorning snack. The next day I decided to forgo the midafternoon one, too. Then I had to think very, very seriously about whether it was worth the trouble to have that glass of wine along with my favorite cheese and crackers at night.

People had told me that braces would help me lose weight because there was so much you can't eat with metal in your month, but I managed to overcome most of those obstacles there. The retainer process has been far more formidable.

If this works and I lose weight, though, I may have found a new diet fad that could make me enough money to pay for my new teeth -- and maybe even the years of therapy I'm going to need to accept that I have a battering, shield-wielding son.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Lighting Up a Room Without Metal

I got my date!
Last month I waltzed into my orthodontist's office and told the very cute and youthful Dr. Lenk: "I want a date."

He flashed his gorgeous smile and replied, "I think you're being a bit forward and I'm not sure how to respond."

"Surrender," I warned.

He seemed surprised but directed his assistant to remove the long piece of metal corralling my teeth and walked me over to the Magic Mirror. "Are you happy with what you see?" he asked.

I peered intently into the MM and replied, "I'd like to look 20 years younger, if that's what you're asking."

This seemed to exasperate even the normally affable Dr. Lenk. "No, I'm asking about your teeth."

"Hmmm... well, I'd like to have this a little straighter," I said, pointing toward part of my month.

His smile froze. "I can't fix your entire bite, you know." (Fortunately he didn't add anything about needing a miracle.)

"OK, then otherwise I'm happy. Take 'em off."  

The man who from the first has considered me and my teeth a challenge displayed no reaction. "They can come off in two weeks, but then you'll have to wear this clear plastic retainer, 24-7, for the next three months."

"What? You never said anything about three months!" I replied, now recalling the "they lie" warning from a fellow adult braces survivor despite my protests that my Dr. Lenk would never do that.
"But if you'll agree to wear them one more month, you'll only have to wear the retainer one month of 24-7," he continued. "It's up to you." 

“Did you ever sell used cars? Because this feels like a bait-and-switch," I squawked, trying to keep my voice low so as not to frighten any adolescents in nearby chairs. His assistant smiled and said, "See, he's more than just a pretty face."

He laughed and sent me back into the world with my full-metal mouth, enhanced by an ugly plastic “power chain” apparatus designed to close any gaps but, because it stains so easily, also indicates how much coffee and red wine I consume.
So you can understand why I was a bit nervous that I might be conned again at this month's appointment. Fortunately, repeated inquiries of “aren’t you excited?” from his wonderful staff indicated this was the moment I'd waiting for since last April.  

Although I have deluded myself into thinking that it really didn’t take much longer than Dr. Lenk's original prediction of gorgeous teeth in just eight months, in reality I persevered through 11 months of no apples, popcorn or sticky candy because of my less-than-cooperative teeth. I shouldn't have been surprised. Early on, Dr. Lenk told me, "I like you -- you're a challenge." And I'm not even the oldest of his adult patients, who comprise about one-fifth of his practice.

That truth about me being a challenge aside, the braces experience was much less difficult than I anticipated, although it has not been without some inconvenience and discomfort. I've suffered pieces of metal occasionally gouging the inside of my mouth (hurray for braces wax!), brushed my teeth after every meal to dislodge debris, spent almost 20 minutes nightly trying to thread floss through the metal and endured people staring at my mouth or saying “You’re wearing braces” as if I didn’t realize it. 

So when the braces came off last Wednesday and I was handed my clear plastic retainer, I was ecstatic. I'm certain I was grinning from ear-to-ear when I returned to work.

But only one co-worker noticed that I no longer lit up a room with the metal on my teeth. 

This dismayed me considerably. Although I was originally sold on the idea of braces after Dr. Lenk commented I had a youthful smile because I show so much teeth, apparently most people don’t look at them as closely as I do.

Then I recalled a similar lack of awareness when I first got contacts and decided it didn't matter because I'm happy with the results, knowing that I can light up the room just with my smile now.

Can you see a difference? (But please no comments on how much older I look or that perhaps my hair color might be, um, slightly enhanced.)