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Saturday, January 21st, 2012
Every once in awhile, I like to take a break from talking about all the mommy stuff and the toddler stuff and the heavy life decision stuff, and write a post about what takes up most of my day: being a dentist. I know I have a lot of dental readers who enjoy them, so, this one’s for you guys!
Being a dentist can be tough unless you don’t mind being pretty unpopular. It’s a universal truth that we all have to face: people just don’t want to come see us. And let me tell you, patients will come up with pretty much anything to get out of coming to the dentist.
The following is a list of the best (worst?) excuses I’ve heard to cancel or miss a dentist appointment. (Most of them are from my own personal experience with my patients… All of whom I love dearly, of course.)
10. “I forgot how to get there.”
Here, let me introduce you to this thing called a map. Or a GPS. Or Google. Or just your memory of the route from when you drove here last week.
9. “I have really bad gas.”
This excuse came complete with excessive detail about how she stunk up her whole house in ten minutes and she couldn’t stop “tooting”. I’m so sorry, but “I’m not feeling well” would suffice. We are dentists for a reason: we don’t care to hear about your other end. Ever.
8. “I don’t need to come back. I don’t have any teeth anymore.”
Right, but you might want us to continue to screen you for a little thing called oral cancer and besides, dentures need maintenance. If you had a prosthetic arm you’d want it checked out every now and then, wouldn’t you? Same goes for prosthetic teeth.
7. “I couldn’t find parking.”
Granted, parking at the hospital where I work is pretty terrible. But there’s always parking for patients, and even if the patient lots were full, I’m confident a person could find one parking spot in the entire hospital campus, which is the size of a small town. Either way, if you have a hard time finding parking, you show up late– you don’t just panic and leave.
6. “I don’t need to come in anymore. I got that tooth out myself, at home, with my Swiss Army knife.”
Yeah. Just… No.
5. “My car broke down.”
Okay, this one is acceptable. Once. Maybe twice. I’d even give it to you three times, being the kind of person for whom oil changes are rarer than a solar eclipse. One of my friends in dental school had a patient who tried it five times. The fifth time, she told him, “Maybe you should get a new car.” “Maybe I should get a new dentist,” he snapped. “At this point,” she said, “you’re gonna have to.”
4. “My house burned down.” Really. Your house burned down? A less dramatic made-up excuse would do, like, “I have a cold”, or “I can’t get the time off work”. Using an excuse like that to get out of having a filling done is like killing a housefly with a grenade. (Although in this case, I googled the patient’s address and it turns out her house really did burn down, so actually this isn’t funny at all, in the end…)
3. “I have a toothache.”
Patient: I’m sorry, I can’t come in tomorrow, I’m feeling terrible.
Dentist: Oh, I’m so sorry! Thanks for calling, though. What are you sick with? Stomach bug? It’s going around.
Patient: No. I have a terrible toothache.
(Good luck fixing that at home… Wait, no, I just remembered that number 6 actually happened so I was only kidding, please come in.)
2. “I’m in jail.”
Overhead page: Dr. Landry to the front desk for a phone call.
Me: Hello, this is Dr. Landry.
Patient: Hi, I’m definitely not going to make it to my appointment today. I’m in jail.
Me: …You used your one phone call to call your dentist?
Patient: I don’t have a lot of friends.
1. Being deceased.
It might be a little unsettling to come in to work, look at your schedule, and see a line through your denture patient’s name with the word “DECEASED” next to it… But at least we can’t really argue with it.
So, fess up: have you ever made up something crazy to get out of a dental appointment? Dental people, got any better ones than mine?
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Sunday, January 1st, 2012
Sometimes… a girl has to be a little b*tchy.
Actually, I should have prefaced this post with, “I’m back, you guys.”
Due to the HSD breakup drama, I had been lying in bed at my parents’ house and being useless all weekend, feeling naush, not eating anything and not really sleeping either. My mom even accused me of being a detached mother to Caro, which was not exactly what I needed to hear at that point. I was feeling pretty crappy about everything, which was only compounded by the fact that I left my parents’ house with Caroline to do some retail therapy shopping and accidentally rear-ended this woman as I was coming off the mall exit.
Yeah. Awesome. Not a great start to 2012. I was starting to think that maybe in a past life I had dumped someone via text message for a married woman, or something. (Karma, you know?)
I kind of wanted to lie down and give up at that point.
But I didn’t.
I chatted with the poor woman who I rear-ended, apologized a billion times, and told her about my crappy week:
Me: I know this doesn’t matter to someone who doesn’t know me, but my boyfriend dumped me via text message for a married woman the other day. I guess I was distracted. I’m so, so sorry.
Her: (long sigh…) Oh, honey. I’d be out of it too. I think your baby’s crying in the car. You should go sit with her, I’ll talk to the police for you. Hey, you know, I have a 16-month old boy myself.
Me: Really? Awww. What’s his name?
Her: DJ. What’s your baby’s name? She’s so cute.
Me: Caroline. She’s pretty hilarious. Poor kid, she has no idea why her mom is such an idiot.
Her: Honey, you’re not an idiot. My name’s Natasha, by the way. Hey, here’s my cell number. Let’s keep in touch? I hope things get better for you.
Clearly, Natasha and I are basically BFF now. Even though, you know, I rear-ended her and destroyed her bumper and made her late for work. We’re totally gonna hang out next weekend. I told my friends this story and they all said “only you, Jules.”
So where was I? Oh right. After my retail therapy shopping session, which I really can’t afford since my car is most likely totaled due to the accident (seeing as how it’s worth about $400), I went home and posted the following Facebook status:
“ATTENTION! Down-on-her-luck single mom, totaled car, dumped by douchebag boyfriend via text message for married woman, seeking volunteers to drive self and adorable toddler around for the next week. (I’ll take 2011 back, thanks…) Any takers, please let me know! Hugs.”
It got quite the response. (If you’re a longtime reader, you know I’ve used my Facebook statuses to provocative effect in the past.) Tons of people replied and messaged me and texted me and called me, and I have to say I was very touched by the outpouring of support and generosity towards Caroline and myself. (Thanks, you guys.)
Also, HSD’s brother commented:
“Huh? Is there something I should know????”
Whoops. Apparently, HSD didn’t even tell his family. (Perhaps he was ashamed…?)
My response: “Well. This is awkward.”
And I swear, if I hear anything from HSD about posting that on Facebook, my response will be, “Yeah, I feel badly about that. For your brother. Because it sucks to hear about important information via Facebook… or text.”
I hadn’t cracked a smile since I got that terrible text, but for some reason, this made me giggle for hours every time I thought about it. And I felt like myself again. Thank goodness. I’m back, you guys. I won’t let all this stuff get me down in the new year.
I needed a new car, anyway.
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Sunday, November 27th, 2011
2006, a.k.a. The Year We All Looked Really Thrilled To Be There.
It’s my favorite time of year! I try to “respect the turkey”, but the second Thanksgiving is over, I break out the Christmas music and decorations and shopping and baking and gingerbread-house-making. I love it all. Having a child makes it that much more exciting, because let’s face it, I’m getting a little bit old to be having trouble sleeping every Christmas Eve (not that I do, okay? I don’t. Much.)
In the spirit of getting into the holiday season, I want to share some of my favorite (which generally translates to “craziest”) holiday memories. If I get nothing but coal in my stocking, it’ll be worth it. Probably. Here goes:
1993, a.k.a. The Year Of Little Dolly Pukehead.
When I was in third grade, I wanted this doll so badly. She was one of those dolls that had actual bodily functions, I think. Something like that. The only thing I really remember about her is that she had this bleach-blonde ponytail sprouting out of the top of her head, and if you cranked her arm, the ponytail got shorter, and if you held her arm straight up, it would grow. The overall effect of it, as my dad so kindly pointed out, was that of her head vomiting hair out of the top of it. “Little Dolly Pukehead,” he affectionately called her. Way to ruin an eight-year-old’s favorite gift, dad. To be fair, he was kind of right. It was pretty much the weirdest doll ever. (I’d like to know if you can still buy them, but I’m afraid to google “Little Dolly Pukehead” even with my SafeSearch on, and I’m not sure what else I would search for.)
1996, a.k.a. The Year My Mom Destroyed My Self-Esteem.
You remember those little “shops” they used to have in the hallway during grade school so that you could buy gifts for your family with your allowance? Or maybe you have kids old enough to do that now? One year, maybe when I was in second grade, I had bought this hideous little Christmas ornament for my mom. It was this ugly little painted clown hanging inside a glass bell. I thought it was fantastic. I gave it to her for Christmas that year and she went on and on about how great it was and hung it on the tree every year after that. Some years later, we were decorating the tree and I dropped the ornament and the glass bell smashed on the floor. Before I could say anything, my mom, having completely forgotten where it came from, quickly said, “Oh, don’t worry sweetie, that thing was ugly anyway, I’m glad to get rid of it.” I turned toward her with a horrified look and cried, “I gave that to you!!” The look on her face was priceless.
2000, a.k.a. The Year My Parents Washed The Tree In The Dishwasher.
When I was in high school, I went out Christmas shopping with a new friend who I thought was so cool. She was pretty and popular and I had no idea why she wanted to be my friend, but I was totally psyched that she did. I invited her to come back to my parents’ house for dinner and she accepted. We walked into the kitchen to find… my extremely uncool parents, unloading the branches of our artificial Christmas tree from the dishwasher like this was a completely normal thing to be doing on a Saturday afternoon, or, well, any day, ever. My new friend stood there, confused, as I closed my eyes in horror. “What are you doing?!” I shrieked at a pitch that probably only dogs could hear. “It smelled musty,” my dad explained cheerfully, as my mom briskly shook out some of the larger branches over the sink. “I think we’ve fixed the problem now, though!” And then I died of teenage mortification, the end.
2004, a.k.a. The Year Of Chocolate-Covered-Cherry Food Poisoning.
I always came home from college for Christmas. One year, I went to my best friend’s house after Christmas dinner. Her boyfriend was there, and he had brought a cute friend with him. We played board games and ate a bazillion chocolate-covered cherries and I flirted with the cute boyfriend’s friend. It was a fun night and a nice change of pace from all the usual family stuff… until I started to feel a little sick. We all made plans to go bowling the next day and then I hurried home, feeling more nauseous by the minute. Turned out I had food poisoning, because I threw up fourteen times that night. (Just call me Little Dolly Pukehead.) To this day, I won’t even look at a chocolate-covered cherry.
There are others, of course… 1992, a.k.a. The Year of the Choreographed Christmas Chipmunks Dance Routine; 2003, a.k.a. The Year My Dad Made My Boyfriend Put the Lights On the Tree; and 2008, a.k.a. The Year My Parents Had 14 Cats and They All Had Their Own Christmas Stockings. Et cetera.
Now, I know some of you people with bigger families must have even more hilarious memories than these… so do share in the comments, please!
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Friday, November 25th, 2011
I didn’t have Caroline for Thanksgiving this year. I wasn’t really looking forward to it. I never do look forward to holidays without her… divorced holidays are pretty sucky in general. It’s supposed to be family time, you know? Maybe they get better, but it’s all still pretty new to me at this point.
She left with Tyler for his parents’ house in Phoenix on Sunday, and she’s coming back tonight. HSD went to Florida to visit family. My best friend went to Maine to do the same.
I was not looking forward to this at all.
I made sure to have a big, long to-do list of stuff around the apartment to keep me busy. I told myself that the alone time would be good for me, that it would be nice to sleep in and work out and have a glass of wine on Thanksgiving without worrying about what Caroline was destroying in the other room.
And you know what? It was actually really nice.
I’ve gotten a ton of sleep, gotten all Caroline’s old baby stuff bagged up and sold for Christmas money, cleaned my apartment from top to bottom, and gone on plenty of long runs. I went to Thanksgiving at a family friend’s place with my family, and it was so relaxing to eat delicious food and have adult conversation and not chase around a toddler and try to get her to eat her green beans. It was just… nice. It wasn’t lonely at all.
So this year, that’s what I am thankful for. For the silver lining to divorced holidays, for the time spent alone, the time spent relaxing, a respite from my crazy-busy life. For the time to get things done, for a glass of wine, for adult time. And for knowing that once I’ve had my little break, my daughter will be coming home to me with a huge, excited grin on her face and with her arms outstretched towards me.
And now? It’s Christmastime, my favorite time of the year. I get Caroline for Christmas this year, and she’ll be almost three, and it is gonna be awesome. I’ve got all my boxes of Christmas stuff out of storage, and it’s ready and waiting for her to come home and tear into it. I am so looking forward to sharing all that with her… and I’m thankful for that, this year, too.
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Caroline, Christmas, Custody, Divorce, Friends, Holidays, Single Parenting, Thanksgiving, Vacation, Visitation | Categories:
Caroline, Divorce, Single Parenting, Unexpectedly Expecting
Thursday, November 10th, 2011
So we all know I’ve been seeing HSD (Hot Single Dad) again for a little while now. It’s gotten relatively serious, I would say. I’ve met his family and his daughter and his daughter’s mother, and he’s met Caroline. We hang out all the time. We have a lot of fun together.
I like him. I truly enjoy his company. And I haven’t said that about anyone I’ve dated since my divorce.
With all of that said… even though I like him, I don’t necessarily like dating. I mean, let’s be real. It’s kind of sucky sometimes. I’d forgotten what it was like, to be completely honest with you. I started dating Tyler when I was 19, and that was a long time ago. The rules of the dating world are different when you jump back in after eight years. And there are all these insecurities and misunderstandings that are just an inescapable part of getting to know someone and letting them into your life.
Having a child also puts a whole new perspective on it, of course.
Because I can share as much of myself as I want to, and if things go bad, well, that’s on me. And that’s fine. But when I share my daughter, I feel… open, and vulnerable, and scared. She is my most precious part of me. I stand guard over the people I let into her life as though my own life depends upon it. So, having a relationship post-divorce is scary enough for me as it is, and bringing Caroline into it… raises the stakes, somehow.
“I don’t like not knowing where I stand,” I told one of my girlfriends today, who is also divorced. “I hate dating sometimes because of that.”
“I know what you mean,” she sighed. “Honestly, that’s the only thing I miss about marriage. No joke.”
“Same,” I said. “But, you know, it’s better to be unsure of where you stand with someone you actually like, than to know exactly where you stand with someone you hate.”
“I freaking love you, Jules,” she laughed. “We should be marriage counselors, I think.”
That’s the thing, you know? That’s the whole reason behind my divorce. The insecurity and the sometimes-loneliness of being a single parent sucks, for sure. But the exhilaration of it, the free-falling, the not-knowing, the roller coaster… is exactly what I was after. My marriage made me feel like I was dead inside, like I’d never feel a real feeling again. I wanted to feel something, anything…
If I’m being honest, I think I settled for Tyler because I had had my heart broken just before I met him, and I never wanted to feel that way again, and I knew that Tyler would never leave me. But having already settled once, I will take a broken heart and certainly the insecurities of dating any day over the flat, dead nothingness of staring bleakly out over the years that stretch ahead of you when you know you are doomed to spend them with a man you do not love.
The silences, the months spent alone, the angry words, the fights, the conflicts. Whenever the uncertainty of my life as an unmarried mother starts to get to me, I look back on them and immediately I feel better. Because… no thank you. I can’t live that way. I never want to feel that way again. I never want to stare across the living room at the silent man on the couch and think, I have to live with you forever, but I don’t even know you anymore.
I traded security and unhappiness for freedom and hope. So did my friend. So do a lot of divorced people, I’d imagine.
For me, it was a good trade. Even when it gets tough, even when I feel sad, even when I despair at how terrible I am at dating… at least I am living, now. And that thought makes me feel better, every time.
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