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Of Braces and Home Improvement

an orthodontic journal

April to May 2002
z Monday, April 1

I'm sitting here at 3:30 a.m. because I've had too much caffeine today. Accidentally. At dinner, at my cousin's house, I agreed to have a diet Coke. I assumed that it was caffeine free. You know that old witticism about the word "assume" don't you? It goes like this: When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME." (ASSUME spells "assume," get it?)

Well, I assumed wrong. And then on top of the diet Coke, for dessert I had a piece of dense chocolate cake made out of strong bittersweet chocolate. Well God only knows what the coffee cup equivalent of the caffeine flowing through my veins is. All I know is, it's 3 a.m. and I have enough energy to fold a load of laundry. If Hubby wasn't sleeping in the room where the laundry is.... But I'm babbling. At least tomorrow is the beginning of Spring Break week, and I don't have to get up early to take the kids to school. At least I have the web to keep me company.

Today is April 1st, which (for non-Americans who don't know) is "April Fool's Day," a day when you're supposed to play jokes on people. Well, I guess the joke's on me. Hopefully I'll get some sleep soon and not be a complete wreck tomorrow!

Things have been just great with my braces. I have been experiencing absolutely no pain and very little discomfort. My teeth must be shifting, because the alignment of two molars (top and bottom) on the left side feels funny. But other than that, there are no problems. I'm sure that this will change when time goes on. My next adjustment is in two weeks. And then, in a few months, rubber bands...what a joy I'm sure that will be!

On the bright side, I can actually see one tooth in particular straightening out! The worst one on the bottom, which leans halfway into the one next to it! The tooth it leans on has three little ridges on top of it. The offending tooth used to lean all the way to the last ridge. Well, in the two months I've had these braces on, it has shifted, and now only leans to the first ridge! A visible movement! OK, maybe I'm easily amused, but I'm very excited about this! I find the whole process fascinating.

The coming week will be challenging. I must clear out every single kitchen cabinet, and take down all the window coverings to prepare for my contractors (kitchen and window). The kids are home all week, and I have that work contract to finish. (Thank God for videos and computer games!) I hope to get some much-needed exercise this week and play my guitar, in between kitchen and window duties, work, and taking the kids to the park, the movies, or whatever. But these two weeks are really the worst. After this, I'm sure it will get easier.

I hope you like the dental humor page I added to the site. Please submit any jokes you have heard, or ones you make up!

I've been keeping statistics on this site, which is quite fascinating. Do you know that people all over the world are reading this journal? And, do you know that most people who have emailed me about the site (who have braces) are in their 40s? We baby boomers must really want straight teeth! So, a hearty Hello, Hola, Bonjour, Hallo, Shalom, G'day, Ciao, etc to all you European, Aussie, Kiwi, South American, and North American readers!

z Thursday, April 4

This morning I woke up, and out of the blue, my bottom teeth were killing me! I'm not sure why. They felt fine yesterday, and I didn't chew anything hard. My best guess is that my tongue was pushing against them in my sleep. Eating breakfast was downright painful. I couldn't wait to brush my teeth and take some Ibuprofen. I took three; that's how much they hurt! Now, a few hours later, they feel better (although I'll know for sure at lunch time). The only other reason they might be hurting is movement: one of the really crooked ones hurts the most. If this keeps up, I'll call Dr. Vogt.

I've got to tell you about another braces dream I had last night. I suppose I dreamed this because my teeth were hurting. In this dream, the braces were not glued to my teeth, they were able to come out of my mouth. I took them out and as a joke, was putting them on a set of "chattering teeth" to make my kids laugh. I put the braces on the chattering teeth, and began to wind it up. Just as the teeth began to chatter, the braces fell off, and disappeared under the seat of my car! Suddenly I realized that I was driving, and couldn't look for them. At every stop light, I got out of the car and feverishly looked around under the seat of my car to no avail. I never did find them!

Freud would have a heyday with me...

I've had several emails from people who like braces, and currently have fake ones. They are asking me if they should get real braces. I respect everyone's fetishes and such, but truthfully, having real braces is no picnic!

In reality, you must pick gross bits of food out of your teeth 4 and 5 times a day (often in yucky public bathrooms), and carry around a dental kit. You have some pain (as I did this morning), and often some degree of discomfort. Your gums get raw from the little hooks, and you can't eat some of the foods you like. There is also the very real risk of root resorption -- in other words, in some rare cases, your teeth could actually fall out because the roots get weak.

Sure, it looks cute, but believe me, it doesn't FEEL cute! If you like the look of braces, and your teeth don't NEED straightening, I'd strongly suggest that you stay with the fake ones. Why put yourself through all that if you don't need to? Besides, it's expensive!!

I hope I haven't offended anyone with what I just said. Remember, fetishes are part fantasy, and believe me, dealing with real braces on your teeth 24/7 is a hunking dose of reality, none of it particularly erotic for you, the wearer! Of course, you may have a different opinion and that's ok. That's just my 2 cents on the subject.

On the home improvement front, I'm fighting laziness. There is so much to do, and I just can't seem to motivate myself to do it. Yesterday, I emptied some of the kitchen cabinets. Today I'll do more of that. I also need to clean up the office, which is a big mess, and begin taking down some of the window coverings. The kids have been home all this week, and I've been fighting the usual messes that they make, while pleading with them (and in some cases threatening) to stay as neat as possible and "pick up your toys after you're done with them!!" There's a lull in my tech writing work while the client reviews the first draft changes, and I know I should take advantage of the free time. But the lure of laziness is strong. Maybe I'm getting a little burned out.

z Tuesday, April 9

My house looks like such a wreck on the inside! The entire contents of the kitchen (except for major appliances) is in the adjacent living room. Upstairs, furniture has been moved and window coverings taken down. Stuff is everywhere. Somehow, there's comfort in knowing that it's only temporary.

Actually, so far things have been going really well. The kitchen contractor has so far taken off all the old doors and is refitting the openings for the new drawers and doors. I'm surprised that all the work is being done by one guy. He's very nice and quiet, except when he's using the electric saw. He told me, "For the next week, this room isn't a kitchen; it's a wood shop." OK, I can deal with that. At least my refrigerator can stay in place (probably) and the stove doesn't need to be disconnected. Those are some of the advantages of having things refaced, instead of gutting the kitchen to remodel.

The new windows are going in slowly and methodically. Again, there is only one guy doing the work. It takes about two hours per window. What an improvement to have these double-pane vinyl windows! There is so much less noise! In the upstairs bathroom, I had some pretty obscured glass in the window. It looks fabulous; too pretty to cover up with a curtain!

Today my oldest daughter is home with a fever and a slight cold, so I've been hanging out watching HGTV and Animal Planet with her. It's cozy to sit with her, under a blanket, and comment on how great or horrible some of the interior decorating projects are.

On the braces front, I made a good discovery recently: I can eat sandwiches again. As long as they're made with relatively soft bread and aren't piled too high with meat -- and are slightly squished flat -- I can eat them. I thoroughly enjoyed a homemade roast beef and cheddar sandwich on lightly toasted whole wheat. I haven't had one of those in months! I still don't feel comfortable biting something like a sandwich with my front teeth. Strangely, it feels like I'd pull them out if I did! But biting from the side works, and that's ok.

I've spent the past few days creating some new web pages for this site, called "Braces 101." The suite of pages is mainly for people new to braces. I also created a forum, called "Metal Mouth Forum." I hope you'll post to the forum with some constructive advice, comments, or questions for other adults who wear braces. As I mention in the forum intro, please don't write fetish postings there. No offense, but there are several fetish forums that exist already, and that is not really the purpose of this forum. Thanks for understanding! :-)

z Monday, April 22

So much has gone on these past few weeks, I literally haven't had time to write at all! Between the house, the kids, and that work project, my time was completely spoken for, and I've been totally exhausted!

Before I talk about the house, I'll talk about my teeth. On the 11th, I had another adjustment. Dr. Vogt was amazed at how quickly several of the teeth have straightened up already. In fact, one tooth on the bottom previously overlapped the other and leaned quite significantly. Would you believe that it doesn't overlap now at all, and both teeth are straight, next to each other?! Over the past few months, I've watched it become straight, which is so exciting!

The adjustment went well, and afterwards I only had a minimal amount of discomfort. It didn't even feel so bad when they put on new ligating modules (those little rubber bands). Dr. Vogt said that on the next visit, he'll probably replace my arch wire with a heavier gauge. This will put more pressure on the teeth. So, after next visit, I expect things to be sore.

On to the remodeling.....

The week that both the window and cabinet guys were here was noisy and challenging. The entire house was turned upside-down. After they left, MY work began! First, I had to wipe out all the cabinets, because they had lots of sawdust and remnants of grout from the old tile. They were filthy! Then I put new Contact paper down in many of them (because the old shelf liner was totally awful and, in many cases, torn up). Believe me, I'm no Martha Stewart: lining shelves with Contact paper isn't my idea of a party! But it had to be done. Two cabinets (near the kitchen table) now have glass doors, and it was apparent that the insides needed to be painted. I was up until 3 a.m. one day doing that.

Finally, when the cabinets were finished being prepared, we moved all the stuff back into them. This is both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you get to re-think where you want to store stuff, and how you want to organize it. On the other hand, you just want to get things back into your kitchen as fast as possible. It took almost two days just to get everything back where it belonged.

Even though the cabinet guys cleaned up after themselves, there was quite a bit of sawdust and dirt everywhere. Anything that hadn't been covered (for instance, the top of the refrigerator) had a layer of sawdust. I had opened the dishwasher a couple of times and forgot to latch it tightly, and, you guessed it, there was sawdust in there, too!

So, was it worth it? Wow, you bet! The refaced cabinets are so beautiful! Those guys did such an incredible job, I have to keep reminding myself that they aren't new cabinets, just the same old ones with new veneer and new doors! The glass doors in the eating area look fabulous!

Last week, the countertop people came back and put in the tile backsplash around the stove area. This was an adventure, because the little decorative tile wasn't placed as high in the design as I'd have liked. But unfortunately, because the main tiles (which are large limestone squares) are so big, it worked out that way. At first I wasn't happy about it and wondered if they should change it before attaching it to my walls. But after some debating, I decided to let them put it up the way they'd planned. I'm glad I did, because it looks terrific (even though the little decorative tiles are in the middle, not near the top).

Then the electrician came out to wire up the under-cabinet lights and finish the new outlets and switches. And I had to go to the flooring store to pick out the type of flooring they will install.

While all this was going on, every single window in my house was replaced. That took a week and a half. We also replaced the front door and two sliding patio doors. I hated the old entry door and sidelights; it had absolutely no character. It was plain flat wood, with sidelights of plain glass. The new one looks so much better, with six panels and two pretty sidelights made of beveled glass!

I was thrilled that the window guy didn't find dry rot in one window frame that had always leaked. Phew! But, just when I thought we were out of the woods...the city building inspector came over. (Ominous music, please....)

The building inspectors in my town are notorious for being assholes. In this town, if you sneeze, you must get a permit to blow your nose. The inspector came over to inspect the windows, and began citing me for things in my kitchen! He also tested every single smoke detector to see if they worked! Well, my countertop people told me that I didn't need a permit to put in the new sink. Wrong. The electrician told me that I didn't need a permit to put in new electrical outlets. Wrong. And then, this guy tried to tell me that my cabinets and my dishwasher were all new! I had to show him the insides, to prove to him that they were just refaced. I volunteered to dig up the two-year-old receipt for the dishwasher. Finally, when he got to the windows, he found fault with one of them: an upstairs window which doesn't meet "egress." That means, it isn't low enough to the ground for fire safety. Fortunately, the window company is owning up to the fact that they screwed up, and they're fixing it for free. They must tear out a small portion of my wall and make the window lower and larger. More dust and noise in about a month, oh joy!

In the mean time, the electrician is giving me a hard time about getting the permit, and I'm just plain getting worn out!

I've also been going throughout the house to decide on paint colors. Picking paint colors sounds like a lot of fun, but after doing it for a week, I've found it to be more of an ordeal. You think it would be easy to just pick out a tan color. You'd think that finding a peachy beige would be a snap. The color looks one way on the little card, and another way on the wall. It's maddening! And I'm not even very picky!! If I have to go to Home Depot one more time, I think I'll scream!

Our latest project involves cleaning out the garage. Yes, things have certainly snowballed. We looked around and realized that we didn't need this or that book, or those baby things, or those old papers. And before you know it, we're tearing things off the shelves and out of the drawers of all the other rooms to "clean out" stuff and re-organize. This all started in the office. We want to paint it, but it's a mess of old papers and books. Some of that stuff can be thrown out, and some can be moved into the garage. But first we need to make room in the garage! Like I said earlier, it's a blessing and a curse. I have so much stuff to donate to the Salvation Army that I called their truck to come pick it up! And then, in the next breath, I called the local garbage company to schedule a "clean up" date for all the junk we're throwing out! I began to realize that if I only threw out a bag of old stuff for every bag of new stuff I bought, I'd never have to clean things out again: it would stay even! Well, in theory, anyway....

I swear, I don't know how people live with remodeling chaos for months on end! I've only been at it for a few weeks and I'm beginning to lose steam. But at least my kitchen is back in place. There are only four things that need to be done to it:

1. The light valance (little wood pieces) must be installed under the cabinets.

2. The floor must be done.

3. The pocket doors might be replaced.

4. The room must be painted.

The first two items will get done next week. The last two, probably sometime next month. That is, if I can ever figure out what color to paint the walls! After the light valances are installed, I plan to take some "after" pictures and post them, so be ready to ooh and aaah in about a week!

z Monday, April 29

I can't believe that April is almost over! Where did the month go?

I've been so busy, it makes my head spin. Granted, most of it is my own doing, but it's still a lot of work. We finally picked a color to paint the office, and I've spent the past few days doing that. In case you're interested, it's Glidden paint color "Sea Drops," which is a muted pale green. A relaxing color. Good for a home office where you go to either: a)take a break to surf the web, b)try not to stress out about a work project, and c)pay the bills and do the taxes!

The room is about 3/4 done, and it takes longer than usual because we can't just move everything out of it. So I painted one wall, then moved the stuff back, painted the next wall, etc. This room was the worst of the whole house; it needed a paint job when we moved in 8 years ago, but it was ok, so we never got around to it. It's so nice to see the office looking fresh. And of course, we're going through the shelves and closets, throwing out stuff we don't need anymore. We donated a ton of stuff to charity, and had a huge pile of stuff for the garbage company, too. Personally, I loathe clutter. I'm not anal about things being "just so," but I don't want piles of stuff falling over all the time, either. I'm big on organization. I spend a lot of money on organizer thingies that you get at Target or KMart.

Anyway, I think I'll be done painting the office by tomorrow. Just in time for my kitchen floor to be done, and the guest bedroom window to be replaced. Yes, they're replacing it on Wednesday. That was fast! After that, the guest bedroom will be my next paint project.

Have I mentioned that every wall in my house is off-white? Well, it is. Or was. Now the office is green! I have ideas for almost every room in the house. I don't want any strong overwhelming colors, but pale colors that blend and just give a "feeling" to a room. The guest bedroom is really small and is done in a sort-of Southwestern motif. Pale pinkish peach is a perfect color for that room. It took a few tries, but I finally found the right color.

We have a small "TV room" off the kitchen which is also, of course, just off-white. I have a dark blue sofa in that room and the stuff on the wall is golds, greens, and blues. I'm painting that room a soft golden yellow, a cozy color for a cozy family space. Can you tell that I've been watching too much HGTV and reading too many decorating magazines?!

My little daughter is home sick for the next two days. Over the weekend she developed a throat infection, and it might be Strep. We went through a terrible battle with Strep last year. My kids and I had it for FOUR straight months! Finally we pinpointed which one of us was the carrier (and that fact that the Strep we had was resistant to Penicillin), and we finally knocked it out. Hubby never got it. Needless to say, I never want to go through THAT again -- four months of feeling like ca-ca all the time and constantly being on antibiotics! So, today the painting had to wait until I took her to the doctor, then the lab, then to the pharmacy for antibiotics...

While I'm talking about health issues, I want to mention that two of my female friends in their 40s have just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Did you know that there is a genetic test to determine if you have a certain mutation that makes you prone to it? Apparently, people with Ashkenazi Jewish backgrounds are much more prone to have this mutation. If that describes your ethnic heritage, and any sort cancer runs in your family, you should have this genetic test! Also, did you know that an MRI scan of your breast can detect tumors that a mammogram or ultrasound can't? Doctors don't often mention this because it is an expensive test that many insurance companies don't cover. Anyway, I thought I'd pass along the information. Please pray for my friends. They both have young kids and are much too young and full of life to succumb to this terrible disease!

z Thursday, May 2

Well, the floor is almost done. It has taken a bit longer than expected, because the installer scratched some of the planks when he moved the refrigerator, and he had to order more and then replace them. At my polite insistence, of course.

The floor is a laminate engineered floor called "Uniclic." It is similar to Pergo, but does not need to be glued. Both Pergo and Uniclic (as well as Alloc) come in various wood grains, and look very much like real wood. In fact, the top layer (under the laminate) is a thin layer of real wood. We decided on this type of floor because it is durable, not too expensive, and easy to install. The existing ucky green linoleum did not need to be removed, although the coving needed to be taken out. I chose a light oak color. My first thought was maple, to match the cabinets. But then I realized that it would be just too much of the same color. A slightly darker wood floor looks better.

I think that in my heart, I would have wanted a chic tile floor, but it had several disadvantages. For one, it would have been much more expensive and would have taken longer to install. Tile is also hard to stand on for long periods of time. And grout can stain and crack. In addition, it's very hard on dishes you drop! Another choice could have been real hardwood, but again, it would have been very expensive, and the upkeep would be more complicated in a kitchen.

With small kids who still like to scoot Hot Wheels around the floor, a durable, forgiving surface was our best choice. Who knows, if we're still in this house 15 years down the road, maybe we will take up the Uniclic and put down tile. Probably not.

What does Uniclic feel like to walk on? Well it's different than a solid wood floor. It feels kind of like a dance floor -- slightly springy. Some people might hate it. I think it's ok. It looks nice!

We had another "unexpected expense" this week. The floor guy had mentioned that the pocket doors might need to be shortened slightly. What he didn't tell us was that it might be impossible to get the doors off without ripping out the doorjamb!

After about an hour of stress, the "door guy" who works with the floor guys came to our house to give us the verdict. Fortunately, we have the only type of pocket door hardware that easily comes off. Phew! Fee for shortening two pocket doors: $90.

And in case you're in the market for a new career, here's one for you: that guy ONLY shortens doors for a living! That's all he does. His card says, "Doors Shortened." Can you get any more specialized than THAT?!

Anyway, one of the doors isn't quite flush since the tile on the adjacent countertop was replaced. Turns out, according to the door guy, the countertop people shoved the wall in a speck when they installed the new countertop. There's nothing we can do about it. I have a feeling that we will NOT be replacing those pocket doors, just painting or refinishing them. It's a Pandora's -- er --- doorframe, if you will.

I finished painting the office, and if you don't mind my modesty, I think I did a damn good job for a beginner! I took my time taping off various things, and it was worth it. My next project is the adjacent guest bedroom, which will be painted in a light peach to match the Southwestern decor. I also have plans for the adjacent guest bathroom, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. I could wear myself into the ground with ambition. Hubby keeps saying, "Honey, pace yourself!" He's right, but it's hard to sit around when you WANT to do this stuff so badly!

The window guy came back the other day and enlarged the window in the guest bedroom. The city inspector cited a violation on that window because it didn't meet egress. Now it's five inches lower to the ground. Good thing I didn't order any window coverings for it earlier. Anyway, the electrician and the countertop people got their respective permits and I scheduled the city inspector to come back Monday. Cross your fingers for me! I hope the same asshole -- I mean inspector -- comes back and passes me. What a pain!

By the way, I do plan on posting some new photos of all this stuff. It's just a little complicated and I need the time to do it. I promise, soon!

Ya know, I'm really looking forward to sleeping late on Sunday and having no workmen in my house.

Regarding my teeth, nothing new to report. My mother-in-law, unfortunately, isn't so lucky. All her top teeth are infected and will need to be removed. She'll need full dentures on top. How in the world does THAT happen to a person? Is it just age? I can't really ask her, but I think I'll ask Dr. Vogt next time I see him.

So you see, take care of your teeth, or soon you'll be paying more attention to those Efferdent and Polygrip commercials!

z Monday, May 6

I think my daughter gave me her virus, because each day, my throat has been getting progressively more sore. I also feel really tired. Fortunately, her lab test showed that she does NOT have Strep. Today I was so beat, that after taking the kids to school, I had a little breakfast and got right back into bed. I slept for three hours and still felt tired! No fever, no obvious infection, no swollen glands. So antibiotics won't help. But I'll keep an eye on it and see the doctor later in the week if I don't start to feel better. Lot of fluids, extra vitamin C, etc.

I really had to force myself to rest today. I wanted to start painting the guest bedroom so badly! But the walls will still be there tomorrow and the next day...

The city inspector came back. Damn, there is still a problem with the electrical. I won't go into detail, but one of the solutions involves cutting a big hole in the foyer wall (which is behind the kitchen). Sigh. Well, at least I know that my painter can come and drywall it for me inexpensively. I want to get these inspectors out of my house already! By the way, he passed me on the window, so that's not a problem anymore.

Today I want to write about one of the readers of this website. I won't embarrass him by mentioning his name. He is in his 30s and just got braces a few months ago. His orthodontist wired him for headgear. I get the impression that he was NOT told that he would need headgear, and that it was a complete surprise.

This guy was told to wear the headgear for 14 hours per day for several months (how many, I'm not sure). Well, he is having a very hard time with it. He is mortified to wear it in pubic. The braces alone were a huge adjustment for him, but the headgear is just pushing him over the edge. He is very angry and frustrated.

So, I'm asking any other headgear wearers out there to offer some advice to him. I suggest that, if you have any suggestions for him, you place them in the Metal Mouth Forum in a topic called "Headgear Help" or something similar. He could really use some support from you guys! Please! Thanks a lot!

z Friday, May 17

I apologize for not writing for so long, but things have continued to be very busy. In fact, I updated my journal the other day, but then, just as I was about the save the file, there was a computer glitch and I lost my entry. No, I hadn't backed it up yet. Sigh....

I saw Dr. Vogt yesterday for another adjustment. This time, he put a heavier arch wire on the top teeth, but the same gauge wire on the bottom teeth. He explained that because one tooth on the bottom is still crooked, he can't put a stronger wire there yet.

Well, my teeth are indeed sore today. I have that "hit in the teeth with a baseball" feeling. Not as bad as the very first time, but still uncomfortable. Ibuprofen is once again my friend, and I'm back to eating soft foods. I suppose the feeling will pass in a few days.

I expected the top teeth to be sore, but not the bottoms. Strangely enough, that one crooked tooth, in particular, really hurts. I think it is finally beginning to straighten out. I don't know if it's my imagination, but it looks straighter than it did a few days ago. I don't know if Dr. Vogt did anything "special" on the bottom to help that tooth turn. Previous adjustments didn't really hurt, so perhaps he did something a bit different.

Truthfully, I don't really mind the pain. It means that things are happening, and that I'm closer to my goal. If you look at my photo, you'll see that my teeth don't align very well vertically -- some are "shorter" than others. I asked Dr. Vogt if they will be aligned at the end of the treatment, and he said "yes." I can't imagine it! I've never thought that I could have great looking teeth that were all even with each other. The whole science of this really fascinates me -- the physics involved, etc.

On the home improvement front, things are continuing to move forward. I painted the guest bedroom that nice shade of peachy beige. It looks much nicer now. I've decided to paint the doors, as well. I really don't like any of the interior doors in my house. They are plain, hollow core, and finished with a yucky mousy brown stain. I've decided to paint them the same color as most of the trim -- off-white. A small change, but it makes a big difference. And it's cheaper than getting new doors. The rooms I've changed look so fresh now.

My next project will be the adjacent guest bathroom. It has a very nice slate blue and white linoleum floor. I decided to continue the blue and white color scheme. I found a really nice border at Home Depot, and a new lighting fixture. This bathroom in particular, will have a good transformation. I'll have to take "before" and "after" photos and post them. The existing lighting fixture is really yucky, and the walls behind the toilet are one-third Formica-covered (very strange)! I plan to paint the Formica and put the border above it. Yes, I know that it would be better to just remove the Formica, but I'm trying to keep costs down. If we had more money, I'd change out the stall shower, but there's only so much we can do on the budget we have set.

I plan to start on the bathroom next week, when I get another burst of ambition and energy. I have noticed that I can't just dive from one project to the next. When I'm busy painting, I don't do the laundry or any of the other household stuff. So, when I finally come up for air, there are bunch of things to catch up on. And I'm tired! Painting isn't hard, but it is a lot of work. I'm not complaining. Actually, I've been enjoying it. It's very satisfying to see positive changes in your environment, and know that you did it yourself.

In the mean time, Hubby is very psyched about the new hammock we recently bought at a "close-outs" liquidation store. We got Pawley's Island $125 double-sized hammock for $40! The fence company will come in the next few weeks to improve the fences and sink a post for the hammock (the other end will be attached to a tree). Our goal: on Father's Day, Hubby wants to relax in the spa, then hang out in the hammock reading a book, and doze off. Let's hear it for simple pleasures!


Thursday, May 23

My teeth hurt for about four days after my adjustment last week, and now they feel just fine. I had expected to eat soft foods for a week or two, but that's not the case. I can once again eat tortilla chips with no problem.

I did have a little incident with my braces the other day, however. I had dinner with some friends and I think a piece of crusty bread caused the arch wire to slightly slip out of the last bracket on the bottom. At the end of dinner, I kept feeling as though I had a huge piece of food stuck over there. When I finally got home to brush my teeth, I realized that the arch wire wasn't straight, but bulging out! There was a lot of yucky food stuck over there, too. When I finally got it all cleaned up, I gently pushed on the wire with my finger, and BOING! it popped back into place.

Just to be safe, I called Dr. Vogt the next morning and went in to have it looked at. Fortunately, it popped back into the right place. I suppose it happened because the wire isn't very heavy, and that bread or whatever must of pushed it out.

The dental assistant changed my upper rubber bands, because some curry I'd eaten had stained them yellow. That's one annoying drawback of this stuff -- sometimes, a powerful seasoning can stain the little rubber bands. I eat Indian food a couple of times per month, and it takes a few brushings to get some of those spice stains off the braces. I suppose tea might stain them, as well.

We're gearing up to get the exterior of the house painted. Our painter will start prepping the week of June 3rd. We decided to spend a few hundred dollars on a color consultant for both the interior and exterior. I don't mind doing a few rooms myself, but the "common" areas of the house (the living room, kitchen, etc), should look nicer. I have a halfway decent sense of color and design, but I'd rather get a professional's opinion, especially since most of the walls are just off-white. She's going to give us advice on the exterior colors, the kitchen, the living room, the TV room, and probably the master bedroom/bathroom. I'd also like her opinion on the rooms I've just painted, to see if they need "something more," or for opinions on window treatments. I am also wondering whether certain rooms would look better with a faux finish on the wall. It's so hard to get a good "vision" on your own space! The consultant charges $95 per hour, which isn't bad. Other people charge more. Not a bad business to be in, eh?

The fence company came out to revise the estimate on the fences. Turns out, sinking a post for the hammock wouldn't really work. So we bought a hammock stand for it, instead. The fence work should begin within the next week or two. 

I've delayed painting the upstairs guest bathroom. I decided to wait until the color consultant comes, and show her what I intend to do. Maybe she'll have a better idea. Why do all that work, only to find out I could have done something nicer?


As Memorial Day draws near, it's important to realize that the holiday holds special significance this year. After the events of Sept. 11, and all that has happened overseas, let's take a moment to remember the innocent  victims of violence and hatred. I wish there was a simple solution to end terrorism and aggression. So whatever country you live in, fly your flag, celebrate your freedom, and say a prayer for world peace.


Tuesday, May 28

The color consultant was incredible! Wow, I highly recommend somebody like this if you're going to re-paint your house. She was here for three hours (at $95/hr), and we picked the colors for the exterior, the kitchen, the living room, and several more rooms inside. She came up with great ideas I would have never expected. And in some cases, she just confirmed my original ideas about what color this or that should be.

I also got her opinion on what I was going to do in the guest bathroom (she liked it). She has her own interior design company, and does more than just color. So maybe one day, when I decide to buy more furniture for the living room, I'll call her. She came to my house with a complete pallet of paint colors, and really took the time to match or accent certain things. She also told me something I'll share with you. You know those $25/gallon Ralph Lauren paints at Home Depot? They're not very good. She said it takes a minimum of three coats to make a wall look decent with them (they don't cover well). So there, price does not necessarily indicate quality in paint!

If you ever want to work with a person like this, you can find one in the yellow pages under "interior designers." Or, call your local chapter of the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers). That's how I found this woman.

Anyway, I breathe a huge sigh of relief, being able to visualize what the house will look like in the next few months, and knowing that I won't screw it up with weird colors. Ooooh, it's going to be so NICE! I just can't wait!!!

Anyway, regarding the braces, things are fine. My mother-in-law is moving ahead with her dentures. My husband accompanied her to the appointment with the oral surgeon, and told me that he has a full set of braces!


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