Monthly Archive for June, 2012

Project Save the Locust sounds nicer than Kill the Evil Pine Tree

Our house was built in 1977.  We’re assuming the landscaping was completed in 1978.  We moved into the house in 2001.  We’ve had a love/hate relationship with the pine tree in front ever since.

It’s not the tree’s fault.  It was planted smack dab in the middle of the 1970’s “Plant Evergreens Way Too Close To The House. What’s The Worst Than Can Happen?” phase of landscaping styles.

It’s a beautiful tree.  It’s too close to the house.  Its needles have ruined everything they touch.  They touch everything.

We have a gorgeous Locust in the front yard as well.  It’s not too close to the house.  It’s too close to the pine tree.  It doesn’t ruin anything, but is dying because of the pine tree.

We finally had enough wiggle room in the budget to face this problem head-on.  I called people and had estimates done.  Shockingly, the price wasn’t nearly as high as we’d feared.  The company we chose was awesome!  (Locals, if you want a referral, let me know!)

Looking back at the timeline for the house, we can add one more date:  June 27, 2012.  The day we had the pine tree removed and the dead parts culled from the Locust.

“Project Save The Locust!” sounds so much nicer than “Project Kill the Evil Pine Tree!”…don’t you think?

This simple fix has changed the whole look of the front yard…in a good way…not to mention the fact that we have so much more light that comes into the main living room upstairs!

Here are just some of the photos I took documenting the event:

And the removal of the pine begins!

It's hard to explain how high up this guy is, even with this picture.

I can see the (new) top of the (old) pine tree from here. Weird.


It's official. I'm a tree hugger.

Long live the Locust!

Marked Improvement

Hearing my doctor proclaim that he sees “Marked Improvement” from my jaw torture therapy nearly brought tears to my eyes!  I’m not done, by any means, but it’s nice to get confirmation that all of this is worth it!

He’s made some adjustments, and I’ve been granted more mobility.

…now if only I could be granted a hamburger.


True Love

I don’t have much to report on my jaw therapy situation, other than I’ve been following the doctor’s orders to a T, and I’m slowly getting used to the daytime appliance.

It has taken over my entire being, but I’m adjusting.

It’s only been one week…
…and three days.
…and five hours.
…and 23 minutes.

Not that I’m counting.

I’m speaking more clearly, and I’m getting more used to gumming my food without making a total fool of myself.

What I’m finding is that people don’t notice it as much as I thought they would.  To me, I feel as though it’s as obvious as a paper bag over my head, when in reality, unless I point it out, most people don’t even notice.

How very odd.

Last night was a first:  We ate in public.  I ate food in front of strangers.  Well, as much as eating in a booth at the local Indian restaurant can be “in front of” anyone other than the people sitting across the table from me.  I found some pureed options, and also discovered that my favorite naan (Kabuli Naan) is totally gummable when fresh!  I discovered a delicious soup I’ve never had, and my normal order was enjoyable without the rice.

Rice, as I found out last week, is a complete disaster.

Even with these adjustments, at one point, I started to feel really self conscious.  I could tell that food was under my appliance, and the mere thought of that grosses me out.  I felt that everyone was staring or could at least tell that I was barely holding it together, but my husband assured me that no one was watching, and if they were, they wouldn’t know anything was amiss.

He even offered to blatantly pick his nose as a distraction, just in case they were looking toward our booth.

Now, that’s true love.

5 Things I’ve Learned Over The Last 3 Days

1) I talk. A lot.

2) I love to eat food.

3) Doing these first two things on my list is going to be harder than I thought.

4) Choose the people around you wisely.

5) …and I have chosen them wisely. Well, one I chose. The other showed up some years later. Both are awesome.

Thanks to my hubby and Claire for SO much support as I try to make this work.

Here it is: The Daytime Appliance. See the clear plastic device over my bottom teeth? This is as far as I can close my jaw. Fun times ahead!

Do you know why they’re called Appliances?

A couple months ago, my jaw (left side) started aching. It has always clicked every now and then, but nothing of consequence…or so I thought. In addition to aching, one day, it decided to lock open. I had to physically press the side of my face to get my jaw to close, and to say it was disconcerting would be an understatement.

It happend a couple more times.

I knew I had an appointment scheduled with my dentist for a cleaning, so I made a mental note to talk to him about it. As the appointment grew nearer, I consulted Dr. Google with my symptoms. It was hard to sort through all the information, but a common theme I kept seeing was “stress related” issued with the TMJ (the muscles in your jaw).

The only thing stressing me out WAS my jaw! I don’t clench or grind. Surely there was another answer?

During the appointment, I voiced my concerns, and my dentist took me seriously. He did an extensive exam and determined that I needed to see a specialist. He also told me that this type of thing is relatively common with someone who has had orthodontia as a kid, and may not have to do with stress at all. Great.

Unfortunately, that fits me to a T.

Approximately 20 years ago, I got my braces off. I was tortured for years, but the end result was beautiful, straight teeth. I wore a retainer through college. In the early days of my orthodontia, I had to wear a head gear (NEVER in public, thank goodness!!), and I always suspected it was evil. Now, I know for sure.

Who knew!?

So, I’m under the care of a specialist, who determined that not only is the left side dislocated, the right side is following close behind. I get to wear one appliance during the day for “8 to 12 weeks,” and another appliance at night for…well, forever.

Do you know why they’re called appliances? Because they cost as much, if not more than, a fridge.

It’s also as if the guys from Monty Python were involved in deciding whether or not something called an appliance would be covered under health insurance. Only, instead of “She floats! Wood floats! Wood burns! Witches burn! She’s a witch! …I’m not a witch! They put this nose on me!” the conversation goes something like this: Well, jaws aren’t teeth, so it can’t fall under dental insurance. And, an appliance isn’t part of the body, so it can’t be under health insurance.

The ONLY thing that would be covered is a procedure (surgery) they do NOT recommend. FUNNY how that works, huh?

As of the publishing of this post, I’ve had the “mandibular splint” in for approximately 4.5 hours, and I’ve only had one panic attack. I think I can do this. Oh, right. I don’t have a choice!

I’m supposed to eat while this thing is in, which may prove to be one of the most expensive diet plans I’ve ever encountered.


So, there you have it. It’s in. It covers my bottom teeth, and feels so totally bizarre right now. I’m sure that will pass with time. At night, it will be switched for a similar yet different appliance that goes over my top teeth.

I’m learning to talk around it, but it’s slow going. Or, should I say, “Schlow going?”

Also? I need a good cover story, because “my jaw is dislocated from orthodontia I had 20 years ago” isn’t nearly as exciting as an encounter involving Ninjas. I think I’ll work on that…


Edited to add: Okay, okay. I added pictures.

Cholla in Bloom

Was it really five years ago this month that I learned how to remove cactus spines from a toddler? It was? It was. It’s amazing how time flies.

I’m hoping this summer plods along magically and joyfully.

…and with the cactus spines staying right where they’re supposed to.

No Filter, just Fuzzy

The peaches in our backyard are growing!