Please forgive the several days of silence this week- I have been swamped at work. There are jobs where that would be a bad thing, but when you’ve been lucky enough to find the job you love, swamped takes on a whole new meaning. Since there is still more “work” to do, I’ll only be sharing a short moment of triumph. Plus I’ll be writing fast with very little editing so thangs could get disjointed at points and potato.
My oldest child, the high school teenager, has been without braces for several months. She is very proud of her straight teeth and shows them off by smiling a lot. Especially at boys, but that is a topic for another blog post on knife sharpening and carcass hiding.
During this brace-less time, her new smile has been protected and maintained with the help of a retainer. Then she lost it. Or, I did. The details are murky and not worth looking at too closely.
Retainers are small, seemingly insignificant bits of metal and plastic that are made by super models and professional sports celebrities. They don’t come right out and say that they have Brett Farve and Kate Moss working in a retainer factory but when I learned what the replacement cost was, it was rather obvious.
When our first child was first strapped with braces several years ago, we were a Gainesville family. The monthly visits were a few miles away and hardly made a blip on the family calendar schedule. Now as an Orlando area family, visiting the orthodontist as a day trip with four or more hours on the road. I am not even remotely complaining though. When I get four uninterrupted hours with one of my kids it is easily worth double the cost of gas, tolls, a sick day, and a retainer bill.
Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the orthodontist and his family are in the top .0001% of good human beings on Earth. I’m sure you will hear all about them in future posts when we discuss moonlight sailing, hilarious hayride mishaps, and more… but for now it is enough to know seeing them is worth the 2 hour drive from Orlando.
Since I was driving on I-75, it was raining like absolute Hell. Those two events are so closely linked that I am thinking of driving around the parched portions of our world and bringing water to all of those in need. I’d be the Johnny Appleseed of precipitation.
Barreling down the wet road for a few hours ended when we slowed down and exited the interstate. At first, the road seemed very uneven. Construction cones and barriers helped me blame the bumpy ride on the standard road building conditions that exist throughout the city. Gainesville, in case you didn’t know, is a Native American word meaning Under Construction.
Unfortunately, as we continued to slow down the front end of the car started to wobble and jerk the steering wheel from side to side and I could no longer hide from the fact that something was wrong with it. At a red light I jumped out and looked but neither tire was flat, so we continued on our bumpy way until we reached our appointment.
After depositing the young lady in the waiting room, I went out to the parking lot to have a closer look at how much this was going to cost. Seeing nothing at all wrong with either front tire but being completely unwilling to accept the nightmarish prospect of going to a mechanic, I decided to change the tire on the side that seemed to wobble the most.
The tire changing process requires a level of physical excursion that I have always been capable of- whether a muscled young 19 year old or a sickly 336 pound 39 year old. Of course, capable is a broad term. At my hugest, changing a tire was a painful event, but rather than list the negatives I suffered way back then, let me share the benefits I enjoyed during this experience at seventy-five pounds lighter.
I wasn’t winded jacking the car up. I didn’t sweat through my shirt getting the lug nuts off. Bending over to work on the tire didn’t cause a back spasm. Working from my knees didn’t cause contusions. It was a completely different experience.
I can picture myself as the Micheline Man now, white and pasty with a goofy smile and made of bulging tires. The difference is, one of my biggest spare tires has disappeared and I can move a lot more than I could before. Sometimes when I have some internal self-whining about not loosing weight faster I forget where I started and what I have to be grateful for.
Who would have guessed changing a tire could be such an enlightening moment. Of course, the fact that the spare tire fixed the problem and saved countless dollars might have elevated the mood a bit.