Monday, October 30, 2006

Halloween Eve…

I think enough time has passed so that I can now comment on my office Halloween party without throwing a large, heavy object through the nearest window. At this point in the post, you may have noticed that today is October 30th and that I’m talking about our office party in the past tense. A couple of thoughts may be running through your head, like, “Office Halloween party? But it’s only the 30th. Halloween isn’t until the 31st.” or, “He must be talking about last year’s party, because Halloween is on the 31st, and today is only the 30th.” Or, even more likely, “I can’t believe all of the Christmas stuff is already up in the stores. Can’t we at least have Halloween first?”

Whatever your thought process, these are the facts: I’m talking about this year’s, 2006, Halloween party. In my office, it has already happened, and the party occurred on Friday, the 27th from 3 to 4 pm. There was a hay ride for the kids, as well as some decent candy being handed out. Most of that candy was eaten by some inconsiderate adults.

We’ll also be celebrating Christmas on January 14th, 2007 and New Year’s has been pushed back to mid March. See, where I work, when a holiday that has been celebrated for hundreds, if not thousands, of years falls on an inconvenient day, we just move it to whatever day works better for our industry. We’re the number 3 XXXXX (edited for content) company in the country, so we have that kind of power.

I did not dress up this year for the second year in a row. This is because for the second year in a row, we have moved Halloween to accommodate work. I’m against this, and in protest, I refuse to defend my title of “Most Entertaining Costume,” for which I was awarded a sort of crappy fruit basket and a $5 gift certificate to Target. My parents were very proud.

I guess what I want to know is, am I the only one that thinks we should celebrate Halloween ON Halloween??? I’ve heard of places where they force the kids to trick or treat on the Sunday right before Halloween between the hours of 3pm and 5pm, when it’s not even dark yet?!!?!?! Is this kind of nonsense and chicanery actually being practiced? Will the good people of this country actually pay me money to protest that sort of behavior? Is there some private financier that will give me an unusually large bank account to draw on to support myself and possibly a family while I campaign against these Halloween travesties? Hmmm… yeah, the more I think about it, the more I think there probably isn’t anyone willing to support me like that… but there should be! This has got to stop.

Am I biased? Of course.

Seriously though, my costume was pretty sweet…

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Should have seen that one coming.

To be clear, yesterday’s dental extravaganza only took about 20 minutes. It was 7:40 am and I was ready to move forward with some more excitement. In a little less than one week, my driver’s license will expire. In light of this, the Department of Motor Vehicles has taken the time to inform me via regular mail that I must come down to the DMV, pay them money, then take a written test to prove that I still have what it takes to pilot a four wheeled, non-commercial vehicle.

I arrived at the DMV about 10 minutes before 8. There was already a line outside. Awesome, I thought. I was afraid I’d get done with this quickly and be able to sit in traffic sooner rather than later on my way to work. (by the way, it’s a little known fact that if I leave my house at 7:00 am, I can get to work by 7:40. But if I leave at 7:10 am, I’m lucky to get there by 8:15. Math was never my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure that doesn’t add up quite right. If I leave at 8:30, well, I’m just going to be late, there’s no way around it.) The doors opened promptly at 8 and all of us happy-to-be-at-the-DMV-before-8-am people cheerfully walked inside.

I’m not sure how they’re handling the DMV situation in other states, but they seem to be working out the kinks here in CA, or at least in my county. Now, everyone gets funneled through the information desk, and depending on your business and appointment status (either you have one or you don’t), you are given a number and told to wait until that number is called. It seems to me to be a fairly efficient way to move people through the line. Rather than have everyone actually stand and get more and more annoyed by the one lady who has no real information regarding her car’s license plate number, her driver’s license number or even her home address, but is convinced that she absolutely, positively needs to get some sort of misunderstanding taken care of here at the DMV, we can all just sit down, relax and stare at the keno like screen for our number to pop up, at which point we feel like we’ve won something and are more than happy to go to the window to collect our prize.

I drew G004. I immediately felt like I had a winner in my hands. And after they called F001 5 times without anyone jumping up to claim victory, I was proven right. In order to claim my prize, a series of death defying tests would be required of me.

First, with only the use of my eyes, I was made to read 6, somewhat small letters on a chart nearly 10 feet away. Once with both eyes, and again with just my left eye, then with just my right. I was yelled at when I used only my fingers to cover my right eye, not my entire palm. I only made that mistake once. After I passed this daunting task, I was shipped off to the other side of the building where my thumbprint and a picture of my face were taken. I assumed these would be used for identification purposes if I failed the next test and was never seen nor heard from again.

Once the ID work was taken care of (and I can assure you, I looked spectacular in the photo. I’ve shaved as recently as 3 weeks ago, and rather than use product in my hair, I simply wore a hat most of the morning.), I was handed two written tests to complete. I had been prepared for one, but not for two. (and by prepared, I mean I knew the test was coming, I certainly didn’t study for it. I didn’t study for any of my tests in college, and I wasn’t going to start now.) That’s when I was reminded that my license doesn’t just say that I have a class C license, it also states that I have a class M1 license. That, ladies and gentleman, is for my motorcycle license. I was taken aback. But I remained calm as ever on the outside. I hadn’t taken the written driving test in over a decade, but the motorcycle one I had taken about 4 and a half years ago, so I figured that would be the easier of the two.

In retrospect, I probably should have spent more time in answering all of the questions. 5 minutes seemed a bit fast for the 43 combined questions. That means I spent an average of just under 7 seconds per question. And I know for a fact that I spent more than that on some, so there must have been a few that I didn’t even read…

I passed the driving portion without any problems, but on the motorcycle portion, which was twice as long, I missed 8 questions. You’re only allowed to miss 4. I can retake the test as many times as I want for the next year, so I’m not really that worried about it, but I do feel it necessary to show you what kinds of questions I missed. Check out the following picture.

The correct answer has the red slash through it. I have not photoshopped this at all. You tell me, does that answer seem like prudent riding to you given the picture? Was my answer really wrong?

In the mean time, I can still drive a car. I have an impossible to counterfeit piece of paper that says so. Unfortunately, when my new license comes, it will have “LOSER” stamped across my face until I can pass that motorcycle test. In the mean time, my girlfriend, mother and one of my sisters, couldn’t be happier about my illegal motorcycle status. But the jokes on them because I haven’t even ridden my motorcycle in over 2 and a half years! Ha ha!!

After that, I went to work, sucked at my job, stayed late to make up the hour and a half I was late, came home, posted (what? Yeah, I have this blog… sometimes I post.) and called it a day.

Ok, that’s two posts in two days… I’m starting to wheeze… that’s not normal… typing shouldn’t make you wheeze…

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Starting off right

I woke up this morning with and insatiable urge to be gagging on something. This is a bit of a rarity, as I usually prefer not to be gagging on anything. Fortunately for me, today was the day the dentist was planning on taking impressions of my teeth to fit me for a new mouth guard. Long time readers know that awhile back, my dentist recommended a mouth guard for all the teeth grinding I do in my sleep. Previously, the $302 price tag had deterred me from pursuing this otherwise enticing endeavor. I mean, who doesn’t want to shove a custom fit piece of plastic in their mouth before going to bed? I’ve been getting by on packing tape in the mean time, but as I understand it, it’s just not the same.

Approximately one week ago, I woke up and found that I was unable to completely close my jaw and grind my teeth. You may not realize this at first, but when it comes to chewing food, grinding your teeth is precisely what you need to be doing. I wasn’t in any pain, so I shook it off for two days before the annoyance became too much to bear. I met with my dentist who took approximately 35 seconds to decide that I needed to see an oral surgeon. He did seem to think that this was a direct result of not having a mouth guard though, so we made the appointment for today based on the assumption that in the future, I would like to be able to chew solid food on a regular basis.

The appointment wit the oral surgeon was almost twice as long as the one with my dentist as he is a specialist in this sort of thing and consequently much more thorough. He basically called me a sissy and came just shy of actually kicking me in the groin. I was instructed not to eat anything denser than hamburger meat and not open my mouth too wide for then next couple of weeks. That should cure me. He also scheduled a follow up appointment in two weeks so that he could have time to invite all of his colleges into town so that they could all gather around and laugh at my simpleton antics as I explain how I was unable to fully clench my jaw. He said something about a video camera and possible a bloopers show for Maxillofacial Surgeons… whatever that means… My oral surgeon had a unibrow. I’m not really sure how that’s relevant, but now you know.

Back to today… My appointment was at 7:20 am, so already I knew I was going to have an amazing start to the day. I got there early because I simply could not wait to have impressions of my teeth taken. It was like Christmas morning, the first day of school, a first date and an unscheduled chubby bunny contest, all rolled into one. I was sitting in the waiting room ready to be called, watching the seconds slowly tick by. When they finally did call my name, I all but skipped into the back room and quickly seated my self on the hydraulic dental chair of joy.

My dentist’s office has monitors in all of the rooms that are all showing the same movie to give the patients something to watch while their mouth is being excavated. I’ve often found myself in a movie theater and briefly thought, “I’m so engrossed in this movie that I could easily have a dental hygienist’s hands fully in my mouth, just prodding away at my gums with some obscenely sharp device and not even notice.” But then I immediately become skeptical of my own engrossment level due to the fact that I just had a passing thought of being in a dentist’s office while I’m supposed to be enjoying the movie.

Regardless of my painfully distracting movie theater thoughts, the fact remains that my dentist has TV monitors in all of the rooms. It was the beginning of the day, so the movie was just starting. I’m going to avoid all the pun potential here and just tell you that “Just My Luck,” the soon to be classic Lindsay Lohan masterpiece, was the order of the day. Having somehow missed this one in the theaters, I was pleasantly surprised that while my teeth were being duplicated with a hopefully non-toxic substance, my eyes and ears would be privy to a visual and audible feast of another fine Lohan production. I’m fairly confident that future generations will regard Lindsay as The finest actress of this century. I’d even go so far as to say the whole craft of being an actress will become synonymous with the name Lindsay Lohan. People will say absurd things like; “did you see that new movie about the bank robbery?” “Yeah, the lead Lindsay Lohan in that was great. She really knows how to Lindsay (in this, the more absurd of the two sentences, “Lindsay” means “act.”).”

The first part of getting dental impressions is figuring out which size metal tray to use. Based on my experience this morning, my best guess is that they find out which tray will barely fit inside your mouth, then find one three sizes larger than that to use for the procedure. The hygienist set about mixing the chemicals while I settled in to watch the cinematic eye candy. I feel it necessary to mention that before the hygienist started working with all of the materials that would later find their way inside my mouth, she made sure that she put on gloves, a facemask and a visor. I’m always skeptical of any procedure that involves direct contact with something that the doctors themselves wear lots of protective clothing before even going near it. No matter, I was quickly wrapped up in the adventures of the lucky Lohan.

Just as the world of Ashley Albright was beginning to take hold in my mind, the hygienist turned to me and said, “Open.” As I did this, she shoved in the first tray of gelatinous goop. When it’s first placed inside the mouth, it has the consistency of yogurt, and almost none of the flavor. When the upper teeth are being done, this is where the gagging fun begins. At first, you’ve just got this yogurt like substance in your mouth, so instinctively you want to swallow, but you can’t. As time passes, the substance begins to harden and really trigger the gag reflex inside all of us. It’s a truly magical feeling, and I hope everyone gets to enjoy it some day. Supposedly the tray was in my mouth for about 2 minutes, but my internal clock registered somewhere between 7 and 9 days. Although, I can’t really be sure because no one had a stopwatch with them at the time.

Once the hygienist was satisfied that the substance had hardened enough and would be a usable mold, she went about removing it from my mouth. It turns out this was not as pleasant as when she first put it in. The pulling that ensued in order to remove the mold from my mouth, left me provided me with the time to contemplate the following thoughts:

  1. I need to do more neck exercises.
  2. I wonder if they can make dentures from this mold?
  3. Would I really want dentures that look like my current teeth?
  4. I wonder what mischief Lindsay has gotten herself into this time…
  5. Is that crowbar really necessary?

From there, they did the lower teeth, and then made me bite down on some special green cloth or something to record my exact bite. I assume that was for a trophy case somewhere in the doctor’s office. After that, I was free to go.

That fairly well cured me of my desire to gag on something, so overall, I’d have to say that I was happy with the way things went. Now, I only have to wait two short weeks before they give me my custom made, bedtime, chew toy. I’m already crossing off the days on my calendar. I’ve crossed off 3 so far. A lot of people wait until the end of the day to cross it off the calendar when counting down for something. I do that myself, but that’s for things that I’m not really excited about. This is different. I crossed off today right away for obvious reasons, then I crossed off tomorrow because I’m practically there already. Thursday got the X because Thursdays almost always fly by. Tomorrow I’ll probably knock off Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The weekends don’t count because I don’t work and won’t be there to cross them off anyway, and Friday might as well be the weekend considering how hard I usually work on those days.

For a lot of people, this is where the fun would end, but not for me. I know how to pack in as much of a good time as anyone, but I know I’m going to get some complaints about the length of this post, so I’ll stop this for now. Stay tuned for what happened after I left the dentist’s office. Maybe I’ll post about it tomorrow, maybe I’ll post about it next month… you never know with me.