I mailed something to Tanmarie’s house, as the mail service is spotty at best, unfortunately and inconveniently, at the Crestwood. On my way to pick it up, I called to see if I could do a quick wash before my trip, at their house. Sure they said. Then I asked if Tanner could read my paper I was writing. Oh, and how about a ride from the airport on Sunday? Mwahahah.
The only thing more dangerous than giving a mouse a cookie, is trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with P, that stands for Pool! Yes, family is wonderful.
My tires have been having some issues all winter, but this last week, I awoke to another flat tire, on my return visit to the DENTIST no less. I noticed some screws around my TWO flat tires, and having parked near the Crestwood’s maintenance shed, I couldn’t take any more. Steamed, I stormed in, to discover that management hadn’t arrived yet, even though they should have. I was now already late for my dentist appointment, but I waited until someone showed up a few minutes later to show what I found. He acknowledged their complicity in allowing the screws to be left loose, but offered no resolution, so I left to confront another nuisance. Aye the teeth. Cue the pain.
This chain of dental offices has billboards all up and down the valley and most advertise their willingness to sedate you for your anxiety. If only I could trust them enough for that. But I can’t, and I don’t want to be put under in any case, so eyes wide open I went in. Knowing that there was literally no place I’d rather avoid as much as the dentist, I asked him where was his least favorite place to go. The DMV. PUHLEEEEEEASE. Tell me if the DMV has ever dropped a screw down your mother’s throat. Disregarding my hesitance, the dentist tells me it’ll be a quick and easy fix to fill those high falutin cavities, shoots some numbing agent that makes my cheek bones tickle, and turns me over to the young, inexperienced hygienist who calls a veteran over to help ratchet my mouth open to attack these side holes. The dentist must have shot me with some elephant tranquilizers as I couldn’t feel anything, but being fully aware mentally, I was annoyed to no end to be the guinea pig for this hygienist, working on her technique. Laying near helpless with light shining in my eyes I impatiently pondered big questions. A visit to the dentist always turns existential.
Finally, the wedges were in and the hygienist went to get the dentist again. My face felt like a slug taking a nap, and as if on cue, the music switched from Elton John to American Pie. Yes Doc, I’m ready. I don’t feel anything. If you don’t have dental anxiety already, go when Don McLean is singing the chorus. “This will be the day that I die, This will be the day that I die!!!!!!!!!!!”
Everything turns out alright, and I’m sent on my way. He tells me not to eat for a while, and I try to ask about drinking water, as all my saved hydration from 6 months exited my sweat glands in 20 minutes, and he seems to understand, gives a chuckle, says maybe from a water fountain, but good luck. Sure enough, this slug isn’t quite ready to wake up, and I walk curiously to the bathroom. I look normal, maybe some slight swelling, but the muscles have gone on strike and don’t respond to the simplest command. I head over for a scheduled meeting with a professor, after slurping from all the water fountains on the way and force a few sentences out with tremendous effort, mentally making my lips do the harlem shake to get any movement. That done, time to go home. I’ll be upping my brushing and flossing to new levels.
In all seriousness, I felt great empathy from my two hour experience of facial paralysis and could not imagine enduring more than that. It was completely foreign not being able to control something so normal, and I did not enjoy the frustration.
The next day, Wednesday, I went on a date with Camilla. She is from a small-town (like under 300 people small) in northern Wyoming. We went and got ice cream at the Creamery, and were joined by Lawson, his date, and Kimball and his fiance. Camilla is studying dietetics, and served in the Riverside California Mission. I had a great time, and our schedules didn’t work out this week, but next Thursday we’re going to the Bean Museum together. Which I’ve never visited before.
Upon learning that I live in the Crestwood, she asked if I knew a McKay. I said only by name. Turns out he is from her town, and was one of the 20 kids she graduated with. I look him up, trying to remember if I’ve met him before, but its a negative. Then, on Saturday, while waiting for pizza orders, I run down to check the mail and run into him! We chat and on Sunday he came to church with me, his first visit in almost a year. McKay is studying film at BYU, and was incredibly nice, full of character, and will hopefully continue to come to church now.
Pizza was slow, as I expected. I only passed out a handful of flyers, and thus only got a handful of calls. I did this because turns out I’ll be going to BRAZIL!!!! This was an unexpected development, as I had applied for a grant on more of a whim than anything. I’m finalizing plans, but will be leaving in March to go do research in Rio de Janeiro. So, pizza is on a bit of a pause. In addition, I’m leaving tomorrow morning (Thursday) for a conference in Philadelphia.
Saturday morning, I went to Wal-Mart and was dismayed to discover the tires couldn’t be fixed, but would need to be replaced. Of course, after a week of pumping them up every time I needed to go somewhere, I knew the only option would be to bite the bullet and buy them. Even for the cheapest option, the total for two new tires came to just over $200. Ah the joys of adulthood. I don’t know if spending money makes me upset because I’m too attached to money, or because I feel like I’m overpaying. I returned home, went again to the Crestwood, and this time they ponied up $150 for me, which greatly helped, and made me keep my generous online rating of them.
Yesterday I attended a speech given by Ryan Anderson, a renowned defender of the family who works with the Heritage Foundation. I ran into Deseret News columnist Hal Boyd, and he fondly recalled his scouting days with my dad as his scoutmaster.
I was surprised to realize that there are no institutions besides religious ones that really help people get and stay married. I appreciated Anderson’s rhetoric, that marriage should be viewed as a cornerstone and not a capstone. In his speech, he went through the cycle of life twice, walking us through an idealized version (i.e. conceived in a marriage to loving parents, etc.) and then through a realistic one, where not only is early life affected, but so is later life, which I admittedly have not thought about much. He attributed the lack of children and loneliness to the push for assisted suicide, and noted only with the advancement of medicine society has pushed for this, and said that is because this is not a medical problem, but a community issue. Interestingly, there are now places in Europe where the birth rate has been so low for years that there is a generation of people who do not know what it means to be a brother or sister. They have no aunts or uncles, and thus no cousins. I could not imagine growing up without an extended family, but I also thought of the scriptural implications, and perhaps because of my reading of East of Eden this last week, my mind fixated on Cain’s question, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
I am so thankful for family, for its eternal nature, and for the truths we know to be true, in accordance with The Family: A Proclamation to the World that we are all a “beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny….The Family is ordained of God. Marriage between a man and woman is essential to His eternal plan…Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”