A Day at the Mouth Spa

T-Rex Teeth

Also-known-as the dentist. Anne and I had dueling appointments, our first in over a year. We went in for a cleaning, but it looks like we’ll be back for so much more. Our dentist of thirty years retired a couple of years ago and not a moment too soon. A dentist with palsy is not a comforting prospect. A year before he retired, he teamed with a much younger, much more entrepreneurial dentist. Basically a move to prolong his practice another year and then hand it off. The former guy is gone now, off to Arizona and he really was a fan of the other former guy. There is nothing more uncomfortable than being ranted at by a man who holds a diametrically opposite political view point than your own, all the while thrusting sharp metal implements down your throat. The new guy has more of a factory than a practice. Staffed all by women, I guess that makes him the cock of the walk. They all wear the same uniform and are all interlocked via a wireless intercom system. I lucked out and got a really nice hygienist, with gentle hands. She’s the one that coined the phrase, a day at the mouth spa, which got a snort from me. Anne pointed out that the T-Rex probably had minions to clean its teeth, to which I countered, so did I. The hygienist was tiny and at one point she even called in her own minion to assist her by taking notes.

Grave Situation

Grave Situation

I have been wrestling with technology, slowly, but surely beating it into submission. Afterall one shouldn’t be ruled by machines. Yesterday, our new desktop PC arrived early. I unpacked it and began setting up. I hit a snag when I realized that our old monitor’s VGA cable was not supported by the new machine. A trip to the Micro Center was in order. Even in non-pandemic times this store is dangerous. Not so much to your health as to your wallet. Tomorrow is when my vaccine is supposed to achieve immunity, but I decided to chance it and jump the gun by a couple of days. The store was crowded and reeked of geek. Everyone was wearing masks, but between the crowd and the store’s narrow aisles, six feet was asking too much. Vaccine don’t fail me now. I found the connector aisle and a helpful clerk was ready and waiting to help. He called for backup and between the two of them I was soon on my way to checkout, with my new VGA to HDMI converter in hand.

Returning home, I plugged it in, booted the new machine and was good to go. I spent much of the rest of the day configuring the new machine to operate like the old one did. A lot of this task involved restoring bookmarks to all of my favorite websites. Anne and I share our two computers and in order to stay out of each other’s business I use the Microsoft Edge browser and she uses Google Chrome. So, imagine my chagrin today, after spending hours yesterday restoring my old links, when with a push of a button Anne restores all of her old favorites at once. That’s technology for you.

My other complaint about technology involves this website. For months now WordPress has been modernizing the behind-the-scenes workings of this blog. You never see any of this stuff, but I do. Systematically, they have been removing functionality that I like and replacing it with a newer, but dumbed down version. Their latest blow has been the removal of the dashboard. This was a webpage that afforded me control over all aspects of this blog. I will mourn its demise. VGA cabling, WordPress dashboards, what’s next to die?

Sour Grapes

Grapes on the Vine

A funny thing happened to me at lunch the other day. It was our usual luncheon fare, quesadillas and grapes. I first wolfed down my quesadilla and then started in on the grapes. They were the end of the package of grapes, so to finish it up, I had served extra big portions. Anne couldn’t finish all of her grapes, but I did. Towards the end though, my mouth started feeling kind of finny, kind of tingly. My lips swelled up, like when I get a bee sting and my throat got sore. I finally figured it out, I was having an allergic reaction to the grapes. 

It has been a couple of days now and the swelling is mostly gone. My throat is no longer sore either. I googled it and grape allergy is a thing, but I’ve been eating grapes daily throughout the pandemic and before. Fortunately, wine does not have any similar effect. Unfortunately though, just before I had my reaction, I had ordered another bag of grapes. Aptly enough, the brand is Passion Fire. They were very tart. I am leery of eating any now. It may not have been the grapes themselves, but could have been some chemical on the grapes. 

One More Week

Masked Mannequin

One more week until my vaccination immunity takes effect. One more week until I can get a haircut, for the first time in a year. One more week until I can go shopping again. President Biden tweeted today that a quarter of all adult Americans have received at least one vaccine shot. We got the J&J variety, so one is all we need. In one more week, it will have been two weeks since our immunization was given and it will then be considered effective. I’m not planning on going to Daytona or anything stupid like that, but I do plan to get out more. I’ve been using the shopping services of Instacart and Shipt for a year now and I may continue to use them yet, but I want to get back into the stores and see what’s new there and see what’s changed there. I’m also tired of trimming my own hair and look forward to getting a real haircut. Then there are the museums. I haven’t visited any in a year and I’m sure that they all have new shows by now. I’m sure that masks will be required for all of these things, but that’s OK. Wearing a mask is only a small price to pay for the freedom to do these things again. One more week to go, I can hardly wait.

Red Maple Blossoms

Red Maple Blossoms

Sunday was a beautiful day, probably the best so far this year. So, we drove to Forest Park for our walk. Unfortunately, half of Saint Louis was of the same opinion and had already gotten there first. We ran straight into a huge traffic jam around the zoo, which took us easily half-an-hour to get out of. But eventually, we extricated ourselves from the mess and headed to the empty quarter of the park, the southeast side. There we were mainly successful at avoiding the maddening crowd. We spied the pictured Red maple blossoms on the golf course. Didn’t see much wildlife, because there were too many people in the park. Now Sunday was the most beautiful day so far this year, but today is Monday at it looks even better. We are breaking out the bike for the first time in almost a year. We were going to ride yesterday, but with the crowds that would have been too much. Today will be much saner, quieter and a much better day for us to get back on our bikes. Time to pump-up those tires.

Last week, we got the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. Of the three Covid shots that are available, this one has less of a stellar reputation than the other two-dose varieties. It is only rated 66% effective at preventing a Coronavirus infection as compared with 95% for the Pfizer and Moderna varieties. These statistics have led some doubters, like the mayor of Detroit to shun the J&J vaccine in lieu of the other two types. Even though medical experts advise people to take the first shot offered, like we did. These numbers though don’t tell the whole story. The J&J vaccine is newer than the other two and was tested and shown to be effective against some of the new Covid variants that have arisen since the other two went through trials. No one ever takes last year’s flu vaccine. Most importantly, the J&J vaccine has been shown to be 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and death, which are the most important things. So, I’ll leave vaccine envy to those who have not received any vaccination and not worry about which shot I got. Eleven more days until immunity.