Road To Recovery

Well, that’s over with. I still feel like I’ve been punched in the mouth, and apparently there’s a lot of bruising going on inside, but the pain has pretty much gone. There’s nothing quite like a little dental discomfort to make one realize that life is ultimately a miserable journey into darkness and despair, rife with suffering and pain, abandoned by an uncaring creator, brightened only by the knowledge that it will be relatively short. And your dog will die first.

So, it was a learning experience.

Since I went to the dentist last week only mildly uncomfortable in the beginning, I have to admit I harbored some bad feelings for a bit, but I think we’ve cleared that up. I’ve agreed to be better about scheduling regular check-ups, and apparently she’s going to wax my car for the next six months.

But wait! It got better!

We got a summer teaser yesterday, just stunning weather in the 70s, and that once again gave me hope. Birds were rubbing their eyes with the backs of their hands. The grass grew an inch. I saw a couple of neighbors I assumed had died. It was spectacular.

I got a little energized, too. I cleaned up the house a little, emptied some trash, listened to the radio, and decided to make quiche.

OK. I guess Ann’s going to call me a faggot now.

I hope no one tells her about the show tunes.

In defense of my manliness, I don’t actually eat quiche, but I like to make it. I actually like making anything that requires a pie shell, since a few months ago I decided to master the art of the perfect crust and an awful lot of Crisco had to die before I got the hang of it, so I like to stay in shape. And Julie loves my spinach quiche.

The secret to good quiche, by the way, aside from a flaky crust, is to add eggs.

For my manly appetite, I stuck with chili. I make chili at least once a week these days. It’s sort of become my…hmm. Can’t think of the word for that French fish stew. Starts with a B. You know what I mean. It’s that.

Whenever we have leftover meat, my stockpot calls me. In fact, I’ve got two batches currently in the fridge, one in which I cannibalized some dark turkey meat and added jalapenos, and last night’s chipolte black bean with chicken breast. Mmm. All that smoky hot goodness calls out for the addition of a beer, but those days are past me so I settle for onions, sharp cheddar and chocolate ice cream.

As I’ve mentioned before, hot chilis are my Valium. A bowlful of capsaicin endorphin stroking and I mellow out real good, toothaches go away, sleep comes quickly, and leggy blondes with potty mouths seem irrelevant, as they deserve to be. Put on some Sondheim and I will call it perfect, a new lease on life, a scent of spring, a resurrection of the human spirit, and my car is going to be all shiny and stuff too.

Continue Reading

Help Wanted

In the interval while I try hard not to write (or think) about tooth issues (yes, I was back at the dentist’s today. Yes, the result was about the same. Yes, at least I got a column out of it), I wanted to pass on a few things.

I’ve added some column archives (click on “Read Chuck’s Column” on the sidebar and you’ll find them). Since my column appears (usually) for a week and then disappears (sometimes a good thing), it’s always been a goal of mine to collect them all in one place. In 2004 I solved this by putting a lot of them in a book, but I’m thinking maybe you can only get away with that once. So I’ll do my best to save them here for…posterity, or sympathy, or maybe just to help me remember what I was thinking. At any rate, I’ve got the last quarter of 2006 and all of 2007 so far online, and I’ll add to that as I can. Maybe I could get a grant or something.

“Arthur” is not my favorite film, or on any of my lists of great movies, or actually on any list of mine except the one for funny movies, on which it holds the top spot. Comedy writer Ken Levine has been talking about “Arthur” screenplay writer Steve Gordon on his blog lately, and he’s posted a scene from the original screenplay that never made it to the big screen. If you share my appreciation of “Arthur,” you might be interested. And make sure you comment and get Ken to post more.

Finally, Michael Main has asked his readers to help out in a scary situation. Cheryl Huish, a young mother from south Texas with perhaps some memory problems, has been missing since February 28. Michael’s set up a Web site to help in the search, and asked us to provide a link so as to spread the word as quickly as possible. I have only a fuzzy idea how “Google bombs” work, but it’s a good cause. The site is, and your thoughts and prayers are welcomed.

Cheryl Huish

Continue Reading

Root, Root, Root For The Home Team

“So, what’s the game plan?”

Dr. K. has a tendency to stick her fingers in my mouth without telling me why. She will, but you have to ask. Sometimes I don’t ask, too.

“We’re going to do a root canal.”

Wow. Never had one of those before. I’m always up for a new experience. Must make a note in my diary tonight.

My adventures in dentistry have been documented pretty extensively over the past four years, ever since I first found Dr. K. I’ve tried to make up for lost time by being a compliant patient, although I haven’t been into the office since late summer. Hey. I’ve been a little busy.

I’ve noticed that people always sort of shudder when they use “root” and “canal” in the same sentence. Sometimes in the same day. But this was pretty same old, same old for me. Some numbing, some drilling, some filling. At the end, dental assistant extraordinaire Jennifer squirted some bleach up there “to kill the bad bacteria.”

Of course I asked her about good bacteria. I didn’t lose my sense of humor for another 20 minutes or so.

Bacteria, among other fun stuff, can interfere with local anesthetic. They get an attitude. So Dr. K was a little surprised but just a little when the Marcaine wore off before I was even out of the chair. She injected some more to numb me up real good before sending me home with a prescription for an antibiotic. Just another day at the dentist’s.

It took me approximately five minutes to drive from Dr. K’s to the pharmacy. At the three-minute mark, I was sore. By the time I handed over the script, I was sorer. By the time I got home, another five minutes, I was in pain.

At the 10-minute mark, I was yanking business cards out of my wallet, looking for either Dr. K’s number or possibly Jack Kevorkian’s.

This was pain that could not be rated on a scale of 1 to 10. It needed at least Roman numerals, if not a whole new character set. According to Julie, my skin took on a shade of white that would have turned an albino’s head.

Back to the office. More anesthetic. More than that. A little bit more. Maybe just a tad here. Okay, maybe another full dose.

It took 90 minutes in the chair before I started to breathe like a normal person and stopped making snide comments to Dr. K (“I knew Mother Teresa, lady, and you are no Mother Teresa.”).

At least I feel special. This was a rare reaction, apparently. I think Dr. K is maybe writing a journal article this weekend (When Nerves Go Bad).

Ah, well. Nothing like a little pain to put life in perspective. In fact, after a few hours, when the horror had faded and the Percodan had kicked in, I even bought Girl Scout cookies. Of course, my feelings about Girl Scouts are also pretty well documented, and this one was a cutie, about 8 years old.

I was actually feeling all warm and fuzzy until she held up a box of cookies and said, “You might want these. They’re sugarless!”

Probably just an innocent remark.

And I’m pretty sure my parting comment about Mother Teresa went over her head.


Continue Reading


I should have listened to them, 18 years ago. My neighbors-to-be, who warily watched the moving truck pull in late at night and smiled their polite smiles, waved as they drove by, and, if you snagged one for a conversation, said, “You’re not from around here, are you?”

It’s different up here, 20 miles north of the Emerald City. The people are different, the crops are different, the types of beer are different. And the wind blows in mysterious ways.

You have to understand the geography. There is water. There are mountains. There is more water. There is me. There are more mountains.

Wind blows in from the west, across the Olympics and the Sound, and also from the south, over the foothills of the Cascades, and the twain meet in my neighborhood. The meteorologists call this the Puget Sound Convergence Zone (in layman’s terms, “zone of convergence”), and sometimes it gets feisty.

So while downtown Seattle was seeing sun and blue skies, over the course of 45 minutes or so yesterday afternoon 5 inches of snow fell in Snohomish County. At rush hour.

Yup. March came in like a penguin.


(Janet Eaton — Mukilteo Musings – 7am 3/1/2007)

It also snowed some in the morning, and continued to snow into the evening, so we’ve got a lot. Half a foot, eight inches. Who’s counting?

I like to watch it snow. I like, sometimes, to walk around in it. I care less for driving, although I can do that. I’m not so big on shoveling it, rolling in it, peeing on it, or eating it (particularly in that order).

But it’s peaceful today. Quiet. John has no school, and Julie canceled her morning classes. Strider looks at the snow-strewn back steps and has been apparently mulling over the necessity of pooping, but he’ll get over that. Otherwise, we have food and shelter, electricity and Internet access, so we should be good to stay.

But you know that feeling, when you’ve been craving sugar and you’re not really sure why although you can think of good reasons and then your teeth start to sort of hurt maybe from the sugar you’re thinking so you brush them good and hard and they hurt worse and then you swear off the candy but your wife brings home goodies and then there’s birthday cake and life is too short and then you localize the hurtness to one particular tooth because if you so much as brush it with your fingertip you immediately want to confess to any number of crimes and misdemeanors and sign the damn paper just give me a pen? You know that feeling?

So I have an appointment tomorrow, since my dentist is overbooked today and nobody is canceling, and I told them I could wait another 24 hours, no sweat. If things get bad, I can just stick my face in the snow.

As long as nobody lets Strider out, I mean.

Continue Reading

Beta Blogging

I swear, I was this close to writing something about putting the pieces of my life back together. It’s hard to do that with a straight face when your words are surrounded by Legos. I’m going to have to be very careful, metaphorically speaking, from now on. Sticking together, coming apart, building something out of nothing, order out of chaos…I’m thinking these are all off the table.

My thanks to Gordon Atkinson, who made this site possible from the very beginning, and also to Liz Ek and Meg Fowler, who did some virtual hand holding yesterday while I flailed about this site, trying to get everything to fit together.

Shoot. Did it again. Sorry.

As far as housekeeping: I have some blogroll things to add (I apologize to Drew and Deb), along with self-promoting pages and a decent About Me (Mom, can you write that? Be discreet). There are tweaks to come and graphics to seek out, decisions to make, and possibly a hundred themes to try before I ultimately, probably, come back to the little plastic toys.

But this is where I live now. Bookmark, comment, link, grab a feed, tell your friends.

I have been organizing myself in the past few months, so this feels right. I’ve been slowly archiving the clutter, looking for coherence and settling for stability. And serenity, of course. Always a goal.

Hmm. What else? My current column is up today. My son (so far) is not. My Internet connection seems to be humming this morning. There is something falling from the sky that looks suspiciously like snow.

Oh, and Julie had a good birthday yesterday, I think, although she worked all day and didn’t make it home until almost 9:30 last night. But John and I had dinner ready, including a huge rib eye that I lovingly broiled and came out just like in a restaurant except a lot less expensive and not as good.

So here we are. Welcome. I’ll do my best to post as intermittently as always, and feel free to let me know what you think in terms of design, content, spelling errors, etc.

Just put your toys back in the box before going home. I’m really trying to get organized here.

Continue Reading