Friday, June 27, 2008

Braces? At my age?

When I was young, I wanted braces. I always thought my friends who had them looked so cool. But, I never needed them-until now. I don't want them now-I got over that stage of my life about 20 years ago. It's not a vanity thing-I am really not a vain person. Its more that I have heard they hurt and I am very much an anti-pain person.

I have insisted for the past few years that my bottom teeth are shifting. I have looked at these teeth everyday for a really long time so I felt that I was more than qualified to notice when they started to not look right. With the moves to Arizona and back to Washington, however, I kept changing dentists before they could really notice this shift I was talking about. I had my last cleaning on 1/29. I go every six months without fail. I have good teeth and I would like to keep it that way. Finally, at this appointment, the dentist was able to see that I really do have shifting teeth ("unstable" was their term). It isn't so much my teeth she noticed, but the fact that I am holding my bottom jaw to the right to try to correct the bite. She scheduled me for an orthodontal consult which was supposed to be February 11th, but I cancelled it after James passed away. It still seems so unreal that one evening we were casually discussing me possibly needing braces and putting it off until after the wedding and a week later he was gone.

They called last week when they realized I had not been in yet to see them. So, I went in today. In January, I was shifting my jaw periodically, now I am doing it constantly. I have a midline shift, which sounds more like some sort of defensive play in hockey or soccer than an orthodontic issue to me. I have options: I can get a retainer and hope it stabilizes the problem, or I can get braces and fix the problem.

I know if James were here to discuss this with, he would say to fix the problem instead of just putting a Band-aid on it. It bothers me that this is just one more thing he didn't get to know the outcome of. But, he is not here and my insurance apparently does not cover this. So, there is that to consider as well and that is a pretty big consideration. I am basically looking at the equivalent of another car payment if I go with the braces. Looks like I better crunch some numbers. Luckily for me, I'm good at that. I also have to look at the big picture-my jaw will go back where it is supposed to and I will stop feeling like I was punched in the mouth every day. I think I have pretty much made up my mind, but after 8 years of having a partner to weigh all the pros and cons, it is a little weird to make the decision on my own. Good thing this isn't a huge decision!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Are they still running today?

I have really bad luck with stop lights. I swear they see me coming and turn red on purpose. This amazed James. We could leave the same place at the same time and he would get to our destination at least 5 minutes before me every time. Being that I spend so much longer in the car than is really necessary, I have a lot of time to think. Sometimes I just let my mind wander, which is not always a good thing!

I have my radio set to a station that plays music from the 60's and 70's. I like the music and I like the fact that they actually play music in the morning instead of just chattering away. Monday, as I was driving to my appointment with the grief counselor, Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run" came on. This really is a catchy little tune. But it got me thinking. One of the lines is "and they're still running today." Are they? Are Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue still on the lam? I did some research and from what I can tell, the song came out in 1976, so they have been running for 32 years, if they are still running. Do they have any money left or did they spend it all? How much did they steal in the first place? My guess is that Billy Mack has long since retired. Does this unsolved case haunt him? If they made it to Mexico, that would be out of his jurisidication.

If James was in the car with me, we might have discussed this. These were the silly things we talked about to pass the time. We may have even created a scenario as to how they were caught or how they are living today. I would love to know his thoughts on it. And I would really love it if Steve Miller did a sequel song letting me know what happened. Because now that I have this in my head, it is really going to bug me. Maybe I will just write my own story as to how this all played out. Maybe one of these days, I will also figure out how to hit green lights instead of red ones. There are definitely better things I could be doing with my time than pondering hit songs of the '70s.

Pennies from Heaven

My grandmother died in 1994. Not too long after that, my mom told me about the pennies she had found from Grandma. I thought that Grandma had left her a very small coin collection. This is when I learned about pennies from Heaven-that our loved ones leave us pennies so we know they are still with us. I asked Mom how to tell if it is a penny from Heaven vs. a random ol' penny just laying around. Mom said to look and see when it was minted. If it is a significant year, it is a penny from Heaven.

When I joined the young widows group after James died, I learned that our loved ones also leave us dimes. Being that they are the smallest and lightest of the coins, they are easier for our loved ones to move. Too bad quarters aren't the light ones! A case could also be made for $100 bills being pretty light, but I imagine the wind probably isn't too cooperative.

Last Saturday, I spent the day at a Habitat for Humanity construction site. I have always wanted to volunteer for them and was excited when the opportunity came up. This is the only thing I have really felt completely excited about since James passed away.

Being that James and I were about the same height, some of his shoes fit me. So, I dug his CAT work boots out and wore those to the site. They fit, but the left one was rubbing my heel the wrong way so I already had a blister by the time I got to the site. I also had a pebble rolling around in the boot. I grabbed a couple of Band-Aids from the first aid kit in my trunk and sat down to bandage my heel and get the rock out. I shook out the rock, and set the boot down. I put the Band-Aids on and reached out to pick the boot up to put it back on. Right next to the boot was a dime, minted in 1999. 1999 is when James and I met. I felt that he was there with me-probably making sure I stayed away from power tools-and cheering me on as I finally stopped saying "I will do this someday" and achieved one of my goals. I later found a 1989 penny, which is when we moved from Washington to Idaho, so I know Dad was there too-probably also hoping I stayed away from power tools.

The project was fun. We were split into groups and spent the day painting the interiors of 4 of the condos. There will be 23 when the project is complete. This morning, I signed up to be a regular volunteer. I am not sure how often I will be able to make it to the site, but I can't wait to go back. I want to finish what I started.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This song says it all

A fellow widow from a message group I have been a part of for years said this song describes how she feels. I have to say I agree completely with her.

Keith Anderson: "I Still Miss You"

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The cows are laying down-it's gonna rain

My dad and James have been on my mind a lot lately. Actually, they pretty much always are. But, with James' birthday yesterday and Father's Day on Sunday, they have pretty much been the only thing on my mind.

Like most places, we have been having some weird weather. It has been downright cold and nasty lately. All of the dreariness got me thinking about a couple of incidents that happened several years ago; the first involving James and I and the second involving James, Dad and myself. Despite the gloom outside, the memory has brought a smile to my face several times over the past few days.

There is an old farmer's tale that if the cows are laying down, it is going to rain. James and I were out for a drive one afternoon on a fairly decent day. We passed a field and I noticed the cows were laying down. So, I said it was going to rain. Being the city boy that he was, James had never heard about weather predicting cows and assumed that I had heard that on the news. I explained to him it was going to rain because the cows were laying down.

Of course he immediately had to poke holes in what was one of the most ridiculous things he had ever heard. And I, of course, had an answer for everything. He thought the cows were just tired. I adamantly said that it was going to rain. He wanted to know what it meant if only some of the cows were laying down. I told him it was only going to rain a little bit. (Yeah, I was stretching on that one). Nonetheless, he was not convinced that whether or not cows lay down or stand up has anything to do with the weather. The next time we were out and about on a rainy day, he pointed out that the cows were not laying down therefore disproving my theory. I told him that it was already raining so there was no need for them to let us know the rain was on the way.

The next time we were visiting my dad, we were driving back to his house when we passed a field where the cows were laying down. Dad said it was going to rain. Having noticed the cows, I asked Dad why he said that. He said "the cows are laying down." James was convinced I had put Dad up to it, which I had not done. It took quite a bit of convincing until James finally believed that I had not said anything about the cows to Dad ahead of time.

I don't remember if it actually rained either one of those times, but this is the Northwest, so odds are good that it did. I know James never believed that if the cows are laying down it is going to rain. To be honest, I am not really sure if it is true either but I like to believe it is. After all, I passed a field yesterday and all the cows were standing up. And what do you know? The sun finally came out today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday Honey

Today I celebrate the life of a wonderful man who would have, and should have, turned 42 today. I am blessed to have loved and have been loved by him for the past 8 years. James truly was a remarkable man and he was taken from those who loved him far too soon.

Today I am doing the things he would have done if he was still here to do them. I have gone to see Indiana Jones, had lunch at one of our favorite places and am preparing to slay some plainstriders, since that is pretty much all I can do with World of Warcraft.

I know that James is smiling down on me and giving me the strength to get through this first birthday without him. I know he is smiling down on all of us that were so fortunate to have been a part of his life. Happy birthday Honey. I love you.