It all started with Punky Brewster.
When I was 6 years old I wanted to be Punky Brewster. I wanted a purple unicorn bicycle (I don't even know what that means anymore, but I remember the phrase clearly, and that's what I wanted) so that I could ride down the huge hill beside our rental house and pretend to be Punky Brewster.
That Christmas I got my purple unicorn bicycle, with streamers coming out of the handlebars and no training wheels. I was so excited. My dad took me out into the front yard on Christmas morning, and the very first thing I did - hand to God, there's a picture in my parents' house to prove it - the very first thing I did was pedal directly into my dad's 1978 frog-green Ford work truck.
That was how I rolled, friends.
I wasn't nearly as afraid of riding a bike as I should have been, given my skill level. I rode all the time, and fell almost as much. I had stitches in my mouth twice, and one close call on my cheek. Once, as the doctor was sewing me up, he said, "Put your hands down next time, okay? I'd rather sew palms than lips." One fall was particularly bad. I was staying with a neighbor, and my trip down the huge hill beside our house went awry and ploughed me directly into the curb. My lip was mangled, and my two front teeth - my only permanent teeth - were both broken.
Which is why I had a root canal at age 7. Apparently toxins from the asphalt caused one of my two permanent teeth to die, and a root canal was necessary to drain the poison (aren't you glad you asked? I still remember it clearly - that's how un-fun it was). After the root canal, they capped my only two permanent teeth in the world, and all was right again.
Here's a fun fact: did you know that artificial tooth enamel has a shelf life of 20 years? And if you do the math, you will realize that my front teeth have now been capped for 24 years. Replacing the caps has been on my to-do list for my dentist, but remember how I told you that my children stole my calcium and my teeth were kaput after having Silas? I had teeth that were going to cause me real trouble if I didn't take care of them, and since my front teeth didn't hurt, and weren't going anywhere (ahem), replacing the caps got pushed down on the list. And then I started to work and childcare got tight and it was the holidays and I just ... never got around to it. Who wants to go to the dentist anyway?
Right now, I do.
Because Sunday morning I was using those two front partially-false elderly front teeth of mine to open a container (you KNOW you open containers with your teeth too, so I don't want to hear it), and suddenly something felt ... funny. Not quite right. I looked in the mirror, and part of my front tooth was gone. Gone! I looked like a Clampett. It didn't hurt - because it wasn't real - but I looked ridiculous.
And now I had one more thing to deal with on Monday morning. Fevers, doctors, work schedules, holiday commitments, and now this. I called my dentist at 8:03 a.m., and they said they would not see me as long as I had a fever, and they are closed Thursday and Friday of this week, so if I wanted to see them I'd need to see a doctor first. By 11 a.m. I was in my doctor's office, somewhere I had not been since 2003. I don't get sick very often, and for several years there my OB was my primary physician. But if an antibiotic is what is required to see the dentist before Christmas, then I will gladly oblige. Otherwise? Christmas of 2009 will find me looking ... well, looking like this: