A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: Fox News

Dental Damn

It’s official. I am a magnet for crazy people.

I recently went to a new dentist for a routine cleaning and checkup, and it was beyond bizarre, even for me.

I should tell you, first of all, that I have a great deal of anxiety when it comes to dental work. And by “great deal of anxiety” I mean Cuckoo for Coco Puffs. I get super sweaty just thinking about it. The smells, the sounds, the vibration of the drill…it all makes me want to curl into the fetal position and die a quick death.

Sometimes before I go to the dentist I drink a little. I once asked my neighbor/BFF Tammy to drive me to the dentist and back. She did it. No questions asked. Although I think she suspected I was up to something when I showed up at her house with Margarita salt in my hair.

If I’m going to have major work done, the dentist will prescribe me some Valium. Me likee. Sadly, it’s always just enough to survive one appointment: 2 little pills.

The last dentist I went to gave me a bum crown. Then for three frickin’ years every time I went back for a check up and told her “I can’t chew with the right side of my mouth,” she’d say, “Well sometimes it takes crowns a while to settle down.”

Three years. No chew. Don’t get me started. Too late. Now the left side of my jaw is strong enough to crack walnuts and the right side can’t even hold a straw. That’s effed up. Time for a new dentist.

So I started asking around and my friend Monica who is borderline obsessive when it comes to her health told me she LOVED her dentist. She had to have a root canal once and it was such a great experience that she baked the dentist and his staff brownies the next day.

Hand to God. Who does that? Monica, that’s who.

Sold! I wanted THAT guy. No more Dr. Bad Crown for me!

So I made the appointment and headed to town to meet Dr. Sweet Tooth.

It started normally enough…new patient forms, musak version of Chicago’s Greatest Hits piping in from somewhere above, that weird dentist office smell in the air.

Soon I was fully reclined in the coldest room I’ve ever experienced. My nervous sweat was forming into pit-cicles and every hair on my body was sticking straight up.

The hygienist appears and says, “Oh, are you cold? Would you like a blanket?”

“Yes please!” I chatter.

“I just want to go over your info with you….it says here that you are not currently taking any medications. Is that correct?”

Now remember, I’m nervous. And you know what happens when I get nervous? Verbal diarrhea, bad jokes, and TMI.

So I swallow and very calmly state, “Yes, that’s correct, I’m drug-free. Got anything you can share?”

“Really?” (She laughs nervously) “What are you looking for?”

“Oh whatever! I’m easy! Valium? Nitrous oxide? Got any anti-depressants?” I’m obviously kidding. Obviously! (Kinda.)

“Actually I do!  I’m on Lexapro.” my hygienist stage whispers unapologetically, and a little too close for my liking. “I had a really hard time getting pregnant and I think it really messed with my hormones, and then one day, I’m at the gyno, and wham-bam, I just start crying! The next thing I know, she’s handing me all kinds of free samples!  But nothing I’ve tried seems to work, so maybe I should see a psychiatrist. Is that what you do? See a psychiatrist? That’s a really good idea. You know, I’m starting to think that my gyno is probably just handing out whatever the drug reps have recently dropped off and that she doesn’t really know what any of the meds actually do. Do you know what I mean? I have a good friend who’s a nurse and she thinks I’m bipolar, but really highly functioning.  One of the meds I tried made me so crazy I didn’t sleep for 6 days!  But by the seventh day I was so tired that I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went off it.  Now I’m on Lexapro, but I don’t think it is working.

At this point, my spider senses are tingling and telling me to get the hell out of there. But I’m reclined and covered with a blanket, and the TV positioned above my head is scrolling a can’t-look-away-story about a toddler who was eaten by a pack of wild dogs. Or maybe it’s about a toddler and a package of recalled hot dogs. Damn Fox News. It’s scrolling so fast! Who can tell?!

So naturally, this is when Heidi Hygienist reaches into a drawer and pulls out a very sharp metal instrument, supposedly for scraping. And I am lying there thinking, do I really want a supposedly-highly-functioning-improperly-medicated-sleep-deprived-bipolar-person-with-hormone-problems hacking away in my mouth with a sharp tool? No, I do not. But what can I do? I am frozen with fear and icy cold sweat.

She is scraping away and asking me if I drink coffee or red wine. (“Yessh,” I incoherently whimper).  But it doesn’t end there…as she’s working, she stops periodically and just blurts things out like, “GOD!  I feel so stupid!  Of course a gyno doesn’t know anything about brain chemistry!”  (scrape, scrape, scrape) And, “Do you have depression and anxiety? I do! I get so mad sometimes I just feel like I’m going to explode.”  (And she makes this crazy wide-eyed-rage-face like I do when I catch my four year old coloring the carpet with my new lipstick).  I am scared for my teeth and my life.

Eons later, the dentist finally appears.  He greets me quickly and peers into my mouth. Less than two minutes later he leaves and informs the hygienist that he needs me to come back for a longer appointment so he can do some diagnostics.  Looks like a root canal is in my near future.

But definitely not at that place.

Maybe my bad crown isn’t so bad after all.

brushing between meals,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.


The Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot, is a female erogenous zone which when stimulated leads to high levels of sexual arousal and powerful orgasms. Or so they say. I’d love to tell you more about it, but sadly, that is all I know at this point. My husband and I have yet to find this Holy Grail, try as we might, and I am not about to spend $1500 on a shot of collagen up my hoo-hoo to puff up my G-spot like a pink balloon and make it an easier target for my man to hit. Seriously ya’ll, women are doing that. It’s called a “G-Shot.” Google it. But honestly, there is not a single thing on my body that I want to even remotely resemble Meg Ryan’s lips, thank you very much. Besides, I have way more important things to do with $1500… like get an invisible fence so my dog will stop trying to exhume the gigantic dead Basset Hound my neighbors just buried on our property line.  So today, I’ll have to talk about a different kind of G-spot. Today, G is for Grandparents and the G-spot I’m referring to is the safe, loving haven that can be found in the home and arms of these special people. Bait and switch. I know. Whatever works, eh? But don’t leave just yet, this is funny stuff. I promise. 

Once a week, 19 month old Bucket Head does a sleepover at his Nonni’s house. Ya’ll, Nonni is Italian for Grandparents. Nonna means Grandma. Nonno means Grandpa. There. Now you’re bilingual. You are welcome. Don’t say I never teach you anything. 

I got this weekly slumber party idea recently from one of my sisters-in-law who lives in Michigan.  She told me that her 2 year old spent the night once a week with her in-laws and I was beside myself with jealousy! WHAT? You get one night a week free? (She only has one kid anyway and she’s farming him out 1/7th of the time?)  Damn. That is brilliant. Way to delegate, girl! And then I thought, shoot, why can’t I do that? I have in-laws who live exactly 7 minutes away and are the most loving, dedicated Grandparents one could ever hope to have. Why on earth am I hogging this baby all to myself?    

So I thought about it for a whole split second and then I remembered exactly why my kids don’t spend more quality time at their Nonni’s house. Safety. Call me overprotective, but I went to a lot of trouble to make and birth and get my kids this far along in the life cycle… I am not about to purposely threaten their lives with the perfect storm of basic child safety code violations that can be found “over the river and through the woods.” I mean damn, the wolf in the grandmother’s bed in Little Red Riding Hood is like a sweet, fluffy kitten compared to the cavalcade of dangers at my in-laws’ home. Those Brothers Grimm must have had similar grandparent issues to craft a story so timeless and poignant.

Lest you think I’m exaggerating, please allow me to share some of the more egregious health and safety issues we face at the Cosa di Nonni. Here, check this out and let me know if you think I’m over-reacting.   

  1. It is completely not baby-proof. Every outlet is exposed. Every corner is sharp and right at eye level. And the last time we were there, Bucket Head came toddling out of the kitchen carrying a double edged serrated sickle-shaped Cuisinart blade in his little baby hands with one edge pointing directly at his jugular and the other pointed at his round little toddler belly. I definitely pooped in my pants a little when I witnessed that. Who knew I could hurtle my body through space that quickly? Good thing too… I didn’t leave any stains on the couch.   
  2. There are always several decorative bowls of nuts and hard candies on the coffee table. ALERT. ALERT. ALERT! Choking hazard! Place your hands in the air and back away from the candy dish! 
  3. My in-laws are both 79 years old and not in the best of health. My MIL has had a mini-stroke and valve replacement surgery, and she has mobility, hearing, and vision challenges (in addition to numerous random aches and pains and strange odors emanating from her ears that she’d just love to tell you all about). My FIL has had both knees replaced recently and has a bit of trouble getting up and down stairs and getting up from a seated position. He’s also the single most flatulent man I’ve ever encountered, but that is not really a safety issue as long as you don’t smoke or caramelize flan around him.     
  4. There are myriad medicine bottles, recycled sandwich baggies, and several of those daily MTWThFSS pill divider boxes chock full of a lovely potpourri of pills, looking like an irresistible cache of candy, just laying about all willy nilly, everywhere you turn. Totally. Not. Childproof. One time when Klepto was about 2 and we were visiting, she got into the pills and swallowed some Coumadin (prescription blood thinner)… right under our noses!  When I noticed her chomping on something and saw the pill organizer open, I had to call 911 because I couldn’t find the phone book anywhere to look up the number for Poison Control. That was the day I learned to enter Poison Control into my cell phone like this: “1-Poison Control.” Doing so puts it right at the top of my directory so I don’t have to search for it when I’m in an all out panic. Ah, good times. 
  5. There is a convicted sex offender who lives a few houses down the street.  Seriously.  And I’m not talking about an 18 year old boy who got busted doing it in the backseat with his 17 year old girlfriend by her shotgun wielding parents.  I’m talking about a vile old man who asks little boys to help him find his lost puppy and then sodomizes them. Yeah. That guy. He did some prison time and was released, and now he’s renting a house a few doors down. I found him on a National Sex Offender Registry. Makes my skin crawl. Gotta love the Internet.   
  6. There is a Pit Bull Terrier in the yard next door, contained by only an invisible fence.  His name is Zero. He paces back and forth along that invisible fence line like a hungry tiger in a cage… watching the sudden, darting movements of my babies and licking his chops, silently willing them to venture over to his side of the wire. My children think he’s cute and always want to pet him. 
  7. My in-laws watch Fox News. 

So there you have it.  Not baby-proof. Convicted sex offender neighbor. Pit Bull next door. Choking hazards. Sharp blades and corners at every turn. Easily accessible prescription pills. Mobility issues. And perhaps the most alarming and dangerous: Fox News.  

And yet, you know where my baby is right now? Sleeping at his Nonni’s house.  

You see, I’ve been thinking of grandparents a lot this week due to the untimely passing of President Elect Obama’s beloved Grandma Toot. My Grandma also passed away recently. She was a huge part of my life and we were very close. She taught me how to needlepoint, and make homemade applesauce, and play Gin Rummy. She and I shared a love of soup and big band music. I loved sleeping over at her house and did so often from the time I was a baby until I got married. I sure did love that lady. 

There is a very special bond that happens between a Grandparent and a Grandchild. My kids totally get it. They walk in that door and go straight for the biscotti jar and know that Mommy will say no, but Nonna always says yes. They say the reason Grandparents and Grandchildren get along so well is because they have a common enemy. My children need that connection, and I need a break. And my in-laws LOVE having my kids over. It is the brightest part of their week. These lovely people successfully raised twelve of their own children. Yeah. You heard me. Twelve. Surely they can handle a single toddler overnight once a week. And with that Bucket on his head, at least he will be protected when he walks head-first into the pointed corner of their kitchen counter. 

So I’ve decided to “Let Go and Let God” and trust that my in-laws will protect the kids from pedophiles and Pit Bulls and pills.  This is a win-win-win situation. I get a break, Bucket Head gets the undivided, unconditional, un-nutritional love of his Nonni, and my in-laws get their weekly baby fix. It’s all good.

I mean really, as long as Poison Control is on speed-dial, they have lots of Elmo band-aids on hand, don’t let him play outside, and have extra wipes around to manage the cookie-only-diet-induced-diarrhea, I think they’ll all survive. This is definitely a G-spot that I can find and keep visiting. And hopefully I can eventually undo the Fox News Poisoning with lots of love, reassuring hugs, and read alouds from The Nation. Keep us in your prayers, eh?

Mommy, look! Shiny!

Mommy, look! Shiny!

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