Nothing at all is like pulling teeth

My favorite television commercial to complain about lately has been the tooth-whitening one about the “tissue test.” You know, where she freaks out when she holds a tissue up to her teeth and they don’t look as white as the material does.
Seriously? This is all she worries about with her teeth? Whether they past the tissue test or not? Get real. For years I have done the “biting food” test. If I bite down on food and my teeth don’t ache, throb, develop shooting pains or actually break off, I’m satisfied. I don’t need a tissue to validate my teeth.

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with my teeth: I love to have them, and I hate taking care of them. Oh, I brush them and floss them, but it seems that no matter how careful I am today, they will not forgive me for the years of neglect I gave them when I was young.

And I’ve paid for that, over and over. The first time I went to a dentist, I was 17 and the dentist was required to pull a tooth. He said it was nothing to pull a tooth. After he had shot my mouth full of Novocain, he immediately began pulling the tooth. To this day, I swear there is a dent in my left shoulder where he braced his knee to yank out the tooth. It was reasonably fast, but the Novocain didn’t kick in until a few minutes after he was done. To this day, I get the shudders when someone describes a problem as being “like pulling teeth.”  I assure you, nothing is like pulling teeth.

Unfortunately, this experience put into place a vicious cycle in which I avoided dentists until I had a terrible problem and of course, the solution was always difficult and painful…you might say getting me to the dentist was like, “pulling teeth.”

Dentists differed on whether my teeth should be cleaned—one said no because of a heart murmur, but after eight years of no cleaning, I was sent to a dentist who felt those eight years of no cleaning needed to be rectified. 


I have heard stories of scary types who use dental equipment to get information from people and I believe that is an effective technique. If I had possessed any secrets that dental hygienist wanted to  know, I’d have told her to get her to stop “cleaning” my teeth.

When she had done one side of my mouth and my eyes were leaving their sockets, she made her mistake: She said, “Well, I think we should give you a break and you can come in for another appointment to finish the other side.” I went home, spit blood for a couple of days and went back into dental avoidance.

Of course, this kind of ill-treatment of my teeth has resulted in the loss of some. I have a wonderfully fitted partial, but even that has caused some dental avoidance: One side of the partial has lost one of the faux teeth attached to it and I have yet to take it in and let the dentist look at it. What’s worse is that I have no idea what happened to the fake tooth when it came loose, but I am pretty sure I consumed it.

With all of these experiences in dentistry, I am pretty sure I’m lucky to still have teeth in my mouth that actually help me eat, so I will be incredibly grateful for those, which I brush and floss regularly. As to whether I can pass the “tissue test” I would love to do that, but white teeth just don’t matter as much as whole teeth. I’ll use the tissue to blow my nose instead!

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Henry had feminist issues…

I have been reading a lot lately about feminist viewpoints and the equality between men and women. As an historian, I’ve studied equality between the genders all through the history of man (forgive the gender specific term). The men who treated their wives with great respect and equality were definitely in the minority, especially among the ruling class.

The anti-feminist winner, however, has to be one of my most fascinating studies in history in the case of Henry VIII of England. Known by his contemporaries as “Bluff King Hal,” Henry gave women little reason to think he was a kind and benevolent fellow.

Henry knew the ins and outs of marriage and even more about handling a divorce without any squabble. In fact, you might say he was a master at matrimony and an even greater deviser of divorce.

First married to his brother’s widow, the Spanish Katherine, Hal lived peaceably in married bliss (for him anyway) for about 18 years and was considered quite the devoted husband since he had only had two or three mistresses during that time. Things might have rolled along well, but Henry had two problems: First, he had no son to be king after him and two, he took a strong fancy to his wife’s lady-in-waiting—Anne Boleynn.

Now, for all the men who have deserted their wives and failed to provide proper alimony or child support, consider the case of poor Katherine. She was forced to live in a falling down pile of stone, complete with rats and mildew. Her food had to be tasted by loyal servants to make sure she wasn’t “accidentally” poisoned…a fact which probably made it hard to hire “loyal” servants.

Anne Boleynn in her turn, failed to give Henry a son and her end was even worse than Katherine’s, because by then Henry knew how to chop to the heart of the matter, or in Anne’s case, the head. She was beheaded and Henry lost no time in marrying HER lady-in-waiting, Jane Seymour.

Had I been Jane, I’d have hired only ladies-in-waiting who were ugly or old, but it probably didn’t matter since Jane had the fortune to produce the long-awaited boy. She died in the process, which probably makes her the luckiest of Henry’s wives.

Not a man to be discouraged, Henry married wife number four, Anne of Cleves. He was betrothed without seeing the lady, whom he labeled “the Great Flanders Mare” on first sight. It is important to remember that by this time, old Henry was no Adonis himself and not the sweetest tempered of men, but it is said that on their wedding night, he was alarmed to be met with Anne’s hair on a tray, being carried out as he went in!

This marriage achieved the fastest divorce on record, since both husband and wife were eager to be released. Anne collected all she could in the divorce settlement and lived happily ever after without Henry, so you might say she was the happiest of his wives.

Henry, not to be discouraged, married another lady-in-waiting. In fact, his eighteen-year-old child bride, Katherine Howard, was a cousin to Anne Boleynn. She met the same fatal end, losing her head after Henry discovered she liked younger men than him.

Henry tried one more time, marrying Katherine Parr, a 30 year old widow who was already in love with someone else. It wasn’t wise to reject Henry as a suitor, however, so the reluctant bride married the old man.  Katherine was the most educated of Henry’s wives and for expressing her opinion (which conflicted with Henry’s) she almost lost her head. Henry did her the favor of dying before he could do it, which probably makes her even luckier than Jane Seymour.

Forgive this small history lesson, but with all the talk about equality between the sexes and feminist positions, I couldn’t help thinking of Henry and the women—all of them feminist in their own ways—who conducted their own form of gender wars with him. Hope you have better success in your own gender wars!

 

 

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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It was that time again….

I knew it was time. It had been building up for weeks and soon I knew that there would be no more hiding it by shutting the door. Mostly because the door was not going to shut anymore. That’s right, you guessed it: it was time to clean the refrigerator again.

Time goes so quickly. It seems like I just cleaned the refrigerator and now here it is a year later and it needs it again. My least favorite chore in the house is this unappealing ritual which takes up time and effort and never leaves me with any sense of accomplishment.

Nonetheless, I resolutely began the process of going through the wilted lettuce, spoiled potato leftovers, and jars of mildewed tomatoes. Roy came in while I was deep in the refrigerator’s bowels, scraping something sticky off the wall and wondering  how it had managed to seep into the glass plating over the shelf.

“What are these bags?” he asked, pointing to two garbage bags, bulging on all sides.

“They are the results of my cleaning the refrigerator,” I announced proudly.

“You threw all of these things away?” he was shocked and slightly offended.

“Yes, I thought it was time for some of the things in this refrigerator,” I answered sarcastically. “Some of those items were mating with each other and adhering themselves to the refrigerator shelves. It was becoming a matter of national security.”

He was busy looking at what was in the bags. “I can see three juice bottles in there. Those were in the bottom of the fridge. What was wrong with them?”

“The cranberry juice had mold on the top and the apple juice was so old it had turned and not in a good way,” I blew the hair out of my face and started on whatever was crusted onto the vegetable drawers.

“And the prune juice?” he pressed.

“It expired the year Tracie graduated from high school and she’s been out of the house for ten years. I thought it was time to give it a decent burial. Don’t disturb the dead, dear, let it rest in peace in that garbage bag.”

Roy gave up and left me to chip the ice off the freezer trays on my own. I only stabbed myself three times before I finally gave up. I put everything back on the shelves, including the excessive number of packages of butter. Apparently, I have been buying boxes of butter and burying them in the wilds of the refrigerator. Then, I would buy another package. At present, I have enough butter to grace the toast of an entire medium-sized country.

I decided it was time to sit down with a cool drink of soda and maybe a piece of cheese. Except both of them had been out so long they were an unpleasantly warm temperature. So, I got a glass of tepid water, dragged the now dripping and drooling garbage bags out the front door and turned on an old episode of I Love Lucy.

Thank goodness that job is over for another year, I tell myself. Now I can get on with doing all the things that I think are more fun…like having a root canal on a tooth that doesn’t need it or skydiving with a faulty parachute. Have a great week everyone, and if your refrigerator needs cleaning—don’t call me!

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Life is a skating rink…so let it slide!

 

Although I love watching people engaged in the sport of ice skating, I have never desired to be good at it. The only pair of ice skates I ever owned were given to me as a seven-year-old child and I never made it past the stage where my father held me upright, while I tried to force my ankles to push my feet and the ankles always retaliated by folding like a couple of damp towels!

Since I outgrew those skates, I have kept my feet on un-bladed ground and limited my winter activities to cursing the snow! That is not, unfortunately, the end of my association with ice. And living in a place like South Dakota, I have had more than my fair share of opportunities to tangle with ice.

So far, the score is: ice: 10, me: 0. Driving on ice has always been problematic, because the car has even less experience dealing with ice than I have. Only twice have I turned a complete cookie in the road and that little dent in the front lawn that Roy thinks was done by the dog…wasn’t done by the dog, so much as I misjudged the driveway one icy day and I was lucky I only made one dent! I’m still going to let the dog take the blame!bear_on_ice

That would be bad enough, but I don’t walk on ice any better than I drive on it. There was the fateful January when a freezing rain came down for about two hours, putting a layer of ice on my front steps about two inches thick. After I had crawled down three steps and slid down the rest, holding on to an equally icy banister, I spent the next two hours with a hammer. I only ruined three steps, but all that ice came off.

A broken wrist is probably the worst ice-related event I’ve had, and that was also gained by trying to walk down a set of icy steps. After those events, Roy installed an ice-resistant material on the steps and my days of sliding down them have diminished.

Not so the ice everywhere else. On a year like this, ice has been prevalent no matter where you go. I had to take the dog for a walk one night and it was her, running faster than she should have and me, taking it in baby steps, crawling along. I’d have made it, but when I called her back to me, she came flying up on the ice, had all four legs slip out from under her. She came skidding towards me like a large, furry battering  ram and I took two hasty steps back before my legs slipped out from under me and we landed together in an awkward heap on the edge of the driveway.

I could live with all of this, but it seems that the mean streets of Aberdeen are out to get me this winter. Roy likes to go to the college basketball games and we usually get there late. That means parking in the dark some distance from the stadium.

On the first occasion, I dropped him off and went to do some shopping. I came back, parked and hurried towards the building. When my feet went out from under me, I hovered in the air and then came down on the one part of me that always provides padding. Nothing truly damaged but my dignity and since no one saw me, it wasn’t too bad.

On the second occasion, Roy and I parked and headed towards the building together. We were walking on the sidewalk side-by-side and suddenly, he was continuing to walk on dry pavement and I was skidding for my life on the ice on my side. Roy made a grab for me and that stopped me…from skidding. The only thing left to do, then, was fall and I did it..on my knee. You know that old saying about “big girls don’t cry?” Well, they do when they land on their knees on the ice.

The latest incident came just this weekend. The game was over and Roy said, “Let me go get the car.” Offended, I insisted I could walk…I was wrong. I made it all the way to the car and got the door open. Without warning, my feet found the only ice for a block around and slid, down and under the car. I was impressed; I didn’t think I could fit under the car, but there I was!

Anyway, this is the end of my story of icy frolics. I hope the rest of you are having better luck and that my luck doesn’t get any worse! Happy winter!

 

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Stage life in an off, off, OFF Broadway Production 

One of my favorite activities in the world is putting on productions with my students. I love to write, so I compose a play and my students are so good as to go along with me. Once a year we enter a competition wherein we put on one of my plays.

Except for the agonized screaming and fist-pounding on walls while I’m writing, the creative part goes fairly smoothly. I cast the students and we begin work on the play. Breaking them of using scripts is a little like taking a pacifier away from a toddler, but eventually, they are pottering around the stage, determining that they need a towel for this activity or the third cowboy is standing right in front of the saloon girl and we are almost ready.

What I would really like to share with you, however, is the frantic ten minutes that occurs just before we take the stage at competition. Everything seems to go well until we reach the day of the competition, and then the closer it gets to performance time, the sketchier it can get; that’s why I’ve decided to break it down for you a minute at a time.

Ten minutes to showtime: My saloon janitor informed me that he has forgotten to bring his mop. Keep in mind that the saloon janitor spends most of his time on stage mopping and you can see that this is a minor disaster. After ten minutes of frantic searching, we find a real janitor at the stage and the best she can do is produce a push broom. We accept, and the stage janitor disappears, practicing how he will now talk about his broom and not his mop.

Nine minutes to showtime: I cannot find one of my saloon girls. After a hectic search, I find her in the bathroom, trying to put a pin in the back of her dress, which she has discovered gaps in the front in a most distressing way. I helped with the pin and was proud that I didn’t jab her with it.

Eight minutes to showtime: My sheriff cannot locate his badge. We search and run every direction, searching for something shiny, glittering on the floor. After five minutes, we found the sheriff’s badge clipped to the lining of the picnic basket. We don’t know how it got there and don’t have time to care.

Seven minutes to showtime: In setting up the poker table, the poker chips spill out and all over the floor. We have three saloon girls, a few cowboys and even a preacher all crawling around collecting them as they rolled tipsy-turvy across the stage.

Six minutes to showtime: One of my townspeople decides that it will not be possible to breathe and remember her lines all at once. We practice a little controlled breathing and she eventually declares herself in recollection of her lines, even though she’s a little light-headed from the breathing exercises. I move on to the next issue, wishing someone could control my breathing.

Five minutes to showtime: Two cowboys are arguing about which one had the black cowboy hat with the red braid and which one had the one with the mud on the brim. I rushed by, deciding that if they got excited while settling that, it might give them more energy on stage.

Four minutes to showtime: I give instructions as to where to set the standing door which is to represent the sheriff’s office. When I got out into the audience, I discovered that my instructions had caused the students to have to enter and exit the door in exactly the opposite direction as we had practiced. They compensated, I cursed under my breath.

Three minutes to showtime: I find two girls with their heads together, talking. Thinking they were running lines, I snapped, “You should know your lines by now!” Then I realized they were praying.

Two minutes to showtime: I hand out the toy guns with instructions that the students not mess with them. There is an immediate whirring noise all around me as they pressed the noise-makers on the guns.

One minute to showtime: I give the light crew the signal that means that they should let me get to my seat in the theater and then they should hit blackout before we start. They hit blackout immediately, leaving me in the middle of the stage with no way to see. I only fell four times before I made it to my seat.

And so, another night on Broadway carried forth!

 

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Entertainment is a relative thing…

The Rifleman is about to come on television, so I’m going to have to keep this blog short. Now please don’t tell me that you don’t know about The Rifleman because everyone should be exposed to Lucus McCain and his trick rifle…this is something everyone agrees on…except my daughter.

“Don’t go letting my boys watch  The Rifleman this summer when they are with you,” she cautioned as she dropped the boys for a week’s visit.

“But the Rifleman is so wholesome. Chuck Conners plays Lucas McCain and uses that rifle effortlessly to take care of the bad guys. And all without blood and gore,” I was truly distraught. The Rifleman is my favorite.

“Alright, but not a steady diet of it, okay? I don’t want the boys to start playing at shooting,” she conceded reluctantly as she drove away.

I don’t understand it. People say they want to be entertained and then they overlook the best entertainment. I don’t need vampires or singing idols or romantic couples (of 30 or more) to keep me entertained. I object to demons which scare me to death and I also don’t get a thrill out of shows where people try to survive in the wilderness or argue with each other for fun.

I do like shows where the good guy comes out on top (with some shooting and body count, I admit.) I like shows with a mystery and I absolutely adore old movies (talkies, only please). Most of the programming  I want to watch is blood free (well, except for Code Black, which is kind of medically loaded), and as I said, the good guys may not be wearing the white hats, but they do finish first.

If I’m going to sit through a movie, it needs to be a little supernatural without being “gargoyles stepping off the buildings to eat us” scary. I’ve discovered that the higher a woman’s heel in a movie or television show, the more likely she is to be a person who will go for the jugular, and I’m definitely a low-heeled sort of person. I also have learned that while mini-series can be interesting, they frequently stretch out and last too long. I want to know why that dome fell right now or why those animals suddenly attacked without too many episodes. I don’t have the patience to wait too long!

That brings us back to television when my grandsons are here. I know they like to watch Modern Marvels and Paw Patrol, but I didn’t think they really paid much attention to my programming, so I could watch The Rifleman, right? That is, I didn’t think it mattered  until their mother came to pick them up.

“As you can see, I took good care of them,” I bragged as I was packing up clothes and toys. “I didn’t expose them to anything bad and I flatter myself I may have introduced them to some new pieces of fine entertainment.”

At that exact moment, the older boy stepped out of the bathroom, where he had been brushing his teeth. Dropping the toothbrush to his right hip in an exact replica of Lucas McCain with his rifle, he fired several shots (complete with sound effects) directly at his brother.maxresdefault

My daughter turned to me  and said, “Lucas McCain is out.” And she  just gave me that look which told me that any further watching of The Rifleman when her boys are there will be at midnight, deep in a closet! It’s not too bad, though, I still have plenty of good television to watch when they are there…Paw Patrol, Curious George, Dinosaur Train and on really good days, even a little bit of Sid the Science Kid! Entertainment is all relative, right?

© Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In the Well, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Wells-Fauth and Drops In The Well with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Preparing for hell week

Well, hell week has arrived. So named because it is the week of the year that I hate the most. It is the week when Roy is on the road and I am in charge of the house…and the yard…and the vehicles…and yes, even the dog.

I never realize just how much Roy takes care of without so much as my noticing it…at least, until hell week gets here. Then I know that he maintains a lot of things without my help. The house know this too, and so does the weather and so does the dog. Because hell week is named for the fact that everything that week goes straight to…well, you get the picture.

I try to prepare. I make sure the vehicles are filled up and the furnace tank is adequate. I make sure the electric bill is paid and that all the groceries I need are bought. But it never helps, hell week hits every single year on the week Roy is out of town.

The weather usually begins it. The great blizzard of the 90s hit during hell week, forcing me to try to use the wood stove. My Boy Scout training never took and my ability to make a fire in the stove involves two hours of smoke, ashes and serious tears before I get it going. I have checked the weather for this hell week and they are predicting snow or extreme cold for every day. Roy insists this is not his fault, but I believe it is.

If it snows, that presents several problems…mainly that I depend on Roy to get me out of trouble if I land in a snowbank while driving. Since Roy must take the car that handles well in snow, I am left with the rear-wheel drive car which doesn’t do well in snow or the pickup, whose four-wheel drive uses are a mystery to me. There’s also the issue of shoveling snow. A little snow can be swept, but a lot requires shoveling which is above my paygrade, or even worse, using the snow blower. I know the basic principle, but the snow blower is gender prejudiced and basically evil. The deeper the snow, the more likely it is to fail.

The dog is particularly depressed about hell week, because that means her whole schedule is messed up. I never can remember if she has a cup and a half of the dry food, or some sort of chewy stick and when those things happen. Walks are much shorter than Roy’s because I am a weenie in the cold, and she has to wait longer for me to get home and let her out. She blames Roy for hell week as well and it may be the only thing we agree on.

The crick I develop in my neck is also a result of Roy being gone. I hate to go to bed in the big, empty bed when Roy is gone, so frequently, I fall asleep in the chair in the living room. This results in a terrible kink in my neck which lasts all week. Roy insists that this is definitely not his fault, but I say if he really cared, he’d put something in the bed so it wouldn’t look so empty. I’d most like to find Harrison Ford in there, but I’d settle for a big, comfortable body pillow!

So, you can see why this week is hell week at my house. I burn my food because Roy is not there to gently clear his throat and inquire how the meal is coming. I panic every time the furnace shuts down, fearing it won’t return. And worst of all, there is no one to take care of the light bulbs that burn out or the clocks that need batteries.

Roy protects himself during hell week too. I think he purposely doesn’t call very often that week (he says he puts in long hours so he can get home sooner, but I think he’s just avoiding the daily disaster bulletin.) When he does call, he usually starts the conversation with, “Hi, it’s Roy; what did I do today?”

So if you see me this week, I’m likely to do a lot of whining about hell week…unless, of course, I find Harrison Ford in the bedroom. What do you think my chances are?

 

 

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