Scenes From the Lobby

One of my favorite things, if not my most favorite thing, is when people feel the need to talk on the phone in public places. Like in the quiet lobby at the dentist office, that I’ve been oh so lucky to frequent the last two months. I really feel privileged to be invited in on the phone conversation about how your boyfriend gave you an amazing orgasm last night. “Oh my god, Jen. It was…oh em gee, amazing. I don’t know what I did to deserve that, but I couldn’t even move afterwards.” No, I’m sorry. It does not matter how hushed your whisper, I can still hear your incredibly inappropriate recant of your “amazing sexual experience.” Get off the phone. There are other people in your vicinity. You’re right, you didn’t deserve it, he feels guilty for looking down your best friends shirt at the dinner party last night. But in his defense, it was low cut.

I also really love the screaming children who are terrified to get a shot, the couple in the corner trying their hardest not to have a loud disagreement about whether they’re going to Chili’s or Chick-fil-A for lunch, or the lonely woman next to you who has to complement your bag and then carry a conversation with you about where you got your got your “shoes, they’re so cute!”

Lobbies stress me out. I don’t have children yet so I’m going to enjoy casting death scares in the direction of the ear piercing shrill of your child’s terror until I’m in your shoes. Take her to Chili’s and pay because you never argue with your lady in public. And, I just want to get past level 274 on Candy Crush so, thanks for the compliment, please silence yourself. I just want quiet. I want to sit there and read Marie Claire and wait for my name to be called.

Eating in a quiet space is another invasive occurrence. And it’s always an apple or a bag of chips. Yesterday I called a student up to the front desk in my office; he asks me to look into his financial aid and then immediately starts chowing down on a big freezer size Ziploc bag of pretzel chips. I’m not creative enough to make that up. I tried very hard to refrain from saying “you must be really hungry right now, huh?” Because you were not eating pretzel chips when you were sitting down for 20 minutes waiting to be called on.

Today, I had the pleasure of missing another hour of work for a dentist appointment. If you read The Wisdom Teeth Debacle, my teeth are fine now, thank the Lord. But, today’s visit was especially entertaining. There were probably seven people scattered about the waiting room, patiently waiting to be called back. Most of us were on our cell phones, a few people flipping through a magazine or filling-out paperwork.

A few minutes after I sat down a man came in and sat down a seat away from me. We smiled hellos to one another. I wondered why he had to sit there, so closely to me. There were so many other open seats available next to more inviting, friendly, attractive women. I was disappointed. His flannel shirt and acid wash jeans reeked of patchouli and chewing tobacco. He sat with his arms crossed over his chest and looked around the room for a bit until his eyes landed on the television. The movie “Duma” was playing. I only know this was the movie because I convinced myself that the actor playing in the film was Idris Elba. I found out it was not Idris Elba but Eamonn Walker from Chicago Fire. I still spent the next 30 minutes IMDBing Idris Elba’s resume.

Mid trailer for “Long Walk to Freedom,” I hear from my left:”Ahhhh oooahhhoooo mmm ahhhayyy yaaaa oohhooo.” Yes, the man next to me started to chant, quite loudly. Our fellow waiting room companions shifted their eyes in confusion to our row of seats up against the window. His however, still glued to the television, oblivious. This went on for a good five minutes until the scene on the television interrupted his tune. “OH wow! That is so cool. That. Wow. So neat! Look at that.” I peeked up from my phone. He was looking at me and pointing to the TV, attempting to convince me that what was on was as amazing as he thought that it was. I offered a polite smirk with excuse me, what? eyebrows but didn’t turn my head toward the television.  He gave up with a shrug and went back to being enthralled with the program. “Now that is stupid. I can’t even believe that.” He shook his head in disapproval.

A few minutes later the girls from behind the counter called me over to the desk to have me pay my copay. I thankfully obliged. When I returned to my seat, I had to step over his feet because they were sprawled out in front of him. “Oh gosh, miss. I’m so sorry, this is just such a good movie.”  As he said this, he sneezed into his bare hand and then as he crossed his arms back across his potbelly he wiped his snot covered hand on his side of his flannel shirt. I shuddered in disgust. The dental assistance called my name to be seen before I could take my seat again. I left a few minutes later with the good news that my infection is gone and there was no reason to return any time soon. As I walked through the lobby on my way out my friend in the snot covered flannel shirt was again chanting a new tune and rocking back and forth with his eyes shut.

You can always count on a scene from the lobby to give you a good story to tell your friends.


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Struggles of a Big Girl

So, Girl Scout cookies are in. That’s always a special fifteen pounds a year for me. It’s okay to have eleven Thin Mints in less than ten minutes while you watch The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, right? I mean, I eat an apple for lunch everyday and I “ran” on the treadmill for 30 minutes at 4.5 miles an hour. I burned so many calories so it’s just like evening out my calorie intake…

I’m the queen of coming up with excuses to avoid the gym. Oh god! Tickle in the back of my throat? Nope, can’t go. I’m definitely going to die. Have to stay home and cook a big pot of spaghetti with meatballs with some Texas Toast and then lay on the couch watching Downton Abbey until I fall asleep. Meatballs cure sore throats. Fuck Mucinex. But, hey, I use whole wheat pasta and the organic pasta sauce. Less sodium.

I worked out a lot more when I was single and had high stress in my life. In college, my boyfriend went to jail for four months for breaking his house arrest to go get high and play poker at a bar. So naturally I thought, well he’s a winner. Let me stick around for this gem. I have to get skinny so when he gets home I’m really hot! You know, because the convicted felons are the ones you want to impress. It worked. I ran four miles every day for four months and lost about thirty pounds.

 When I was living in Austin, right after I made the decision to move back to Florida, I had a panic attack a day and worried incessantly about the transition from being a semi-independent mess to living with my parents again until I got on my feet. I self-medicated by being active. I started running every day around Town Lake and lost eighteen pounds in two months.

 Now that I’m tied down to my current location because of my job, graduate school and a loving boyfriend with no criminal history, I have no reason to go to the gym. If only that were true. There is motivation in my face all the time to get fit, i.e., the idea of fitting into a wedding dress and looking beautiful on my wedding day, fitting back into the $100 bathing suit I bought last summer, being heart healthy because, let’s face it, I’m not getting any younger. It all overwhelms me and then I just sort of shut down and being lazy seems way more fun than sweating.

 Sometimes I’ll stand under the shower head and imagine that the water raining down on me will slough away all the fat and I’ll step out of the shower looking exactly like Kate Upton on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Only, what I really see when I step onto the shag carpet in front of the mirror is everything but. I spend a lot of time standing in front of the mirror picking apart all of the imperfections. I’ve convinced myself that they depreciate my value.

 It doesn’t matter how long I stand in front of the mirror in disgust over what I’ve turned into over the last year though. It does not matter that I’m not getting any younger and I can always buy a bigger bathing suit. I’m fully aware of my problems. I work out but I still don’t push myself any harder than my normal 3-4 days a week for an hour run/walk/jog at the gym. Sugar is a serious issue for me. The Publix Bakery is my vice. Lately, I’ve been forcing myself to go to the Publix that’s in the same shopping center as my gym if I have to get something for dinner or I forgot to get laundry detergent. Nine times out of ten, I know that I’ll run into the girl who was just on the treadmill next to me running like a graceful gazelle at 6 mph on 15 incline. Buying her grapes and tofu and quinoa salad. She already saw me heaving and sweating to death after a 2 mile jog on an even incline I won’t be caught dead looking at Key Lime Pie and Brownie Bites.

Every time I go to the doctor he says, really nonchalantly, without looking me in the eye, “Well you know there’s the new law that says we are supposed to remind you every six months that you need to lose weight.” Only, I go to the doctor once a month and he tells me every time I go. And he knows he tells me every time but he sees that the scale has gone up two pounds each visit so he’s really hoping if he pushes the issue I’ll get it. He recently diagnosed me with abnormally high-cholesterol.  He prescribed Pravastatin which I’m supposed to take every night before I go to bed. He said as he wrote the script, “this could really be controlled with diet and exercise.” And I shook my head with acknowledgement and understanding but I’m really thinking Okay, well I need to go to pick up some steak for dinner anyway. I guess I can stop off at the pharmacy and pay the $7 copay.

 I’ve joined Weight Watchers a handful of times and only stick to it for a few weeks before canceling my membership. I went on Atkins in high school and lost about 40 pounds but the second I ate a piece of cake at a friend’s graduation party I instantaneously gained it all back. I’ve been on the all fruit and veggie diet, the shake diet, I’ve had bouts with anorexia since I started comparing myself to Malibu Barbie in the second grade. I wake up some mornings with determination. I’m not going to eat today. I will not eat today. Then someone will bring Dunkin Donuts in for the staff meeting and then it’s, Tomorrow, Tomorrow I’ll be anorexic. I won’t lie, there have been several occasions in my life where I have thrown up everything I put in my body for a week or two but then I give up because I’m exhausted and I feel disgusting and Hi, it’s not working. I’m still fat.

 All jokes aside, these are the struggles big girls face. Yeah I’ll laugh it off. I’m very self-aware and I’m the first person to joke about my weight. I have this need to point out my flaws because I know that other people are taking a mental note. Especially my family. I read Fat Girl: A True Story by Judith Moore when I was in college and I may be misquoting but she says “I could always tell that I’d gained the weight back because people stopped telling me that I looked great.” That line has always stuck with me because it’s such a truism.

I know what works for my body but it’s not easy getting to a point where I won’t give up. I am a quitter. I do not follow through on things. I just wonder what it’s going to take to get me to wake up and really fight to get a healthy weight. I don’t know. I really don’t. I know that I’m going to go to the gym for an hour today when it should probably be two and I’ll run/walk/jog at 4.5 mph, sweat a little and then go home and try really hard to not even look at the Tagalongs in my freezer.

Daily Post:

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Introducing the Roommate

I’ve moved 18 times since I was 17 and I’ve had 13 different sets of roommates over the last 10 years. None of my experiences have been good. Probably because I’m a type ‘A’ personality and things must always go my way. I am a difficult person with which to deal. My current living situation however, has been the best living arrangement as of yet. For the last year and a half I’ve lived with one of my good friends. We communicate well enough that we even renewed our lease for a second year. This is something I have never done with any of my former roommates. In fact, I think all of my prior living situations involved tears of sadness and frustration, several calls home to Mom to vent and a few lease terms ending early. To my knowledge, we have no major complaints thus far. Although, Mark, my roommate, refuses to read Pryorities until I write something about him and since he’s not very interesting, I’ve really had to do some serious brainstorming for content.

We did not become friend in the 6th grade when we first met. In middle school he sat at the “cool” table in the back of the lunchroom with Kelly, Jessica, Crystal and John. We were all in Mr. Dauer’s band class together.  To me, they were really cool and I was really not. Middle school was hell for me. Not only was I in band but I was really fat and awkward and thought I was funny but none of my jokes worked in my favor. My adult life mirrors my middle school years except that now I could give two shits about the “cool” kids.

At some point I worked up the nerve to befriend Kelly and Jessica and would make my way over to the back table on occasion. I never really talked to Mark though. He was really intimidating to me because he had this way about him. Even to this day, he still gives people this look like what they’re saying is incredibly unimportant and they’re the most annoying person to have ever interacted with him. He is also by far the best eye roller I have ever met in my life. He’s not doing anything with his life, I should really approach him about hosting an eye-rolling info session at the community center for tween-aged girls going from middle school to high school. I mean, I think he’d really have an impact in that arena. Noted. But, every time I approached the back table during lunch I knew, 47% of the time, I would get a monotone “Hi, Kim” with a sarcastic half smirk and an eye roll. The other 53% of the time was a brazen turn of the head. This PBnJ is better than whatever you have to say.

Jump to freshman year of college: Mark and I were both smart enough to be accepted into the best state university in Florida but dumb enough to be deferred to the summer session. This is when we became good friends. We both didn’t know anyone and we were in a big college town. We would ride around the city together after class and go to the mall for bourbon chicken from the food court. He would talk to me about his girlfriend troubles and I would whine about the best friend I’d been in love with for the last four years of high school. I forced him to change my windshield wipers, fix the radio in my car when it broke and change out the brake lights when they died.

Fall rolled around and our smart friends, Aaron and Jenna moved up to school. Jenna and I lived in one dorm together and Aaron and Mark were roommates in the dorm a stone’s throw away. We’d go to concerts in the student union, free movies in the student life building, eat dollar breakfast at midnight on Saturdays and feed the ducks at the town lake.

One afternoon, after class, the four of us went to the record store. The store had all the latest albums that you couldn’t find at Best Buy or Circuit City. It was a hole in the wall for hipsters in 2004. It was where I usually spent my financial aid refund each term and would go to eye the older, bearded, flannel shirt musicians that worked behind the counter. There was a section in the side corner of the store where they would put out free, old posters and fliers for bands they were recycling through. This particular afternoon Mark and I eyed a poster for one of the bands that we were all really into at the time. It was a thick, cardboard, 3’ by 3’ cover of their latest album and we both had to have it. After some bitching and complaining on my part, Mark gave into me with his classic roll of the eyes. I took it home that afternoon and nailed it to the wall.

The next day I came back from my afternoon class, only to find that there was no poster nailed to my wall. Now, in my defense, the reaction I am about to describe is pre mood disorder diagnosis. I freaked out. I mean, my face turned red, my hands got sweaty, my voice was shrill with anger. “Who did this! Was it Mark!? God damn it! It was Mark wasn’t it!” I screamed at my roommate, an innocent bystander. With frightened eyes, she urgently admitted out of fear for her life that my friend, Mark, knocked on the door earlier that morning and she had no choice but to let himself in and take the poster. You bitch! I thought, why would you just let someone in and let them take what is mine.

I immediately picked up my LG flip phone and called him as I stormed out of the dorm. Taking the stairs because, fuck the elevator, I was not about to wait for it to get to the fourth floor. He didn’t answer. I frantically speed-walked across the parking lot and up the stairs to Mark’s dorm room. I pounded on his door until Aaron answered with, “Kimbo, whatcha doin?” He was so cool, calm and collected. “Uh really, Aaron? I know you’re in on this, too.  Where is Mark?! Where is my poster?!?!” I demanded. Mark walks out of his room into the common area with this face of bewilderment like he’s just woken from a nap by an unexpected earthquake. He says: “Kimmy, what’s wrong? What are you freaking out about?” I just glare at him with through squinted, evil eyes. “Oh, don’t even. I know you have it. Where is it! Give it here! Where is it! Just give it to me!” I could tell that he didn’t know whether to laugh or be alarmed by my reaction to his intended practical joke. He acted like he had no idea what was going on for a good five minutes and then finally turned it over in annoyance. I’m pretty sure he didn’t talk to me for a good week and a half. Not because of the poster, but because I’m a crazy bitch.

One night during our sophomore year we went to Sonic for dinner, just down the road from our new apartment complex. Over chicken fingers and tater tots he told me he’d decided to move back to our hometown and go on tour with a band that was recently signed to an up and coming indie label. I was a little disappointed in him for giving up on school but excited for him all the same. Mark is a talented musician so it was an important adventure for him at the time but I was going to miss my friend.

Other than random Facebook posts, I didn’t see him again for another five years. We both happened to move back home around the same time and I ran into him at the annual Thanksgiving Eve homecoming at one of the local bars. I don’t think I have ever been so excited to run into an old friend. He moved home to become the Dining Room Manager at the local country club and I needed a job, so he hired me. A year later we were both offered new opportunities in a town an hour north from home and we conveniently both needed roommates. We have lived together ever since.

He listens to my frustrations with work and lets me vent about small bickering’s between Chris and I. He doesn’t eat my food when I’m not home unless is my provolone cheese. He cleans up after himself and he pays the bills on time. He’s one of the only people who actually laugh at my jokes because we both find humor in other people’s drama and unhappiness. He’s home when I need him to be and he’s gone when I need a day to myself on the couch in my robe. Lately, though, he’s been moping around the apartment like a lost puppy. His last “break up” was apparently devastating enough to where he can only be consoled by binge watching episodes of South Park and House of Cards while stuffing his face with Breyers Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream. I feel like we are on the same cycle right now. It’s very stressful. I try my hardest to send him to the store as much as possible so he can hit on a single mom or a lonely cashier. Publix is by far his favorite location to pick up women. It comes so easily for him to attract the ladies because he looks like the missing member of Fall Out Boy. I cannot figure out why he’s so sad. But, at the end of the day, it’s worked out quite well. He is not only my roommate but he is a good friend to me. I hope he reads this and rewards me by not coming home for at least a week.

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An Insomniac’s Tale

I find myself laying in bed on most nights lately, next to my beloved other half, humming a parody to Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop.”

And He Can’t Stop, 

And He Won’t Stop,

I Can’t Sleep, Sleep ain’t coming,

Can’t do nothin’ but Blo-og-ing.

Yeah, Yeah 

This has nothing to do with the fact that I’m super into blogging right now but everything to do with the fact that Chris will not shut the fuck up. If snoring were a sport worthy of Gold in the Olympics, we would be living in a 15-bedroom mansion, chiseled out of marble, in the Swiss Alps. All paid for through our endorsement deals with Serta and Lunesta. I’d say “a girl can dream” but it does not apply to my current situation because every time I even try to nod off and shut my eyes, I’m basically just taking a few prolonged blinks.

He works the night shift 40 hours a week and is currently a full time student. Most importantly, he is a full time chauffeur, masseuse, therapist, dishwasher, and chef, (i.e. boyfriend.) I get it. He’s worn out. He’s not just worn out, he’s exhausted. I totally understand that. But there is no explanation for the noise that comes forth from his voice box. The sound is not human. Thankfully, there are nights where he will come in after me because he wanted to finish up some homework and I’ve been lucky enough to pass out before him. Even then however, I’m jolted from my slumber out of fear. There’s a tornado, take cover! Nope, just Chris.  His arms scattered across my chest, legs wrapped around mine and his nose and mouth directed right toward my ear, not a foot away.

And there is no waking him. He is the soundest sleeper I have ever met. Alarms do not work. Pinching, kicking, kissing, and pushing off the bed, hot water, and cold water, screaming; nothing works. You’d think he was knocked out by Mike Tyson. But, when that one in one hundredth attempt finally works, you’re done for. It’s over. Danger: Do not approach the hibernating bear. He will turn into a ferocious beast and he’s coming for you. That’s an exaggeration, he most just turns over with a mumbled: “What, I was snoring? I don’t snore. Go back to bed.”

I’ve tried it all and I even sleep on the couch sometimes, which I hate because I want to sleep next him. We bought new pillows and Breathe Right Strips but those are a joke in and of themselves. Sleeping on his back is the worst because it fills the whole room and practically wakes the neighbors. When he sleeps on his sides the noise is either in my ear or bouncing off the walls and right back out at us. It’s amazing to me that he doesn’t wake himself.  And if he sleeps on his stomach, it’s only muffled by the fact that his face is dug into the pillow and the hypochondriac in me is scared he will suffocate. This is when pushing and shoving and shaking ensue.

I did a bit of WebMDing on what causes snoring and the impact it can have on a person’s life. I’m now devastatingly convinced that he might die from “carotid artery atherosclerosis, the risk of brain damage and of stroke” and now insistent that we call his dentist first thing on Monday morning and have an appliance called a “mandibular advancement splint” molded just for him. I also have been persistently alluding to an appointment to have a sleep study done. You know, because we have so much money. Realistically, I understand that in the meantime I’ll have to invest in some earplugs and hope that they drown out the bombing vibrations from his vocal chords.

This morning, when I awoke, I noticed that he’s lying on his side, watching me as I sleep. I smile good morning and slide myself into the crook of his arm and rest my head on his chest. My favorite place to be. He says, “How did you sleep?” I say “fine.” He says, “You know what babe?” “Hmm?” I sleepily reply. “You’ve been snoring loudly all morning. You woke me up an hour ago.” 

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I’d Like To File A Complaint

Today I received a phone call from someone who said: “I didn’t know who to file a formal complaint with so I just called your office.” This is a common occurrence. The title of my department makes people believe that we have all the answers. And we do. Obviously, because as I stated before, I am always right. It’s the main reason I was hired. Under the “skills” portion on my resume, it states “all-knowing and always accurate.” Being right all the time also means that I’m fully aware that I am not the sound board for certain types of complaints. Thank god.

Complaint calls are always fun to listen to because it’s usually something we have no control over. We receive a lot of complaints regarding financial aid not disbursing. Only to find out that their aid was suspended because they failed all their classes last semester. Those are the best calls. It’s amazing to me how many people have no clue. “So you guys just suspended my aid because I failed a few classes?!” Uh yeah, that’s how it works. I also get a lot of “Well no one told me” and then I look at the file and not only were they told by an advisor but they were emailed as well, sometimes two or three times. I get a lot of blank stares. Reading is hard. Listening is harder.

After a year and a half, I find that the ability to maintain empathy is the hardest part of what I do. There are some days where I feel totally numb. Today’s complaint consisted of a student telling me that she was walking through campus and was appalled by large, fairly graphic images of aborted fetuses on display. A small anti-abortion rally was being held on campus. She was not only horrified but was also offended by the fliers that were being handed out. She didn’t understand why our institution would support an organization as vocal and offensive as this.

She then started to weep uncontrollably and vent about current hardships in her life and felt that she was being judged by the people hosting the display. I’m a counselor but not that kind of counselor. I’m not really good with other people’s emotions, let alone my own, and honestly didn’t know how to respond to her hysteria. I attempted to awkwardly console her with “Of course, I understand how you feel.  I’m going to go ahead and place the complaint on your file. Unfortunately, we do not handle this type of complaint and I’m going to direct you to the appropriate department.” I transferred her call to the student union so they could take note of her stance regarding the display.

I have to admit that the first thought that popped into my head is: Oh god girl, you’re a mess. The world is going to kick your ass. It’s going to swallow you whole and not even think twice. I felt for her situation, I get it, she’s had a rough time lately. But, she’s an adult. The world is full of offensive, in-your-face organizations and societies. Pick your battles girl or you’re going to exhaust yourself. Maybe she missed Free Speech Week in elementary school. You know, the week where you and the rest of your classmates parade around the track for 30 minutes on Friday and get to eat hot dogs and proudly dawn your blue ribbon. I clearly didn’t forget. I not only love hot dogs but I love free speech because I have no filter.

This is not just a work issue though, I see it happen on a daily basis. Just last week I’m standing in the customer service line at Publix and hear this man screaming at the poor girl behind the counter because it was the second week in a row that this store, his store, was out of his favorite Greek yogurt. Are you joking me? Really?  Poor girl. She offered him a “Rain Check” but he would not let it go. It’s just yogurt. There’s another Publix three miles away and Fage is better than Yoplait, hands down. He stormed out threatening to call corporate. She just rolled her eyes and mumbled, “I need a minute” to her coworker. AMEN!

People love to complain. And I’ll admit, I’m one of them. I’m really good at it sometimes. I just don’t know why people think they can take on The Man. I’m incredibly apathetic toward stupidity. It’s one thing to have something presented to you that may drudge up certain memories or feelings from the past. It is totally understandable to need to take a moment and use a lifeline to call a friend for consolation.  It’s another to become unhinged and want to project those views onto a third-party and feel the need to file a complaint.

I followed up with the advising office that I transferred her to make sure that she was able to get through to someone. The office informed me that they did speak with her but simply informed her that as an institution of higher learning we reserve the right to uphold the power of free speech and the views of their organization in no way reflect the views of the University. Obviously. But sometimes you have to really spell it out for people.  They directed her to the counseling center. Not surprised.

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After my wisdom teeth extraction.

This is me after my wisdom teeth extraction. Incredibly embarrassing but also really funny. So go ahead an laugh at my expense! You’re welcome! I look REALLY disgusting. I promise I’m attractive.

Also, read my post “five.” about my hellish wisdom teeth extraction experience!

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The Wisdom Teeth Debacle

Getting your wisdom teeth extracted is the worst decision you will ever make.

Before my counseling gig I was a server. And, before Obamacare, as many people in the service industry know, health insurance was not really an option. I always worked in smaller, locally owned establishments and many small businesses do not offer health care. So, for many years I sucked it up. If I had a panic attack I would cry, go to the liquor store, cry some more, sleep, call in sick, go back to the liquor store, and then sleep some more until it passed. If I had a toothache I would cry, go to the liquor store, cry some more, sleep, call in sick… You get the point

You will be happy to know that I no longer drink. Not because I had a “come to Jesus moment” but because I now have health insurance and I can’t afford to go to the liquor store. My big fancy counseling job got me some big fancy benefits. Now I regularly treat my mood disorder and hypochondria with monthly trips to the general practitioner. I’m serious. And, I’ve even been lucky enough to go to the dentist, not once, but five times in the last month and a half! I’m serious.

I’m in hell. And I have “good teeth,” so they tell me. Although, I honestly think they just tell me that because they know I’m neurotic. Right after they slowly lean back the chair and before the “Open, Please,” I apologize and list off what I had for breakfast in case I missed anything during my brush, floss, rinse, repeat.

With enthusiasm over now having dental insurance and a significantly lower quote on teeth extraction, I had my wisdom teeth removed five days before Christmas. Which, I’m an eater so scheduling that appointment five days before the best meal of the year was not a smart plan. I suffered through the first five-day of Jell-O pudding and mashed potatoes but you better believe on Christmas day I was the first one in line for Dad’s rare roast beast.

I think I maybe ate too soon. I was in pain for about 2 weeks and finally had to talk the doctor into seeing me for a follow-up appointment. I called the office three times during Christmas break, explained my symptoms, and every time they just kept re-prescribing hydrocodone and told me to take 600 MG of ibuprofen every six hours. Finally, on January 3rd, I went back. The doctor took a look in my mouth said: “Oh yeah, you have dry socket,” took a wad full of this stringy substance coated in clove and stuffed it down into my sockets. I was on my way in less than ten minutes.

The pain went away after about a week. The stringy substance, however, seemed to remain in my socket. Up until probably three weeks ago, every time I brushed my teeth I would see strands of clove in the bottom of the sink. I thought it was quite odd that it was still falling out after nearly a month.

So two weeks ago Thursday I wake up bright and early and I can tell something is wrong. The lower right side of my mouth is swollen. There is a ball in my jaw the size of a walnut and I cannot open my mouth all the way. So, me, the hypochondriac, make an appointment with my regular dentist to see if there is something wrong. She takes a look and tells me she’s  “not 100% sure of what it is” and sets up an appointment with their in-house orthodontist. I went to a different orthodontist for the extraction because at the time I was under a different insurance that expired on Dec 31st and I wasn’t eligible for their in-house orthodontist.

So, Friday rolls around and I consider canceling because I’m not really in pain like I was before and I feel guilty leaving work yet again for another dentist appointment. I go anyways. The dental assistant calls me back and before I even sit in the chair I say to him: “So, I’m neurotic, I don’t want to waste your time, I’m not in pain today and I’m probably fine, but I kept the appointment because I figured you’re going to charge me anyways.” He just stared at me for a second and said “Um, uh, um. I’ll be right back.” Poor thing was working his first solo shift without his trainer and he gets me at 10am. I hear him talking to another nurse in the hall and she says in a loud whisper: “Then what is she even doing here?” I can hear her eyes rolling.

She follows him back into the room and asks me why I’m there. I give her the rundown. She tells me the doctor will look at me anyways and if it’s nothing, they’ll send me on my way. Twenty minutes and three Candy Crush levels later the orthodontist walks into the room.

Now, this is very important ladies… He’s a total babe. I thanked myself for applying extra mascara, using bronzer and brushing my teeth in the lobby bathroom when I got there. He’s about 6’2”, tall, thinnish but in a—he works out when he’s not driving around downtown in his Audi and taking his perfect girlfriend to her choice of Rom Com right after dinner at the Cheesecake Factory—kind of way. Things got very serious, very fast. I turned funny, blunt, sarcastic Kim off and turned sweet, polite, patient Kim on.

So he comes in, takes a look at a few things and tells me that I have an infection and that it’s not treatable with just antibiotics because there is a risk for chronic infection that may cause other problems. $210 dollars later, he’s numbing and then slicing open my gums as I stare into his headlamp. I realize now why I paid $800 for the anesthesia the first time around. While he’s digging around in my socket and his assistant is slurping up blood and puss and broken off bits of bone, I kid you not, he asks: “Whoever did your surgery, did they put anything in your sockets?” He lets me gargle a quick “Uh huh” and then says: “Yeah, it looks like there is some strands of clove that didn’t dissolve and caused the infection. This should take care of it.”

THE FUCKING CLOVE. The magical healing substance that was supposed to make everything right in the world has ruined the last month and a half of my life and who knows for how many days, weeks or months longer. The fucking clove. I’m still in a pretty fair amount of pain with no end in sight. It’s causing mild ear pain as well. But that may just be the hypochondria.  I’m incredibly frustrated with this whole process and highly recommend that you stay away from the dentist unless it’s your biannual cleaning.

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