Thursday, December 02, 2010

Of endodontists and burritos and glorious, beautiful, solo shopping days:

"Yeah, I seem to remember this not going so well the first two times," he said as he used the force of his shoulders to squeeze the dental dam around my near-sideways back tooth, pinching my face and poking my tongue. "Huh huh huh."

I didn't think it was funny the first two times, nerd. You're HURTING ME and you haven't even started this thing yet.

As endodontic trips go, this one was, you know, equal in awesome to the last two of the previous two weeks. Replete with the same shrill drilling, suffused with lip stretching (and hooking? what the hell is that fish hook thing?) and ripe with odd smells, this experience left no nerve unturned. It also appears to be my last (FINGERS CROSSED) since the horror that was the first trip a few weeks ago. Well, my last but now I get to go see my regular dentist to have the permanent crown put on. I can't even think about it without tearing up. This has been everything I dread and more.

Oh--I forgot to mention that the NOVOCAINE DIDN'T TAKE this time and I could feel it. Yeah.

Anyway, I couldn't get out of there fast enough. A recent conversation with a new therapist revealed that the specific kind of anxiety I have is panic disorder; I found it interesting to learn that no amount of talking will bring me down from a bit o'the Crazies and also that exposure therapy is how panic is most often (successfully treated). You're asking why this comes up when I'm talking about the dentist/endodontist? Let's just say that this is a trigger for me, and my exposure of late hasn't done much for the improvement of said crazies. But I guess time will tell. I'm working on it.

That said, today did (and you will note that I am 100% sarcasm free) actually end up being full of awesome.

Since my endodontist is about a 30-45 minute drive away, I couldn't swing a partial day sub. I was going to be docked for a whole day, so I decided yesterday to take the whole day today and do my Christmas shopping. ALONE. On a Thursday.



Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallelujah. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallelujah.


Yep, alone. Just me and the grannies that shop on an early Thursday afternoon. It. Was. Awesome. I'm not going to tell you all the places I hit up, but it was FULL BEAST MODE and I did major damage on my Christmas present list. We have ginormous families, so even with present-draws and exchanges, there are 36 (count 'em) 36 people we buy for each holiday season. Of course this includes several birthdays that fall within the same period. Today I knocked out 26 of 'em. BOOM. Just ten left, and four of those are the four of us that live at my house.


My novocaine (they gave me extra at the sight of my gurgley, pained wiggles) started to wear off about 12:30 so I treated myself to a solo lunch at Chipotle.

I enjoyed the heck out of my solo lunch. Being alone is so nice sometimes. I sat and caught up on my Google Reader and watched shoppers and business people out the window. It was burrito therapy. It more than made up for the morning. I feel sooooo so so so so good that I have so much purchased, and I basically know what we're getting for all the rest of the people on the list. Well, except for E's family, because we don't know who we got in the draw yet. Other than that, we're pretty good. I'm happy it's all pretty much taken care of because now I can really think about what we're going to get the kids.

I'm a little excited, can you tell?

The last two years have been awful Christmases. I maybe shouldn't say it like that, but despite a few bright moments they were honestly miserable. Two years ago E and I were separated and I spent the entire day (Christmas Day) alone on my couch watching Law and Order. A friend invited me to dinner but it felt awkward not to be with my own family and I can't even explain how badly I missed the kids. That year I didn't buy much for presents because being alone was so scary and things were tight.

Last year was much better as far as life experiences go--and yes I know that having a whole family is a blessing and that it should be all that matters. But our financial situation last Christmas was dire. E had not passed the Bar the first time he took it, so he was studying to take it again in February. He had taken an unpaid internship in Lake Tahoe (two hours away) and a job for near minimum wage at an auto parts store. We were so poor that I couldn't imagine ever being able to get out of that situation. I try to save money at the grocery store now because I feel like I should. Last winter I did it because I wasn't sure we would make it to the end of the month. I handmade almost all our gifts last year because that was all we could do. I'm glad I have skills, but it put a lot of pressure on me to create all the gifts we'd give. We also agreed not to exchange gifts with either of our parents, each other, and our sisters and their families. While this seemed like a good idea, it was just sad. Sad not to shop, sad not to open presents at our gatherings, just sad.

I realize, as I said, that having my family together is the only thing that matters. But today I also remembered that there's so much joy in being able to shop for the people in your life that you love. I know that same feeling comes from making presents for those people too--we've had those years and I enjoy it equally when I give someone something I've tried to make just for them. But when it's ALL handmade, it gets hard to keep the energy up. Today I was thankful for two secure jobs--two paychecks--that allowed me to go out and look for things that people would enjoy. I REALLY missed being able to buy something for E that he really wanted, and same goes for my other relatives. It's a nice thing to do, shopping for someone, trying to show them that you pay attention to what they say and that you care about them enough to buy them something special. I hope that doesn't make me sound fixated on things. I'm not. Last year was so arduous. Part of that was a difficult, small Christmas. I enjoy the process: plan, shop, wrap, give. I felt happy today that our financial life has improved at least this much. I feel like we're going to have a Christmas that includes presents, and it's a good thing.

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