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stranger than fiction

"This time last year I was at home on the couch with a sprained ankle," I said to my friend AJ as we finished our fourth lap during our early morning walk. "This year, I'm gearing up to run 13 miles. I'm proud of that." AJ encouraged my self-affirmation, because she's good to me in that way, but God must have decided a little modesty would better suit me because my day's been downhill since then.

I came home from my jog with AJ to prepare for leading chapel at the preschool. The story was the Ten Commandments - which I'd told at Godly Play just a few Sundays ago so that presented no obstacle - but I'd already spent a good hour looking for a kid friendly song to sing after the story. Finally I decided just to go ahead and sing Johnny Cash. He's got a song for just about every Biblical situation and The Ten Commandments is no exception. I bought it from iTunes and played it a few times over to get the hang of it. Then I went and cut myself a piece of San Francisco Polenta bread fresh from the oven. A little hunk of cornbread heaven... oh! Polenta definitely has a coarser grain than cornmeal... I got a piece stuck on my tooth. What a weird feeling, probing with my tongue. Oh! Hold on! Something is definitely not right, that's not a grain of cornmeal, that's not a presence of additional matter, it's an absence of essential matter. "My tooth broke!" I shrieked as I checked the situation in the mirror. Sure enough, the sheer plane of the filling in my back bottom right molar jutted up out of the gumline without the benefit of a full quarter of my actual tooth to contain it. I went prickly all over, felt the pit of my stomach drop to the floor and the sweat break out on my temples and the small of my back. Fight or flight? I could feel my body preparing to run, especially after I realized what had happened to the part of my tooth that broke off.

But how fabulous is my dentist? Within 10 minutes of breaking my molar I was seated in Dr. Gibson's chair, babbling to her assistant Roxanne about how I don't do teeth things. I have nightmares about my teeth falling out, the roots of them emerging from my gums as big as the ivory tusks of elephants. David's had to deal with both of Jack's teeth falling out. The only other thing I'm phobic about is vomit. And clowns. Roxanne eyed me warily but agreed about the clown thing. She showed me the x-ray that revealed my broken tooth's sound root. Enough for a crown. No root canal.

Dr. Gibson came in and I babbled to her a bit before she made me open my mouth wide. She held the mirror in there as she asked me questions, just to keep me from babbling about teeth and vomit and clowns. "You'll need a crown." (OK) "Any pain?" (No) "I'll just smooth it down a little so there's no sharp edges. I don't have time to prepare you for a crown today." (OK) So she ran the drill a little bit and it felt bad but smelled worse and didn't do much good. I made an appointment for a crown on Nov 14. Yes, I know it's two weeks from tomorrow but apparently this isn't an emergency situation. But somebody please tell my tongue that. It just won't stay away from that broken tooth.

A bare 30 minutes had passed from the time I broke my molar, went to the dentist, came home, and showered for work and chapel. Though I felt scattered it went off fairly well. Big Playground time at 10:00 am. I started to relax, pushing the kids on the swing and joining in their conversation. Are Dora and Diego twins? Brother and sister? Married? They can't be twins because Dora is a princess (and sometimes a mermaid) and Diego is just a boy. Then, on the tangent children's conversation usually takes, Nicole said, "One time I barfed all over the seat belt in the car."


An hour later Nicole barfed all over the playdough table. Seriously. A tooth tragedy and a child vomiting, all in one day? I'm definitely being shown my place in the universe. I hustled the rest of the children out of the classroom and onto the Little Playground, an act for which I'm deeply ashamed because I was closest to Nicole when she pulled her Regan (not split pea soup; more like cottage cheese) but I recoiled from her like the Wicked Witch from water. The lead teacher ran to her assistance and I ran out of the room with the rest of the children, who were more inclined, actually, to watch if Nicole's head would rotate 360 degrees on her neck.

You'd think I'd had enough for the day, but no. Not yet. Not five minutes after Nicole's gastronomic pyrotechnics, Amelia got her face stuck in the round window of our outdoor plastic treehouse. She cried and whimpered as the other assistant and I tried to ease her little head out of the hole but she wouldn't budge. I ran inside to get the liquid hand soap but didn't need it because Amelia had managed to pull herself free in the 15 seconds it took me to race in and out of the Vomitorium.

Amelia held ice on her chin where she'd scraped it while pulling from the hole; the other assistant held Amelia; we ushered the kids back inside because it was close to lunchtime. The room reeked of Lysol and vomit. I stepped out of the front door, carrying the vomity bag to the trash can and probing my broken tooth with my tongue, when I caught sight of a full-blown white-face baggy-pants red-afro giant-shoe clown coming up the breezeway.

Never again will you hear me bragging about running thirteen miles.


Momma_Dee said…
Priceless! Sorry about your day, but the clown thing is just incredible.
Mim said…
I'm sorry you had a crappy day, but you made mine with your post. I almost pee'd my pants when I read the last line. Here's hoping tomorrow is better.
sulu-design said…
I'd had house guests (I mean, one-bedroom apartment guests) for the past week and couldn't tend to my ususal blog reading. Catching up with your recent posts today was fabulous. I, too, have to apologize for getting quite a kick out of the misery in this post. And I'm so excited for you that you're running a half-marathon soon. Best of luck with the final days of training!

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