Sunday, August 19, 2012

Going for Gold

Over a year ago I first mentioned to my dentist a sensitivity in one of my upper teeth.  At that point it was slight and intermittent, so he said we should just watch it.  But I recently realized I was no longer chewing on that side of my mouth and any change in temperature sent me through the roof.

The odd thing was I went in this past week swearing it was a tooth that already had a crown and a root canal.  How could that possibly be?  But when my dentist touched a piece of ice to the molar behind that tooth, I knew just how wrong I was.

One hour later I walked out of his office with a temporary crown and high hopes that I wouldn’t need a root canal.  It all seemed so painless and easy, except for the $1675 charged on my Visa.

The immediate relief of my symptoms was so profound.  I could chew on both sides.  I could drink water with ice in it and hot tea without wincing.  Even though I have only the temporary crown, it seems like such a permanent fix.  In a month or so I will have my new gold tooth in place.

I am struck by how we often accept gradual changes in our bodies without paying much attention to them.  It was only when I was in agony that I realized I needed to get my cracked tooth repaired.

I wondered if a person with dementia has the same experience.  Is the very gradual loss of one’s mind even perceptible?  

I also wonder about my hip-back-gait issues.  I’m sure they collectively are worse than they were a few years ago, but the change is so gradual.

Unfortunately not everything can be fixed as easily as a broken tooth, and some things are just not fixable.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

1 Prius + 1 Prius = 2 Prii

We didn't waste any time in getting a replacement for the old Volvo.  It's not exactly where we had thought we were going, but it's a very nice addition.

Several years ago when we went to a car show at the Convention Center, we had determined to get an electric car as our next car.  At that point the Nissan Leaf, the Chevy Volt, and the Ford Focus seemed just on the verge of reality.  But they haven't come into production as quickly as promised and there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how they will function.

So we decided not to be on the cutting edge, but at the same time to go with one of the most fuel efficient hybrids on the market, which happened to be another Prius.  Having had absolutely zero problems with our 2005 Prius, we thought it was a logical choice.  Besides the new Prius gets even better mileage than our old one, advertising 51+ MPG on the highway.

There are now bigger Priuses and smaller Priuses on the market and we tried them all.  The Prius V is the station wagon model which adds inches in every dimension and therefore feels quite roomy.  But the extra weight reduces the gas mileage to 44 MPG.  I also envisioned parking in DC with 9" in additional length.  A great car for a family, but we are just two people and (hopefully) a dog.

Feeling somewhat like Goldilocks, we looked at the Prius C, a zippy little car with the same engine as our current Prius, but a lot less space.  I was set to get one of these, especially since the price is considerably lower than that of the other two models.  But after our son pointed me to a Consumer Reports video on the little Prius, we both decided against it.

So we have a very deluxe standard Prius, a dark gray like many of the other gray cars on the highway.  It has fake leather seats and a console that looks like it could navigate an airplane.  The really cool thing is that the car has voice recognition, meaning you can use the GPS and make and receive phone calls without ever taking your hands off the steering wheel.  It also has a little hologram in the lower part of the windshield which reflects your speed so you don't have to look down to see it.  No more excuses for speeding!

The hardest thing for me to get used to is the fact that everything works!  There will be no need to replace duct tape.  The doors all lock and unlock at the push of a button.  The speedometer works.  And on and on and on.

It would seem we are set for many years.  There is the little matter of what happens when the battery in our 2005 Prius goes.  But I guess we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  For now, I am luxuriating in hybrid luxury!

Monday, August 06, 2012

A Year of Goodbyes

All good things must come to an end.  The old Volvo was just plain worn out after 27 years of faithful service.  Last Wednesday I tried repeatedly to keep it running as I attempted to back out of the driveway to go pick up our CSA share.  But to no avail.

Ironically I had just taken it in the day before for an oil change.  While there, they performed a 27-point inspection and pronounced it alive and well.  But alas, on closer inspection the very next day the timing belt appeared quite worn and there were many other potential reasons why it wouldn't keep running.

So WETA is the recipient of old car.  This morning it was being loaded onto this big truck for the next part of its journey.  The guy hauling it away said it would be auctioned off.  I wonder who will buy it and whether it will be fixed up to keep running or dismantled for antique parts.

In any case, we are off to go car shopping this morning.  It will be the first time in many years that I will be driving a new car.  I'm sure I will enjoy that new car shine and smell, but I may also miss the periodic application of the duct tape that became so much a part of the old Volvo's character.