Friday: meandering thoughts

Okay, technically it’s Saturday already (it’s past midnight) but it’s still my Friday evening.


Earlier this week, I came home from school and headed toward to backyard to let the dog out. As I went into the ghetto screen room that was added to our house years ago before we bought it, I was a bit startled when I saw this:

screen room knockout, pt.1

Uh, what?

screen room knockout, pt.2

Apparently Andrew and our neighbor started a bit of demolition on that ghetto back room. Frankly, it didn’t really bother me but it would have been nice to know about it ahead of time so I wouldn’t have been so…startled.

Ladies, you know.

The long term plan is to take out the back room, replace one of the walls with a fence, and turn that area into a covered patio.

When we have more money, that is.


Speaking of money, I finally had a chance to listen to some audio CD’s of Dave Ramsey last weekend while we were driving. (Thanks, Mom & Dad O!)

Who’s Dave Ramsey? you might ask. Long story short, if you have money and want to learn more about it or have debt and don’t want any more of it, he’s worth listening to.

No joke.

When I think about it, I somehow indirectly inherited some good money concepts from my family: always pay in cash (you can’t overspend your money if you don’t literally have any in your wallet), pay off your credit card every month, and also the related of idea of staying out of debt whenever possible.

Unfortunately, the latter is pretty hard to do when you’ll end up owing $300,000+ for graduate school. Then again, that’s what my eventual degree will be for: to pay off that debt.

Going back to my family, there are a number of things that I didn’t really learn about: insurance, taxes (I’m absolutely clueless how to do my own), investing money, and proper budgeting. All I can say is thank goodness for Dave Ramsey because now I’m on my way to learning all this. Thankfully he’s very easy to understand, too.

Again, he’s worth knowing about and learning from. I promise.


On a wildly different subject now, I spent a good amount of my time in lab yesterday.

Ah yes, pediatric dentistry, how I loathe thy lab sessions. In reality, even though things actually went well enough in lab the past couple of sessions, there’s something about it that I just don’t like and I can’t figure out what it is exactly.

There’s hope, though: most people I talk to say that working with actual kids and teens is a lot more enjoyable than the lab. (Phew!)

In lab this week, I finished the project of making a mandibular lingual arch space maintainer. What the heck is this and why is it so important? When a kid loses her most posterior baby teeth too soon, the adult teeth that come in behind it will eventually drift into the space of the missing teeth in front of them. This will set the child up for crowded teeth in the future. If this goes on and you want to fix it, then she’ll have to go to the orthodontist and lots of $$$ will be spent to get her teeth straightened out.

Point being, if you have a child and they loose any of their teeth too early (ask his/her dentist about it), then you will be setting your child up for orthodontic issues later on.

This project included learning how to bend wire. You might be thinking this is an easy concept. Generally speaking, I’d agree with you: How do you bend wire? Well, don’t you just bend it? Since we haven’t taken an orthodontics lab yet and don’t know how or have had any sort of experience with it, bending wire is no easy task. It’s a true test of one’s spatial abilities, that’s for sure. Thankfully my spatial skills were working (I didn’t need to go to an instructor to ask for help) but were definitely on the slow side.

After bending some ortho wire into a very specific shape that touches very specific parts of the mouth, I held it in place with some plaster, and then was ready to attach that wire to ortho bands via soldering:

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.1

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.2

I’ve seen soldering done before, but never with an actual flame. I was a little worried that I’d screw things up and have to start over. After wandering around the lab to see how others were doing it, one of my classmates offered to show the process to me. He came over and soldered one side of my space maintainer

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.3

and then I did the other side:

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.4

Thankfully it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Though I did find myself occasionally picking up the entire cast after soldering and almost burning hand in the process. Multiple times.

After breaking the wire and now-attached ortho bands off the cast, I ground off the excess solder and had a good look at the not-quite-done project:

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.5

When I started grinding away, I realized a lot of silver (!) solder was getting kicked into the air and promptly grabbed a mask to wear. When I was done, my lab coat and the exposed bits of my scrubs were covered in a fine mist of metal dust. After getting the soldered joints to the correct size, I polished everything and placed it on my pediatric typodont:

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.6

mandibular lingual arch SM, pt.7

Thankfully I got it all signed off and was done for the day.

As much as some part of me deep inside doesn’t like pediatrics lab, I always find it satisfying to make something with my hands. It’s even better when it’s approved (even if only barely) by an instructor.


I’ve been finding fleas on our dog for the past month now, maybe about one or two a week. Andrew was kind enough to finally give her a bath (shower, really) tonight. Ellie dog is now nice and soft and smelling clean again. Not that she has ever smelled bad–greyhounds are amazingly clean dogs–but with the fleas I’ve been finding, it was high time for a bath. As soon as she stands up to meander over to her crate in our bedroom, I’ll “flea bomb” her with a medication real fast.

Ah, it’s like having an actual child. But not quite.


Okay okay okay. Time to go to bed. Happy weekend!


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