Dr. Mommy Dentist

Friday, March 31, 2006

let the games begin!

i hate playing games, always have, always will. and i'm not talking about "games" like monopoly or PS2, or stuff like that. i hate games in dating, in business, and, as i'm finding out, buying a home.

buying a home really is like a game, you know. you see something you like, determine your strategy for determining what you think you should play versus what the seller thinks the house is worth, then you sign a bunch of papers and dance around some dollar amount that is loosely determined by the "market", i.e. people like me and canuck. sometimes it's a gamble, especially if a home is in competition and you're basically set in a bidding war. someone always winds up winning, either the seller who holds out for what he or she perceives to be a fair (profitable!) price, or the buyer, who held out and waited for that perfect home, the perfect deal. i know there's a need to bargain and haggle, which in and of itself i've never been comfortable with or good at, but i've got canuck on my side and he's a pro at these sort of things. now, i may not be good at bargaining, but i won't take crap from people and i know when to walk away. like i said, i hate games.

i fell in love with a house in a great neighborhood, walking-distance to parks and schools, nice community, close to our best-man's house, and, to boot, fully rennovated and in practically move-in condition. the house had a couple of glitches; it needs a new roof and central AC, but things like that do have negotiating power. now, this house had been on the market for over 2 months by the time we saw it, a telltale sign that it's a wee-bit overpriced. so we put in our offer, lowball at first, but certainly willing to negotiate up it by at least another $10-20K. the seller basically laughed at us and told our agent that she didn't know anything about buying or selling in this neighborhood and we should just get lost. when our real estated agent politely mentioned that there was a reason why the house hadn't sold (esp because a house down the block had sold for over $40K less than what this guy was asking and this house was not as perfect as the seller thought) he turned up his nose and said, "tell your clients that this is 'insert snooty community name here' and that they should get over it." well, then. okay, forget making a deal or negotiating. fuck you, fuck your house, and good luck trying to unload it. shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

later that night, i told me mother about our adventures in house-hunting, and how discouraged we were. she gave me some practial, motherly advice: bury a statue of saint joseph upside-down in the backyard, it will give you luck in house-related endeavors. apparently, my nana did that when she bought her co-op (in a flower pot, since new yorkers rarely have backyards), and my aunt did that when selling hers and when buying her condo. so on saturday, i went to honest ed's after work and found the last remaining statue of "s. jose", 12 inches of solid wood with coordinating halo and shepherd's crook. canuck was game for the idea, until he found the receipt for my little superstitious investment. "i can't believe you spent $25 on a statue that's going to be covered with dirt!" yeah, but if it saves us tens of thousands of dollars, why the hell not, what's another $25??? grumbling, he managed to find a spot and into the ground went "s. jose," covered in plastic to protect him from the elements in case my mother-in-law wants to mount it on her mantle later on. so, we'll wait and see how this works....

until next time...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

mc donald's petri dish

so, cookie has another fever. of course, it coincides with her last visit to the mc donald's playplace two days ago, just like the last fever she had. i swear, that place is a sesspool! poor kid. it always strikes at night, and i know she's off kilter when she's rustling around in her little bed, all hot and whimpering and trying to get comfy. times like these, canuck takes the couch and she crawls into bed with me, and that's the only way she'll fall asleep. and forget about tylenol or children's motrin. last time we tried to give it to her (or should i say, when daddy tried plunge the whole syringe of that nasty orange stuff down her throat at once) she puked all over our bed and it's been a no-go ever since. i can't blame her, i tasted the stuff because my curiosity got the better of me and it was nasty! so i try sneaking it into her water so at least she gets a little bit of the meds, but she's smarter than that. now the poor kid just toughs it out. i know fever is good and that it's the body's natural way to fight infection, but she's so uncomfortable that she can't sleep, and who can fight off a bug without rest?

despite the rise in temp, she's very active (the only thing that quells my concern). she helped me make the bed today and said, "good job, mommy, nice and comfy!" then as i was washing dishes, she says, "wash dishes mommy, good job!" and when i said, "thank you, honey," she says, "welcome." god i love this kid! stupid mc donald's playplace with all the yucky germs. stupid fever.

the biggest check ever!!!

and unfortunately, i'm not talking about one of my stubs from work. i just made out a check of about $31,656 to the united states treasury department to pay the taxes that i earned on my 2005 earnings. i think that was the largest check i've ever written in my entire life! i couldn't even fit the whole word on the "pay to the order of" line! now, canuck and i are independent contractors and don't have taxes witheld from our bi-weekly paycheck, so we project which bracket we're going to be in, put aside that percentage into a money market account, pretend that money doesn't exist, and hold our breath every year and pray that we've put aside enough. turns out we were lucky this year, so you know where that money's going...

and speaking of house hunting....very interesting times! nothing makes you feel more grown up and/or adult than searching for your first home. now that our taxes are done and we have a pretty good idea of how much of a down payment we have, we've officially kicked our search into high gear. we've seen some really great places that are totally overpriced, and we've seen some lemons, some REAL lemons that are also overpriced. lemme just say, to all you potential first-time home buyers, a second viewing is critical. canuck and i saw one place about 2 weeks ago that we were totally psyched about, it needed some cosmetic work, but still an alright, nice solid house in a great location. we arranged for a second viewing last thursday just to take some notes and we had set aside the afternoon to gather the paperwork to make our offer. nothing like a new set of eyes to scope out a place! turns out it needs a new roof and a furnace (about $10K total) for starters. and as i was walking down the foyer, i noticed a strange kind of ridge in the tiles, almost like a bump in the middle of the floor. turns out the house had settled along the I-beams so that there was a 5 degree cant to the floor on either side of the ridge, the end result being that the tables and bookcases against the wall were all at an angle, almost propped up. our real estate agent (who is a doll and a godsend) described it as "wonky" and i couldn't have picked a better word myself. oh, and the parquet floors were separating, too, lots of gaps and cracks. not my kinda pad! and if we want to sell and move in 5-10 years, as is our plan, how on earth are we going to be able to unload this thing? then there was the house that was terriffic upstairs but the basement smelled like cat pee. then there was the curry house, and the house with the fireplace half in the kitchen, half in the living room. and the house with no light. we did find one that was absolutely gorgeous we loved and we're going for a second viewing tomorrow, but again, it's priced a little high and i'm not going to hold my breath. i know the right one is out there for us, somewhere, just waiting for our little family to call "home".

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

dental insurance companies are all EVIL...

...no matter how much their stupid recruitment literature and info packets claim they are concerned for your health and well-being. they pay for squat! and unfortunately, they often dictate the course of treatment, even if it's less than ideal. for example, insurance covers root canal therapy, but does NOT cover the crown that's supposed to restore the tooth and protect if from breaking in the future (for a classic example of this fiasco and the consequences, see my post from a few days ago about the un-crowned root canal treated tooth that snapped and i had to drill out of the bone - very messy). but patients don't hear that, they only hear, "a crown will cost x-ammount of dollars out of pocket (usually around $900)" so they opt for that massive blob of a filling that looks like crap and dooms the tooth to certain death because, hey, insurance pays for it! people of the world - these plans are NOT designed to help you! they are out for profit, like all insurance companies of the world! they are evil and they cannot diagnose and don't want what is best for you!!!

now, i'm not one of those aggressive dentists you read about or see on t.v. that the reporters do exposes on and find these doctors that give $10000 treatment plans to healthy smiles. but if i see a broken tooth and i think it needs a crown, it needs a crown regardless of whether insurance will pay for it or not. if you were that concerned, then you shouldn't have let your tooth go to begin with! and then they get mad at me because they don't like what i have to say, and i'm trying to make money and that's all i care about, and blah blah blah. that's not true! i just don't want to have to drill your broken tooth out later on! and don't even get me started on gum disease, the silent killer, that's even worse. try convincing people they're mouths are sick when it doesn't hurt them and there's no apparent distress, and further convince them to shell out thousands of dollars for gum surgery. hah!

don't mind my rant, i am feeling a bit out of sorts today. and it's wierd, too because it happens to be my day off. i worked like a dog yesterday, did some good stuff and made some people happy, which is nice. i also have tomorrow off with canuck, that will be a nice and welcome change, we've been two ships passing in the night lately! and my dad's visiting toronto this weekend and he hasn't been here in over 30 years. i can't wait to show him around the city, take him to my new office, go up to the top of the CN tower, and all that touristy stuff that you don't do when you actually live in the destination city. it's like i spent my whole life in new york and have never been inside the chrysler building, went to the empire state building only three times, and went to the top of the WTC only once (i really regret that now). i think i've been to the CN tower more times than all of those combined!

cookie's up from her nap and wants pasta now. okay, okay, okay...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

saturday, in the park...NOT

saturday dentistry, ahhh.... a gorgeous day outside, the first sunny one in ages and i had to work! it was my turn this week, and never a dull moment. two weeks ago, i sent my assistant home with the plague and my poor office mananger doubled as my assistant, patient coordinator, and front dest. thank god she's a certified dental assistant! and i have to say, we both really rocked. this week, the hygienist called in sick last minute, so rather than working 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. like i thought, i worked a full 9-5. i really don't mind, i kinda like doing hygiene sometimes. it's very relaxing and entails no responsibilities, since patients rarely argue about getting a good cleaning. and i love blasting off those nasty chunks of tartar with the cavitron, it's so satisfying!

i'm currently having assistant issues. she really is a very sweet woman, just not the greatest assistant in the whole world. maybe it's because we're just not on the same wavelength clinically or the fact that i had really top-notch assitants in my new york office so no one can even compare. so, it's been particularly difficult working with her. correct me if i'm wrong, but the patient is positioned so that the dentist can visualize and gain access to do the work, not so the assistant can suction easily! she's not the one who needs to see! i find that i work much more efficiently sans assistant with the patient's head turned toward me with the saliva ejector tucked strategically in the corner of his or her mouth. also, she disappears and i have to keep calling her because i'm missing stuff from my setup! furthermore, it's not very professional to talk about how the next appointment is waiting outside while the one you are currently treating is still in the chair, or why the previous patient didn't show up, or seating the patient before the chart is pulled and you're standing there like "um, who are you and what am i doing on you?". i'm trying to figure out a way to explain things to her and ask for what i want in a way that is constructive and positive yet firm. i want her to learn the right way to do things, but i also don't want to burn any bridges. i do have to work with this woman on a daily basis, and i happen to like her as a person. and i really do hate confrontation. but i'll probably find the time to sit down with her and talk one-on-one so we can iron things out.

so all-in-all, the week ended well. tomorrow canuck and i meeting with our real estate agent to view some properties in different "pockets" of neighborhoods so we can get a feel for what's out there in our price range. i'm so excited!!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

it's official!

so today i removed the last remaining vestige of my life in new york. after over a month of back and forth, forms, paperwork and beaurocracy, our car is officially registered in ontario. and to boot, i also changed the title and registration of the car (who i named ned flanders when i bought him in 2003 before i married canuck) to my married name and also to include canuck's name. we got ontario plates, but i have yet to put them on because it's just too bloody cold outside and i need to spare my fingers. that will happen in the next few days because the weather's supposed to warm up and i have to surrender the NYS plates to my old auto insurance company, who does not cover canadian automobiles (or wannabe ones like ned flanders). at drivers and licenses, the ontario version of the DMV, i asked the clerk if i could keep the old title for sentimental reasons, since it did have my maiden name on it. she laughed and said she understood, but she had to mail the original to the ministry of finance. she was nice enough to offer to photocopy it for me, but i declined. i'm a big dork, but not that much of one.

so, after all that commotion, the car is now officially a canadian resident. phew! i joked around with canuck after we made up from a stupid argument about house hunting that now we really couldn't ever get divorced, since the last remaining article of my single life has now been removed and it was such a pain-in-the-ass to get there that i don't even want to bother trying to change it again!

enjoyed my two days of r&r, back to work tomorrow and saturday! hopefully all will go smoothly...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

crappy day

just when you think that mondays couldn't get any worse. my first patient was 25 minutes late and completely threw my whole day off. her tooth broke and it needed a crown. okay, fine. now, i always welcome questions from my patients and want to make sure they have a full understanding of what i'm about to do before i begin, and i also understand that some people have a lower dental IQ that others. that's okay! but she wasn't a low dental IQ patient, she was just irritating. first she grilled me for over half and hour about the metal in the crowns - wasn't enough that i knew what they were, she wanted percentages and ratios. i told her i could find these things out at the lab. then she wanted to know if she got a permanent crown and then decided she wanted a bridge to fill in the missing tooth that was next to it, could i just throw one in and attach it to the crown? or just cut it off and include the price of the crown in the cost of the bridge. um...no! i tried telling her over and over again that these are two separate procedures, that she has to make a decision before either restoration is cemented permanently. i also added that if she wanted, i could prep the broken tooth and she could wear a temp for a few weeks so she could think about it a while before she made that decision. she then wanted to know exactly how long she could wear the temp, and when i told her no longer than a month or two she was like, only that little, how about a year? argh! and i said, unfortunately, a temp is a temporary restoration and the materials they are made from are not designed to be worn long term. then she wanted to know what it was made of, why are they so weak, and blah blah blah. argh again! oh, and when i finally got her numb and was prepping the tooth, she kept making all these weird faces and i kept stopping and asking her, "are you in pain? are you alright? do you need more anesthesia?". "no, it doesn't hurt, it smells". apparently, while you're cutting a tooth for a crown, sometimes there's this funky kinda burnt smell because the handpiece gets hot and there's a lot of water and you are cutting organic material. it's noticable, but i've never heard anyone complain about it. she then went on and on about the smell, the smell, the smell! then she even complained about the smell of the temp cement! the point of all this is that i spent over 45 minutes with this unappreciative, demanding, nit-picky individual who wasn't going to be happy with anything i told her, and the whole procedure took me only about 15 minutes. needless to day, i was greatful to get her out of my chair and on her way. and i hope she never comes back to finish.

that was just the icing on the cake! need i forget to mention the fractured root canal-treated tooth that was so brittle it crumbled like a cookie in my forceps and broke below the bone as i tried to extract it, and that after a half an hour of trying to fish this thing out, i had to send my poor patient to an emergency oral surgeon. we had to call five offices to find someone to tkae her. and how i was so backed up as a result that i had to reschedule a super-busy college student who was kept waiting to over an hour. i felt so horrid that i went out and bought her $10 worth of gift certificates from tim hortons so that she could have coffee and donuts for her exams. then i lost the template for the temp i was trying to make for another crown that i prepped later that day and i had to make one from scratch from a block of acrylic, not an easy thing to do successfully. as a result, i again ran behind so the hygienist wasn't able to see him for his scheduled appointment with her. then enter another completely unappreciative and annoying walk-in emergency who wanted me to just prescribe antibiotics without even looking at her or diagnosing her. "i know it's my wisdom tooth, why can't you just give me the antibiotics?" and i still reduced my fee for her so she paid nothing for the exam and half-price for the x-ray. not even so much as a thank you- all she could do was complain that she had to take the antibiotic with food because she was trying to lose weight. i'm telling you, i couldn't wait for the day to end!

but not all of it was bad. the patient who was kept waiting was very happy with the coffee certificates and rescheduled for friday morning, first patient of the day. the extraction patient was seen promptly at the oral surgeon and is now doing well (my pride is still wounded, but hopefully should recover soon). the temp crown came out decently, and the patient wasn't bothered by the schedule change, plus the hygienist got to leave early that day, so she was happy. and my last patient was super sweet and didn't mind waiting because she saw how crazy everything was.

some days being a dentist really is a mixed bag. and then people wonder why we're so "pricy." well, all that angst and grief really starts to take its toll on the human psyche! at this point i hope to retire next year!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

i love being a mommy

i took a look back at my previous posts, especially the ones since i first moved up to canada about 2 months ago. i saw myself mentioning work, house-hunting, and adjusting to life in a new country. things that seemed to be first and foremost on my mind at the time i wrote them. today's post i want to dedicate to my daughter, the one and only cookie puss.

today was my day off, and canuck took the car to work this morning so he wouldn't have to leave 2 hours in advance (subways are slllooooowwww in toronto on the weekends, 'specially early morning). so i was home with cookie, nonna and the disabled pooch who cookie loves to torture. i really have to try my best to keep them separated so that he can heal from his surgery.

we got up at the butt-crack of dawn when daddy woke up because the alarm woke me up too and no matter what time i wake up, be it super early or sleeping late, cookie is up with me. i got out of bed because i wanted to see him off and kiss him goodbye (i'm cheesy like that!) and tried to go back to sleep but cookie wanted to go downstairs and eat breakfast. so we ate cereal together and came back upstairs to our room and watched taped re-runs of "go, diego, go" on the portable dvd player. then we played with the game "perfection", the ORIGINAL one in the 1970's box and cookie really knows her shapes! then we with her dolls "my baby" and dora and i read to her from her first farm book. after that, we watched "stewie griffin, the untold story" on the portable dvd player together, and i went for a run on the treadmill while cookie cheered me on and ate chicken nuggets in her booster seat. she fell asleep in her chair while i was still running and nonna tried to pick her up and move her to the couch, but she woke up and cried out for me, so i cut my workout short and tried unsuccessfully to get her back down for a nap. so we decided it was time for a bubble bath! we got all fresh and clean with bubble-gum-scented sponge bob suds and i dressed her in a stretchy purple velvet dress. she finally went down for a nap right before daddy came home. ahhh....

i love having days like this, when it's just me and her. they've been few and far between, since our schedules have been so crazed lately. i know the money's important and great because we have goals and we want certain things, but having days like this reminds me of why i work part time and why i will continue to do so for as long as possible. sure, i take a hit financially, but canuck and i live pretty simple lives, don't go out a whole lot, take our lunches to work, and find entertainment that's cheap or free, which sometimes entails staying at home and playing video games or renting a movie. going out and having a party is expensive (and fun!) but days like the one i had with cookie today are priceless.

i love being a mommy!!!

Friday, March 03, 2006


doctor mommy dds --

A dance involving little to no clothing

'How" will you be defined in the dictionary?' at QuizGalaxy.com

so it's been FOREVER since i last posted, almost 2 whole weeks! i guess it's been because we've been so crazy busy that i haven't even had time to check my e-mail and return phone calls, let alone post to my blog. i worked like a dog last week, since i was covering for the hygienist who's been on vacation in mexico. it was also the first saturday that i've worked in a long time as well. nothing beats getting up at 6:30 in the morning when it's dark and everyone else is sleeping on their day off! canuck's also been so booked at work, he has bags under his eyes, literally. he's worked every day last week, minus sunday, of course. it's like we're two ships passing in the night. one of the other doctors left his office so he's basically got two dentists worth of patient charts. today's the first whole day we actually got to spend together, and that was to go to a seminar that our corporate office was hosting on customer service (it was long, but actually kinda fun and informative).

some major league changes coming up soon, too. our real estate agent wants to meet with us to take us around some neighborhoods of interest, and we're just waiting for a response from our mortgage broker for an approval. tax returns will soon be filed and hopefully we'll have a little windfall put away and voila! home sweet home! we're very much looking foward to it.

nana and grandpa are moving to michigan! crazy, but true! grandpa got a job offer for the east lansing police department doing radio and communications. the benefits are great, the cost of living is a quarter of what it is on long island, and i think everyone's ready for a change. what's really cool is that they'll be over 5 hours closer by car! i think it's really fantastic, but at the same time i'm a little sad, as we'll be visiting new york a little less frequently (enough to see papa, but it's still not the same, you know?). and my mom's a new yorker, i'm trying to picture her in another state! i'm sure it's something we'll get used to, tho!

canuck's playing video games on the play station, so i'm going to go hang out with him and cookie while we're all together. i hope to be able to post more frequently in the future, now that things have calmed down!!!

p.s. check out my dictionary definition up top! pretty awesome!