Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Coast Dental

Our dental plans just changed at work recently. My company offered a completely free, company-paid dental plan during our last dental plan choices and our most recent dental plan choices. This time and last time I chose this free, company-paid option because it was pretty much just as good as the ones I'd have to pay for out of pocket. The only difference is the last free plan was a DMO, and this time the free plan is a PPO. Wow, this is getting confusing and super boring already, so let me offer you a bulleted list to ease your confusion and pepper in some excitement:

  • Our free, company-paid dental plan from a few months ago - DMO!!!!!!
  • Our free, company-paid dental plan that is currently offered - PPO!!!!!!!

This doesn't seem like much of a difference if you don't know a lot about DMO plans vs. PPO plans, but I assure you, it's QUITE different indeed. With my previous DMO plan, a terrible dental facility (in which the dentist has barely graduated dental school and maybe knows a little more about teeth than I do) gets assigned to you.

I think it's like when people barely graduate hair school, so they go work at that "Blow Bar" chain where all they do is blow dry hair all day long because haircuts and hair coloring are too lofty of a goal. At least, I think that's what their shtick is all about at "Blow Bar". I don't know for sure because I can generally manage to dry my hair by myself without the aid of someone meagerly skilled - and also, the air, in general, does a pretty fine job of that. Probably not the best name. The point is that the people working there most likely aren't very good at their job.

Getting back to the dentist thing; you don't have much say in the matter in terms of the dental facility you get assigned to. I was assigned to a Coast Dental close to my condo. I've seen many Coast Dental offices around (mostly inland - that's a hilarious joke), so I knew it wasn't any type of luxurious, one-off dental facility, but beggars can't be choosers, right? I'm not paying a thing, so if you're gonna clean my teeth for free, ok, let's do this. Also, the reviews online said cute things like "they pulled my teeth out unnecessarily", "run for the hills", "this is the Walmart of dentists", "I think I was roofied", etc.

During my first appointment, I was told they would do my x-rays and an exam and that I would then have to schedule my teeth cleaning separately. I said I would like them "all together please", and the woman assured me their dental staff couldn't handle ALL of these complicated dentals tasks on the same day without a good night's sleep in between. After looking around, I thought "yeah, that sounds about right", so I scheduled my cleaning for the next day after gagging through my x-rays (yeah, that's an adorable thing I do). She then told me that I could actually come back in three hours for my teeth cleaning if I wanted - as if she was pulling some strings specifically for me. Three hours? Nice try Mrs. Migillicuddy. I have to get to work. Tomorrow it is.

When I arrived the next day for my teeth cleaning, I was in and out of there in like 20 minutes flat. No joke. The dental hygienist glanced casually at my teeth with measured interest (like one might when trying to determine if the pile of debris on the side of the road is a garbage bag or a body), waved a magic wand in my mouth's general direction, chanted some mantra under her breath, and then I was sent on my way.

Seriously though, that's pretty much what happened. I'm still used to the days where dental hygienists really scrape at your teeth and you leave bleeding - like you've been licking an iron skillet for an hour. Instead of "scraping", the dental hygienist educated me by explaining that if she holds this new fandangled contraption somewhat close to my teeth in a super lackluster manner while simultaneously using her other hand to smoke a cigarette or whatever the case may be, the wand is so powerful that my teeth magically become clean. Ok, cool - I'm not skeptical at all.

Needless to say, I was pumped when our free dental plan option changed to a PPO. I was able to choose my own, fancy dentist now! And choose it I did! And fancy it was! I no longer had to go to a non-updated dental office that looked exactly like one Kevin Arnold may have visited on "The Wonder Years".

When I just got my teeth cleaned at my new place, they did the x-rays, exam, and teeth cleaning all in one appointment. And, they had things like iPads, mouth wash, skilled dental staff, etc. I felt like my teeth actually got cleaned. It was a delight! They were sure to mention that it looked like my teeth hadn't been cleaned very well during my last teeth cleaning. I nodded emphatically, told them I had gone to a Coast Dental and explained about the wand thing. They understood. There was really no need to expound on anything else after that.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Llama Tell You A Story!

I was on a date recently, and talk about high school came up, as it usually does (or am I the only one talking about high school memories, like being arrested, on dates?)...so, it dawned on me that I've never written a blog post devoted to my high school history. I guess I should write a blog post about being arrested too, eh? Noted. We'll save that little gem for later.

The first high school I attended was in Fairfield, CT. It was the standard 9th through 12th grade, and it was pretty big - about 500 kids in each grade. As you probably know, CT is pretty well off in general; particularly Fairfield County. So, there were the stereotypical popular/preppy kids, the nerds, the theatre kids, artsy kids, the kids that pretended they were hippies...ya know, kind of like you'd see in a movie about high school where 35 year old actors and actresses pretend they are 17 year olds, and then there's a HUGE house party that looks like no party I've ever seen in real life because it's even more elaborate than a wedding. Oh, and Jennifer Love Hewitt is there, just like standing in the middle of the party. It was like THAT.

Anyway, there were the "cool" smokers on the corner, lots of BMWs in the parking lot, lots of sports teams, lots of dances, lots of lots of lots, etc. I had grown up in Fairfield since 2nd grade, so it was all I really knew, and this all seemed normal to me. I even got a Saab and a car phone because............duh. I was definitely not in the so-called popular crowd at this school, but I wasn't dorky either - I was comfortably in the middle. And, I liked it there. In terms of high school, I liked it. I had good friends, I learned how to get drunk after some perseverance, I was the main chorus part in some of our musical productions (a highly selective role), I used AOL like a champ when my parents weren't picking up the phone...things were good.

Thennnnnnnn, my parents decided to drop a bomb and tell my brother and me that we were going to move - in the middle of my junior year of high school! Cue the sad Ben Folds Five music and torrential rain while I sit and write in a journal on my bed with a forlorn look on my face. I'm also saying into the phone to my friend, "I know, it's just not fair! No, I guess my parents DON'T love me anymore!" Oh, sorry, I'm getting distracted as to how my life would be depicted in the movies.

My parents told us we were going to be moving to Goshen, a small, rural town in the northwest corner of CT. I was not impressed. This obviously sounded terrible. My parents were getting tired of Fairfield because it was pretentious, getting more expensive, more crowded, etc. "It will be a fun change" they said. "You'll make new friends" they said. That all sounded pretty silly. I think they were forgetting about my current friends and the fact that I liked getting drunk behind elementary schools.

I don't really remember the details in terms of how long I knew we were moving before we actually moved or how the house sales panned out, but that's probably because I was grasping at making all the memories I could before my certain and untimely death.

And so, we moved...to the middle of bumble f*ck. See ya later everyone! Come visit me never.

When we first got to our new house, I remember being shocked at how dark and quiet the street was at night. There were no street lights, electrical wires, or noises aside from nature. Nature, tee hee. What was that? The stars seemed so much brighter. It was very new but strangely nice. I was thinking, this could be ok.

That was, until I got a tour of my new high school the following day. Now, when I say the word "high school" you most likely picture a structure with walls, ceilings, and a floor like a normal person would...but, no. This special high school I would be attending was under construction, so the floors were made of cement with stains on them, and the ceiling was also undone with all the electrical wires hanging out. Gross. This high school was also regional and comprised of three towns - Warren, Morris, Goshen (so, obviously it was named "Wamogo"). Oh, and it was 6th grade through 12th grade. Benny Boy and I were back at the same school! There were like 98 kids in my grade or some comical number like that that seemed fictional. I kept wondering when Ashton was going to show up with Dax and take me to tour my REAL new high school.

Clearly, I wasn't impressed with the way the school looked, but there was also something more alarming that I had noticed before even entering. There were a couple tractors parked in the parking lot! And, no BMWs! WTF? Were these people poor?! Did they even like Dave Matthews?

During my first homeroom during my first day, I was told everyone had been "expecting me", and I was complimented on my Saab even though I told no one I drove a Saab. Ok, thanks for creeping me out immediately potential new friends. I also wore hiking books to try to make myself fit in and not appear as cool as I obviously was. They would figure out the cool thing later - I didn't need to rub it in.

I think I got high on my first day after school. Or at least the second day. See? I was making friends like my parents had hoped.

I'm typing this on a really old laptop, and now that it's been on a while, it's getting super hot and has started to emit a strange smell (I swear, it's not me). I hope it doesn't explode before I finish this important post.

So anyway, in an effort not to ramble on, that was the basic gist of it all. I ended up liking Goshen a lot because it was so different from Fairfield. It was beautiful and scenic, and I made some really good friends along the way. One turned out to be my very best friend in the world. Don't get me wrong, it took me a while to adjust. High school is freaking tough even when you're not forced to move in the middle of the school year to somewhere so different. But, looking back at it at the ripe age of 31, it was a great experience.

FUUUUCK, I forgot to mention the llamas - the whole subject line of this post. I am SO smart. At Wamogo, there were llamas chillin at the back of the school. Ya know, because that's a normal thing to have at a normal high school. I was solving complex mathematical equations while the Ag kids got to pet llamas all day. So unfair.

Ok, that is all :)