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5:19 a.m. - 2003-03-13


So yesterday I have my six month dental appointment to get my teeth cleaned.

That's one thing I'll give my wife. Once we started dating, she got me back in the dentist chair. Pre-Susie, I only went to the dentist when my gums were either bleeding uncontrollably or had spontaneously burst into flames, leaving them blackened and charred.

So anyway, I get to the dentist, sign in and start reading a Bruce Springsteen interview inside a recent Entertainment Weekly.

I finish that and find that I'm still alone in the waiting room. I'd been there ten minutes with nary a peep from the employees there.

I start reading a story on Paul Shaffer.

Finish that. Still nothing.

It's now 20 minutes past my appointment time. I get up and walk over to the little window that protects the receptionist from the grungy customers that all medical waiting rooms have in order to give the receptionist an air of authority or some shit.

"Maggie," I say. "Do you know how much longer it will be for me to get my teeth cleaned?"

"Uncle Bob!" she exclaims, all nervous. "I didn't even know you were here!"


I guess my signature on the sign-in sheet wasn't a big enough clue.

So I get ushered back to the chair and have to put up with the rigamarole from Sheila, my dental hygenist. I don't think that's even close to the proper spelling, but I'm tired and in a hurry. Deal with it.

Sheila, bless her heart. She's a sweet woman. Perhaps too sweet. But she just won't shut up. She wants to sit there and gab, gab, gab.

"So how's Andrew," she asked.

Here's my chance to drop several hints.

"He's great!" I say. "He loves to play outside and I was hoping that you could hurry the hell up and clean my freakin' teeth so I can go pick him up from daycare and get him home to play outside before the sun goes down, since it's a balmy 75 degrees out there today."

"Aren't children wonderful?" she says. "I remember when my grandson turned three. He was ....blah blah blah blah blah."

She then goes on a 15 minute diatribe about how her grandson shits his pants every time the television comes on or something while my eyes are fixated on the sun outside, watching it slowly drop down to the horizon.

Finally, she starts scraping my teeth with sharp metal objects. Which is heaven compared to listening to her prattle on and on about her grandson.

I've got to admit ... I dunno about you ... but the absolute worst taste I can get in my mouth is scraped-off plaque and ancient food particle gumbo. I'm not saying my teeth are piss yellow in color and dotted with month-old chicken particles. But there's obviously enough gunk in there for Sheila to retrieve and then leave rotting on my tongue for several minutes before I'm allowed to rinse and spit.

She eventually finishes with me which means it's time for the actual dentist to come in and do his own scraping, followed by the back teeth chomp down routine, the exchange of new toothbrushes and free samples of dental floss and the hearty handshake with the guy who's had his hands in about 30 mouths before mine that day. Random nasty germs, anyone?

I ask if I can keep the Entertainment Weekly since there were more articles in there that I didn't get a chance to read in the 20 minutes that I was being totally ignored by the staff.

Sheila looks at the date on the magazine (February 28th), does some calculating in her head and then reluctantly says I can have it.

"If it's a problem, I won't take it," I said. "I just wanted to read some things in there."

"No," she says. "Take it."

I felt like saying "This is my reward for pretending to listen to that gawdawful boring story about your grandson."

Alas...I didn't.

I go pick up Andrew and we head home. We get home at 5:05.

I take his diaper bag and various things inside the house while he stays outside.

I come back out....not 30 seconds later.

That little geek has ran down the driveway and is already in Wyatt's driveway, searching frantically for something to play with.

In a way, it's cool because Andrew has gotten over his shyness in a small way and is able to play with the neighborhood kids.

But he just helps himself to their backyard so that the family may be sitting there watching TV or eating dinner and happen to notice a little kid running around their backyard, playing with all the toys.

Sure enough, by the time I get over there, he's inside Wyatt's younger sister's playhouse.

Since I have to give this little girl who's six months older than Andrew a name, yet I have no idea how to spell her name since it's a unique one ... I think we'll just call her .....hmmmmm....I have to settle on something here for future reference.

Let's call her "Stanley".

Stanley and Andrew. There you go. For future reference...Stanley is the little girl across the street who's six months older than Andrew and whom I think Andrew may just have a little crush on.

So Andrew's in the backyard, playing inside Stanley's playhouse which is unusual because the playhouse that Santa brought him last Christmas gets ignored on a regular basis at our home.

Stanley and her mother finally come outside once they see Andrew all over their backyard. I finally come away from the end of the driveway and am sociable with the mother. I had been standing in the driveway because I didn't want to just show up on their patio, peeking through their windows and scaring the bejeezus out of the entire family.

We talked about kids while I pushed them on the swings and really had a nice time. We were invited back "any time" which Andrew understands as "ALL the time".

I wonder if he'll end up marrying Stanley.

My new daughter-in-law....Stan.

Stay tuned.

Isn't that Elizabeth Smart story a perfect story to hear in these trying times?

And no...I'm not being cynical or sarcastic.

Tonight, I go out on a date with the winner of the "Win A Date With Uncle Bob" contest, that has been going on for the last year.

The lucky winner is Erika from Peytons Place.

Erika and I will be enjoying a lovely steak dinner courtesy of Longhorn Steakhouse.

In a wise move, she's invited her parents.

And her son Peyton.

And has urged me to bring Susie and Andrew.

So it looks like the whole "Lengthy Tongue Kiss Goodnight" segment of the date will be squashed.

Which is probably good for her.

Since there's no telling how much chicken-flavored bone marrow I may have in my teeth today.

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