Chewing Gum, Duct Tape, Super Glue, and Paper Clips

(Note: I wrote this the day before I left for Navajo Lake Cottonwood CG on the San Juan River , where there was NO cellular phone service or air card access, so I’m just now posting…The photo here is sundown on the San Juan River at Cottonwood CG. Today, 8/13/09, I’m posting from Red Rock Park outside Gallup, NM where I’ll be for the Intertribal Council until Monday. And YES, I have a phone and Internet service here!!!)

Even with all the fun things I’ve been doing, and places I’ve been going, there are also those mundane items that require attention from time to time. And sometimes, they come as surprises.

As a recent example, I was calmly eating a cracker (or something) when the tooth I’d been ‘babying’ because it didn’t feel right sometimes, finally decided to split. It didn’t come out at the time, but I could tell that it was fractured. And here I was, at night, in a strange, very rural place, not knowing where I could get help. As I don’t have TV I have been trying to find local radio stations where I stay so I can find out something about what’s happening in the world. The Chama, NM station is located about 20 miles from the Blanco campground at Heron Lake, and they had been advertising a local clinic where one could get all kinds of care – medical, dental, mental, and emergency, etc., and they would see walk-ins.

The next morning, as the camp host walked by, I inquired about where I could get some help. He offered that the clinic I’d been hearing about was just a few miles down the road. So shortly after 8:00 a.m. I drove to just outside Tierra Amarilla to La Clinica del Pueblo de Rio Arriba (Whew! – say that three times fast!) I signed in and was directed to the dental clinic area. After a fairly short wait, I was seen and the dentist advised that yes, the tooth was fractured, and the broken part came out easily. Luckily, there was no nerve involvement, so he could just put a patch on it, and eventually I would need a crown. Two numbing shots to the mouth and some compound set over the surface, I was ready to go. I commented to the dentist that the repair was a little like super gluing a cover onto the tooth – he agreed.

Well, since I’d just become eligible for Medicare, and they offer a free exam upon first eligibility, I inquired about getting an appointment for that. They said they do do those exams and I was given a 1:00 p.m. appointment for the next day. I was so pleased with myself!!!

Until that night. I ate my dinner without any problem chewing with my repaired tooth, and I brushed my teeth with no problem. It was the dental floss snagging the repair that jerked it half off, leaving a bit of a ‘hole’ I could feel with my tongue. I was very upset and began to cry like a child!!! What a disappointment.

So the next morning I arrived bright and early to let the dental staff know I was ba-a-a-ck! So that I wouldn’t have to wait several hours, they suggested that I come back after my Medicare exam, and they gave me an appointment for 2:00 p.m. At that point I went into Chama to go online for a while.

After lunch I returned for my exam – the BP is a little concerning, but may settle down after I’m not upset, or at such a high elevation (7,800 ft.), and I need to see a dermatologist, but mostly I’m fine in the medical department. So on to the dentist – a different one this time. Once again he had to give me numbing shots, and this time they really hurt, to the point that I began to weep in the office. Both the dentist and his assistant asked me if I was okay – I said it hurt, dammit!!! But this time the dentist built a new cusp for the one that broke off, and I’m sure I will need a crown in the near future. BUT, I can floss without worrying that it will come of!

So next, the chewing gum piece – well, it wasn’t chewing gum, it was pine pitch. I sat on it, on a log by the lake, and didn’t notice. I was very annoyed when I stuck to the log when I tried to get up!!! A couple of days ago I bought a very expensive spray can of something that will remove almost everything sticky, oily, greasy, etc. I sprayed it onto my shorts and put them in the wash. It seems sometimes that something always goes ‘wrong’ – this time, both loads of laundry had hidden Kleenexes tht disintegrated in the wash. And the load with the sprayed shorts came out smelling like solvent. I had run out of money for drying, so I hauled the wet laundry home and hung it all over the trailer! BUT, the pitch came out, and the air-drying got rid of the smell. AND the Kleenex pieces were left at the laundromat!

I’ve been in this trailer full-time for almost five years, and for about four and a half of those years the latch on the door to the compartment for the electric cord has been broken. The original ‘fix’ was tape – clear duct tape. It held the door fine, but over time, it became soiled, and new strips of tape replaced the old ones, over the dirt. A former RVing friend of mine in Tucson gave me an idea for how I could make a different fix, but I didn’t do anything about it until a few days ago. I found a plastic tent peg with a broken ‘hook’, so a rope couldn’t be attached to it, one of those bungee cords that’s a loop with a big ball attached, a bent aluminum tent peg, and a cork from a wine bottle, and created my own version of my friend’s idea. Then I used that expensive spray that removes all that sticky stuff, and got rid of the residue from the clear duct tape. It took off some of the paint as well, so I’ll deal with that ‘mundane’ item later…

Also for the last almost five years I’ve had that aluminum insulation you can buy in rolls, cut to fit and installed in most of my windows. Well, I decided it was time to be able to see out of the windows for a while and to actually clean them. So now I can see out, and the light can get in – also the heat or the cold – oh, well. I have Venetian blinds at the windows, and for some reason they’ve decided it is time to let go of their bottom rails. Well, I fixed THEM!!! I used paper clips to wrap around the main cord just above the bead that’s supposed to go through the rail at the bottom. I cut the turns of the paper clips off, and poked the remaining wire through the hole in the rail and twisted it. So THERE! It ain’t pretty, but it works, and unless you look closely, you won’t notice when you come to visit!!


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