Drove down to StL with the boys late Wed night to spend Thanksgiving with my parents. Had a relatively pleasant visit. They're not much for celebration, and are sort of dimly aware that there is a holiday going on around them - I had a bowl of cereal and a peanut butter sandwich for Thanksgiving dinner :/. That evening, though, my mom made some great ma-po tofu, broiled short ribs, and stir-fried cabbage and spinach. Yum. The boys loved it. (Well, not the vegetables.) I'm so glad they like ma-po tofu. We're Taiwanese, dammit!
Like I say, it was a relatively pleasant visit. Had wanted to have some profound, moving, regenerative conversations with my dad about, well, our relationship (largely prompted by our church's Wild at Heart men's retreat last month), but that never happened - owing in part to my dad and I (& the boys) being on radically different sleep schedules, and in part to spending a lot of time with my two sick boys, who were getting over their bronchitis, and Nathan's diarrhea. Traveling with sick kids takes a fair amount of attention, when you're not visiting locations with a robust child-support infrastructure (e.g. Ruby's Bed & Breakfast, to use sjepearson03's moniker). What time I did have with my dad was spent mostly on financials/estate planning, or helping him and my mom with their new wireless network.
At breakfast on Thursday, my dad's lower left incisor broke off as he was eating a nice breakfast of pigs feet (we're Taiwanese, dammit!). I mean, the whole tooth just snapped off at the root. He showed me the tooth afterwards, and we could see how eroded and narrow the tooth had become down near the gumline. My dad is 72, and (growing up on a farm in Taiwan) did not enjoy the best of dental care early in life. He told me that the incisor next to it on the right was already an implant, having broken off sometime last year. The implant is a titanium spike or screw that is driven down into the jaw; a few months are allocated for integration with the surrounding tissue, and then the spike is capped with a prosthetic tooth. An eloquent argument, if you are in need of one, for regular brushing and flossing.
I asked my dad if it hurt, and he replied with a matter-of-fact no. I was sort of reluctant to believe him at first, because a) all subjects of forceful, violent tooth loss that I am aware of consistently express severe pain, and b) my dad is the kind of person who, by long practice, has trained himself to be unimpressed with his own discomfort, particularly physical and intellectual discomfort. It is apparent that matters of comfort factor in much more greatly in my day-to-day choices than in his. There's a nice vignette in there about spiritual formation, and spiritual disciplines. And of course I was struck by the illustration of the decay of the body with age.
Yeah, brush your teeth. And floss. And don't clean between them with sharp, metal implements like push pins or the tips of mechanical pencils (a bad habit I picked up from my dad). I suspect you're eroding the thin enamel at the neck of your tooth, below the crown, when you do this.
After the tooth incident, my dad decided to take a nap, and my mom and I took the boys to a nearby park. Here are some pics of them with my mom:
Friday afternoon we left StL and drove down to Memphis, to visit Alice, who nannied Sam during his first year. People I meet (when I take the boys to a park, or what not) think it's weird that I'm traveling to visit my sister-in-law over Thanksgiving while my wife is in Seattle, but hey - I'm Taiwanese, dammit! Alice greeted us with a nice meal of chicken marsala that she had made, which was very good. The boys liked it and ate quite a bit, even after packing away 16 McNuggets on the drive down.
Alice ended up having to work today :(, so I took the boys to Shelby Farms, a big park/stable/orchard/outdoorsy-fun place just 5 mins from Alice's apartment. We walked the trails (so glad for that awesome double stroller) down to a big playground, where they clambered all over everything. Sam went on the monkeybars kinda-by-himself, and Nathan swang in a regular swing for the first time. Dianne M. (from Champaign, now teaching at the Univ of Memphis) came out to visit with us, and we had a nice chat for a couple of hours.
Well, I was gonna take advantage of the quiet to read Renovation of the Heart, but -yawn- I think I'm just gonna take a little nap myself.
Current Location: Memphis
Current Music: fountain outside Alice's apartment