Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

dr. teeth 0120A variety show with Muppets, at the moment when variety shows were going out of vogue, was perhaps a more daring idea than I’d previously considered, but that’s what Jim Henson and ABC put out for public consumption in the mid-1970s. For those of us who only knew the Muppets through the wholesomeness of Sesame Street, this was an entirely different world.

For one thing, other than Kermit the Frog, all the other denizens of Sesame Street stayed home, and we met an entirely different cast of creatures through The Muppet Show. For another, this show was aimed at least as much at adults as children, and no one worried so much about wholesomeness. It was still a family-friendly show, but a lot of the characters were far edgier than Oscar the Grouch.

My favorite was the bandleader, Dr. Teeth, who presided over the Electric Mayhem. And on a day that offers far more topics than space, he is the perfect lead-in to combine two of them. [But don’t forget to tune in at some unspecified future point, because I know you can hardly wait to hear my take on how it has only required from the advent of The Muppet Show until now — a mere half-century — for 38 states to officially say that women should have the same rights as men.]

Lynn and I are hitting the road once again today, part of our Medical Tour of Colorado. Lynn is in need of a pair of implants, and while I’m quite sure that sounds salacious, when you start talking about people our age, you should automatically not assume chest but rather teeth.

We think. Months ago her oral surgeon, who operates out of Montrose, removed two teeth plus an existing implant around which bone had eroded. (That one, because it didn’t last, gets Lynn a credit toward a future implant. It’s nice to know that some people in the medical world warrant their work and then don’t try every which way to assure you the failure is your fault.)

Lynn has an auto-immune disease that robs her of saliva, which turns out to be a necessary ingredient of healthy teeth. For over a decade it’s been kind of a pushme-pullyu with Lynn in the middle as I accuse her dental professionals of milking thousands of extra dollars out of her in the name of preserving her actual teeth rather than artifice. I mean, it makes sense that you’d like to hang onto your own teeth as long as possible, except that every single time she goes to the dentist, which she seems to do every other week, she has another cavity that costs money to fill.

This piecemeal approach was on the brink of making a whole mouth system an impossibility, when we finally convinced the oral surgeon, a woman we both really like, and her dentist (our opinions of him are split) to develop a plan for a broad overview of Lynn’s mouth. They are now looking in terms of bridges rather than individual teeth, so I’m not really sure what today’s visit portends.

All I know is, Lynn’s been trying to eat mostly without any molars for months, and we were supposed to be making this sojourn into the teeth of a blizzard.

That’s par for the course around here: if it’s winter, and Lynn and I are driving, there will be snow. It is so.

While the CBS national forecaster was a perfect picture of gloom and doom this morning about a storm currently socking the Pacific northwest and headed for parts east, Wunderground has downgraded its expectations from Tuesday, when it was promising “1.5 inches” of snow this evening, seguing into bigger snow tomorrow, to a storm total of “1.2 inches,” all of it tomorrow.

So maybe we won’t have to grit our teeth, or potential new implants, all the way home. Which would be nice, but hardly expected.

That takes care of Dr. Teeth; let’s now bring on the Electric Mayhem. Not, happily, that I have any electrical glitches and/or demises to report in the last two whole days — although Lynn’s new mixer arrived yesterday, so there’s always a bad news possibility by Monday — but I do have a large wonderment, and so far no answer.

As I reported, our electrical co-op sent two men out to install a “quality monitor” on our electrical meter, located at the south end of our property. When he knocked on our door to tell me that’s what he was about to do, Mr. Baker sounded rather vague and casual. This is probably not what he said, but it’s what I heard: “We’ll put this on, and I’ll stop by now and then to check on it.”

I supposed, since when I first went in to GCEA (during Customer Appreciation Month back in October) and they told me all kinds of information about my electrical line right there, that this monitor would be read from the comfort of someone’s desk inside the massive GCEA building. (It could be the biggest office building you’ve never seen in Gunnison.)

But since the monitor was installed — was that two weeks ago? Maye just one? — I have seen Misters Baker and Stanley on a near-daily basis, standing with a laptop perched on top of the pedestal holding our meter.

They peer at it for a long while, then get back in their truck (where presumably it is a lot warmer), then get back out and peer again. They do this for upwards of an hour, an hour that seems to coincide with my lunch hour. I did see them one morning as well, so I don’t know if they are coming more than once a day, or they came that morning but not that afternoon . . . I have no idea at all what they’re doing, nor if this is just part of a regular monitoring protocol. Two days ago they opened the transformer itself and spent about 20 minutes poking around in there.

Now, an enterprising person, particularly an enterprising person who used to be a journalist, ought to have no trouble going up to these men while they’re out here and saying, “So, are you finding anything?”

But right now they’re my last ray of hope — a word used in a completely ironic sense here, you understand — that there might be something wrong and causing this frustrating series of electrical issues. So I’m afraid to ask.

As they spend hour upon hour out at our meter, and dig the snow away from the transformer to open it up, this seems like over-the-top customer service if they really aren’t finding anything out there. Or maybe it’s slow right now at GCEA and I’ve given two men something to do with their days. But from my cowardly perch behind the safety of my lovely southern windows, this seems like much ado if it’s really about nothing. So I don’t go ask, thus clinging to my fantasy that they are finding anomalies. Anomalies that can be fixed and leave contractors and electricians feeling less defensive about their work, and Lynn and me less baffled about the state of our electricity.

Is that really so much to ask? To live full-time in a fantasy world filled with Muppets and singing and dancing? It hardly seems so from here.




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