May
08
Time to make the donuts

I’ve been off the blog for awhile because I haven’t been to work. My desire to spend time typing is low to begin with, and it really wanes when I’m home with my family.

I finished my last trip from Milan to Memphis in March and then flew back to Orlando. I visited a local dentist because they advertised they make crowns in house, and I wanted to get my new crown in one visit. Unfortunately the dentist said the bone decay under my tooth was too advanced, and that tooth needed to be extracted. He also said I’d probably need implants to keep my upper teeth from growing down into the gap left by the extracted tooth. The Air Force said the same thing when they extracted the tooth’s neighbor 8 years ago. Their solution was to wear a mouth guard the rest of my life to keep my upper teeth in place. That lasted a few months before I just stopped wearing the guard. 8 years later my upper teeth haven’t moved down a milimeter.

Despite the dubiousness of the dentist’s claim, I had already decided years ago to get implants should that second molar be pulled. I got used to chewing with one tooth missing, but two is too much.

Anyway, their oral surgeon comes once a month, and his next availability was during a work trip in April. I tried to trade the trip away, but I wasn’t able to. I also tried calling my dentist in Memphis, but they wanted to see me to verify the tooth needed to be extracted, refer me out for the extraction, then refer me to a third dentist for the implants. All-in-all they we’re going to take over a month to do what the Florida oral surgeon would do in a day. I decided to call in sick in order to get the surgery complete before it got abscessed.

The day of the surgery didn’t go as planned because a key piece of equipment wasn’t working. After keeping me an hour to see if I could fix it, they sent me home and told me they’d get me back as quickly as possible. I went back and had lunch after the numbness wore off, then took a nap. I’d slept poorly the night before, so it was nice to snooze a bit. The dentist’s office woke me to say I should be back at 5. Round two went much better. I got re-numbed and the oral surgeon went to work. I had to stop him for more anaesthetic after he started working on the extraction, but otherwise I was mostly pain free. The worst part was I’d feel a slight inkling of pain when he went deep, like drilling for the implants, and I kept wondering if it would *really* hurt when he screwed them in. As it turns out, I was feeling him screw them in without realizing it. Before I knew it, he was suturing me up, and I knew I’d made it without pain. I’m not necessarily afraid of dental work, but if there’s ever a next time I’ll definitely ask to be sedated so that I don’t stress the whole time.

The surgery caused me to miss a trip that nearly cleared out my sick bank, but it did give me more than a month at home. During that month we continued visiting Disney a lot. We also went to Busch Gardens Tampa and Sea World. Both places were fun, and the roller coasters were far above anything at Disney. At Sea World, Max and I rode Mako thirteen times! It was the most exciting coaster I’ve ridden in my life. We also got to take a fishing trip generously offered by a guy at church. Poor Elle and Jack threw up, and Max got nauseous, but once we left the choppy sea they all got better.

At the end of April, I had a quick trip to Memphis for two days of reserve. It’s barely long enough to unpack, and I was back in Orlando before I knew it. We ate our second meal at Smokey Bones, some of the best barbecue we’ve eaten since Branson last year. We went through our last visits at Disney, our last ice cream at Abracadabra (oops, we had our “last” visit twice!), and my last follow-up with the oral surgeon. He said I’m healing nicely and should be ready for the crowns in July.

We drove away from Kissimmee Friday morning after more than four months stationary. Packing up and driving off went very smoothly, although we realized later I left our $50 regulator hooked up to the water supply. Oh well. We drove almost two hours to a Flying J with RV Lanes, and then we ate at Denny’s after filling our tank. The meal was very good, but the young waitress thought it was ok to have work drama conversations across the restaurant while she was at the table to take our order. After lunch we had less than an hour to NAS Jacksonville. Traffic picked up a bit as we neared the base, but most of it was heading the other way. It looked like they let the base out early, because the 2:30pm traffic looked like rush hour.

NAS Jax was a nice park, and we’d gladly stay again if in the area. The commissary was new and huge, the best I’ve ever seen. Most importantly, they allowed us to park the bus in the auto skills center parking lot and change the oil.

Elle and I started at 9:30 on Saturday, and by 10 the new oil was going into the engine. The generator, which holds much less oil, took a lot longer to change, and cleanup was the longest of all. We’d planned on tossing the trash in the dumpster and taking the oil to an auto store to recycle it, but I figured doing it at the auto skills center would be faster. It would if I hadn’t turned into a troupe of the Keystone Kops. First I had to crush the filters and put them in the special crush can, turn over all the bottles so they’d drain into the special drain, then pour the oil down the drain and run whatever machine was attached to it to collect the oil. Not bad so far, except I got oil all over from the crushed filters, and I left a trail all along the pristine floor. I wiped everything with shop towels, and when I was halfway done the shop manager said I needed to mop it. So, I drug the mop over, started mopping, then realized I was stepping in the mopped area with my dirty shoes! What a bonehead! I re-mopped and finally escaped 45 minutes after I started in on the “fast” cleanup.

After that we had a delicious lunch in Jacksonville at a place that served gourmet biscuits and toppings. Mine had chicken, bacon, fried egg and spicy sausage gravy. Elle’s had goat cheese and pepper jelly–yum!

After lunch we drove to Saint Augustine and toured the old fort. We got there just in time to see the cannon firing demonstration. We tooled around the old town a bit and then headed back to Jacksonville. We were all pretty tired by the time we got back. Elle made us fantastic sandwiches with English muffins, ham, cheese and tons of butter. Paula Deen would be proud to serve them in her restaurants.

Sunday we got off to an early start, driving away from the campground before 10 and pulling away from the office at 10 on the dot. We had a fairly easy hour and a half to Brunswick, GA, where we filled up at another Flying J with RV lanes. It was too early for lunch, and we continued on towards Charleston. I-95 in Georgia was funny. There was a sign promising construction the next 9 miles, but we saw nothing. There were signs designating the area as a work zone with doubled fines about every mile, but no actual construction. About 60 miles in we saw three cones in the right shoulder, then nothing again for 20 miles except the signs warning us fines were doubled. At about 80 miles the right lane was closed, though no work was taking place on Sunday afternoon. After the lane closure we finally saw some “END ROAD WORK” signs, immediately followed by another “WORK ZONE: SPEEDING FINES DOUBLED” sign. Those continued all the way to the South Carolina border with no more construction in sight.

Not too long after crossing into South Carolina, we left I-95 for US-17 into Charleston. The road was four lane and mostly 60 mph, with several small towns where it slowed to 45 or less. We got into Charleston and made our way to the base, driving around the north end of the airport. We entered through the giant x-ray machine, although in hindsight I don’t think they meant us to enter that way. We pulled into camp and got setup in our new long-term site. It’s very wooded and much prettier than our site in Kissimmee.

When I reserved the site, I asked for a month. The outdoor rec people said it wasn’t a problem, but they could reserve the site only 14 days in the computer. They said to tell the camp host at check in and we’d be fine. The camp host didn’t know about this arrangement, and she said she’d have to look at her computer back in her trailer to see if we could stay. About 20 minutes later she came back to say she’d hooked us up. Whew! I was thinking we’d have to leave immediately if we couldn’t stay the whole month.

Monday was our lazy day since we worked Saturday and Sunday. Elle let me sleep until 9:30, the longest I’ve slept in months. After Bible reading we took Jack with us and ran out to Camping World for a replacement regulator and a replacement sewer elbow. The replacement valve was totally worth the money. Our cheapo regulator that came free with the RV keeps it low. With the new regulator we were able to adjust it up to 50 psi, lower than our max of 55. It’s so much nicer to shower and use the toilet when we have good pressure!

Monday night I made Alton Brown’s roasted broccoli hero sandwiches again. They were just as delicious as the first time I made them last month! After supper we put the boys to bed and watched three shows: The Great British Baking Show season 2 finale, and one episode each of Deadwood and House of Cards. We usually try not to have so many different shows going at once, but sometimes we need a change of pace from the complexities of HoC or the barely understandable dialog of Deadwood.

I also found out Monday I’d been assigned a trip the first two weeks of my 19-day reserve period! Instead of sitting around, I get to fly to Paris and log the landings I need to avoid the simulator. Oddly there are no flights on us to Memphis, so I jumpseated on Delta to Atlanta and then Memphis. I’m about to land on the second flight and then head to my crash pad for the night. Tomorrow I fly all the way to Indy before going to Paris early the following morning.