I sure didn't expect to be writing this particular post when I published the last blog post about my braces and promised that the next one would be about our RV. I guess you could say it is, but not our bedroom renovation, that's for sure!
How quickly things can change when a hurricane is approaching, On Monday night, we expected to be staying put, but while watching The Weather Channel about Hurricane Irma on Tuesday, the latest track looked worse for central Florida It appeared that Orlando would not be a good place to be when Irma came to call, most especially in an RV. For that reason, we made an executive decision to evacuate from our campground west of Orlando. Barry thought we should leave on the very next morning (Wednesday), a very wise decision, as it turns out.
All of a sudden, our day became a whirlwind of unexpected preparatory activity. We stocked up on far more groceries than the few items on our list, did three loads of laundry, brought in outdoor items from our campsite, got an "Occupied" sign for it so we could get the same site back when we eventually returned, and planned our evacuation route and stops. We would stop for one night in the Florida panhandle, then make our way to a campground we'd enjoyed before in Mississippi, hoping this location would get us far enough west to avoid the storm, or at least the worst of it.
Wednesday morning we did a pump-out in addition to our usual campground departure tasks and managed to get on the road by 9:10 am, a good time for us.
Governor Scott had cancelled all tolls on Florida highways, so we got a free ride on the Turnpike up to I-75. There was traffic, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it would get a day or two after our leaving. And although gas was more expensive than before Hurricane Harvey, we ran into no problems with shortages or long lines.
What did come as an unexpected surprise was a large cold front coming through the central and northern part of the state, bringing heavy downpours in spots. The rainy weather and a small wreck south of Ocala made for slow-going on the road for awhile but only cost us perhaps 30 minutes overall..
Overall the moderate traffic moved smoothly northward. Much to my surprise, there were nearly as many vehicles heading southbound; perhaps some were vacationers returning to prepare their homes for the hurricane, since this was Labor Day week and a lot of folks were having fun vacationing until Irma reared her ugly head. We also saw work trucks likely returning from helping in Houston, now gearing up for more shifts ahead in Florida.
Once we turned westward on I-10, traffic was much lighter. We still had some rain to go through, but past Tallahassee, all was clear. We forgot about the time change to central daylight time, so when we reached our destination, it was earlier than it felt to us after the long day on the road.
We spent the night at a very nice RV park in a rural setting outside of the town of Defuniak Springs, which I'd never heard of. The park, Sunset King Lake RV Resort, a Good Sam park, sits beside King Lake. It was a large park with over 200 sites, though many were permanents and park models. Still, there were plenty of sites available for travelers, and we saw a few other rigs we'd passed on the road that day.
Our pull-through site didn't have a lake view (few did), but a short walk took us there. There's no swimming allowed in the lake, only boating, but there's a pool as well as a clubhouse, library, large laundry room, and multiple bath houses. Our pull-through site had full hookups (electric, water, sewer, and cable TV), making it a very comfortable stop. We would certainly return to this park if we're ever passing through again.
This was a very dog-friendly park, with plenty of green area, a small fenced dog park, and poop bag and disposal stations scattered around, a welcome touch. Paisley really enjoyed exploring the park with us. I'm sure she was as happy for a change of scenery as we were!
We also found this to be one of the friendliest parks we've visited, with many residents stopping by to say hello as they walked or drove their golf carts by.
We were in good spirits even after a long day as we felt incredibly relieved to be out of central Florida ahead of the traffic jams we anticipated were bound to occur, not to mention gas shortages and lines. We were looking forward to getting even farther west the next day, where we planned to ride out the storm.
We hope everyone reading this will be safe in this massive hurricane, or far enough away from it not to have to worry. We'll share the the rest of our evacuation story in the next post,
I got my braces (well, most of them!) this past Monday. Clear on the front top six teeth, metal on the sides and bottom teeth. They didn't put brackets on my back molars yet, since those have crowns and need to be prepared differently; I go back to have those braced on September 18th.
It wasn't too bad getting the braces installed; no more uncomfortable than a teeth cleaning, which I'd just been through a week earlier. The only uncomfortable part was when the technician had to pull off a metal bracket and place it differently, per the orthodontist's instructions. They really yank those things off! Then they have to grind the adhesive off with an instrument that sounds eerily reminiscent of a dentist's drill, a sound that instills fear in my heart! It was a little painful and has me dreading the day I have to get all the brackets and glue taken off at once. Owie!
Dr. Ogden, my orthodontist, couldn't have been any kinder or gentler and further confirmed for me that I made an excellent choice.
With my normal smile, the bottom metal braces really don't show much, so I'm okay with how they look. In fact, Barry says I look younger, so I'll take it!
My teeth were fairly sore the first few days, but nothing a Tylenol or Ibuprofen couldn't handle. I have a list of forbidden foods, but nothing I'm not already used to after breaking my jaw. Mostly I have to avoid anything too hard, like bagels, nuts, pizza crust, baguettes, apples, corn on the cob, etc.), chewy, or sticky, like caramels. No popcorn or chewing gum, which is probably more difficult for teens in braces than for me. I had already been cutting a lot of food up small to eat from my jaw being a bit more vulnerable to problems during the healing phase, so I'm still doing that when necessary.
My oral hygiene routine takes up even more of my day now. Here's what was in my "swag bag" from the orthodontist:
I have to brush my teeth a minimum of three times daily with a small, super soft brush, each time with toothpaste first, then with plain water to make sure I can see any remaining debris around my brackets. I can't use whitening toothpaste because it might give me two-toned teeth when the brackets are removed, so I had to shop for plain Colgate and Sensodyne, harder and harder to find as most toothpastes do have whitening ingredients now. I use a anti-plaque mouth rinse twice a day and rinse with water after any snacks when I can't brush immediately.
I have to use special orthodontic flossers that fit in behind the wires, and these are not easy to find! The orthodontist's office gave me three to start with, but I couldn't find any more locally so had to order more online. The typical type they sell in drugstores, I discovered after purchasing some at Walgreens, don't fit under the wires.
See the difference in the diameter of the lower "arm" in the Platypus flossers (left) vs the standard ones for folks without braces (right)? The skinny "arm" allows getting these things under the wires of your braces. Ah, the things you learn!
So this is going to be my life for the next 8 to 14 months. In the meantime, I promise my next post will be about our RV and our long-underway (but finally finished!) bedroom redo. Stay tuned!
This week I had my dental and orthodontic appointments. That was a lot to do in back-to-back days, but I'm thankful to have it done. Fortunately, all went well. I was finally able to get my teeth cleaned and received a clean bill of health from the dentist. Look Ma, no cavities! It was a relief since any dental issues with my teeth, gums, or existing dental work (I have a bunch of crowns of various ages on most of my molars) would have delayed my orthodontia, and I really want to get moving on it. The faster I start, the sooner I'll finish, right?! The dentist was very sweet and understanding, and even though I am usually very anxious about any kind of dental interventions, even cleanings, I was actually a bit more relaxed than usual. Maybe after all I've been through with my jaw and oral surgery, cleanings don't feel like such a big deal any more?
I loved the orthodontist and his office staff. They were all interested in my jaw fracture story and very sympathetic. He did confirm that my bite is off (open bite on the right side and more of an overjet in the front than I had before my accident). Because of the bite issues, I will be getting brackets instead of Invisalign. That is fine with me, actually. I had initially hoped for Invisalign, but after reading about the restrictions on eating and drinking I knew they would be difficult for me. You are only allowed to have the aligners off for two hours per day, and they must be removed for every single thing you eat or drink other than water. I tend to sip coffee for awhile in the morning and have a glass of wine before dinner. I have a fast metabolism so need an afternoon snack. Even more importantly, eating anything on longer bike rides would be a dilemma. I'd have to take the aligners off, stash them safely, and leave them off for the rest of the ride, cutting into my measly two hours of daily "off time".
Fortunately, braces have changed a lot since I had them in my pre-teen/early teen years! No more full metal bands, which hurt and look awful to boot. I'll be getting the Speed System braces, which have very small brackets. On the top six teeth, the brackets will be clear, and the rest metal. I will have to have elastics at some point for my bite issues as well.
Most importantly, I found out how long all this is going to take, and I was pleasantly surprised. The orthodontist said that I will be done in 8 to 14 months, with a good chance of this taking less than a year. This is not bad at all considering that average length in braces is 18-24 months. Speed braces really do speed things up, which gives us hope of hitting the road and traveling again sometime next summer. Yay!
I'll post a photo once I get braced. The big day is August 28th, four months and one week after my accident. Not that I'm counting! ;-)
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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