Yesterday I took my youngest daughter in to a new orthodontist for a third opinion. Our dentist is suggesting she get a palate expander now, the orthodontist that my oldest sees recommends braces in six months, and I felt like we could use advice from another professional. What impressed me about the new place is that they didn't charge us for the consult even though they had to take pictures and x-rays of my daughter's mouth. We learned that the orthodontist my oldest sees is not very well liked in the ortho community since he employs general dentists, but doesn't disclose that fact so patients assume that they are seeing an orthodontist when they may not be. The orthodontist we spoke to yesterday said it's fine to have dentists doing this kind of work, but the lack of transparency is concerning.

My daughter liked the woman we spoke with, she also liked the fact that they have Bath and Body Works soap in the bathroom, but that's not really on my radar when I'm selecting an oral health expert. The disadvantage of using the new orthodontist is increased cost, and the fact that it's further away from home. We'd also have two children in braces and taking them to the same place would be more convenient for us as parents providing their transportation. I'm going to go in for a consult at the end of May. I think we're going to switch dentists as well since my husband is unhappy with the work that our current dentist did for him as it screwed up his bite. I really like the dentist we have and I love her hygienist, but I don't mind switching if we can find someone in town who will be better for us as a family. 

I didn't get much done yesterday since most of the afternoon was spent picking my daughter up from school and sitting around at the orthodontist. We arrived for our appointment on time and were told that we were early since everyone was still at lunch which was slightly frustrating since that was the appointment time given and our consult ran so long that I was late picking up my oldest which means I'll have to pay for after school care. It's not the biggest deal in the world, but was something I felt could have been handled better. I have a few errands to run today, but for now I'm just hanging out at home. I slept in this morning, last night I was so tired I laid down for a nap and fell asleep, waking up I was so disoriented. I thought I would have trouble falling asleep at night, but it wasn't too bad. 

We're having a party for my oldest on Sunday. She's getting confirmed, her birthday is next Wednesday, and we're also treating this as a Mother's Day celebration and small graduation party for our family members. I told her she could have a friend party during the summer when things are less hectic. My plan is to get a few things done outside so she and her friends have a place to hang out. We have a fire pit which turned into a dumping pile for tree limbs and other yard waste so that needs to be burned. Behind our third garage we have a small alcove, I found an indoor/outdoor couch that I think will go nicely there and I'd like to get some white patio furniture for the area below that step. I'd also like one of those metal fire grates so the kids can roast marshmallows or hot dogs without going down by the fire pit since some of those rocks are cracked.

The news that my youngest is going to need six thousand dollars worth of orthodontia was a bit of a blow. A friend of mine feels like people recommend every kid get braces these days. My oldest had severe crowding before her permanent teeth came in so we knew she was going to need them although the second set was a surprise that we wish we would have been told about earlier. My bite is uneven and my jaw hurts so perhaps I'm overly concerned about my children and their teeth and jaws, my youngest has fairly straight teeth, her bite is off, but I do kind of wonder how badly she needs braces and what would happen if we left his untreated not that I'm going to go that route. I don't want either of my kids to have my issues. It's hard to know what to do as a parent as they all have a vested interest in treating her.

A house down the street from us just sold so it looks like we'll be getting some new neighbors soon. The house across the street is for sale and I think the one next us will be on the market soon as our neighbor is very elderly and probably not long for this world. My parents moved quite a bit when I was growing up, my husband moved around which is probably part of the reason we're staying where we're at. Neither of our children have ever lived in a different place, my youngest doesn't want to move, my oldest would like to live someplace else, but whether we stay or go, remains to be seen. I have a mental master list of projects that I need to write out. I'm always better at lists in my head than I am at getting things down on paper.

Last night I went on Twitter to wind down for the evening. Someone I follow sent me a message, he doesn't feel that his tweets are getting the recognition that they deserve and would like more followers. I had spoken with someone who owns his own business and has enjoyed his share of social media success. He says that people are looking for an experience and information is a part of that, but it's not what most people are interested in, especially the younger crowd. His theory is that malls of the future will have more Apple stores and fewer traditional stores if the stores that are there now are relying on products to draw in consumers. I passed that concept along to my friend who thought it was interesting, but wasn't sure how true it was.

I told him that I felt as if it was true for me. People follow me for the experience I'm giving them. I follow a Richard Nixon parody account and we ended up having a great conversation about his experiences on Twitter. When I first ran across him he was so real that I wondered if Nixon's death had been faked. He said that the account started off being ethnic jokes and slowly evolved once he realized that was unsustainable. Today the account attempts to recreate Nixon; who he was, his mannerisms, how he spoke and topics that he would have been interested in were he still alive today. I follow the account for several reasons; I've always liked Richard Nixon, I think the account provides interesting content from a historical perspective, I've seen other accounts that are horrid, and I consider this person to be a friend.

When I asked about the account, how it started, how it changed as it grew, the challenges, and what this person has learned from running it, we got into a discussion on the difference between strength, and power. His contention is that people are more familiar with strength and less with power. I'm thinking of turning this into a longer piece so I would rather not give too much away here, but I value his insights into the current political climate in America and generally agree with things that he's saying about each of the candidates. When he claims that Hillary is cold enough to be president, I believe that just as I believe that she will become our next president. He read her book and did a short summary of it. It's funny how following a parody account helps me get the type of analysis that I wish the news would be giving us instead of reciting what each candidate stands for and how they're doing in each state.

I didn't think the account would appeal to younger people who are less familiar with former President Nixon, but he says this is not the case. He says a lot of people are fascinated by Nixon and he gets very strange questions and requests that are flattering, but strange. Some of the people following him haven't heard anything other than campaign rhetoric or sound bites, those people are hungry for that type of information and I'm glad that they have this account as a resource, albeit an imperfect one since no imitator can surpass the master form they are attempting to portray. There's a good faith effort there, it has to be a challenge to field the type of questions this person is receiving, and I admire the grit and determination that it takes to keep it going.

To switch subjects for a moment, someone I know has a father who is dying of cancer. He hasn't been feeling well since some surgery last year, this past month he felt worse, but nobody suspected the rare form of cancer that he has. He's been given several weeks to live and is declining daily. This person has a good job, but no retirement monies, and savings has been depleted due to illness. The family is looking at losing their home, and I'm not sure what his wife is going to do for money when he passes although she will be able to collect social security. I think this type of scenario is all too common today, and hearing this made me realize that I need to take retirement savings more seriously than I have in the past.

I rolled over an old account so now most of my accounts are together. I have some small divident reinvestment plans elsewhere, but there are advantages to keeping them where they are at since I can purchase additional stock with nominal brokerage fees. The family has started a fundraising account, and I understand why they're doing that, but I'm also frustrated by the situation. It amazes me how generous people can be. I feel badly for this family, but unless their efforts to raise money far surpass their expectations, I think that they will lose their home and have to get by living on much less than they are accustomed to. This hits particularly close to home because if something happened to my husband, we could not replace his income. 

Our house would be paid for, he has two life insurance policies, but we would be making a lot of cut backs in order to adapt to a lesser manner of living. Our time here is transitory, you can't take it with you, but I'm really glad that we've done some of the things we have so that if either of us were to die prematurely, our children would be somewhat provided for after we pass. We don't have wills which is shame on us. I got some books from the library and it's something that I'm making a higher priority since a car accident or illness can instantly change a person and a family forever. We still owe money on one car. We have orthodontia to purchase and pay off, but we have no credit card debt, and our other vehicles are paid off.

I've been thinking about a filing system that anyone can look at, see what we have, what we owe, and I'll have to choose an executor of my estate when I do my will. It's a thankless job, I know my sisters will do it for me, but I want to make things as easy as possible for them, knowing that a death is a time when people are not their sharpest and there will be a period of mourning that everyone will be going through. Neither of us wants our children to be a financial burden if anything were to happen to both of us. My oldest will be fourteen in six days. My youngest will be twelve at the end of July so they will need food, clothing, and shelter until they turn eighteen and hopefully none of my relatives will kick them out after their eighteenth birthday if they choose to go to college.

I don't feel as if I owe my children a college eduacation, but I want to be in a position to help them out if they are earning money for school on their own. My parents didn't help me. I went to a private school, graduated with a ton of debt, and now I can see the wisdom of going to a less expensive school than the one that I chose. That's water under the bridge now, but I'm going to encourage my girls to think about the best use of their education dollars when it comes time to make that decision if they decide that they want to go to college. It's something I think will benefit them, but I'm not going to assume that it's a foregone conclusion the way that my parents did.

I had a good time hanging out with my youngest yesterday and I like to write so I can remember driving in the car with her, sitting at the orthodontist with her, and how sweet and loving she can be when she puts her arms around me and gives me a hug. Most mornings she wakes up early and comes into my room to snuggle with me. Before my oldest went to bed last night I sat with her, just for a few seconds, long enough to hold her and tell her that I love her. Soon they'll be off to school and won't want to be around their parents as much. She gave me a hug and a kiss and told me she loved me before she went off to bed, it's always easier to sleep at night when you make loving your children a priority, for who knows what any night will bring. 

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