Thursday, January 19, 2012

Whack a Mole, Anyone?

You know the old arcade game where, armed with only a mallet, you had to try to whack the mole as he popped up in any one of a dozen places.  Okay, it was primitive by today's gaming standards but could be strangely exhilarating if you are the one with the mallet ...and you were halfway good.  In the arcade version, the the mole won out in the end more often than not.

Since mid-November, it's been one financial crisis after another.  Thousands of dollars in vehicle maintenance and repairs that had to be done to keep the cars running we could both get back and forth to work we could pay the repair bills along with all the regular bills.  Lately I feel like I'm trapped in a Whack a Mole game ...and in my real life version, sometimes I'm the mallet and sometimes I'm the mole.  

Every one of our vehicles cost us something those last two months of 2011.  A couple of weeks ago, the main ride, the '95 Camry with only 130,000 miles, developed a slow intermittent leak at the oil pump which will be another couple of hundred dollars.  But the mechanic said as long as the leak doesn't worsen and we make sure there is always oil in it, we can let that slide for a little while.  So I'm saving ..hoping to scrounge up the funds by March.  Then last Sunday night, I broke a tooth.  Great.  Now I'M falling apart too! 

The tooth didn't hurt when it broke and hasn't hurt since.  It doesn't seem to be hot or cold or pressure sensitive so my immediate inclination was to let it slide for a while too.  But Yeoldfurt's kind of funny about some things and this is one of those things.  He likes his wife to have teeth.  So he encouraged me go to the dentist and see what the options might be. 

Of course, the dentist is all about people keeping their teeth so she wants me to put a crown on it cost would be over $700 even with insurance.  Not happening.  It's a back molar and has a huge filling in it from at least 20 years ago, so I asked her how much to pull it.  She gave me THE LOOK and started telling me about some fancy 'buildup filling' work she could do.  My cost would be $120 with insurance.  She said she didn't know if it would last six weeks, six months or six years ...but when it failed, she could pull the tooth then.  The only guarantee apparently is that the buildup filling would not last forever.  Grumble, grumble.  

The full set of xrays, exam and consultation cost me nothing because the insurance considers it preventive, but apparently fixing any problems are going to cost me dearly.  I guess I should be grateful she found no other immediate problems.  She did say I grind my teeth.  I've never had a dentist tell me that before so I guess it's a new habit I've picked up.  So she wants me to wear a mouth guard when I sleep ...apparently to protect my teeth from each other. 

Great.  I think I am officially old.  My teeth are at war with each other and both sides are losing.  I am still keen on yanking the offending tooth out.  I am open to doing it now or postponing the expense until it actually starts being sensitive.  But it would be $100 (my cost) and problem solved.   It's a back molar so it's not a cosmetic issue and I'm pretty sure I won't starve to death with one less tooth in my head.  The dentist and Yeoldfurt want me to go the 'buildup filling' route, then pull it if that method eventually fails.  But that would cost me $120 now and at least $100 down the road ....allowing for inflation in case the fancy buildup filling work actually lasted a couple of years. 

Hmmm... $120 now with a guaranteed $100+ later or $100 now and be done.  Any money I spend now postpones the needed repairs on the car which, as I mentioned, is kind of important because it's our means of getting to and from work so we can pay all the bills. 

So.  Fix the tooth and postpone fixing the car ...or stay on track with saving for the car repairs and postpone fixing the tooth.  No wonder I've started grinding my teeth! 

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Blogger Mystic Mud said...

I would have asked about just pulling it too. If it's not a tooth that I have to have, or one that shows when I smile - I figure it's optional.

Sorry you are have such a hard time of it - that gets old fast.

January 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

I agree, pull it. Just did the same for my DIL. I've had it done too. God bless, and hope all works out for you guys.

January 19, 2012 at 4:23 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

I'm not sure what to suggest to you about your tooth. Maybe just pull it and be done with it.

I can really relate about the never ending bills! My car has 181,000 miles on it and I commute 100 miles to work, so does DH. We bought 2 sets of snow tires this year and just paid them off this week. Our fuel bill has been as high as $900/mo. Thank goodness our cars are paid for because mine is at an age that it's needing fixing. Hang in there!

January 19, 2012 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I think it is wonderful Yeoldfart cares about you having a mouth full of teeth. Me personally, I would get the filling and the mouth-guard.

By the way I just had a thought, temporary crowns will last a year or more. How about her squaring up the tooth and putting a temporary crown on it until you can get it fixed right? They also have temporary crowns and fillings in the drug stores for emergencies. Wonder if that would be an option?

Whatever you do, good luck!

January 19, 2012 at 5:15 PM  
Blogger Lynda said...

I'd have the tooth pulled. I was given the same option a few years ago and had the tooth repaired: $400...6 months later I had to have it pulled...what a waste of money! BTW: My son-in-law is a dentist and he'd say save the tooth...I'd still have it pulled.

January 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

I'm with you, if I can get along fine without it and I won't be embarrassed to smile's definitely optional!

Okay, that's two votes for yanking it out. Oh I know things will work out, it's just whether or not they work out before I wear out! LOL

You and I seem to be living in parallel universes. All three of our vehicles are OLD and have high mileage but they're all paid for! Both of us work in the same town 40 miles from here and started carpooling a month or so ago so we could ride together. Instant 50 percent savings on the gas cost ...woo-WHOO! We would have done it sooner but our schedules were too different and we didn't think our bosses would let us flex. But they did and thank goodness!

Yes, Yeoldfurt is a pretty wonderful guy in a lot of ways. The jury is still out about the tooth but I at least picked up a pair of mouth guards today. Gosh, I hope they don't cause me to drool. It's hard to maintain your feminine self-respect if you DROOL on your pillow! I will check into the temporary crown at the drug store ...I've never heard of that but I'll sure check into it!

Okay, that's four votes to pull it. I see the jury swaying in that direction! I went to a new dentist in 2008 after we'd been here a couple of years. I got a routine cleaning and exam. They found no cavities but said one of my molars was cracked and could go at any time. That was surprising because it didn't hurt, wasn't loose, wasn't sensitive. They said if I crowned it ($500), it should last many years ...but if I let it go and it broke, I would need a root canal for $1200. They talked me into it. A week later, it was hurting bad. I went back in and the very same tooth had abscessed and NOW they said I needed a root canal. I was TICKED. I told them NO WAY could I pay them $1200 for a root canal after I just shelled out $500 for a crown I wouldn't NEED a root canal. I told him to pull it. He was mad, but he did it. So I have a hole on the bottom on that side. The tooth that's broken now is on the other side. I figure by pulling it, I'll just be evening things up! LOL

January 19, 2012 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger Mamma Bear said...

As the old saying goes, When it rains, it pours but dang if we don't get tired of the monsoons! Every time and I do mean every time I spent a wad of money on a tooth it wasn't long before I had to have it pulled anyway. The air conditioning just went out in the Marine's van AGAIN....we are waiting until next month to have that repaired. He does not breath well when traveling in a hot vehicle. With our weather hot one day and cold the next we never know when we will need it and on top of this we had a storm the other night that made our place look like a war zone. At least the insurance is coming through with the repairs for that.

I didn't help you any but at least we are in good company eh? God is good....He knows our needs and will provide.... sometimes we just want to put some "feets" to it!

January 19, 2012 at 8:21 PM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

Mamma Bear...
Yes, ma'am, God is good. Read something on that subject a while back that made me smile. The question was posed, did you ever wonder why it's hard to see the hand of God when trouble is all around. The answer was posed as another question ...did you ever notice that the teacher is always silent during a test? Amen and amen.

I read your post about the terrible windstorm. I'm so glad no one was hurt and a little surprised but happy to hear that the insurance adjuster was so prompt in coming out to assess the damage!

For some reason, I have not been able to comment at certain times on certain blogs this past week. I can read comments that are already there, but there is no button/box for me to comment. Blogspot has it's moments, but at least it's FREE.

I hope you can get the a/c fixed in the Marine's van. Even if it didn't cause him breathing issues, the Marine deserves to ride in first class comfort.

January 19, 2012 at 8:54 PM  
Blogger The Craftivist said...

Car repairs are never as fun as arcade games. Hopefully after all the repairs are said and done you won't have to deal with them again for awhile.
I broke my tooth, a back wisdom tooth with a huge filling in it, the Halloween before last. I think it was my payback for stealing the kids candy. They wouldn't even attempt to save it since it was a wisdom tooth with a giant filling. I had to go to a specialist to have it removed because the root was wrapped around some nerve or something and it still cost me significantly less than $700. I also let it slide for awhile, peppermint oil (small amounts dabbed on by a cotton swab) works wonders if you decide to let it go a little while and it starts to hurt, which it will do eventually. Sometimes life cuts you up and you start to bleed money. Hopefully you find the bandages soon. Blessings, Kate.

January 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM  
Blogger HossBoss said...

Didn't know that about peppermint oil, that's a good reason to stock up on some!

Sometimes paybacks are unfair, don't you think? I mean we just eat our kids candy to save THEIR teeth, right? That was always MY story anyway!

Blessings to you and yours too ...we'll be okay. This is just a rough patch.

: )

January 21, 2012 at 3:35 PM  

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