Heat All Around

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Breath HAs Been Stolen, Again

I know you are all tired of hearing my story, but every now then

a picture comes along that

grips my heart, squeezes it tightly, and requires me to wax again, not very poetically...more

parenthentically...since my heart strings have been

twanged yet again.

I mean look at this picture! This is the man whose brilliant writing saved my life in 1999 when I was battling cancer for the second time.


Good question.

He wrote a book. I was at the

library trying to gain control over my wobbly legs. (I was having both chemo and radiation done at that time.) My eyes were barely at shoulder level when what to my wondering eyes should appear,

but a book with a cover of stark power that talked to my drug addled brain, and I took it

home. I mean, seriously, who in their right mind would NOT be tempted?

Opening that book let my body and soul get lost in the wonder of Glenn's exciting imagination.

Somehow the weakness from the cancer treatment barely registered because I had joined Jeza and become a permanent and avid GLENN KLEIER fan.
KatXs Writing Pen
My daughter and I have scheduled a special BTR show for the 12th of April...3 days before my next bout of surgeries, so we can talk about our favorite authors.

This won't be your typical "promo your latest work fest". It'll be more a thank you to those writers who have opened worlds of fantasy, anguish, magic, suspense, love, mystery, ghosts, time travel, and laughter.
KatXs Writing Pen
April 12th at 6:00 PM EDT at Kat's BTR show. We hope you'll join us, because I fully intend to gush and gush some more about

Glenn's books.  Ohhh Didn't I say? Glenn has a new one coming out in July, and I can pretty much guess he's going to cause a bit of a stir in many venues. Why? Let me just give you the name of the book...that should help you figure it out...


Anyway, if you don't mind some well earned gushing about Glenn Kleier. join us in the chatroom at Kat's show...
KatXs Writing Pen


here's the direct link to her show.

Hope to see you there.

Love You Glenn.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Not many people know that the apartment complex where I live decided a few years back to paint all of our fire hydrants. (They’ve since gone back to the “average”.)  It was a bit of a shock when I stepped out the first time…see there’s a fire hydrant about THIS far from my entrance door…so it wasn’t like the fire hydrant could hide its new persona. Seeing the fire hydrant bedecked as a

Dalmatian fire dog made me think about my Dad…and boy do I have stories to tell you all about my Dad.
I grew up with my Dad active in the volunteer fire company…he was…and boy are you going to love this…the FIRE POLICE CHIEF! Why are you going to love this? Well, Dad was not the most…uhm…obedient, I suppose would be the best description of fire safety codes that the rest of us have to adhere to during emergencies. Dad was following the fire engine to a three alarm blaze about a mile and a half from our home…I was about eight, maybe nine at the time.

Dad used his own car. I’m not sure exactly what Dad was doing…some suspected he hadn’t pushed the connection for his fire-lights into the cigarette lighter socket so was jiggling it and looking down when it happened while driving one handed…or maybe with his knees.
At the end of the road we live on, is…surprise, surprise, a stop sign. Even with the whirly lights and the siren woof woofing, they DO stop to make sure the rest of you do what the law requires of you…So picture, a fire engine, men in their heavy fire gear clinging to the back of the truck, the stop sign, and my Dad coming up behind them, the FIRE POLICE CHIEF, his attention not up there, but down there.
Dad drove his car right on up the back side of the fire truck so his
Mercury hood ornament was kissing the dancing emergency lights for all it was worth. For those of you who never saw the hood ornament on older Mercury cars picture the Roman god Mercury who used to be the Greek god Hermes. With Mercury’s winged sandals dancing a merry jig with the flashing fire lights, my Dad, his nose plastered to his dashboard and eyes peeking, sheepishly at his newest creation, THAT’S the picture that made the
daily newspaper and it WAS a classic. For all I know, it may still be hanging in the back room at the firehouse.
I’d like to say that was the ONLY questionable adventure my Dad had with his pyromania, but like
George Washington and his cherry tree decapitation, I cannot tell a lie.
My Dad was one of those Jack of all trades who thought he’d mastered them all…unfortunately reality differed with him.
Let me share the time my Dad decided to…uhm…dispose of a hornets nest. The nest was growing, quite spectacularly, from the eaves under the porch portico that led off the laundry room doorway. Everyone knows that you do not dispose of hornets nests before twilight because the
buzzers are out inserting their stingers into anyone who gets on their bad side up until some inner clock tells them it’s time to return to the nest and resurface those stingers for the next day.
Twilight, when the day meets on the horizon with the night that is about to send everyone into starlight time…and of course the best time to exterminate an entire nest of nasty stingers; I DO include Dad in that.
Armed with a can of gasoline and a spray nozzle, Dad soaks that sucker until it is absolutely drenched.
The scritch of the match was quiet compared to the WHOOSH that exploded the second the match hit the nest…oh…and the portico along with the porch. See you’re supposed to knock the nest from the house before igniting it.

I watched the entire porch and a good three quarters of the back wall feed the flames before the fire company…yep the very same one…arrived to put out the damage my jack of all trades and master of none FIRE POLICE CHIEF DAD gave birth to.

In Dad’s “real” job, the one he did when not strutting his FIRE POLICE CHIEF badge around, he serviced and repaired oil burners, commercial and residential. Every year as the fall approached, Dad went around the neighborhood, reminding everyone to schedule having their
oil burners cleaned and made ready. It was a religion to him.

I don’t actually remember which month it was, although it WAS cold. Later I would be told it happened at
the stroke of , but I was still a kid, and had been sleeping quite soundly when the
front chimney, the one only this far from my bed blew up taking a good chuck of the house’s innards with it.

I shared my room with my Grandmother who quickly got us both out of there, down the stairs and out the door. My Dad was already out on the stone driveway , his boxers at half mast, looking up at his creation with a somber look upon his face, that turned to something else…embarrassed bluster?...when the fire engine pulled into our driveway and once more put out the flames spewing from the house of the FIRE POLICE CHIEF. (Not sure if the bluster was because of another fire at our house, or because he was out there in his boxer shorts…I know for me…THAT was more traumatizing than the explosion.)

Looking back, I cannot help wondering why they did not retire my Dad…the only excuse I can come up with is it was an ALL volunteer fire company…any volunteer, even one as creatively incompetent as my Dad was better than NO volunteer.

One of these days, I am going to have to write a book about Dad. I KNOW you’d love hearing about Dad deciding
to cut his own asbestos siding and then attaching it to the house so crookedly a lightning bolt could get beneath it and set fire to that whole side of the house…and there’s the bag of oil dry in the garage attic that another hornets nest claimed ownership of…oh and the BATS and when Dad decided he could install
central air conditioning all by himself…BIG holes…measuring was for amateurs, Dad determined, quite sagely.

We had creatures visiting inside from those big holes that don’t usually have access to your house’s innards…but then Dad was quite content to make entryways large enough to welcome them without any problems…for them
...at least now you know why I have this permanent tic in my left eye.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Dentists The Bane of Human Existence.
By L.J. Holmes
January 23, 2011

That is my topic for today. Dentists are the bane of everyone’s existence no matter who you are or where you come from. Dentists love giving pain and making you pay them for that love.

Allow me to trip down memory lane and share with you my own disdain for dentists.
My first traumatic experience with dentists came the very year I got my driver’s license. Since I lived in Pennsylvania, I was sixteen when that event occurred. A lot of traumatic things happened when I was sixteen…such as my thirteen year old brother and cousin deciding the

knot hole in the chicken coop looked like the perfect feminine orifice. Why the second one would hope his attempts at impaling the knot hole after the first one came out with splinters and bleeding would be more successful still boggles my mind all these years later.

They could not go to either my mother, or my aunt to remove the splinters from their danglies…(my mother had confronted my brother the week before with the

condom he’d left in his pocket that caused the laundry room to flood)…so who did they conscript? No sixteen-year old should be forced to remove splinters from her brother’s and cousin’s splintered danglies. (I DID make sure to use a lot of alcohol.

Couldn’t risk infection could I?)

Shortly after that eye searing and emotion shattering experience, my mother came to me and commanded I drive her to the dentist and wait for her in the car. Okay, I thought, another chance to drive

Mom’s convertible…what enthralled teenager would pass up such an opportunity? Not me.

I sat, quite happily in the parking lot, the top down, music rocking from the radio, the sun warming me with its loving glow, my hand caressing the Corinthian leather seat beside me. In short, I was

in pig-heaven. Then Mom came back out. Her left cheek, the one that was now closest to me as she climbed into the passenger’s side and settled in, was distended from I’m assuming cotton balls…I wasn’t going to reach over, yank her mouth over and check…especially since little rivulets of blood were oozing out of her mouth as I watched.


as only a sixteen year old can, I turned back, started the car, put the gear shift into reverse, and got us home as quickly as the speed limit would allow… (we lived in the Country…the only cop was our local pig farmer who moonlighted as our cop and on Christmas Eve, Santa…I knew he would be parked out at the Five-Points-Texaco waiting to snatch teenaged boys drag racing down Route 413.  I was pretty sure as I engaged the gas pedal a little more forcefully than the actual speed limit required, I would not run into Officer Oinker. Getting Mom home and that disgusting sight of blood snaking down my mothers jaw, hovering as it becomes a wobbling droplet before casting itself to places I chose not to think about out of my peripheral vision was a MUST DO.

It takes a long time to recover from such a shock to one’s nervous system. I always knew dentists were out for blood, thanks to Mom I had all the confirmation I would ever need.
Jumping ahead fourteen years. I was thirty years old and my marriage was faltering the next time I had to face a dental crisis. My then husband, a federal agent, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department…(and yes, I wondered too why the TREASURY department would have the ATF under THEIR banner. I came to the conclusion it had something to do with the ATF and the FBI wanting to be the king of the internal Warriors of TRUTH, JUSTICE and THE AMERICAN WAY. Both departments loathed and no doubt still DO loathe each other, and race to be the one to solve all domestic issues.):…sent me to his friend Dr. Mouther. Dr. Mouther is a short, rather squat man, who at that time was I would guess about fifty-five to sixty.

Root canal, he informs with the soberness of a judge handing down a death sentence. Complete with an abscess, he continues still in that somber, stentorian voice.
Naturally I shudder and gulp a little. Okay, Doc, let’s do it.

With his assistant Nurse Drool, in attendance,

laughing gas filling my body with euphoria, a pin prick or two in my jaw and Novocain turning my mouth into a

puffy marshmallow, Dr. Mouther and Nurse Drool went to work. I actually do not remember much of that experience. He either had some exceptionally GOOD Novocain or the level of laughing gas was higher than I’d experienced before. I have little memory of the actual root canal and was happier than any lark would be.
I’d like to say my euphoria continued, but as with any artificially induced high, you do come crashing down. During the root canal, Dr. Mouther informed me he’d drilled into my jaw, placing four gold pins to anchor my channeled tooth in place. So my jaw, it seems is richer than the rest of me. Intriguing dilemma. If I ever get desperately poor, all I need to do is yank that tooth out and sell the gold.
Pain…oh yeah…lotsa pain. So much so that three weeks later I had no choice but to call Dr. Mouther again on a Tuesday. I can hear you all asking: “Well how the heck does she remember what day of the week it was?’ Because of what Wednesday would bring, I will never forget that I called him on Tuesday.
He was too busy to take me in even in an emergency in Tuesday. Come in around tomorrow afternoon.

Massaging the throb in my aching jaw, I entered his office the next afternoon. I should preface this by telling you all that Dr. Mouther’s office was a wing of his private home. Heading up the driveway towards the office door, I heard some loud thumping and looked up. On the roof is a worker hammering new tiles into place. He saw me and gave me a brisk salute. I waved back with my free hand and continued on my journey.
Dr. Mouther beckoned me into his torture chamber. I looked around. Where’s Nurse Drool? It’s Wednesday, Dr. Mouther informs me. She has the afternoon off. Frowning but in more pain than any human should have to bear, and so not wanting to let it continue I climbed into the recliner of agony, allowed Dr. Mouther to strap the mask onto my face, inject something into my arm, and then turn on the gas. I felt my body melt into the recliner. I ordered my fingers to wiggle…they wouldn’t…and then to my horror, I heard the distinct scratching sound of Dr. Mouther’s zipper heading south.

MOVE, I commanded my body…but it couldn’t. I was literally frozen to the chair.

He did not rape me…at least not vaginally. His area of expertise is the mouth Dr. Mouther explained as he claimed full ownership of my mouth. I could hear the pounding echoes of the man on the roof. I could feel Dr. Mouther trying to aim his little drill towards my tonsils over and over again. My bobbing punching bag at the back of my throat recoiled from the hot force of the jet stream when Mouther’s release hit it, and all I could do was lie there, unable to move, unable even to bite down on his invasion.

When at last he was done, Dr. Mouther sealed his little drill back up behind its zipper, and went about fixing my aching tooth. Four hours after the injection, I was finally able to make my body function enough to get me to my car and out of there.

I learned, when I got home, that my husband had been paid fifty dollar by Dr. Mouther to do what he did to me. (I DID mention my marriage was on its last legs didn’t I?)

Twenty-five years later…that’s how long it took my mouth to hurt enough for me to seek out another dentist…a FEMALE dentist. Dr. Mouthoria promised me I would feel no pain, she was an expert at anesthesia, she also promised me her nurse would ALWAYS be in attendance. She kept that one.
The first three visits confirmed her claims…but then came visit four. Unlike Mouther, Mouthoria does not use gas, but there are nerves in your jaw that do not like being hit. Fire, raging fire spread out. I yelped. Mouthoria told me it would only be a few seconds more. My body wanted to catapult to the ceiling and crawl quickly away. The Novocain began to dissipate enough of the fire I was able to let the rest continue. (Had no idea that she’d hit the nerve yet…that would come later.)

At home, the Novocain wore off and the muscles in my jaw clamped shut. I could barely open my lips enough to call the dentist and tell her what was happening. Come back in, she commands. I have to use medical transport because I was totally disabled in a car accident eleven days after nine-eleven. Three days, it takes three days to schedule transport. On day four I get to the office. The nurse-assistant wants me to open up so she can slip a batwing x-ray pack in so they can see what’s going on.

Open up my mouth? If I could do that I wouldn’t be here. Prying my jaw open enough, she slips the torture device inside me, takes her damned picture, and then has to pry my jaw open again to get it out.

I cannot begin to describe the pain. The fire doesn’t go out. The jaw, in an effort to protect the nerve from any further indignities, locks.

Four weeks, Dr. Mouthoria tells me. It’ll take four weeks for the nerve to heal and the jaw to release.

Fifty-five year old women should not be reduced to eating nothing but baby food, but I could only open my lips far enough to slide the tip of a spoon into them…and four weeks actually became six weeks. It took SIX weeks for that nerve to heal. Six weeks it took for my jaw to release. It took six weeks for me to be able to speak like a real human being again…Oh and Dr. Mouthoria could not understand why I was determined to never have to return to her again. She felt I was judging her unfairly.

Well there you have it…three episodes that shaped my rabid fear of seeing anybody with DDS behind their name. If you were me, wouldn’t you also loathe and fear dentists?