Okay so I deviated from the blogging schedule already. You couldn’t really expect I’d last more than 2 days right? Even though I’m quantifying all the words… 

Back in May 2015, I cashed in a good chunk of my Shoppers Optimum points for a Bluetooth toothbrush from Oral-B. (For some reason, I get points on prescriptions that I don’t personally spend money on. So, I cash them in for things like pulse oximeters, dust-proof mattress covers and Bluetooth toothbrushes. Yep.)

Toothbrush = $200. $170 = Shoppers Optimum points. $30 mail-in rebate. Toothbrush = free.

Which is good because $200 is outrageous. But Bluetooth is cool. And the toothbrush itself leaves my teeth feeling super smooth and clean for a good chunk of time longer than a regular electric toothbrush. [I switched from an oral-b electric, battery operated to this. I previously also owned, circa 2000, one of the first (I think) electric toothbrushes available in-your-home from Oral-B, sold by my dentist to my mother for my young-and-with-braces self. Sometime around then anyways. While that one had a two minute timer, there wasn’t anything custom about it–which, there probably is a lot less customizability in regular (non-Bluetooth) brushes all these years later compared to this one (how would you program it? Morse code?)

So, I’ve been using this thing for 47 weeks. I think that’s long enough to give it a pretty thorough review.

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#actuallyridiculous

Here’s the app.

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Welcome screen.

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One other drawback, is that if you don’t input mouthwash, tongue cleaning (I still WTF at that. I do not use this feature.), or flossing immediately, too bad. So if, for instance, I don’t have the app open, I do not have a chance to record these activities. Which seems really silly.

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By the way, I thought the Bluetooth brush would do more than it actually does. All that is, really, is put your toothbrushing stats in a graph so long as you actually sync every 10 sessions. Or else you have gaps, like I do when it deletes the data. It’s like a glorified stats app with a teeny bit of gamification.

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I showed this bit to my dental hygenist at the dentist on Monday and she was like “Oh that’s so cool, it’s for your hygenist!” I laughed. Except I forgot to sync it on Monday, unfortunately. It’s synced now—which is as easy as either opening the app and a) removing the toothbrush from its dock, or b) pressing the mode button (particularly useful when travelling sans dock, as the toothbrush can handle about a week of use between charges. One battery downside, however, is that it does take FOREVER to charge, and it has a bright blue light that reflects all over the bathroom from the mirror and regularly gets a cloth thrown on top of it.)

Now yes, I did say “teeny bit of gamification” up there. 

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THERE ARE BADGES, GUYS. I’ve got the “7 day brushing streak” “14 day brushing streak” (2 times per day. Let’s be honest, it is easy to brush in the morning when you are getting ready to go out. I am doing really well right now at getting the morning—or early day—brush in, but it’s sometimes a challenge when I don’t go anywhere. Because, you know, food is about.) I’m up for the 30 day brushing streak next week. Also to get “professionally approved” your dentist has to use this app to set up your profile. So, is anybody going to actually get that? There are also SECRET BADGES. [They’re called trophies, but do those look like trophies? No they look like Foursquare badges from when Foursquare was cooler than it is now.]

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This is my favourite badge, maybe. Not that the US is very foreign, but I forgot that this app had location services (to find you news and weather to check out while brushing. Nope, not joking.)

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There are also a set of Oral Care Journeys you can do. Except, look, I’m just getting twice-a-day down consistently, I can’t get in too deep yet.
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And for all of you “give me my data” fiends, there IS an export function… unfortunately, it’s practically useless, as you cannot export to .csv. COME ON, ORAL-B. I want to see if enhanced brushing is correlated with stuff. (…I don’t know really. Like what is more likely to make me lapse in the routine of brushing?)

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So have a bit of work to go to be like the Bluetooth brush that I heard about at MedX 2012 that tells you if you’re missing segments of your mouth using Wiimote-esque technology. But whatever. I knew that before I got it, obviously, but still. 

So, I mentioned my dentist appointment on Monday. Well, the good news is, the brush is doing quite a good job (as am I). I may need to set up a focused care routine for the backs of my bottom front teeth, and try to figure out how to get at my wisdom teeth better without gagging like I usually do (…I’m convinced that the dentist’s office has a “gagger” sticker on my file, because as soon as I walk in they address this issue. Although it did earn me a panoramic non-torturous x-ray SOMEHOW for the cheap price of $20 instead of the regular price the receptionist told me of $70. Which I was going to pay because it, like fluoride rinse, makes the whole thing SO MUCH LESS STRESSFUL. I told my hygenist “Good things come in small packages… except when it’s your mouth,” and she laughed. My dentist has previously told me to never let anyone tell me I have a big mouth. Ha.) The bad news? Well, those damn wisdom teeth. Apparently they are in straight and everything, but thanks, teeny mouth, back top righty has a cavity in it because I can’t get the toothbrush in there properly. So, it’s getting pulled, since that’ll be less work in the long run. (“I could pull it… Well, hmm… We could fill it… No, it’s going to be way too hard to get in there to fill it. I don’t think I even CAN get in there to fill it. Yep, I’m right, let’s do an extraction. Good job, I made the right call in the first place.” Bahaha. I was hoping he said to pull it, actually…)

So, post-insurance dentist total? $192, after not being there since August 2014. I thought it would be much worse. (Thanks, mom.) Getting a tooth pulled? $118. It’s not super major work, but underscores why I haven’t yet purchased private insurance, considering I can not die/not go super broke still regardless…

I don’t know how much the $200 toothbrush helped in the fact that I only had one cavity that, like my other cavities, they said I really couldn’t have done much to prevent, but hey… adherence encouraged by a little extrinsic motivation through an app can’t hurt, right?

Just give me some .csv or .xls export, post-brushing additional activities (mouthwash etc) logging, and a reminder to sync maybe (and that magic “you’re missing this part of your mouth” Wiimote tech) and I’ll be 110% happy. But, 95% is pretty okay too.

The oldish new thing is to go to these events where an artist teaches you how to paint a picture, and drink adult beverages.

Except I don’t drink, so I went to one of these events on Saturday night and learned to paint a thing. It was also a fundraiser so I went and learned to paint a thing for a good cause (or so my cousin Alyssa can be sent away on dance competiton trips. One or the other, or both.)

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We signed in, flipped our canvases around (to claim them), and then waited for the fun to start. Then we flipped our canvases back the right way.

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Note my non-alcoholic $2.50 iced tea beside my canvas there. Also I thought I was totally going to need more red eventually, but nope. Then we had to promise to not say that our thing sucked at any point. Which just meant that my cousin Jenn and I quietly discussed our perceived suck-ness at the break. 😉 (I said perceived suck-ness. It’s subjective, just like art, it’s fiiiine. We did it quietly at break and whatever.)

http://i0.wp.com/farm2.staticflickr.com/1612/25939363420_abb17ecac3.jpg?resize=375%2C500&ssl=1This was not my favourite picture I could have painted, but I guess that just means they’ll sell me on another event, right? This is the artist’s.

I was mildly confident going in, except for I think I’m more confident (and do better, even, possibly) when I can actually self-depreciate a little bit. It’s like, motivating-ish. Self-depreciation, and other related things, were against the “oath” we took before we started painting. Which mostly meant I had to be quiet about it. I am okay with making fun of myself, it does not bother me. There must be research supporting this!

Anyways.

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Phase one, sky. I intended to take a picture every time we were forced to stop for instructions, except—typical—i did not always listen to that instruction.

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Phase two: Grass. Here’s the part where I started hating on my grass. I mean, I was partly more engrossed in painting the sky all pretty than I was listening to the grass tutorial.
I mean, I listened but then I returned to painting sky. Jungle grass is what I ended up with here. So, I started hating on my grass out of earshot of the instructor who would surely tell me it looks fiiiine like Alyssa and my aunt did.

Alyssa and I also pretended we knew things about art before we started. Which, nope not really.

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Phase three: And then there were flowers. Also later on the artist told us that taking a picture would make our paintings look better if we weren’t happy with them. So, I mean, yeah, maybe my grass looks better after having taken a picture of it?  Or that could be that I did a bunch of touching up with black and white and stuff in there.

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Mine, the sample, and the instructional piece. In retrospect (aka 10 minutes after painting the orange in), bigger clouds would have been excellent.

I thought I’d have some good, introspective things to say here when I decided, pre-painting, that I was writing a blog post on this—something self-expression-y or therapeutic or whatever. Like when I went to thermea or when I started creating things on purpose last year. Instead, I found this a bit of a challenge and that I was rather hyperfocused, which in some situations is good, and others it is extremely frustrating and difficult—last night was the latter, I think. Like, I legitimately missed the how to paint the flower instruction (which ended up totally okay) beyond “Start with a V” because I was still working on the grass (I copied Alyssa, it was cool). So, I do think that aspect—which can vary on a day to day basis—might have detracted from the experience a bit. (And maybe I should do my next Paint Nite without my ADHD meds—except I might still hyperfocus anyways. Also I didn’t intend for this to wind up being about ADHD either. It just truly does affect everything.

With that, I’ll end this with an after-the-fact realization that in life, we’re all creating the same thing, but they’re all going to turn out differently because we are who we are. Or something.

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(Photo cred to my aunt, Linda)

That’s the Paint Nite nugget of wisdom. Maybe the “drink creatively” slogan is what leads to the insight—or, at least more creative acceptance ;). (Not that I’m going to start now.) 

 

PS. Yes, I did sign my painting with a Sharpie once I got home.

Now that I’ve started using Bullet Journaling to try to organize my life (post on that to come), I seem to have begun tackling (or at least scheduling to tackle) a few big projects for April.

First, you’ll be seeing me more here. I’ve got a schedule (!) mapped out for the month, although this post is already not the post I said I’d write today (because, duh, it’s me). 

I’ve also decided to take another plunge into Camp Nanowrimo (aka National Novel Writing Month, aka trying to write a 50000 word novel in 30 days—like, nonsense, really!). I made it like 26% or something last time, so, I’m curious if I actually will succeed this time (this will be proof of the magic of the Bullet Journal). I’m trying a different story that will hopefully not get me as bogged down in researching very specific things (because I am great at that—distraction FTW). With a few travel days on the agenda for April as well, I’m trying to do 2000 words per day on that project… and that’s just one component of my writing life. I’m going to need to get this standing desk setup rolling, stat.

And, this is on top of a few other blog contract gigs, coaching, and my other regular life. It’s mildly ambitious, but hey, I’ve made a timetable (!) for my life (!) and it still has, theoretically, plenty of free time. And workouts scheduled. And… Oh, God, what am I doing here?

Oh well, let’s give it a shot.

It’s on, April.

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PS. The snow has already melted twice, yet it’s supposed to snow again today. 

PPS. None of this is an April Fool’s.

PPPS. I love WestJet