Pre-travel routine (with unrelenting toothache)

The only thing better than a four-day week is when that four-day week is also my last one in the office before getting out of town for a whole month.

I've had some time this week to cross some things off of my list (even though the majority of things will get done this weekend). I was feeling a little overwhelmed until I actually sat down and wrote everything down. It's not so bad: a few things to buy (mainly, a proper carry-on and a pair of non-ugly shoes that won't kill my feet), a few things to get at the store for our housesitter, some veggies to plant in the garden so they'll be ready when we get back, call my bank, cut my bangs, book some places on airbnb for the first few days, and whittle down my extremely long reading list. (I had an idea to read books set in the places I'm visiting: so far I have Paris and Berlin down. Any suggestions for Austria, Hungary, and the Netherlands?)

Honestly though, the most important thing I was desperate to do before leaving, that doesn't seem like it's going to happen in the next two days, is identify the cause of my toothache. So far, basic toothache questions have stumped dentists and endodontists across the Triangle. Questions like: What is it? WHY is it? and where is it? (Really. the pain keeps moving around.)

I spent Memorial Day weekend off my OTC painkillers, keeping a little pain journal and trying to figure out what triggers it. Time of day? Nope. Hot/cold foods? No. Eating? Talking? Stress? All seemingly irrelevant. I saw someone about possibly needing a root canal on Tuesday. She couldn't identify or replicate the pain, even with her x-rays and magic ice air stick thing, and couldn't say whether it could be appeased by a root canal. The pain, which is in my jaw and radiates up into my head, comes and goes as it pleases, reaching a maximum of maybe a 7/10 about once a day. The difficulty in figuring out the wheres/whys/whats are absolutely maddening. Will I be in pain forever and never know why? Is this life? We are born with these weak objects in our mouths which slowly fail over the course of our lives, we subject ourselves to increasingly cruel dental procedures until all of our teeth are broken and rotted and we welcome death?  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

A week or so I was in a slump had a bout of toothache-driven despair, so I went for a walk and took moody photos. There's nothing like an impending trip (and a toothache) to make you see your own town with new eyes.

(This is an embedded gallery on my blog -- hope it's not huge or crazy-looking in a feed reader!) I went for a run on Memorial Day and even though it was nearly 90 degrees, it was great to be out running again. I think at least part of my pleasure was in being distracted from my teeth/jaw pain and "getting" to suffer in a different way. Neighbors were out on their porches, and someone was sitting out playing a banjo that could be heard for blocks. Between the two of us, Tilly and I drank two bottles of water in less than an hour. It was awesome.