Real Life Update: Dentures, New Job, Car Issues, and Aubree to Keep Me Busy

Hi there everyone! It’s been a hot minute (okay, it has been a little over a year) since I’ve done a real life update, so you are in for a treat today. In my defense, Aubree Lynn has been keeping me busy, and now I have even more to keep me hopping! Read on to find out what’s been going on!

2021 Was Not a Kind Year

On March 3, 2021, we lost the matriarch of our Wright family – John’s mother, Peggy, passed away. Ms. Peggy was Tre’s heart. He loved his grandmother fiercely and when she passed from complications from COVID among other health issues, his world was forever changed.

Her funeral was on Tre’s birthday – the day he turned 18. He entered into adulthood by being a pallbearer and carrying his beloved grandmother to her final resting place. That is something you don’t ever forget, and a memory that will leave a lasting mark on his heart and soul … and there is not a single thing I could do to ease his pain but be there for him.

I found the strength to get through the services and the burial but that is when I broke and the damn burst. Just as we were leaving to go back to his grandparents’ home, my eldest son, Jonathan, said his goodbyes and said he was leaving. I thought at first he meant he was going back to our home but no – he was leaving Virginia for good and moving to New Jersey. I wasn’t completely unaware that the move was coming – I just wasn’t expecting him to leave right after the funeral. It was a day I won’t soon forget, for a number of reasons.

Life moved on, however, and we all went back to the day-to-day task of living. Tre started to come out of his shell and went into super dad mode, my husband eventually was able to talk about his mom without getting choked up. Amelia turned a year old a week after her dad left for New Jersey, summer came and went, and before we knew it, fall was knocking on the door.

Labor Day 2021, I’m at our local Family Dollar to pick up a few items as we were going to grill outside over the long weekend. I pulled into the parking lot, got out of the vehicle, bent down to get my purse out of the car, and all of a sudden I hear this loud roar like a jet taking off, and BAM! The gentleman in front of me who had just gotten into his vehicle to leave the store backed up into the front of my vehicle and was going so fast that the rear of his car was up on my bumper!

I jumped out of the way (my life flashed before my eyes) and he must have managed to slam it into drive because the next thing I know, he was crashing into the front of the store! To this day, we still don’t know what happened with his vehicle. The store is still not repaired (almost a year later) and it took us almost 5 months to finally get the insurance company to pay out for the damages so my husband could repair it. It took many long nights and weekends for him to do the repairs on his own.

Dental Issues Are FINALLY Over!

As many of you know, I’ve spent YEARS with dental issues and a severe dental phobia … which is what caused the years of dental issues. It is a vicious cycle and one that was not easily remedied. I was finally able to have my jawbone reduction surgery on October 11, 2021, have the last of my teeth pulled, and begin the road to getting dentures.

I’m not gonna lie – it was a huge relief to finally have all of those broken teeth out of my mouth and the infections and abscesses stopped. I am so very thankful to not have to deal with THIS any longer:

My face was so swollen from the abscess and infection that it took almost 2 weeks of antibiotics for it to subside. The pain was excruciating.

I still had what I call “phantom pain” after the surgery to remove the remainder of my teeth. I would just wake up in the middle of the night sometimes and swear I had a killer toothache but there was no tooth to ache anymore! That lasted for about a month and then stopped completely.

After about 2 months, they started working on getting me prepared for my dentures. I was having all of my work done at the VCU Dental School (shout out to Nam Ha, Justin Conduff, and Dr. Muncy). I was so excited when I finally had the finished product that I cried after seeing myself with the dentures in.

As you can see, I am a grinning fool once again! I’ve always had a great smile, and I’m very outgoing … but not having teeth can really kill your spirit, you know? I am absolutely ECSTATIC at how I feel anymore. I’m happier, I have confidence again, and I love talking to people and interacting with the world again. I feel like I’m living a dream, you know?

Confidence Is Back!

It took me a few weeks to get accustomed to speaking with the dentures and eating (I’m still working on that). My confidence was up so I thought, What the hell, let’s try getting a job again. So I started putting my resume out there to some law firms and for some secretarial positions. In the past, I’ve had the sneaking suspicion that the only reason that I wasn’t hired for similar jobs I had applied for was due to my age and/or the fact that I was missing teeth. Clearly discrimination, but I mean honestly, can you fault them? Would you want to walk into a place of business and be greeted by someone who only had a handful of teeth in their mouth and a huge smile? I think not.

So I had interviews set up with two law firms. One was a firm I had worked for in the past (Midkiff Muncie & Ross) and another was one of the larger firms downtown with offices worldwide. I was nervous as hell putting myself out there. I hadn’t worked in an office in about 18 years, so much had changed in the legal field that I thought maybe I was getting myself in too deep – but I had to try. My first interview was at MMR.

I arrived at their new offices (they had moved since I last worked for them) nervous as all get out. The attorney that was interviewing me, Lindsay Blumberg, seemed really great online. I read a paper that she wrote when she was still in law school – The Hard Truth About the Penile Plethysmograph: Gender Disparity and the Untenable Standard in the Fourth Circuit – and was like damn! This is one smart cookie. I remember asking Valerie, the receptionist, what the proper way to pronounce her last name was because I didn’t want to look like a backward hick who didn’t know better. I did some breathing exercises to calm my nerves and kept telling myself over and over, you can do this! You are amazing! You are smart! You know how to do all of this! You are super qualified for the job, they are going to love you! Just be yourself and smile!

When Lindsay and Crystal (her paralegal) came to the front, I was a bit taken back at first. They were dressed like normal people. No suits, no dresses, just nice business casual attire that you can be comfortable in. I liked them immediately. As nervous as I was, Lindsay put me right at ease and Crystal’s laugh was infectious, and within minutes I was chatting like I’d known them all my life. I was confident, I was bubbly, and I was just ME. When I left that interview I felt like a million bucks. I just knew down in my very soul that I’d gotten the job.

Sure enough, the next day, I see this subject line in my email:

Yes, dear readers, I SCREAMED. I read the email in full … and then screamed again. I called my husband and told him, my kids thought I had lost my mind, I was thrilled!!! I think I might have screamed a few more times before I got my head together and zipped back a response! I started my new job on May 5, 2022 and I’ve already told Lindsay she’s not getting rid of me any time soon … I plan on staying there until I die!

New Job, Who This?

After the euphoria hit hard and I was bouncing off the walls, reality set in. Oh SHIT. I have NOTHING that I can wear to work. I’ve been living the past 8 years in sweats, t-shirts, and raggedy shorts that barely stay up when I put them on. I never went anywhere. I stayed home and I lived in pajamas and comfy sweats. That was my work attire. I didn’t even own one single pair of jeans.

Panic set in. I needed clothes. Fast. I ransacked my closet and found a few items that would pass muster the first few days, four at most, but after that, I was screwed. I’d be wearing the same mix-and-match outfits for about 10 days over and over and over. Breathe. I can manage this. I cashed in all of my rewards from the receipt apps that I use, borrowed a few dollars from the neighbor, and went Goodwill shopping. I was able to put together about another 4 outfits for less than $30 – enough to last me until payday. Then another AMAZING FRIEND (Kellie) brought me a whole bag of amazing tops that really helped my meager wardrobe out!

Fast forward to today – now two months later – and I still absolutely LOVE going to work every day. I literally cannot wait to get to work each day to see what new and exciting work awaits me. I’ve learned so much in the past two months, and I am loving every minute of it. People do not realize how lucky they are to have a job, not really. After having been a stay-at-home mom for the past 18 years, I am THRILLED to be back in the workforce and a productive member of society. I’m also thrilled that I am finally able to take some of the pressure off my husband who has struggled with being the sole breadwinner for the past 15 years or more.

Murphy’s Law Strikes Again

So everything is going along fine and then bam. My 2003 Cadillac starts making this god-awful squealing noise every time I would turn the steering wheel the slightest bit. I told hubby about it when I got home, and he said it was low on power steering fluid so he topped it off. It ran fine for a few days, then started to squeal again. We added more fluid, fine for a few days, then it would start squealing again. Well, it finally couldn’t take the pressure anymore and the power steering went completely out on the dang thing. I am quite sure that the accident that caused it to be marked as a total loss had a huge part to play in this latest conundrum.

So here I am with a job and no car. Just freaking great. Hubby figured out what needed to be fixed but it was going to take a few days for him to be able to repair it. Thankfully we had his Cadillac that I could fall back on, but I hate his Cadillac. It just doesn’t fit me, I don’t feel comfortable in it.

My car has just about had it. It has over 200,000 miles on it; it’s been in an accident and the insurance company marked it as a total loss. So I know when it does come time for me to get another vehicle, I’m not going to get much at all from it if anything.

Much as I don’t want to add a new expense until we get our finances caught up on other things we’ve fallen behind in – I know it is just a matter of time until we will need to do just that. So I have started looking at cars and quite honestly, prices are insane.

There are two things I am certain of – I want a hybrid vehicle, and it has to be 4 doors to get the granddaughters in and out of the car. Other than that, I’m pretty open to suggestions. I’ve been reading up on leasing a vehicle versus outright buying the vehicle. Have any of you leased a vehicle and been happy with your experience? I would greatly appreciate any assistance or advice you have to offer.

I also didn’t want to be blindsided by the cost of a car payment either, so I found this handy calculator online at https://www.carpaymentcalculator.net that will let me put in what I want to pay, how much of a down payment I have – all kinds of cool stuff – and give me a really good jumping off point that I would be comfortable negotiating with. The really cool thing is the calculator works for any scenario: new car, used car, with a trade-in, without a trade-in – super customizable which is what I need because I change my mind every five minutes! The only drawback? They have this totally radical arcade that got me sidetracked racing like Lightning McQueen from the movie “Cars” and trying to get my cat across the road without killing him LOL! If you want to keep your kids busy – definitely a must-check-out website for some cool games to play.

Loving on Aubree

Amelia’s Little Adorable Self!

Aubree is my youngest son’s daughter. Amelia is my eldest son’s daughter. Amelia turned 2 in March of this year, but I haven’t seen her since October 2021. It’s a long story, and I really don’t want to get into it. She is growing in leaps and bounds from what I hear from others, and as long as she is happy and healthy – that’s all that really matters now, isn’t it?

Since I’m unable to love Amelia as much as I would like up close and personal, I’ve been loving on Aubree extra hard. Aubree is with us every weekend (with a few exceptions here and there) and it has been an absolute JOY to watch this little girl grow into her spunky personality over the past year and a half. She started walking at just 9 months old … pretty much went from half-assed crawling to walking overnight. She literally was like, “this crawling is for the birds … it isn’t getting me where I want to go fast enough” and that was the end of the crawling! Honestly, she crawls more NOW than she did BEFORE she started to walk!

She is a handful this one. Very opinionated and will let you know without any issues when she is not happy and not getting her way!

She has a spirit that is unmatched. She loves to learn, she loves to dance, and more often than not she is laughing and smiling and running through the house exploring every little nook and cranny.

She absolutely hated getting in the water when she was younger – scared the bejesus out of her. Her Nana Lissa and mom introduced her to a sprinkler with her cousins earlier this year and that was all it took. Can’t keep the child out of the water now!

My husband had his cooler setting out in the backyard a few weeks ago (the kind that has indentations in the top for soda cans) and without one ounce of trepidation, there she went, smacking her hands in this dirty rainwater giggling like crazy! Needless to say, we had to take her into the house and wash those little hands up right away and change her clothes!

Well, that wraps up the past year here in the Miller-Wright household. Aubree and I are planning on dragging PopPop John to the Hanover Tomato Festival this weekend. If you live in the area and plan on attending – keep an eye out for the two old people chasing the little dynamo!

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