Thursday, June 23, 2011

Vegas: According to Your Ears

No, that wasn't some lame audiology joke.  Vegas is one of those places that appeals to your senses.  Sight, taste, and especially sound.  Even if  you've never been to Vegas, everyone has a mental idea of the sounds you will experience.  Particularly the casino sounds.

I've been to Vegas a few times, but this most recent trip was my first since college and at the risk of sounding like an old person, things just weren't the same as they used to be - at least the same according to my ears.  On the college trip, I distinctly remember a few things that were missing on this adventure.  Some auditory distinctions to be exact.

A few years ago you went into the casino, sat at a slot machine, pulled the side handle and (hopefully) won a little coin.  As soon as those lights started flashing, you immediately heard the distinct "dink dink dink dink" sound of the coins hitting the tray as they fell out of the machine.  Then you grabbed one of those plastic buckets on top of the machine, gathered your spoils and jingled the bucket onto the next machine.  It all went down a little something like this:

Really a glorious experience all around.  Until some genius decided to change it.
Now a days, you sit at a slot machine, pull the side handle and when you get lucky, the lights still flash, but there is no sound of coins falling.  Nope.  The metal tray to catch the coins is still there, but nothing falls out.  If you listen closely, you hear a different sound. A receipt printing.   No kidding.  A receipt.  They did away with the coins and spit you out a receipt stating your exact winnings.
I almost felt like I was at the gas pump pressing "Yes I want a Receipt" on the key pad.

And even worse than the absence of coin, there are no more plastic buckets.  I guess that makes sense. Walking around jingling your receipts in a bucket just doesn't seem to have the same effect.

If Vegas had a suggestion box, I would drop a note saying we should bring back the coins.  And the buckets.

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Retainer is Never Cool

Remember back to the middle school days, when there was some lucky kid that got to have a retainer?  That kid had already graduated from the old metal braces with rubber bands and corn on the cob stuck in the teeth to the seemingly cool retainer.   The dead give away that you were one of the lucky ones was that distinct lisp the retainer gave you.  If you were super lucky, your orthodontist would make your retainer in a bright color and you got to show it off at lunch time when you removed it to eat.  You then put it in the plastic retainer box and got to show it off once again when lunch was over and you had to put it back in.  And then inevitably one day, you would throw the retainer away and have to dig through the trash to find the retainer to keep your mom from yelling at you about how much your braces cost.  Anyone else remember this?

Well, I did actually go through the ugly braces stage and I eventually got a retainer.  Although my retainer didn't come until high school.  Which meant it was no longer cool.  But I wasn't really a cool kid anyway, so I did diligently wear that sucker until sometime in college and then I fell off the wagon.  A few years ago, I realized that darn retainer really did make a difference and without it my bottom teeth had started to move.  My vanity eventually won out and I started looking into some options for fixing my bottom teeth.  I quickly found out there was no need to go back to the full on braces stage (sigh of relief), which meant that my option was a retainer! But it wasn't that old retainer that I remembered from middle school.  It now looked a little something like this:

No cool colors, but at this point in my life - I'm OK with that.  It's actually quite invisible and doesn't give you that tell tell lisp when you talk (which is definitely not cool now).  The one thing that inherently can't be fixed, is that it does have to be removed when eating.  Unfortunately, there is no way to do this without being totally disgusting.  You really have two choices when it comes to retainer removal:

1.  Reach to the back teeth, pry it up and then pull it out of your mouth - along with a long line of spit. 
2.  Reach to the back teeth, while prying it up, slurp the spit and then pull the retainer out. 

Neither option is what I would call appropriate for the dinner table.  Or around any other people for that matter.  And it doesn't matter which option I choose, TB always makes a barfing sound when I remove the retainer.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the necessary retainer holder box this go around.  So when I remove the retainer for meals, I often slip it in my pocket or purse.  When I'm cooking at home, I do often set the retainer off to the side on the counter, so I can taste my food.  The only problem with this process is that the retainer is clear and can blend into the counter.  Not a big deal, unless you have company coming over for dinner and you suddenly can't find the retainer minutes before your guests are about to arrive and you just KNOW that you set it down on the counter just where the plates are set.  It would be just horrible to find someone else's retainer sitting beside your dinner plate.  After a few panicked moments of frantically searching for the missing retainer, it was found just before our guests arrived.  Phew.  I really need to get a retainer carrying case.

Although the middle school me thought that a retainer was cool, I was so very wrong. What was I thinking back then?  The spit lines, slurping noises, losing the retainer and the thought of searching through the trash for it...... something that causes all of these things could never be cool.  Never.