Whiskey-soaked donuts, Tornado Taters, unicycle, eight small rubber balls.

Or, the title of this post has nothing to do with the post itself.

I got the Definitive Obturator fitted today. There was no speech bulb attached; that'll come on October 6th, after Dr. Elf has a chance to mold the thing off of this current obturator, which works great both in terms of speech and of snot drainage.

You guys, I am *so* excited.

Remember how much I hated the first obturator? Remember how I got used to the second obturator, but kind of didn't like it because it fell down in the back and was heavy and made it harder to talk?

This one is. . .well.

It's shiny, shiny silver metal. I have no clue what the metal is; it looks like that cheap stuff they make adjustable rings out of--the kind you get out of the gumball machine. It's got integrated tooth hooks, which means they're much less likely to break off. And it's got this loop on the back which'll hold the speech bulb, and *that* means that the shape and size of the bulb can be changed as needed without as much effort.

I'll post comparison pictures after I get the D.O., but for now, imagine a retainer. You know how retainers have that plastic part that covers up your entire palate? That's what I've got now. The D.O.'s palatal widget is about a third the thickness of the plastic one, and it doesn't cover the area just behind my front teeth. That means that not only is it lighter and easier to put in, but it also doesn't change the way I talk. I've learned that the speech bulb is only part of the equation: good enunciation requires tongue contact with the backs of your front teeth.

(This is especially important for singing, for reasons I don't completely understand but have experienced. I talk fine but I lisp when I sing.)

When Dr. Elf put the D.O. in, it was like wearing nothing. I'm not kidding: the feeling was as close to having a normal mouth as I've experienced in nearly a year. It was. . .comfortable. Not just comfortable, it was unnoticeable. I could tell the difference even without the speech bulb.

There are two pieces of bad news: first, I will no longer be fully protected from Dorito Abrasions and Pizza Burns. I'll have to re-learn how to eat like a normal person. The second bit of bad news is that Dr. Elf had to grind down several teeth to get the occlusion right; there's only so much grinding you can do on tiny metal hooks before you weaken them. My tooth enamel had to be slightly sacrificed in two places to get my bite correct. Tooth enamel ain't no thang, y'all; it's totally worth it to have this new widget work.

The upside to the tooth grinding is this: When the first obturator was being fitted, Dr. E. had to grind off bits of the posterior edge of the anterior side of my eyeteeth. Given that *this* grinding of teeth involved the anterior edge of whatever tooth is behind the eyetooth, I now have even more prominent fangs than I used to. When I smile a certain way, I look like a vampire. This is a look I really, really dig: it's body mods with a medical excuse.

In sum, this new obturator/speech bulb combo is going to be bad-ASS. It's gonna be Terminator Mouth from here on out. I think that this might actually be an improvement on the normal human mouth, in fact: it'll cover most of the area of my palate that used to get burned from too-enthusiastic hot-food consumption, yet not impede my speech.

Okay, enough of that. Thank you, all of you who sent reassuring emails and posted reassuring comments after The Twerpacle (the minor debacle involving That Guy I Was Dating). In a surprising demonstration of Good Timing, the Universe decided to make my pal and coworker Dame Hammet (points for those who got the Brother Cadfael reference) want to introduce me to her cute friend who's tall and skinny and funny. Pray for me this Sunday, around 7:30 pm Central time.

***I should mention here that TGIWD isn't actually a twerp. His behavior was twerpy (and so was mine), but he's a hell of a person, and any woman who is able to sort through his various issues is getting a massive catch. (Feed him up, girl. Them elbows is sharp.)***

And yes, I've already picked out my outfit. And my shoes. And my eyeliner. Not that I'm nervous, or excited, or anything.

This "dating" stuff is fun. Who knew? Now that I've gotten over the Fear Of The Obturator Causing Uncomfortable Conversations (take it or leave it, buddy), I'm kinda enjoying myself.

Coming Up: Why you should try to avoid autoimmune diseases!