The Unveiling

Monday morning was an unveiling of sorts. At least that is what my Dad coined it. After 21 months that really did fly by, I had my braces removed. I remember that warm June afternoon when the braces went on; I was told that I would be in some discomfort that evening but nothing that a bit of tequila couldn’t help manage. Seriously? Yes, do you keep any at home. My orthodontist is a talented friend from high school. I can certainly manage this I thought. I then hopefully envisioned losing some serious pounds a cause of mouth discomfort but pain was never an issue and as such, my new metal did not impede me from eating. That afternoon, I stared at my braces about a thousand times in the rear view mirror while driving home. For added effect, I peeled into the driveway and burst through the front door to show Matthew my new grill. I think he was bracing himself for tears but instead I said, check this out. And so the 33 year old with braces adventure began.

Perhaps I am being a tad generous. I was a morsel mortified when I got them on. All I could think about was that Sex and the City episode when Miranda got braces. She went on a hot date, foolishly ate the chocolate cake and was a mess. I think the date dropped her at home while flashing a peace sign. Later she was in a boardroom and thought peers were making jest of her glistening smile but turns out they were just commenting on a typo. Not sure who her orthodontist was but she decided that braces were not for her and had them removed. Unfortunately, my dentist told me I needed them so this “take them off” luxury was not my reality. I remember being on my first business trip to Germany and overly concerned about how my new friends would affect my accent. A bit of wild saliva and serious apologies aside, it was fine. Perhaps I would have fared better speaking Spanish. Over time, they became second nature and even friends told me they could no longer see them. I have wonderful friends.

It might sound silly but I have enjoyed my second braces experience. I learned my lesson the hard way that teeth move if you don’t wear your retainers. Yes, I wore braces in my youth. Just shy of four years to be exact. Why so long you ask? I didn’t exactly follow the rules and this resulted in serious delays. Back in my teens, I was a dreadful patient. I played competitive soccer so when a wire was poking out, I would clip the main wire and remove it. I would then return to the doctor’s office and they would tell me I just cost myself three months. I go to an all girl’s school I responded, no one’s looking so who cares. My parents didn’t seem to mind so no harm, no foul. I used to love Blow Pops. You know where this is going. They were on the top five absolute no dice list. So in marching to the beat of my own drum, I peeled one, bit into it, heard a crunch and felt a pull. This was one of those oh bleep, better call Mom moments. Pull it out and put it in a bag she said, I am coming to get you. We returned to the orthodontist for an emergency appointment (of which I had too many) with a Ziploc bag containing a punctured sucker with a scrap metal bits sticking out. I never wore my rubber bands. Like seriously never. How my bite improved is beyond me. They must have hated me. 

Yesterday, I woke up somewhat apprehensive about saying good bye. I suspect this is because I paid for these braces and wanted to ensure that the job was done. The job was more than done. I was tentatively scheduled to have them off in January and said no, I want to keep them on longer. My friends balked. Who asks to keep braces on longer they wanted to know and especially at this age to boot. I guess me. All the folks that work at the orthodontists office have been fantastic. Every six weeks I would sit in the chair and we caught upon life, gossiped and shared stories. Two engagements, a wedding, one pregnancy, one move to the mountains and a pair of new faces. Also, I don’t like chapters closing. Good old change rearing its head again. Granted this is a good change as no one wants to wear braces forever but you know what I mean. When the doctor assured me I would be returning in three weeks and then again three months, I breathed a bit easier.

So on Monday morning, I took one last selfie with the braces on. A pair of hours later I deleted the picture asking myself why in the world I would want to freeze that moment in time. At 10.10 am, I lay back in the chair as the braces were removed, teeth polished, a permanent retainer glued to the bottom shelf and I was in business. Everyone raved about my smile and told me to go crazy at lunch. I gather by this they meant eat all the things you were not supposed to eat with braces that I actually did. No Fat Tuesday feasting for me. It should be noted that this was the only digression I made with regards to my process this go around and I only busted one wire over this period of time. That called for celebration for sure. So once all was set and done, we took a photograph, I sounded a gong and they sent me on my way. That day I was nervous to eat in fear of my teeth moving. Talk about paranoid. And so I  informed Matthew that I was not keen to cook and outlined my very rational reasoning. He also thought I was nuts. The marvelous Charlotte pollen has been bothering him. When I lived in NYC, at the mere whiff of a cold, you took yourself to the nearest deli for a bowl of matzoh ball soup. Good old penicillin. The closest I could think of here in Charlotte was Pho so Ben Thanh it was. Spicy broth for him and a hearty cheer to my new teeth.

As I did not cook Monday night, I will share a recipe that I made on Sunday. The weather was lousy and perfect for a roast. I had a laundry list of things to do around the house so a one pot meal was in the cards. I must admit, this is one of the best darn chickens we have ever eaten. We picked it to the bone. During the last hour of roasting, I added a bag of red potatoes to the pot. I also served this with an easy kale salad. Simply chop up a head of the Tuscan variety, drizzle with olive oil, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 chopped cloves of garlic and 1 tsp red pepper flakes. Mix with your hands and let sit. If you live in Charlotte, Fresh Market sells blood oranges on the cheap. I first had blood oranges when studying abroad in Florence, Italy. We bought it in juice form and the color was gorgeous. A group of us went to Positano on the Amalfi Coast for a pair of adventures and they served the crimson stuff with vodka. Talk about refreshing. And dangerous. We drank them like Slurpees. Oy vey. Back to the chicken. Give it a go and bon app├ętit.

Roasted Chicken with Blood Oranges


4 – 5 lb organic chicken
3 blood oranges – quartered
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 head of garlic – cut in half
1 cup of Sauvignon Blanc – any white wine will do really
2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
Fennel seeds – I go crazy because they add tremendous flavor
Red pepper flakes – I go crazy because Matthew likes the heat


1. Clean the chicken under running water. Rinse out the interior and exterior. Pat dry and salt / pepper the exterior and interior of the bird. Place in a Dutch oven or whatever vessel you aim to roast it in.

2. Stuff the cavity with 1 quartered blood orange, the head of garlic halves and a bunch of fresh thyme. Tuck the remaining orange slices around the bird. Pour the white wine into the pot.

3. Rub your chicken with the olive oil and generously sprinkle with the fennel seeds and red pepper flakes.

4. Pop it in the oven at 425 for one hour and 45 minutes. I like the skin nice and crisp. During the last hour, you can add other goodies to the pot including baby potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, Brussel sprouts – you name it. Baste them with the lovely broth until they glisten.

5. Once the time allotment is up, remove from oven and cover the chicken with aluminum foil for ten minutes before carving.


  1. I'm glad that you didn't feel that much pain when your orthodontist was putting it in. Some have doubts on getting braces because of the pain they might experience. But once they learn about your experience, they will think otherwise. Braces are really helpful in correcting our teeth. And I agree; once you don’t follow the rules of taking care of it, you’ll pay for the consequences. Anyway, I’m glad that it’s all over now. How’s your teeth coming along?


  2. I think your smile looks lovely with and without the braces anyway, but still congratulations on finally saying goodbye to them. To have had braces twice now, you should be feeling awfully relieved to close that chapter of your life, though I understand if you still can't. Haha! It was a big part of your life and it's a big change. Just embrace it and make sure to keep your dental hygiene in check from here on out. Amazing looking roasted chicken, by the way. Take care! :)

    Clinton Zelman @ Doug Smith DDS

  3. I'm glad your second experience with braces turned out better. Perhaps your first experience was a lesson that you took to heart. It also helped that in your age, people around you are more mature, hence experiences with braces should be quite easier. I hope you were satisfied with the result, and that you enjoyed eating this chicken without braces. Must have felt great, right? Take care!

    Randall Higgins @ M.A. Vorhies Orthodontics