Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Costco Croutons and a Broken Expander

My husband has been food shopping with me regularly. It took a while for me to adjust, but he's become an indispensable part of my grocery getting. For instance, at breakfast I might say, "we should check and see if there are more paper towels in the garage before we go to SAMs Club."

And he'll say, "yeah, we should do that."

Then we'll be in SAMs Club, as though we teleported there, and I'll say, "I forgot to check the paper towels at home."

"So did I," he'll say.

It's a shared joke then to put the newly purchased paper towels on top of the glaringly visible, unopened pack of paper towels already in the garage. We repeat this process weekly with things like decaffeinated tea bags.

But I knew we didn't want to buy more croutons at Costco.

"You don't like the croutons from Costco," I said.

"Were those from Costco?"

"Yes."

And we didn't buy the croutons. I never thought to ask why he didn't like the Costco croutons. They were organic and looked like any other prepackaged stale bread cubes. I don't partake of the croutons, so just making it out of the store without a five-pound bag of food that no one in the house wanted seemed like a victory.

That very evening, eating a salad which has since been recalled because no one knows whether it was grown in Yuma, AZ or not, my daughter announced that a crouton had become lodged in her palate expander.



Now this palate expander is no joke. Drawing from my personal experience, I thought orthodontic care would be tough. On my daughter. Because she's the patient. Little did I know she would get a "distalizer palate expander" for "rapid palatial expansion." This jobber has a tiny little hole that cranks a screw to perform the actual expanding. It's the mother that has to turn the screw. Sixteen times!

Maybe my close up vision isn't what it once was, but it was a real thing to get the "key" into the hole of that screw. The key is this plastic handle with a pin on the end. I spent two weeks poking around, doing a bad job. On the fifteenth night, I made a breakthrough! The key went right in the hole on the first try. I pushed down to turn the screw. Nothing.

The screw wouldn't make its fifteenth turn. The orthodontist had to take the expander out of her mouth (this thing is cemented in there, by the way) and lubricate it with vegetable oil. Turns fifteen and sixteen proceeded on subsequent nights without difficulty.

My bit was done. 

Whew. 

Enter the crouton.

The expander in question looks similar to this "Pendex Appliance." 


During a tense fifteen minutes, reports issued forth that it was not, in fact, a stuck crouton, but a broken expander. Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and happened upon the orthodontist's extended evening hours. We raced out of the house to the professionals.

"I've never seen that before," says the doctor.

"Have you been eating jelly beans?" the tech asked.

"Croutons wouldn't do that," says the doctor.

The expander was pulled out AGAIN and kept overnight to be soldered back together. A little metal bit had cracked right off. And the technician was insistent that she knew the culprit: jelly beans.

On the car ride home that night, it was disclosed that the Costco croutons are "filled with rocks" and many times eating them has "almost broken a tooth."

"But why did the technician lady think it was jelly beans? Have you been eating jelly beans?"

That part remains a mystery. There have been no beans. The palate expander was re-installed the next day. The tech came to the waiting room to give a report. She told me that the expander needed to be unturned to fit back in. So I needed to find the key and do two more turns. Two bonus turns. 

So on top of discovering that my family has been suffering dried bread that's the same consistency as driveway gravel, I had to poke around with a pin-like key in my daughter's mouth again. My only solace is that I remembered not to buy more croutons from Costco. And we'll steer clear of jelly beans. Just in case.