The Tale of 1.5 Missing Teeth

I skied a lot this past winter. It was more than I normally ski in 2 or three seasons and I loved every minute of it.It was one of the terms for myself if I got new ski gear. I had snowboarded up until this year and was making the leap back to skis by buying a ski touring setup. That means you get skins to put on the skis so you can go uphill as well as downhill. They let you adventure in the backcountry a lot easier than snowshoes. I told myself that if I got this gear then I had to spend the time and effort to learn to ski well and get out and do it. There was not going to be any dust on my ski gear.Most of the my ski days were on the local resort mountain. I did do some touring in the backcountry but when you spend hours getting to the top and all you get is one run down, you want to make sure that run counts. I'd much rather be in the backcountry for the view and the lack of crowds but to get in sheer number of runs I hit the resort whenever I could.While I'm not an adrenaline junkie that loves to huck steep cliffs onto hardpack snow, I do like to get out and rip down the hill. That said, I'm fairly cautious when it comes to getting down the hill. I'd rather get down the hill in one piece than end up in a pile at the bottom.Even with my caution there were a few good spills this season while getting my feet on the new skis.A group of friends I headed up to a ski hill a little further than our usual hunt in search of some good powder. Near the end of the day (it's always near the end of the day) I hit a little jump that I had it numerous times before. I was tired and was leaning too far back and ended up in a pile at the bottom, breaking one of my ski poles in the process. Luckily it was the end of the day and we were just packing up to leave anyways.the mishapI had another mishap near the end of the day on another hill we went to.I was skiing with some of my family and everything was going great. The snow wasn't that good but the weather was holding and I was stoked to get in another ski for the year. I wish I had a great story to tell here but it wasn't. The ski patrol afterwards was also expecting a tale of some hardcore stunt gone awry.All I could tell him was that my cousin accidentally hit me in the mouth with her ski pole. Near the lift. Not going very fast. On a fairly flat piece of the run.It looks much more hardcore than it actually is, I swear!The ski pole cracked my right front tooth clean off up into the gum but for some reason it held on and was just hanging there. It broke the second tooth off about halfway. After a quick visit to the ski patrol shack we headed off down the mountain for a mandatory visit to the dentist. Normally I hate the dentist but I was anxious to see what was going to happen with the tooth that was currently hanging out of my gums. We got there and he delivered the news. The second tooth would just be capped. No biggie, covered mostly by the insurance I've got. Score. The front tooth was another story.There wasn't enough tooth anchored in to put a cap on. Being broken up into the gum meant that would have to remove it. There were two different ways they could do it. The first and older method was the bridge. They would file down the two adjacent teeth to slip a bridge over and the space would be taken up by a third tooth. It's a cheaper way to do it. In the short run. Because of broken bridges over years and other work involved they usually end up being more expensive. And it requires filing down my other teeth, particularly the other front one. I was down a tooth and a half, I really didn't want to be missing another half forever.The second option was an implant. It's a bit of a dental operation and a longer recovery time, but it can last a lifetime and is as close as you can get to another real tooth. Basically they put a screw in where the tooth root was and then screw a tooth in on top of that. The only problem is the cost. All said and done it will be over $6500 and insurance rarely covers implants.Because I like my teeth and I didn't like the sound of fiddling around with a bridge down the road I opted for the implant. So a few weeks ago I headed into the office and got a good portion of my face frozen up. After a few incisions, a bunch of pulling and some drilling, I had a fresh implant screwed in to the bone which had been built up with some cow bone. "We want this thing to last," the doctor says. I'm glad he feels that way!Fast forward to today. It's been just over a month since I got the implant in and it's healing well. The incisions to build up the bone have healed well and all the stitches are out. It's now just a waiting game until the implant heals in 2 to 3 months and I can get a brand new tooth stuck on there.abrupt learningSometimes things we learn aren't necessarily voluntary. They come at us sideways and show us things we didn't really want to see but are in no situation to look away at the time. We learn things about ourselves and others that we would never see in normal situations. I don't advocate trying to learn this way but there's always a lesson in things that happen, good or bad.it's not that badBeing tuned in the face with a ski pole can definitely catch you off guard. Having pieces of your teeth floating around in your mouth all of a sudden is never a welcome feeling and who really knows how to deal with that. After the initial shock wore off and we figured out what was going to happen next, I had a bit of time to reflect on my what was going on. Accidents happen all the time and most of them don't do any lasting damage. Sure things might get tough for a month or 2 but things will go back to the way they were and then everyone forgets it ever happen.Sometimes, things happen that change you forever. I'm not saying that I'm worse off in any way being one real tooth short but it's an odd feeling thinking that I'll never have that tooth ever again. It's gone. Forever.The important thing is that I remember it's not that bad. It's only a tooth. It's not an arm, a leg, an eye, my life. All things considered, a tooth is a very small body part to lose permanently. In the big scheme of things a tooth is nothing. No one really cares right now that I'm missing a front tooth and certainly no one will in the future when it's been replaced with a crown. I'm alive, I have all my limbs. Life is good.I read a post somewhere a while ago (I'm sorry to whoever this was) about zooming out when things get tough. There were 2 ways to do it, through space and through time. It sounds like a freaky science experiment but it's really just a simple mind game to get yourself going again.When things get tough stop focusing on yourself. Slow down. Zoom out. Think about everyone around you. Think about everyone in the area you're in. Does your little problem really matter? Think about everyone in the city, province or country you're in. Think about everyone on the planet. How bout now?Another way to look at it is through time. You've got some stuff going on. It's tough. You'd rather not be there going through it. Think about people 30 years ago. 50 years ago. 100 years ago. 1000 years ago. People didn't even used to have the problems we have today because they didn't have all the crap we have going on today. That makes us part lucky and part unlucky. I'd MUCH rather have to deal with what we've got going on today than have to deal with finding where my next meal is coming from, friends dying from the plague or running my ass off from a saber tooth tiger (not sure if those are real but insert any big animal that would want to eat early humans). I'm pretty sure you're problem is not quite like finding your half-eaten buddy in the woods and wondering if you're next.keep your head upNo matter how bad the situation gets, someone has had it worse. Do everything you can to affect a positive result on the situation but at the end of the day things are what they are. Often things are out of your control. If you can't change it, don't worry about it. Focus on the positive and the future. Don't stress about the past.keep on truckingWhat good does it do for anyone to curl up and freak out about what's going on. Nothing. Nothing at all. It just wastes the time and energy you could have used changing things you have control over or getting on with your life. Use the ideas above the get a hold of yourself, decide where you want to go from here and then get trucking. Don't look back. Like Dory says, "Just keep swimming."Just keep swimming.

2011: The Year of the Hustle

2010 was a great year. I learned a lot. A lot went well.That said, I felt like I didn't have much direction. It was fun trying to get involved with everything that came along but in doing that I was stretching myself thin over what I was already doing. Overall the year felt like I was bouncing back and forth from starting one project to another but not finishing anything. Thus, I've decided to dub last year Year of the Flail.Flailing around last year definitely kept things interesting. But as I said, I felt like I didn't complete much. This year is going to be different though. After doing a bit of a Chris Guillebeau style review, I looked at what went well last year and laid out a plan for this year. One of my goals is to keep my projects and to-do's more structured and really push to get rid of the tasks and projects that don't get me closer to my major goals.Almost everything I'd like to focus on this year will have a project associated with it. I think I'm more likely to complete things if they've got a nice, neat "project" label on them and are prioritized and organized with all the others. I won't get down into the nitty, gritty parts of life though, like cooking, cleaning and sleeping. Everyone does those!I've separated everything here into some main categories. I ended up with quite a few other ones as well during the review but they aren't quite as interesting as these ones. They felt required. These are the ones I'm excited about and will try my hardest to get them done. The categories I included here are Work, Learning, Travel, Outdoors and Adventure. Outdoors and Adventure overlap quite a bit. Outdoors here is more for the projects about the outdoors I'm doing whereas Adventure includes running, riding, kayaking, racing and other sports.Projects for the Year of the HustleWorkWriting for PureOutside, rcThink and Island AdventurerI put these ones under work because I hope that these will some day make up the bulk of my workload. It will be an amazing day when I make a living of these sites and related projects. There was really no schedule for posting to the sites last year. Posts would just go up on the site whenever I felt like writing and that was sometimes 3 times a week and sometimes once every 2 months. This year my goal is to post once per week every Monday morning on each of the sites. So far so good. It's only been 3 weeks but I haven't fallen off the wagon yet! I'm working on building up a repository of posts for each of the sites so that if I run out of time, I can just edit and update a post, rather than writing a whole new one.If you aren't familiar with my other blogs yet, I'll give you a quick rundown. PureOutside is a general outdoors site covering any outdoor topic like climbing, running, skiing, hiking and mountain biking. I've got a few projects scheduled to start this year that will be added on to this site. More details are below.Island Adventurer is another outdoor site focusing on Vancouver Island, where I live. Vancouver Island is a mecca for human-powered outdoor enthusiasts offering easy access to skiing, surfing, trail running, mountain biking, kiteboarding, climbing and diving. You can easily participate in all these activities any time of the year or even all in one day. Information for all these activities can be hard to come by, though, and is often only found after endless digging through websites or good-natured stalking of those that regularly participate. I'm hoping with Island Adventurer and PureOutside I can make it easier to organize and find all that outdoor information.Programming Home Sell Canada and Bed and Breakfast CenterOriginally started by my dad as side projects, I've taken over most of the support and programming on HomeSellCanada and BedandBreakfastCenter. Both are excellent opportunities to increase my passive income and learn some useful new information. I'm in the middle of an upgrade to the underlying systems right now and as soon as that is complete, I'll be working on the graphics and copy. They're both a bit dated and need a refreshing dose of new copy and design. On the list for them both are blogs to liven things up and provide a good reason to link to both the sites.Day Job at City of NanaimoI'm hoping to end up with some sort of location-independent career someday but while I'm getting started, I'm very thankful for the programming position I have at the City of Nanaimo. Every day I'm learning something new and get to work with a lot of great people in an enterprise environment. I know few people ever say they like working in a cubicle but, while I would rather be outside skiing or climbing mountains, it's been an awesome experience so far.LearningThe world is so amazing that it's tough to not write an entire book on all the things I'd like to learn. One of my goals for the year is to focus more fewer things but there are two that I'm going to focus on most.PhotographyA lot of my friends have been getting into photography lately and judging by all the amazing pictures on travel blogs, people online have as well. I used to travel, adventure and party with just a small point and shoot style camera. While it's a lot of fun to carry around in my pocket and have at the drop of a hat, the pictures that it produces just aren't fantastic. They will certainly do in a pinch and capture the moment but after seeing some incredible things in Australia and New Zealand, I was disappointed with the quality when I wanted to revisit those memories. The little camera just didn't do the landscapes justice, especially on our trip to Milford Sound. Now, I've got myself a Canon T1i and am trying to use it every day. A friend told me that the first 10,000 photos aren't going to be anything special. After that you might get some good ones so I've got a lot of photos to take.GuitarFor the longest time, I've wanted to play guitar. There's just something about it that I find so alluring. I find myself wishing I knew how to play when I'm sitting around a campire or on the road travelling. I just haven't got up the guts to get playing and sound like crap when I'm learning. What's worse is that I've had one sitting next to my desk for the last year and a half. I finally got some ebooks and a dvd for christmas and have been making time to sit down and learn the chords and a few songs. Watch out for a video of a song when I can get something together. It wont' be that bad, I promise!TravelFranceThe first trip of the year will be to France. My girlfriend and I are going to spend 2 weeks in France in May, with some of the trip in Paris and the remainder in the south along the Mediterranean. This will be my first trip to Europe and my girlfriends first off North America. I have these romantic visions of wandering around in Paris. I know it's probably not going to be anything like I think it's going to be but it's still going to be a great adventure nonetheless.PortlandThis won't be a very long trip but it's still a trip out of the country. We'll be heading down to Chris Guilleau's World Domination Summit for a few days in June to hang out with a whole bunch of bloggers and online entrepreneurs. Pretty sure I'm bouncing around excited for this to happen. I've been reading a lot of the bloggers that are going for the last year and it's time to finally meet them. This has been part of the reason why I'm going to be pushing my blogs hard the beginning of this year. Not only would it be nice to get a bit more traffic to all of them, I'd like to be a bit better known in the blogging circles.ThailandThis is a maybe trip. I'm going to try my hardest to make this happen by the end of the year but it might have to be the beginning of next year. I've been dying to go to Thailand for a long time and I finally said I'm going to do it. With all the other bloggers in Thailand right now, it will be a hell of a party and a great time meeting them face to face. I'm aiming for November with this one.OutdoorsRamblerI mentioned earlier that I've found it hard getting the information I wanted about trails, and other places to adventure. Even if I did find the basics it is almost never from the time that I want to go. Having a resource that's full of outdoor information that is up to date as well would be the holy grail of outdoor sites. I plan to make this happen over the next few years starting with Vancouver Island and spreading it around the world. Any users will be allowed to sign up and add their own outdoor trip reports and trail information. I've also got a few applications on the list that will integrate with the site to make planning your outdoor excursion extremely easy.Outdoor ManualsTo go along with the current trail and location information that Rambler will eventually have, I plan on making manuals for all the outdoor sports that are out there. Starting with the basics, they'll move up to intermediate and advanced as I get to those levels with the different areas. The first will be hiking and will most likely be a free one. Soon after that I'll be creating a skiing, climbing and mountain biking manuals and selling them for a small fee. They'll be full of all the resources and information you'll need to get you started in the various human-powered outdoor activities.Trail GuidesWith all the information on Rambler and in the Outdoor Manuals, I'm not sure if I'll need to create these Trail Guides. They'll essentially be very details guides of popular trails. The intention is that you could pick up one of these babies, peruse at your leisure online or your mobile device and then you'll be set to go for that trail or area. These will require a ton of time out on the trails but that's what I love doing most so it's going to be a blast.Map VITo get things started with Rambler and for some good stories on Island Adventurer, I've started a projecting called Map VI (short for Vancouver Island). While I get Rambler up and running, I'll be hiking, running, riding and kayaking everywhere I can on Vancouver Island to get good stories and data to fill Rambler with.  My goal is to eventually have every single trail that's on Vancouver Island on the website free for people to see and use to plan hiking, biking and running trips. Of course I'll need the help of everyone I can if I plan to complete this one within a reasonable time. Getting people to go on trips up mountains and out into the woods isn't hard at all but getting them to record that trip online somewhere is a huge task. Most just want to go on the trip and take a few photos, they don't care about writing about the trip afterwards. There may have to be some incentives involved. Prizes anyone?AdventuringAfter working at an outdoor outfitters store for a while, I've got a newfound love and respect for those people that ski, hike, run, kayak regularly. Not only are they getting some great exercise, they're seeing some amazing places. Through the outdoors groups I regularly meet up with I've met some awesome people and have joined them for some great trips.SkiingSkiing is definitely my current favorite. It changes regularly but right now it's what I think about, read about and do almost more than any other sport(I run almost every day so that would have to be the most but it's more just to keep fit than adventuring). In fact, as I'm writing this section, I'm nursing some sore muscles from a good day on the local ski mountain. One of my main reasons for getting into skiing so much this year is that it opens up a lot of new territory to explore, photograph and write about. Most of the time travelling through snow, snowshoes are most often choice for mode of travel. But they can be slow. Throw a pair of climbing skins onto some touring skis and you can climb mountains, traverse glaciers and get to some incredible places. Best of all, the way down is much faster because all you have to do is ski!This year resort skiing was a top priority just to get as many runs in as I could. I've only just started skiing this year and I needed to find the fastest way to get my bearings on my new skis. I'm getting close to a comfort level where I can ski just about anything I want. After I reach that point, I'll be heading out into the backcountry for most of my skiing days. Hitting the backcountry is nice because there are far fewer people, the scenery is amazing, and once you've got the appropriate gear, it's free!Running Cape Scott and West Coast TrailIf I don't get anything else accomplished this year aside from running the the Cape Scott trail and the West Coast Trail, I'd be a happy camper... or runner. My running partner and I ran the 47km long Juan De Fuca Trail on Vancouver Island last year. As I was running it, I couldn't imagine running anything longer. It became apparent after that it wasn't that hard. Yes, it was the hardest run I had ever done up until that point, but after it was over, I knew I was ready for something more. If I had run that far in 7.5 hours after some mediocre training, what can I do with a little patience, a positive mindset and better training? If I can do 50k, why not go a little further and go 60km or 75 or even 100? Pushing yourself hard opens up possibilities that you never think are possible. Only a few years ago, I thought a 5km run was a long one. Now I'm doing ten times that for fun. The Cape Scott Trail will be a warm up for the West Coast Trail at about 40-50km. I've never been to the area so it will be a nice change from running around Nanaimo. The West Coast trail is a gnarly 75km run that will be an incredible test for my skill, endurance and spirit but I know with a bit of a push that it's possible. Lots of training needs to be done before then though.Momar Adventure Race in CumberlandRyan and I did this race last year. We did ok but I was sorely disappointed in my performance on the bike. The race starts with a kayak, moves into running for a few hours, then culminates in a beautiful mountain bike ride. All totaled you travel about 50km. It took us about 7 hours last year. Both my legs cramped hard on the ride and I feel like we could have finished around an hour faster had I been in good form. I had never done a race that long before and it kicked me hard. I'm determined this year to do more training for it. I feel now that I know what to expect, it won't be nearly as punishing.WakeboardingI wasn't sure if I should really call this a project but it seemed like everything lately that matters to me is being put into a "project" and made a priority. All my other adventure and learning projects could eventually lead to some sort of money but I can't see this one really going anywhere. I just really like wakeboarding. I remember all the way back to when we first started. My cousin and uncle brought home a wakeboard from a show they went to since it'd be fun to try. We all ended up loving it, especially my cousin and I. When we're at our summer cabin, every spare minute is of thinking about wakeboarding or actually doing it. I got busy last year and didn't end up going as much as I had liked so this summer it's going to be a top priority.Climbing ?This one is a question mark right now. I'd love to start climbing. A lot of my friends are climbers and I'm totally jealous every time they post photos. Like skiing, climbing also a gateway to some incredible places and another very healthy thing to do.  The issue I still need to decide on is whether I have the time to do it. To really get started, two days a week climbing is the minimum. I'm not sure if I have the time to commit to that right now but we'll see how my priorities change as we head into the spring and summer.What do you have going on this year? Any big projects coming up? What are you most excited to do?